Make this easy meatloaf as a mini meatloaf for two or any size you wish. Moist and tender with excellent taste, homemade meatloaf, like grandma would make, will also become a classic at your home.
Seasoning salt and black pepper
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Featured Post from Nancy:
"I have been making your meatloaf for a couple of years now! Thanks for keeping this recipe up and updating it."
This small meatloaf recipe is easy to adjust from a mini meatloaf to a large meatloaf for a crowd. You are using only eight common ingredients you already have at home. Just follow the simple step-by-step photos for the best meatloaf ever.
We have enjoyed this at least monthly for 40+ years. This is my wife's recipe; the only variation I made was measuring things to publish the recipe. Please enjoy our best meatloaf.
👨🍳How to Make Old Fashioned Meatloaf—Step-by-Step Instructions
Images are for a 2-pound meatloaf.
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a shallow baking dish with PAM.
2. Chop a half of a medium onion.
3. Add all ingredients minus 2 tablespoons of ketchup for topping in a large bowl.
4. Mix well, ensuring not to leave any chunks of the burger unmixed. I use clean hands for this. Officially, use a wooden spoon.
5. Move the meat mixture into the baking pan and shape it into a loaf 1 to 1 ½ inches thick; thicker is fine but will take longer to cook. Cover the top with 2 tablespoons of ketchup.
6. Place in the preheated oven and cook to an internal temperature of 165° — about 30 to 40 minutes for a one-pound meatloaf or just over an hour for a two-pounder. Remove from the pan for serving and discard the drainage.
For more details, keep reading. See the Recipe Card below for complete instructions and to print.
⏰How Long to Cook Meatloaf
For a 1-pound meatloaf in a 350° oven, the baking time will be 40 to 50 minutes. While a 2 pound meatloaf will be about 1 hour. The final internal temperature must be 165° to be safe.
- ½ pound mini meatloaf will take about 30 to 40 minutes at 350°.
- 1-pound meatloaf will take about 40-50 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°.
Approximate cooking times assuming 350° oven and 1 to 1 ½ thick meatloaf. Thicker meatloaf takes longer, and thinner cooks faster. But always cook to the final internal temperature, never by time alone, since there are variables.
Ingredient variations and options
- Meat options—Make beef meatloaf with ground beef—usually 80/20 (20% fat), but lean ground beef may be a little dryer. You may mix in ground pork, make a turkey meatloaf with ground turkey, or use chicken.
- Vegetable options—Onion and garlic are usually in the seasoning salt but may be added. Other vegetables commonly added are celery, green bell pepper, or carrot. Whatever you add, they should be chopped small to cook thoroughly.
- The glaze—A nice coat of ketchup is simple and in keeping with this simple dish. Many recipes fancy this up with brown sugar, mustard, or even top with bacon or barbecue sauce.
- Seasoning—The recommended seasoning is seasoning salt (Lowery's suggested) and ketchup (good quality like Hunts or Heinz.) You may want to use other seasonings, like thyme or Worcestershire sauce. If you use tomato sauce instead of ketchup, you will need to add other seasonings.
Make a mini meatloaf for two or any other size.
This is an adjustable recipe for a ½ pound meatloaf for 2-quarter pound servings to a 4 pound for 16 servings. The recipe is set for a 1 pound 4 serving meatloaf.
- Change the number of servings in the recipe card from 4 to the size you want.
- Use the amount of ingredients in the ingredient from the adjusted ingredient list, not in the instruction section. If there is a fraction of an egg, round up to the next whole egg.
- Form into a 1 to 1 ½ thick oval loaf in a baking pan that will not touch the sides.
- Bake to an internal temperature of 165°. Estimated baking times are listed above.
Make the amount of meatloaf you want and divide it into cupcakes between 1 to 1 ½ thick. The number will vary by the amount you make and the size of your cupcake pan. Cooking time will be about 20-30 minutes until 165°.
How to make cupcake meatloaves
You can use a cupcake pan for smaller servings and freeze some for later.
Make the amount of meatloaf you want and divide it into cupcakes between 1 to 1 ½ thick. The number will vary by the amount you make and the size of your cupcake pan.
Helpful hint: Use lower-ground meats since it is impossible to remove the drainage.
Cooking time will be about 20-30 minutes until 165°. Of course, you are cooking to a final temperature, not by time estimates.
Serve with a hot vegetable like Baked Green Beans, corn, or peas. A nice potato, like a baked potato, Twice Baked Potato, or Scalloped Potatoes. And don't forget the bread, like Stand Mixer Bread or Quick and Easy Yeast Dinner Rolls.
Reheat a slice in a microwave or make a meatloaf sandwich for leftovers.
How to store leftover meatloaf
Seal in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days.
If you are freezing the meatloaf, I suggest cutting it into serving-size slices and wrapping it well. Good in the freezer for 4 days.
No, it is not needed. Meatloaf should be cooked uncovered. The meatloaf will still be moist.
We always make a two-pound meatloaf for leftovers for the two of us. Make a one-pounder if you want fewer leftovers. A pound of meat will make four larger servings.
Make up a loaf 1 to 1 ½ inches thick. Cooking time will vary by thickness and weight.
Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat mixed with other fillers. During the Great Depression, it was a way for families to stretch their budget by using inexpensive ground meat and leftover ingredients like bread or cereal. It is then formed into the shape of a loaf and then baked.
When a starch like bread or grains is combined with an added liquid that forms a "panade," added to ground meat, it keeps the results moist.
When a starch like bread or grains is combined with a liquid, it forms a panade, which is added to ground meat and keeps the results moist.
For meatloaf, the panade is made of bread, breadcrumbs, oatmeal, or crackers soaked in milk and is usually about ¼ to ⅓ of the volume of the meatloaf. You can use oats for the starch and, of course, substitute for the dairy with beef broth.
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Old Fashioned Meatloaf for 2, 4, or More
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 egg
- ½ medium onion - minced
- ⅜ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons Lawry's Seasoning salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup ketchup
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a shallow baking dish with PAM.
- Chop a half of a medium onion.
- Add all ingredients minus 2 tablespoons of ketchup for topping in a large bowl.
- Mix well, ensuring not to leave any chunks of the burger unmixed. I use clean hands for this. Officially, use a wooden spoon.
- Move the meat mixture into the baking pan and shape it into a loaf 1 to 1 ½ inches thick; thicker is fine but will take longer to cook. Cover the top with 2 tablespoons of ketchup.
- Place in the preheated oven and cook to an internal temperature of 165° — about 30 to 40 minutes for a one-pound meatloaf or just over an hour for a two-pounder. Remove from the pan for serving and discard the drainage.
Your Own Private Notes
- Cheap ketchup would probably spoil this, so I always use Hunt's or Heinz.
- This is a very easy recipe to adjust. You need one egg per pound of meat. You can adjust the size of the recipe with the serving setting. Detailed instructions with cooking time estimates are in the post.
- I like to use a 7-8 inch spatula to remove the meatloaf from the pan.
- Reheats well in a microwave when cut into slices but is also good cold for sandwiches.
- You can cut this recipe down, but we usually do about 2 pounds since the leftovers are great.
- Lots of handwashing, please. We have raw ground meat and eggs, so the risk of contamination is relatively high.
- We usually put a couple of baking potatoes in the oven with this. Cooking time is a good match.
- Good refrigerated for 4 days. Good frozen for 4 months. You can also make it ahead and hold it in the refrigerator for a day before cooking.
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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Editor's Note: Originally published on February 17, 2010. Updated with refreshed photos and a total rewrite with options and variations.