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Kids Cook Monday: Easy Meatloaf Recipe

Updated on August 12, 2013

Meatloaf is a Family Favorite Dish

If you're like me, you probably have three or four recipes that you return to, time and again, when its time to make dinner. Planning a family dinner several times a week can get exhausting!

Fortunately, meatloaf is a family favorite dinner recipe. Its relatively easy to make, cooks up in less than 1 hour, and can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until its ready to pop into the oven. I learned a basic meatloaf recipe years ago from my mother and always enjoyed tearing the heels of the bread into bread crumbs for the dish.

Perhaps the best thing about meatloaf is that its simple to vary its taste.

For example, my easy meatloaf recipe can be made with or without ground sausage. Sometimes, we use shredded cheese. Switch out brands of barbecue sauce for a different taste, as well. Use packaged, seasoned bread crumbs, or take the heels of a loaf of bread and make your own bread crumbs.

Come on into the kitchen now for some inspiration!

Homemade meatloaf ready to be served (yes, I made the plate myself when I was in elementary school)
Homemade meatloaf ready to be served (yes, I made the plate myself when I was in elementary school) | Source

Ingredients for Family Meatloaf

This three-meat family easy meatloaf recipe is one of our favorites. It makes 8 generous servings in 2 loaf pans. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for several days.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1/2 pound thick sliced bacon - cooked, drained and crumbled
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or the heels of 2 slices of bread, shredded - kids love to help with this)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 tablespoon oregano (fresh herbs have a more distinct flavor, so adjust up or down based on your taste)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce or ketchup
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Italian Style Meatloaf

Cook Time for Easy Meatloaf

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 6-8 servings of meatloaf

Meatloaf Cookbooks and Bakeware

Easy Meatloaf Recipe

Meatloaf is so easy, even a kid could make it.

That's the point!

Basically, all you do is combine the ingredients together in a large bowl, lightly press into two bread loaf pans, then bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees F when inserted in the center of the loaf.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 8-10 minutes before serving. Slice or scoop from the pan and serve with additional barbecue sauce or ketchup on top. Delicious!

If you are cooking with children, be sure to keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Kids younger than 12 should be constantly supervised in the kitchen, especially near a hot stove or oven.
  2. Parents, or teenager siblings should prepare the bacon first; allow it to cool completely (about 20 minutes) before crumbling for the recipe
  3. Chopping onions is another task that requires close supervision for children under 12 years old, and is not advised (even with supervision) for kids younger than 8.
  4. We find it easiest to combine the ingredients in a large bowl with our hands, instead of a spoon. Just be sure to thoroughly wash hands with soap both before and after handling uncooked meat.
  5. Make meatloaf fun by baking in mini-loaf pans or muffin tins, instead of full size pans! Just reduce the cooking time to 35-40 minutes. Kids love to eat smaller versions of their family favorite recipes. Check out these mini french dip sandwiches, too!

Cooking meals with children, as well as sitting down at the table together, is a great time for family bonding. Kids can also learn basic math and science in a setting that is far more fun than the classroom!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Homemade meatloaf out of the ovenMeatloaf before bakingMeatloaf ingredients ready to be stirred together
Homemade meatloaf out of the oven
Homemade meatloaf out of the oven | Source
Meatloaf before baking
Meatloaf before baking | Source
Meatloaf ingredients ready to be stirred together
Meatloaf ingredients ready to be stirred together | Source

What About Meatloaf Leftovers?

Meatloaf is such a comfort food, its no wonder the dish is so popular and has so many variations in the recipe.

If you have meatloaf leftovers, make sure that they have cooled completely to room temperature, then transfer to a container for refrigeration. The leftovers can be safely enjoyed for several days afterward.

Carefully sliced meatloaf can be used for sandwiches the next day. Another alternative is to add leftover meatloaf to boiled pasta noodles or even mashed potatoes!

Trader Joe's Meatloaf Recipe

Do You Make Meatloaf?

See results

Give this Meatloaf a Star!

5 stars from 1 rating of Easy Meatloaf Recipe

© 2012 Stephanie Hicks


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    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks Victoria - if you love meatloaf, then I hope this recipe is perfect for you! Best, Steph

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I love meatloaf and am always looking for the perfect recipe, which I haven't found yet. LOL. Maybe this one will be it!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Love it Bill, just love it! Any man that appreciates meatloaf is a friend of mine. :) Best, Steph

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Born and raised on meatloaf. I wonder if I'll ever get tired of it? I sure hope not because I love it and I love your recipe, which I'll be trying, and I love your writing. That's a whole lot of love coming your way. :)

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you so much Mary! Cooking is an important life skill that many kids are not learning these days in the age of fast food and hectic schedules. As for Monday this week, we are making spaghetti! Time to put together another hub. :) Cheers, Steph

    • Mary Stuart profile image


      7 years ago from Washington

      I love it that you are teaching your kids to cook. It is a great skill to have when you leave home. I think that is the purpose of lovingly raising kids... teach them to successfully leave home and start a family of their own. Way to go!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      LOL - thanks Sherri! I have a whole stack of plates like this one. All the rest were made by my kids, but its nice to have some indestructible memories at the table every night. :)

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Susan, Glad to hear that this meatloaf recipe may inspire you. I really do love the idea of laying the bacon across the top as an alternative to stirring it into the meatloaf itself. Let me know what you think about the recipe if you try it this week. All the best, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Sherri - that sounds like a totally cute idea! With 4 kids, we'd either have to double the recipe, or take turns each time we cook meatloaf! :-) Although, the idea of mini meatloaf pans is super for that! Totally fun for cooking with kids. :) Cheers, Steph

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania that plate. I've got one my daughter made sitting on my bookshelves. I think I need to get it into working service, like you did with yours. :)

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This looks really good. I lay the bacon strips across the top of mine too. Have not made meat loaf in quite some time now, but after reading your recipe I think I'll add it to the menu this upcoming week.

      Up and awesome!

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Yummy! I love meatloaf, and if I weren't still on my "Eat To Live" plan, I'd try your version today. :(

      Our family recipe also includes bacon, but we use the regular thickness and place the strips, raw, across the top of the loaf before baking. My grown daughter still likes to use about a half-piece of bacon to create her first name initial and place it on top of the bacon strips. When the loaf is done, that "A" really stands out. That might be another bit of fun for kids, especially if they are making their own mini loaves.

      Up, up, up!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Eiddwen, I am with you on the hubber cook book! Wouldn't that be a great project? Hmmm..... HP staff? :) Best, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks drbj - sausage is my "secret ingredient" for meatloaf recipes. I hope you try and enjoy! Cheers, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      LOL - me too, Denise! These polls are great to review. I hope that you share your family's meatloaf recipe, as well. Best, Steph

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      Another for me to bookmark;I will have the largest cook book ever and they are all from hubbers.

      Great work and enjoy your day.


    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      Steph, this looks like a fairly simple recipe for meat loaf so you know I'll try it. Never tried it with sausage before so this will be a Grand Experiment. Thank you.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Our family has a favorite meatloaf recipe so I find this hub intersting and useful. I have to say, I was surprised by the results of the poll-33% in 3 places, LOL

      Thanks for sharing.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      I haven't had meatloaf in awhile but you have certainly convinced me to try it again. I forgot how wonderful the leftovers are. Truly, I think it tastes even better the next day in a sandwich. Thanks for sharing.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi AV - meatloaf is a great "last minute" family recipe for us. Kind of like spaghetti or tacos. Its very easy, and I hope you like it if you get the chance to try it. Best, Steph

    • algarveview profile image

      Joana e Bruno 

      7 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

      Hello, Steph, really a great idea and it seems delicious, I've only cooked meatloaf twice, around here it's not something very common, but the two times I cooked it I thought it was great. I'll try your recipe. Really liked the fact that it's easy, I haven't got the time for anything complicated. Have a great day!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Oh wow, Anginwu - that meatloaf recipe sounds delicious!! I'm the only one in my family that doesn't love hard boiled eggs, but my kids and husband cannot get enough. How cool to use them in a meatloaf. Did you publish a hub with your recipe? I would love to read it if so! Best, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Kelley - thank you so much! It would be awesome to live closer (esp. with the diabetes angle). Anyway, I appreciate the vote, and hope that you get to enjoy the recipe one day. Oh, and I also hope that you write a hub on eating vegetarian as a family - would really love to hear about it. I've wanted to switch to veg, but my older boys (14 and 12) and my husband are resistant. Thanks much, Stephanie

    • anglnwu profile image


      7 years ago

      Meatloaf is also my "go to" dish if I run out of ideas. However, I made mine with an Asian twist--can't get away from my roots. Mine has soya sauce and sherry for seasoning. I know-- weird but it works for my taste. I also throw in 3 hard-boiled eggs and when you cut it, it looks really nice. Thanks for sharing--yours look yummy.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Stephhicks I wish we lived closer together!!! I love your style and determination. Your hubs are great. We are going vegetarian for a few weeks but when we are back I'm sure we will love this recipe.


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