Southern Meatloaf Recipe

| June 7, 2020 | 6 Comments

Southern Meatloaf

Follow our easy, step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions to learn how to make our classic Southern Meatloaf Recipe with a tomato glaze on top. Printable recipe included.


Southern Meatloaf, enjoy!
You’ll love our classic, old fashioned, Southern Meatloaf with it’s slightly sweet sauce on top. Quick and easy to make, bakes in about one hour.


Southern Meatloaf, slider.

I recently came across some recipes that I used years back at my brother’s restaurant. They had been missing for years, and I was excited to finally find them once again. Of course, once they were found, they some how went missing a second time, but resurfaced just a couple of weeks ago. I’m trying to hang on to them this time. Smile.

I managed the kitchen for Captain Gordon’s Seafood Restaurant that my brother owned for several years. I will quickly admit that working in that hot kitchen was some of the hardest work I’ve ever done. Don’t judge me.

We had several large companies very close by, so we decided to try a lunch buffet to see if we could help those employees as well as to help our bottom line at the restaurant. With a buffet, customers could begin to eat much quicker than waiting for an order to be prepared. It worked well for folks that only had an hour for lunch.

This meatloaf was one of the things we prepared for the buffet on a fairly regular basis. I would make it 8 or 10 pounds at a time so I had to reduce it down to share it with you here. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Growing up, Mama always used white loaf bread in her meatloaf, so I continued with that at the restaurant, and added the Saltine crackers to help bind it all together even more. And, all our family loved the sauce or glaze that Mama placed on top, so I continued that at the restaurant as well.

Meatloaf is pretty quick and easy to make. It’s great for a family dinner, but I also like to use slices of it to make a Meatloaf Sandwich. Place it between a couple of slices of white loaf bread, add a little bit of Duke’s Mayonnaise, and I’m happy. Smile.

I do have another recipe for meatloaf here on Taste of Southern. It uses a combination of pork sausage and ground beef. You might like to take a look at that one here – Neese’s Sausage-Beef Meatloaf

Either way, I hope you’ll try one of our meatloaf recipes. Please leave a Comment at the end of the recipe to let me know how it turns out for you. I’ll be anxious to hear from you.

Ready to give our meatloaf recipe a try? Alright then, let’s head on out to the kitchen, and… Let’s Get Cooking!


Southern Meatloaf, ingredients.
Southern Meatloaf Recipe – You’ll need these ingredients.


Southern Meatloaf, sauce.
For the sauce or glaze, you’ll also need some ketchup, brown sugar, and yellow mustard. Let’s go ahead and get this started so it will be ready for later.

Place 1/2 cup Ketchup in a small bowl.
Add 1/4 cup Brown Sugar.
Add 1 Tablespoon of Yellow Mustard.


Southern Meatloaf, stir well.
Stir everything together until fully combined. Set aside for now.


Southern Meatloaf, crumble the bread.
Pull the 3 slices of bread apart, into small pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl.


Southern Meatloaf, crumble the crackers.
Crush 8 Saltine Crackers and add to the bowl.


Southern Meatloaf, add milk.
Add 1/4 cup of milk to the bread and crackers.


Southern Meatloaf, stir.
Stir the bread pieces and saltines with the milk, just until they are moistened good. You may have to add more milk if needed. You want them moistened, but not setting in milk.

Set this aside for about 5 minutes.


Southern Meatloaf, chop the onion.
Chop 1/4 of the small onion up very fine. The smaller, the better. Set this aside.


Southern Meatloaf, rumble the ground beef.
Crumble up the 2 pounds of ground beef into the bowl, right on top of the moistened bread and crackers.

I just pulled the meat apart by hand as I added it to the bowl.


Southern Meatloaf, add the egg.
Lightly beat 1 egg with a fork, then add it to the mixture.


Southern Meatloaf, add the onions.
Add the chopped onions.


Southern Meatloaf, add the garlic powder.
Add 1 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder.


Southern Meatloaf, add the worcestershire saice.
Add 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce to the mixture.


Southern Meatloaf, add the ground mustard.
Add 1 teaspoon of Ground Mustard.


Southern Meatloaf, add the black pepper.
Add 1 teaspoon of Black Pepper.

If desired, you can also add about one teaspoon of Salt. I left it out of mine, but the choice is yours. Smile.


Southern Meatloaf, stir well.
Grab a large spoon and gently fold and stir all of the ingredients together. Be sure you work in the bread and cracker crumbs really well so you don’t end up with lumps of bread in your meatloaf.


Southern Meatloaf, spoon into a loaf pan.
Spoon the mixture into a loaf pan. Place a layer of meat in the pan and press it down firmly. Add more and continue to press it together as you fill the loaf pan.


Southern Meatloaf, place on foil lined baking sheet.
Turn the meat mixture out onto a baking sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil.

You could bake the meatloaf in the loaf pan if you prefer. I always shaped the loaf out on a baking sheet back in our time at the restaurant. I was doing about 8 pounds of ground beef at the time. Flipping it out of the loaf pan gives more surface edge to bake and it’s not just cooking in all the fat that might be in the ground beef. Again, it’s your choice. If you do decide to bake it in the loaf pan, you would probably be wise to still place the loaf pan on a foil lined sheet pan in case the liquid fat bubbles over while it’s in the oven.


Southern Meatloaf, baking time.
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Place the meatloaf in the oven and let it bake for 40 minutes. It will not be done a this point, we just want to add the sauce to the top.


Southern Meatloaf, add the sauce.
Carefully slide the pan out of the oven, and pour the glaze over the top. Use the back of a spoon to spread it out over the top and let it drizzle down the sides. Return the pan to the oven.


Southern Meatloaf, bake until done.
Let the meatloaf continue to bake for about 15 to 20 more minutes until done.

The meatloaf is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 160F degrees. Check it with a digital thermometer if you have one.


Southern Meatloaf, remove from oven when done. Let rest.
Remove the meatloaf from the oven when it’s done. Place the pan on a folded towel or wire rack and let it rest for about 15 minutes before trying to slice and serve it.


Southern Meatloaf, enjoy!


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Southern Meatloaf Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American, Southern


A quick and easy Southern classic. You’ll love our meatloaf recipe with it’s slightly sweet tomato based sauce topping.



Ingredients: For the sauce
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Yellow Mustard

For the Meatloaf:
3 slices White Loaf Bread
8 Saltine Crackers
1/4 cup Milk, possibly a little more.
2 lbs. Ground Beef
1 Egg, beaten
1/4 small Onion, finely chopped.
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Dry Ground Mustard
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Salt, optional


Prepare the sauce topping first.
Place ketchup in a small mixing bowl.
Add brown sugar.
Add yellow mustard.
Stir well. Set aside.

Prepare the Meatloaf:
In a large mixing bowl, break the bread into small pieces.
Crumble the saltines and add to the bowl.
Add the milk.
Stir well to moisten the bread and saltines. Use more milk if needed. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Chop the onions very fine. Set aside.
Crumble the ground beef on top of the moistened bread and saltines.
Add the lightly beaten egg.
Add the onions.
Add the garlic powder.
Add the Worcestershire Sauce.
Add the ground mustard.
Add the black pepper.
Gently mix all the ingredients together until fully combined.
Place the meat mixture in a baking loaf pan.
Press the meat firmly into the pan.
Turn the meat mixture out onto a sheet pan that has been lined with aluminum foil.
Bake at 350F degrees for 40 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the top of the meatloaf, spread with a spoon to cover the top.
Continue to bake, 15 to 20 minutes longer until meatloaf is done.
Internal temperature should reach 160 degrees.
Remove pan from oven, set on wire rack to cool and rest for 10-15 minutes.
Slice as needed.


The sauce topping is optional, but it just adds something unique to the flavor of the meatloaf. It’s been an old Southern favorite this way for a long time.

Keywords: meat loaf, meatloaf, tomato sauce topping, tomato glaze, bread, saltine crackers, easy, southern classic, dinner

Your Comments:

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Or, maybe this one?  Eastern Carolina Turkey Barbecue

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Category: Beef, Main Dishes

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (6)

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  1. Delicious…

  2. This much like the meatloaf I’ve always made. I add diced green bell pepper to mine and sometimes diced green chilies. I love meatloaf and will try yours wth the yellow mustard. I love your weekly column. Please keep it up v

  3. Cheryl Ann says:

    Hello Mr. Steve, Seeing your tomato plant I felt compelled to write. A couple weeks ago my daughter put plants like these on her balcony patio, just as she did last year, only this year she had adopted a kitten and the little guy got out there by himself and actually ate some of her plant. He threw up but my daughter took him to the vet anyway and the poor guy didn’t make it, he died in less than 48 hours. My daughter is heartbroken. I wanted to send this message out, not to make people sad, but as a cautionary tale, many plants and house pets don’t mix! Let those of you who read this make it known to the younger ones, who do not have life experience to guide them and perhaps someone else’s dear pet will be spared. I hope everyone out there has a safe and blessed week…

    • Julie says:

      Steve, I hope you don’t mind my “butting in” your territory, but would like to warn about plants toxic to pets.

      Cheryl Ann, I want to thank you for your warning about pets and plants. My cat came very close to dying a few years ago after chewing the leaves and flower of a lily. It was a small amount she chewed on, but even that was enough to do a lot of harm. Thank goodness she recovered after a week at the vet emergency clinic. She’s precious to our family. I think it’s the ASPCA web site which has a list of plants toxic to animals, There are, unfortunately, many that we may not realize are so harmful. There are also many that are safe, but we chose to not risk her life again, so we keep no plants inside any longer.

  4. Jennnifer says:

    Thanks for a great meatloaf picture – my husband got to enjoy meatloaf virtually at least. He says it’s very good. Years ago I started adding grated carrots to my meatloaf mixture, then kind of pat it out across a piece of wax paper as though making a jelly roll – lay thawed frozen green beans and maybe some cheese across and then ‘roll’ – bake as usual – have used sauteed mushrooms, left over green beans, peas/carrots, onion, rice – makes for a surprise meatloaf with veggies included. Good luck with your garden!

  5. Lori Dom says:

    Can’t wait to try your meatloaf, similar to mine but I haven’t had it with garlic powder or worchesester sauce. Should add a bit of flavor. Thank you and have a Blessed day.

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