An easy meatloaf recipe adapted from a Paula Deen recipe at Food Network with classic meatloaf savory flavor. Topped with a sweet and tangy, everybody will love this easy dinner.
Make it for two or more if needed with simple ingredients.
Onion and green pepper
Pantry ingredients—salt, black pepper, egg
Topping—ketchup, brown sugar, mustard
Table of Contents (scroll for more)
😊Why you should try this recipe.
- Everybody needs an easy basic meatloaf recipe.
- The recipe is for a 1-pound meatloaf which makes a 4-serving "for two" friendly recipe.
- Easy to double to make a 2-pound meatloaf or triple for a 3-pound meatloaf.
- It uses ground beef, but other ground meats can be substituted.
Inspired by Paula Deen and her basic meatloaf. I modified a few ingredients, mainly substituting the more common bread crumbs for quick oats. And added size adjustments.
👨🍳How to make this basic meatloaf
Preheat oven to 350° convection or 375° conventional. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, but do not over-mix. Pour the meat mixture into a baking dish. Like all meatloaf, do not over-mix.
Spread the topping over the meatloaf, then bake for approximately 1 hour until an internal temp of 160°.
Drain or remove from pan for serving.
For more details, keep reading. See the Recipe Card below for complete instructions and to print.
⏲️How long to cook meatloaf
A one-pound meatloaf usually takes about 40 to 50 minutes, with an oven temperature of 350°. That is assuming the loaf is about 1 inch thick. Thicker takes longer and thinner cooks faster.
- 1-pound meatloaf will take about 40 to 50 minutes at 350°.
- 2-pound meatloaf will take about 1 to 1 ¼ hours at 350°.
- 3-pound meatloaf will take about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours at 350°.
- Mini or cupcake meatloaf will take about 20 to 30 minutes at 350°.
Variables are the size and thickness of the meatloaf, the oven, and even the pan can affect the time.
As always, cook to a final internal temperature of 165° and never by time alone. An instant-read thermometer or meat thermometer is required to keep your family safe.
Leftovers and Storage
Leftovers can be stored sealed airtight in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen for 3 months.
Reheat in a microwave or as slices in the oven or stovetop.
The minimum safe internal temperature is 160°. Ground beef is safe at 160°, and casseroles/dishes that contain eggs are also safe at 160°.
Yes, ground turkey or chicken can be used but it needs a final internal temperature of 165°.
You can mix in pork sausage or Italian sausage if you want.
♨️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 with 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.
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Have you tried this recipe, or have a question? Join the community discussion in the comments.
NOTE: All discussion and the recipe card are for a one-pound meatloaf. All images are for a two-pound meatloaf.
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-optional
- 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 bowl but do not over-mix. Pour the meat mixture into a baking dish. Like all meatloaf, do not over-mix.NOTE: All discussion and the recipe card are for a one-pound meatloaf. All images are for a two-pound meatloaf.
- Mix topping.
- Spread the topping over the meatloaf, then bake for approximately 50 minutes until an internal temp of 160°. Drain or remove from pan for serving.
- Drain or remove from pan for serving.
Your Own Private Notes
- This is written as a one-pound meatloaf. Adjust by changing the serving size in this recipe card above. Cooking times for different sized listed in the post
- I prefer bread crumbs for the starch but oat are recommended by Paula Deen.
- I also prefer just ketchup as the topping. It is simpler and less sweet.
- The green pepper releases fluid during cooking, so mix a little dry or it may fall apart some. If you add the green pepper, be careful not to over do it.
- 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.