ma's meatloaf

Let’s Get Cookin’

As I’ve said before, one of the best ways to save time and money is to cook more meals at home. I know that’s not news to anyone who has started a journey towards a simpler life but it’s sometimes easier said than done. If you’re a beginning cook, or a busy one, getting started can be overwhelming. There are SO MANY methods for preparing quick and easy meals and people are happy to swear their preferred strategy is the best. I’m not here to tell you which way is going to work for you. I’m happy to lay out as many different options as I can and let you find your own path but most of those posts will come later. For today, I want to share a simple, delicious meatloaf recipe that will surely become a go-to comfort dish for your whole family.

I Loaf This Recipe

Meatloaf tends to get a bad rap. And bad meatloaf deserves all the disdain heaped upon it; good meatloaf, though, good meatloaf is a thing of beauty. It’s simple to make, it stretches your meat, making it perfect for a family on a budget or a family trying to feed teenage boys, and it’s delicious. My ma makes a really good meatloaf. It has spoiled me for all others.  Moist and tangy, it bears little resemblance to the dry, bland versions found in kitchens and restaurants across this country.

ma's meatloaf

This recipe is pretty basic. Once you’ve mastered it, feel free to experiment. Some tasty add-ins include crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, or a wide array of veggies. I tend to keep it as is except for the pan I use. It’s delicious as a traditional loaf, but I like to cook it in a muffin tin. It takes less time and the mini-loaves are easy to serve. Bonus: my kids love to take the leftovers in their school lunches! I serve this alongside some mashed potatoes, veggies, or side salad. It’s an easy complete meal that pleases everyone in the Love family.

ma's meatloaf

If you make my Ma’s Meatloaf, leave a note in the comments telling us what you think!

Ma’s Meatloaf

A wonderfully moist version of the traditional comfort food.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Resting Time10 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Meatloaf
Servings: 8


  • 1 lb ground beef Use extra lean for a less greasy dish.
  • 4 slices soft white bread, torn into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup ketchup, divided
  • 1/4 cup beef stock You can also use milk.
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely minced or grated
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat muffin tin with cooking spray or olive oil.
  • Gently mix all ingredients, using 1/4 cup of ketchup, in a large bowl. 
  • Scoop equally into muffin tin. Pack down gently.
  • Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and spread remaining ketchup on the tops of the muffins. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Let rest for 10 minutes before removing from tins.


  • All amounts are approximate. Meatloaf is pretty forgiving so feel free to adjust amounts to your taste. Remember that changes to the recipe may result in changes to cooking times!
  • Want more tang? Add a bit more ketchup.
  • Like spice? Add some sriracha or other hot sauce that you like!
  • Trying to eat more veggies? Grate some carrot, celery, or zucchini into the mix. More veggies will add more moisture, so you may need to reduce the amount of added liquid.
  • Overmixing will make your meatloaf tough. Be gentle!
  • Ovens vary. All cooking times are based on my oven. Yours may be different. Cook until the muffins are brown, slightly crispy on the edges, and have reached an internal temperature of 165°.

*This recipe is cross-posted on my fictional food blog, Cooking the Book. Check it out!