How to Cook Meatloaf in the Oven: A Step by Step Guide

Meatloaf is a delicious and comforting meal that can be enjoyed all year round. It is also a dish that is easy to make and can be customized to suit your taste buds. In this article, we will give you a step by step guide on how to cook meatloaf in the oven, along with some tips and tricks to make your meatloaf turn out perfectly every time.

1. Choose Your Meat

The first step in making meatloaf is choosing your meat. Traditionally, meatloaf is made with ground beef, but you can also use ground turkey, pork, or a combination of meats. When selecting your meat, look for a lean variety to avoid excess grease.

2. Add Your Ingredients

Once you have your meat, it is time to add your ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, combine your meat with breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, finely chopped onions, garlic, and your choice of seasonings. Mix everything together until all the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the meat.

3. Put it in a Loaf Pan

Once your meat mixture is ready, transfer it to a loaf pan. If you don’t have a loaf pan, you can also shape the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place it on a baking sheet.

4. Add Toppings

If you want to add some extra flavor to your meatloaf, you can add toppings like ketchup, bbq sauce, or cheese. Spread your desired topping evenly over the top of the meatloaf.

5. Bake in the Oven

Preheat your oven to 350°F and bake your meatloaf for about an hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. Once your meatloaf is cooked through, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Tips and Tricks

– If you want to add some extra flavor to your meatloaf, try mixing in some grated cheese or diced vegetables like bell peppers or mushrooms.
– You can also add a layer of bacon on top of your meatloaf for a delicious smoky flavor.
– Don’t overmix your meat mixture, as this can lead to tough meatloaf. Mix until just combined.
– If you don’t have breadcrumbs, you can use oatmeal, crushed crackers, or even leftover rice as a substitute.
– Don’t forget to let your meatloaf rest for a few minutes before slicing, as this will help the juices redistribute and result in a more flavorful and tender meatloaf.


Q: Can I freeze meatloaf?
A: Yes, you can freeze meatloaf. Let it cool to room temperature, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in the freezer. It will keep for up to three months.

Q: Can I use a meatloaf mix instead of ground meat?
A: Yes, you can use a meatloaf mix, which is a combination of ground beef, pork, and veal. Just follow the same steps for adding your ingredients and cooking in the oven.

Q: How do I know when my meatloaf is done?
A: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your meatloaf. It should be 160°F when it is fully cooked. You can also check for doneness by cutting into the meatloaf and making sure there is no pinkness or rawness in the center.

Q: What sides can I serve with meatloaf?
A: Meatloaf goes great with a variety of sides, such as mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a fresh salad. Choose whatever sides you like best and enjoy!