“The best meatloaf recipe that’s so moist and savory!  Full of garlic, onions and peppers and topped with a sweet and tangy glaze! True, Southern-style meatloaf!”

“Visual learner? Watch me make the best meatloaf recipe from start to finish!

“It tastes like somebody’s grandma who goes to Ebenezer Baptist Church made this meatloaf”

That’s what my cousin said when he tasted this incredible meatloaf recipe. It has been coined “the best meatloaf recipe” and amen to that!

It’s pretty darn tasty if I have to say so myself, but of course it is!  It’s my grandma Barb’s recipe and that Elberton, GA girl sure can cook!

Next week my family and I are planning on taking a daycation to visit Grandma Barb. It’s been months since I’ve been able to see her, and I’m so excited, even if it means just sitting out on the porch and wearing a mask. I’ll take anything I can get right now! I miss her sweet, nurturing energy and the comfort of being at my cozy, childhood home.

I also miss all of her home-cooked meals, but I’ve still been getting my fix! I’ve been preparing so many of her recipes recently, and it’s been giving me all the feels. Aren’t recipes amazing?! Especially when they are the exact ones you grew up eating!

best meatloaf recipe

This week I was in a comforting meatloaf mood, and while I have several delicious meatloaf recipes on my site, I craved Grandma Barbs version! When I was about to call her for this recipe, I found a copy she sent me many years ago.

This meatloaf is so daggum good my boys love when I make it. My little Ethan has requested it twice this week and his world changed when he discovered toasted provolone and meatloaf sandwiches.

I just love how it’s bursting with so much delicious savory flavors that you can see! It’s got sauteed vegetables and garlic, herbs and spices and tomato sauce to keep everything deliciously moist and tender as it bakes. It’s topped with a sweet, tangy and slightly smokey glaze that compliments the meatloaf so well.

The Best Meatloaf Recipe

What makes meatloaf “the best”? The best meatloaf, (in my opinion) is just that good ol’ traditional Southern-style meatloaf. No fancy bells & whistles. It’s moist and tender yet firm. Oh, and it must be flavorful!  Although my husband still proclaims that THIS RECIPE is the best meatloaf, but Grandma Barb’s meatloaf is the kind I grew up eating, so it’s my fav. There’s plenty of garlic, onions, celery, and peppers for the best aromatics and flavor. And also tomato sauce, and spices for even more flavor! But why stop there, right? This meatloaf is topped with a sweet and tangy ketchup glaze that makes it so delicious.

best meatloaf recipe

How do you keep meatloaf moist?

I can’t think of too many things that are sadder than a dry meatloaf. To keep meatloaf, moist and tender you’ll need to add a few tricks of the trade. The first is soggy, stale breadcrumbs! I use old bread or toast fresh bread, crumble it up and then saturate it with milk or beef broth. The second trick is to add in some fat. Stay away from using ground beef that is super lean if you can help it, but adding some extra fat in the form of butter, mayo or oil will help keep the meatloaf juicy!


What to serve with meatloaf?

I served this meatloaf with scalloped potatoes, broccoli, and honey butter yeast rolls. We had this exact meal a lot as a child, and it took me back to those simple, carefree days.

best meatloaf recipe

Get the Recipe: Grandma Barb's Meatloaf Recipe (The Best Meatloaf)

3.84 from 115 ratings
Southern-style meatloaf made with simple, flavorful ingredients!
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 6



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, for sauteing
  • 1/2 cups onions, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup red bell peppers, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup green bell peppers, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup dry/stale bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, (may need more or less)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • teaspoons onion powder
  • teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 8 oz tomato sauce, (can use less if desired)
  • 2 lbs 90 % lean ground beef


  • 1/2 cup natural ketchup
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • liquid smoke, splash


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
  • Add onions, peppers and celery and saute until tender.
  • Add garlic and cook just until fragrant.
  • Remove from heat and let cool. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add breadcrumbs and just enough milk to moisten the crumbs.
  • Add remaining ingredients, except for the beef.
  • Mix these ingredients well.
  • Add the beef. Use your hands to mix it in. Don't be alarmed if the mixture seems a bit too wet at first. Handle the beef as little and as gently as possible to prevent it from becoming tough when baked. Mix JUST until everything is combined.
  • Optional: Fry a tiny piece of the mixture to check the taste and adjust the seasonings if desired.
  • When all of the ingredients are well combined, spoon the mixture into a loaf pan and smooth to an even layer. Set aside.
  • To make the glaze, combine all glaze ingredients and spread half on top of meatloaf.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes and then top with remaining glaze. ( you don't have to use all of the glaze. You can save some to use when serving the meatloaf of desired)
  • Continue baking for another 30-35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 F. or to your desired (safe) doneness. ( I like to flip the oven to broil for the last few minutes to get the glaze a bit sticky but watch it carefully if you decide to do this)
  • Remove from oven, drain off the fat and let meatloaf rest before slicing. (If meatloaf is steaming hot when you cut into it, it will fall apart)


Cuisine: American, southern
Course: Main, Main Course
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