How to Make the Perfect Meatloaf



Grocery List

Day-old white bread or plain breadcrumbs

1 yellow onion

1 medium carrot


Extra-virgin olive oil

Fresh thyme

Worcestershire sauce

Low-sodium chicken broth


Light-brown sugar

2 pounds coarsely ground chuck, preferably 85 percent lean

Large eggs


Cook the Vegetables

Preheat oven to 350°. If not using store-bought breadcrumbs, tear 2 slices bread into pieces; pulse in a food processor to make fine crumbs and set aside. Cut onion, carrot, and 1 celery stalk into chunks, then pulse in food processor until finely chopped (or do so by hand). Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add vegetables, 2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup broth, and 1/4 cup ketchup. Remove from heat; let cool completely.

Prep the Meat and Glaze

In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup ketchup and 1 tablespoon brown sugar; set aside. In a large bowl, combine vegetable mixture with ground chuck, 1 lightly beaten egg, 1/2 cup reserved breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Mix with your hands until well combined.

Brown sugar's sweetness and ketchup's acidity create this easy, tangy glaze. For a spicy twist, replace the ketchup with Heinz Chili Sauce.

Bake and Let Cool

On a rimmed baking sheet, form meat mixture into a loaf that's 10 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 2 inches high, packing firmly to prevent cracking. Coat top and sides with glaze. Bake until top is caramelized and a thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165°, 55 to 65 minutes. (If top is browning too quickly, tent with foil.) Let cool at least 25 minutes, then serve with comforting sides, like mashed potatoes and sautéed broccolini.

Turkey Meatloaf with Hoisin Glaze

Replace carrot, celery, and thyme with 2 tablespoons each minced garlic and fresh ginger; swap in 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil for the Worcestershire. In step 2, for the glaze, replace ketchup mixture with 1/4 cup each ketchup and hoisin sauce. Replace beef with ground turkey (85 percent lean) and stir in ½ cup finely chopped cilantro. In step 3, sprinkle meatloaf with sesame seeds before baking as directed. Serve with Bibb lettuce, carrot ribbons, and cilantro, or with a peppery watercress salad.