Tasty, moist everyday basic meatloaf adapted from a Paula Deen recipe at Food Network. Everybody needs easy dinner recipes. Just follow these step-by-step photo instructions.
My heart can't take reading most Paula Deen recipes. The doctor in my can't take it. But I enjoy watching her cook and her personality.
So I wanted meatloaf, and a Food Network email arrived, and there were Paula Deen and her basic meatloaf, and it looked like I would live through it.
The original recipe was for 1 pound. Never will I make a 1 pound meatloaf. We always cook for leftovers. I made this a double recipe, so the few photos are double-sized, but the discussion is for a one-pound meatloaf.
I modified the seasoning a bit. I rounded out the amounts like ½ cup of onion became one small onion. I recommended bread crumbs instead of oats for better taste and found the topping overdone. I also gave much more detailed instructions to help most home cooks.
A medium 4. Ours is better. We like our Classic Meatloaf better. My wife described this as eating stuffed peppers (she does like stuffed peppers). So make your choice. Both are good and quick.
♨️What is Meatloaf?
Traditionally, meatloaf was a way to stretch the more expensive meat into a large family meal. But I like to think of it as an enhancement of the meat to make something relatively boring into a tasty treat.
There is bread and usually milk of some type to help moisture. There is an egg to hold it together. Seasonings, including salt, pepper, and onion, are almost always used. Ketchup or a tomato product of some type. And in this recipe and many others, some green bell pepper.
Number of ingredients
Meatloaf should be quick and easy, and this one qualifies. Many published recipes have up to 16 ingredients. Unbelievable.
This one has 8 plus 3 for the topping. Mine has 8 total, but I only top with ketchup. So not much difference.
Cooking Meatloaf-Time and Temperature
The minimum safe internal temperature is 160°. Ground beef is safe at 160° and casseroles/dishes that contain eggs are also safe at 160°.
A two-pound meatloaf will about 1 to 1 ¼ hour with an oven temperature of 350°. That is assuming the loaf is about 1 ½ inches thick. Thicker takes longer and thinner cooks faster.
A one-pound meatloaf will usually take 30-40 minutes, and a three-pound meatloaf may take 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Variables are the size and thickness of the meatloaf, your oven, and even the pan can affect the time.
As always, cook to a final internal temperature and never by time along. An instant-read thermometer or meat thermometer is required to keep your family safe.
I made the green pepper optional since it seemed to dominate the flavor too much for our taste.
I never make a one-pound meatloaf. It is just too good for leftovers. Double or triple, please.
For years I "drained" the meatloaf with a turkey baster. It never worked very well, so today's helpful hint is to use an 8-inch spatula and lift it out to a plate.
Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and frozen for 3-4 months.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
NOTE: All discussion and the recipe card are for a one-pound meatloaf. All images are for a two-pound meatloaf, which is the smallest I make since leftovers are essential.
Preheat oven to 350° convection or 375° conventional. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and transfer to a baking dish. Like all meatloaf, do not over mix.
Spread the topping over the meatloaf, then bake for approx 1 hour until an internal temp of 160°.
Drain or remove from pan for serving.
Paula Deen Inspired Basic Meatloaf
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 chopped small onion - about ½ cup
- ½ green pepper - about ½ cup
- 1 egg - lightly whipped
- ½ cup bread crumbs - or quick oats
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
Topping - Just straight ketchup is good also.
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- Preheat oven to 350° convection or 375° conventional.
- Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and transfer to baking dish. Like all meatloaf, do not over mix.
- Mix topping and spread over meatloaf then bake for approx 1 hour. Until an internal temp of 160°.
- Drain or remove from pan for serving.
My Private Notes
- This is written as a one-pound meatloaf. I always make a 2 or 3-pound version for leftovers. Adjust by changing the serving size in this recipe card above.
- I prefer bread crumbs for the starch but oat are recommended by Paula Deen. I much prefer the beard crumbs to avoid the "oats" taste.
- I also prefer just ketchup as the topping.
- The green pepper releases fluid during cooking, so mix a little dry or it may fall apart some.
- Mix well but don't "over mix".
- Since it is ground beef, it must reach 160° to be safe. Please use a thermometer.
- Using a long spatula to lift out of the pan.
- Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and will freeze will for 3-4 months.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally Published April 26, 2011. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.