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Classic comfort food with a Southern twist! You just can’t beat a moist, flavorful, tender Southern meatloaf recipe that brings your family together around the table. Pair the easy dinner with mashed potatoes, cornbread, collard greens, or green beans for a simple, cozy dish that everyone loves!

Overhead shot of hands eating a southern style meatloaf recipe with a bite on a fork

Southern Style Meatloaf Recipe

Meatloaf has stood the test of time! It’s a classic family dinner that everyone at the table can agree on, made with affordable, hearty ingredients, and ready with minimal effort. My kids have come to love this meal just as much as I do, so it has become a regular in our kitchen.

So what makes this particular recipe so special? Inspired by a dish in Sarah Foster’s book, Southern Kitchen, this meatloaf includes a couple of Southern “twists.” Instead of oatmeal or breadcrumbs, cornbread crumbs serve as the binder in this Southern meatloaf recipe. Additionally, instead of using just ground beef or even a “meatloaf mix,” this recipe uses a 50-50 blend of ground beef and ground pork. Pork is a source of Southern pride — especially for those of us born and raised in Virginia — so any chance that we get to add it to a meal, you know we will! I just love how much flavor these two simple ingredients — cornbread and pork — add to the traditional dish.

Whisking together ketchup and Worcestershire sauce

Ingredients

One of the great things about classic meatloaf is that it only requires a handful of basic kitchen staples. This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a Southern meatloaf recipe. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Ketchup and Worcestershire sauce: together these two ingredients create a sweet and savory glaze that adds flavor and moisture to the inside and outside of the meatloaf.
  • Ground beef and ground pork: a flavorful combination that forms the base of the meatloaf. You can substitute with all ground beef, some ground turkey, or a “meatloaf mix,” which is typically a blend of ground beef, ground pork, and ground veal. Just make sure that you use 2 pounds of meat total.
  • Cornbread crumbs: a flavorful binder that keeps the meatloaf moist. You can use other fresh bread crumbs or cracker crumbs (like saltines) if you prefer.
  • Onion: adds moisture and savory flavor.
  • Eggs: give the meatloaf structure.
  • Basil, oregano, and garlic: for extra flavor.
  • Dijon mustard: adds moisture and a bit of zesty, acidic “bite.”
  • Salt and black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
Adding cornbread crumbs to a large mixing bowl.

Add Cornbread Crumbs for the Best Meatloaf Recipe

A somewhat unusual meatloaf ingredient, the cornbread crumbs replace regular breadcrumbs in this recipe. They add so much great flavor to the meal, and these fillers help to keep the texture of the meatloaf light. The crumbs absorb (and therefore retain) more moisture in the meatloaf so that it doesn’t become dry.

Since we eat cornbread or corn muffins almost weekly, this is a nice way to take advantage of any stale leftovers. Try my favorite skillet cornbread, honey cornbread, jalapeno cheddar cornbread, corn muffins, or old-fashioned corn sticks. In a pinch, you can use a store-bought mix, or purchase cornbread in the bakery at your grocery store.

Don’t have any cornbread to use in this recipe? Substitute with an equal amount of fresh bread crumbs, or use cracker crumbs!

Brushing ketchup glaze on top of meatloaf.

How to Make Southern Meatloaf

This Southern meatloaf recipe comes together quickly and easily, and then the oven does the work!

  1. Stir together ketchup and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine beef, pork, cornbread crumbs, onion, eggs, basil, Dijon, garlic, salt, oregano, pepper, and ½ cup of the ketchup mixture in a large bowl.
  3. Shape the mixture into a large rectangular loaf on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Spoon or brush the remaining ketchup mixture on top.
  5. Bake in a 375°F oven for about 1 hour, or until the meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
  6. Let the meatloaf rest for at least 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Close overhead shot of the best meatloaf and mashed potatoes on a plate

What to Serve with Meatloaf

This classic comfort food deserves equally delicious, cozy companions! Here are a few sides that go well with meatloaf:

Overhead shot of meatloaf and mashed potatoes with a side of cornbread

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Prep Ahead! You can prepare the meatloaf up to 24 hours in advance. Keep it covered in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to bake, allow the meatloaf to come to room temperature on the counter for at least 30 minutes while you preheat the oven.
  • How to Freeze Meatloaf: You can freeze the meatloaf before or after cooking. Wrap cooked meatloaf tightly and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Wrapped properly, the cooked meatloaf will stay fresh in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 days. The leftovers are great on a meatloaf sandwich!
  • How to Reheat Meatloaf: Preheat the oven to 250°F. Place the meatloaf in an oven-safe baking dish and add 1 tablespoon of beef broth or water. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until meatloaf is warmed through.
Side shot of a plate of Southern style meatloaf recipe

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of using a rimmed baking sheet, bake the meatloaf in a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. At the end of baking, tilt the pan to drain off the grease.
  • Swap out the cornbread crumbs for other fresh breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs (such as saltine crackers).
  • Substitute yellow mustard for the Dijon mustard.
  • Try other herbs in addition to the basil and oregano. Good options include rosemary, chives, parsley, and thyme.
  • Add more vegetables to the meatloaf mixture, such as diced bell pepper, celery, or grated carrots. If you don’t want crisp vegetables in your finished meatloaf, you can sauté them in a skillet with butter before adding them to the beef and pork mixture.
  • Rather than a 50-50 combination of ground beef and ground pork, use just ground beef, some ground turkey, or a “meatloaf mix” of ground beef, ground pork, and ground veal.
  • Like meatloaf with cheese? Add a handful of grated cheddar (or other good melting cheese) to the meatloaf mixture!
Overhead shot of a plate of two slices of meatloaf on a wooden dinner table.

Tips for the Best Southern Meatloaf Recipe

  • Use your hands or a fork to gently combine the meatloaf mixture. Be careful not to over-mix the meat, or it will become dense and mushy.
  • Lean ground beef (85%-93% lean) works best in this recipe. You need some fat to keep the meatloaf moist, but you don’t want it to be too greasy.
  • You do not need to cover the meatloaf while it’s baking.
  • You’ll know the meatloaf is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F and the juices run clear.
  • Place a pan of warm water on the rack below the meatloaf in the oven. It’s not necessary, but this moist environment will prevent the meatloaf from cracking.
Hands holding a plate of Southern meatloaf recipe with mashed potatoes

More Meatloaf Recipes to Try

Square overhead shot of a plate of southern meatloaf

Southern Meatloaf Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 446 kcal
Classic comfort food with a Southern twist! You just can't beat a moist, flavorful, tender Southern meatloaf recipe that brings your family together around the table.

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 cup day old cornbread crumbs or other fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 small onion, grated or finely diced
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil (or about ¼ cup chopped fresh basil)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional, for serving: mashed potatoes, chopped fresh herbs for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  • In a small bowl, stir together ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, use your hands or a fork to gently combine beef, pork, cornbread, onion, eggs, basil, Dijon, garlic, salt, oregano, pepper, and ½ cup of the ketchup mixture. Be careful not to mash or over-mix or the meatloaf will be dense or mushy.
  • On the prepared baking sheet, shape the meat mixture into a rectangular loaf.
  • Spread the remaining ketchup mixture on top.
  • Bake the meatloaf for about 1 hour, until the internal temperature is 160°F and the meatloaf is cooked through. (A pan of hot water in the oven, under the meatloaf, will prevent the top from cracking.) Remove from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serve warm.

Notes

  • Use your hands or a fork to gently combine the meatloaf mixture. Be careful not to over-mix the meat, or it will become dense and mushy.
  • Lean ground beef (85%-93% lean) works best in this recipe. You need some fat to keep the meatloaf moist, but you don’t want it to be too greasy.
  • You do not need to cover the meatloaf while it’s baking.
  • You’ll know the meatloaf is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F and the juices run clear.
  • Place a pan of warm water on the rack below the meatloaf in the oven. It’s not necessary, but this moist environment will prevent the meatloaf from cracking.
  • Instead of using a rimmed baking sheet, bake the meatloaf in a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. At the end of baking, tilt the pan to drain off the grease.
  • Swap out the cornbread crumbs for other fresh breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs (such as saltine crackers).
  • Substitute yellow mustard for the Dijon mustard.
  • Try other herbs in addition to the basil and oregano. Good options include rosemary, chives, parsley, and thyme.
  • Add more vegetables to the meatloaf mixture, such as diced bell pepper or celery. If you don’t want crisp vegetables in your finished meatloaf, you can sauté them in a skillet with butter before adding them to the beef and pork mixture.
  • Rather than a 50-50 combination of ground beef and ground pork, use just ground beef, some ground turkey, or a “meatloaf mix” of ground beef, ground pork, and ground veal.
  • Like meatloaf with cheese? Add a handful of grated cheddar (or other good melting cheese) to the meatloaf mixture!
  • Recipe slightly adapted from Sarah Foster’s book, Southern Kitchen.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 446kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 34gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 156mgSodium: 1378mgPotassium: 732mgFiber: 2gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 257IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 98mgIron: 5mg
Keyword: best meatloaf recipe, easy meatloaf recipe, southern meatloaf recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made mine with 2lbs of ground beef because it was what I had in the house and used saltines. Very moist and tasty!