The Best Meatloaf Recipe Ever

This IS the best meatloaf recipe ever…according to my son.
“The kids in my class were CRAZY…they didn’t LIKE meatloaf!  I couldn’t believe it.  I guess it’s just because they had cafeteria meatloaf.”
I’m generally not a fan of tooting-my-own-horn, but the other suggestion for a title was ‘meat muffins’…and that just didn’t sound appetizing.
Truly, though, this is a very awesome meatloaf recipe, and I think you should try it, even if you like your current recipe, or if you have family members who ‘don’t like meatloaf’.  That was us…that was ME, before I discovered this recipe!
It’s my own modification of a Boston Market Meatloaf recipe knockoff that I found online years ago. There are lots of opinions on meatloaf out there.  My siblings and I sure had them when we were kids.  ‘Slimy onion chunks’?  Gone.  Bell Pepper?  No way-uh, Hosea.  You won’t even need any eggs or ketchup for this one.  It’s kinda’ special and unique!
This is everything that you love about a good meatball, ‘cept in a meatloaf form.  Or, in the case of what I’m making today, ‘Mini Meatloaf’.  If you prefer the traditional ‘loaf’, then feel free to bake in a regular loaf pan.  The printable recipe has directions for both.  I am going for the muffin tin with silicone liners today , because baking time is significantly reduced, and they freeze/reheat easily.Let’s get started!

First, crank the oven to 400*.  Now, you’ll need a cup of tomato juice, 2 tablespoons of bbq sauce…and a tablespoon of sugar.  Warm in a small sauce pan, until it bubbles around the edges, and turn off heat.  The bbq sauce just adds depth and more flavor to the tomato sauce…it’s not going to taste like BB-Q meatloaf.  Although, that might be a kinda tasty modification to try out!

While the sauce heats, I’m going to go ahead and combine my pound and a half of ground beef, 2/3 cup of oatmeal (regular or quick cooking), 1/3 c. flour, and spices in a bowl.  I use 1/2 t. of onion powder, 3/4 t. salt, and a pinch of garlic powder and ground black pepper.  Not tons of spices, but the sauce will impart a lot of flavor.  And speaking of the sauce…I think it’s bubbly by now.

Pour in all but what you’ll need to top your meatloaf or mini-meatloaf.  Usually, I reserve just shy of a 1/4 cup, but I should have saved a bit more…maybe 1/3 cups for one batch of mini-meatloaf.

mix, mix, mix.

Once you’ve got a nice, even blend, it’s time to transfer it to your meatloaf pan!  Here is my little mini-meatloaf pan all ready to go. I like to use a large stainless steel scoop to transfer it into the cups.

The last thing I do is make an indention down the middle that will later hold the sauce.  Almost ready to go!

To keep them from drying out, I cover the pan with foil.  Into the oven they go!

Bake for 20 minutes.  They’ll be nearly set.  Now,  you want to take them out and remove the foil.  I want a nice, browned top and some sticky nummy sauce on each one…
Yes!  Back into the oven for 7-8 more minutes, until they’re browned and the house smells sooooo good that you can’t stand it!

...and there you have it! 
The amounts I gave here are for one loaf, or 10 minis, but I almost always double the recipe, to get either 2 regular sized meatloaf, or 20 minis.  Both are fantastic frozen, just cut the loaf into slices and freeze individually.
Here’s your printable recipe…hope you enjoy!
The Best Meatloaf Recipe Ever
 
This IS the best meatloaf recipe ever…according to my son. It’s my own modification of a Boston Market Meatloaf recipe knockoff that I found online years ago. There are no ‘slimy onion chunks’ or bell peppers, and you won’t even need any eggs or ketchup for this one. It’s kinda’ special and unique!
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 c. tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ T. BBQ sauce (Original or Hickory Smoke flavors are great)
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 ½ lb. Ground sirloin (10% fat)
  • 6 T. flour
  • ⅔ c. oatmeal
  • ¾ t. salt
  • ½ t. onion powder
  • ¼ t. pepper
  • dash garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine tomato sauce, sugar and BBQ sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir often until it begins to bubble. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, add oats, flour, salt, onion powder, pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Once the sauce bubbles, reserve ¼ cup of the sauce for a loaf, or ⅓ c. for the muffins.
  5. Add the rest of the sauce to the meat.
  6. Mix with a wooden spoon or your hands until well blended.
  7. Place into a loaf pan or a silicone lined muffin tin, and make a small indent in the center of each one for the sauce later.
  8. Cover with foil.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes for a loaf, or 20 minutes for muffins.
  10. Remove pan and drain any fat.
  11. If making a loaf, slice all the way through into 8 slices.
  12. Pour remaining sauce over the top of the slices or muffins in a ribbon down the center (don’t spread it out).
  13. Place back in oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes.
Notes
I like to double this and freeze the remaining slices individually on a cookie sheet.
Once frozen, put slices into a freezer bag. They re-heat easily this way and make great leftovers!

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  1. Julie W. says

    Trying this tonight! I snuck in a few healthy things but made sure not to overdo it since you said the kids will like it as it is :). Thanks.

  2. Susan says

    Hi Gwen,

    Thanks for a great recipe and fabulous website! Just another THM query. Would you eat one slice as a serving (ie an 8th of the recipe) to keep the carbs in a S limit? Mine shrunk quite a bit in the oven and an 8th was a pretty small serve.

    Thanks, Susan

    • says

      I’ve not tweaked or worked this one out for THM yet, but I’m with you…I consider 2 slices to be a serving. I’ve got this on my list to tweak to be more THM friendly!

      • Susan Farr says

        I ended up having two slices – it was divine! You’re not exaggerating with the ‘best meatloaf recipe ever’. I suspect I could make this as an S or and E with a bit of tweaking. I need some delicious E main meal recipes and I will give it a try.

  3. Debbie says

    Could you use almond flour in place of the regular flour for the meatloaf? My husband loves meatloaf.
    Thank you

      • Brandie says

        Thanks Gwen LOVE YOU! Found your site when I started THM and you have been my go- to. Going to try this meatloaf recipe tomorrow with the oats like you say and then whirl some oats in the food processor to use in place of the four. Maybe that is better for THM? I have no other approved fours on hand. Heard good things about oats keeping meatloaf moist so I have high hopes!! Hubby hates meatloaf too. Maybe this will change his mind! Wish me luck! Serving with cauliflower mash and roasting it first. I will l let you know how it goes if you like.

  4. Angie says

    Hi….has this been THMed yet? I’m a newbie and have no clue how to change the ingredients to make it THM style on my own.
    Thank you!