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Picture of Meatloaf in a Pan with Parsley on Top

How to Cook Meatloaf (Recipes Kids Should Know Before Leaving Home)

By Jane Maynard

What do you think when you hear the word “meatloaf?” Grandparents? Home? Cozy dinners with family? Us, too! Meatloaf is one of those classic dinners that is a great one to know how to make. Simple, delicious and filling! That’s why it’s on our list of Recipes Kids Should Know Before Leaving Home.

Recipes Kids Should Know from Alpha Mom: Picture of three slices of meatloaf on a plate

Pro Tip when making meatloaf:

One thing to keep in mind when cooking meatloaf is that it’s better to use lean ground beef. It might seem like having more fat in the meat would mean more juicy flavor, but generally, the extra fat just makes meatloaf more heavy and greasy. Since meatloaf is made with binders like breadcrumbs, milk, and egg, those ingredients will help get your meatloaf tender and delicious without a ton of grease involved. When buying ground beef, you will see numbers on the package like 80/20 or 90/10. These numbers indicate the ratio of lean meat to fat – 90/10 ground beef has 90% lean meat and 10% fat. We recommend choosing leaner meats such as 90/10 or 93/7 when making meatloaf.

Top view of uncooked meatloaf in a pan with bowl of ketchup-based glaze ingredients on the side

The recipe below is for a very basic meatloaf with a ketchup-based glaze. There are tons of awesome meatloaf recipes and variations out there. Look through cookbooks and websites for ideas and inspiration and feel free to experiment once you’ve got the basics down. As long as you have lean ground beef, breadcrumbs, milk, egg, salt, and pepper, you’ll have yourself a meatloaf. Stick with ketchup for more traditional flavors but definitely feel free to branch out! Use this recipe as a base and then try adding different spices and herbs or a different type of glaze.

Vertical photo side view of cooked meatloaf in a pan with ketchup glaze and parsley garnish

Top view of three slices of meatloaf on a plate with ketchup glaze


Teach Kids How to Cook Meatloaf

  • Author: Jane Maynard



For Meatloaf:

  • 1.5 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 fresh garlic cloves pushed through a garlic press
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350º F.

2. Place all of the ingredients listed for meatloaf above into a large bowl. Mix very well with your hands. Your hands are by far and away the best tool for mixing the meat. The key is to mix the meat a LOT!

3. Place the meat into a standard bread loaf pan. Press the meat into the pan and flatten the top. Wash your hands well after mixing and forming the loaf.

4. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Spread sauce over the top of the meatloaf.

5. Place meatloaf in the preheated oven and cook for approximately 55 minutes. Using an instant-read thermometer to check to make sure the inside of the meatloaf reaches 160º F.

6. Remove meatloaf from oven and let it sit 10 minutes before cutting.

7. Slice (like in the pictures) and serve!

Did you make this recipe?

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More Dinner Recipes Kids Should Know from Alpha Mom:

1. How to Grill Hamburgers (outdoors and indoors)
2. Teach Kids to Make Pork Chops with Apples
3. Teach Kids How to Roast a Chicken


About the Author

Jane Maynard

Jane Maynard is a mom, wife, graphic designer and blogger living in the San Diego area in sunny Southern California. Jane started her food blog This Week for Dinner 9 years ago and has be...

Jane Maynard is a mom, wife, graphic designer and blogger living in the San Diego area in sunny Southern California. Jane started her food blog This Week for Dinner 9 years ago and has been posting weekly meal plans ever since, in addition to recipes, travel, kitchen tips and more. Jane writes for the food sections of several websites and is always busy cooking up something new! Jane is pretty much obsessed with chocolate chip cookies and does not want to fix that about herself.

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