NaNa's Homestyle Meatloaf Recipe is made with herbs, spices and a special ingredient that creates a juicy, tender meatloaf with salsa!
Meatloaf may sound basic, but NaNa's Homestyle Meatloaf has a special ingredient that elevates classic meatloaf. Want to make it a complete meal? Consider adding Cornbread Muffins and Southern Greens for a dinner that will satisfy the whole family.
- Why We Love This Homestyle Meatloaf Recipe:
- Ingredients you need for this Meatloaf Recipe:
- Instructions to make this Meatloaf Recipe:
- Alternatives and Variations:
- Pro-Tips for the Best Meatloaf Recipe:
- What to Serve With This Meatloaf Recipe:
- Storing and Reheating:
- More Recipes to Try
- 📖 Recipe
- Be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook when you make this recipe! I would love to see your creation, and give you a shoutout!
This meatloaf recipe comes straight out of my mother "in love's," aka: NaNa's kitchen. However, this is not a traditional meatloaf recipe. Her "special ingredient" is unexpected but makes so much sense. The secret to a juicy meatloaf is salsa.
The final result is a mouthwatering dinner entree with a savory sweet caramelized glaze that will have your family clamoring for another slice. This meatloaf with salsa recipe is perfect and gets devoured every time so it is safe to say this is the best meatloaf ever!
Why We Love This Homestyle Meatloaf Recipe:
Tried and Tested! This easy meatloaf with salsa recipe has been perfected for practically a lifetime.
Easy to Scale to Size! It is guaranteed to please a large family or scale it down for a smaller, personal-sized meatloaf.
A Great Make-Ahead Dinner! Meatloaf is the solution to weeknight dinner. You can make a large quantity, it freezes well, and can be reheated quickly.
Why use salsa in this meatloaf recipe?
Since the salsa has high acidity, it really helps with keeping the meatloaf moist and tender. Also, salsa adds such an amazing flavor profile. Some meatloaf calls for diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, but instead we use salsa. So no matter what, do not omit this ingredient!
Ingredients you need for this Meatloaf Recipe:
- Ground beef: 80% lean, 20% fat blend is the best meat to help retain moisture in the meatloaf.
- Diced onions
- Salsa: Our special ingredient!
- Worcestershire sauce
- Bell Peppers: diced
- Bread crumbs: Plain bread crumbs are best.
- Large egg: Eggs bind together the other ingredients and keep the meatloaf from falling apart.
- Onion soup mix
- Assorted Seasonings: The list in the below recipe may seem like a lot, but the end flavor is AMAZING. Please adjust according to your taste buds and preferences!
- Tomato Sauce
- Brown Sugar
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
Instructions to make this Meatloaf Recipe:
Combine Meatloaf Ingredients
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Then spray a 9x13" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. (You could also use a baking sheet or loaf pan of the same dimensions.)
In a large bowl, add ground beef, diced onions and bell peppers, salsa, Worcestershire sauce, egg, and bread crumbs. The salsa adds moisture to the meatloaf and also a hint of spice. We don't do bland or dry in this household!
Next, add all of the seasonings into the bowl. Using gloved hands, combine all ingredients by mixing. Alternatively, you can use a large spoon to mix. Turn over repeatedly until all ingredients are incorporated into the meat. Whichever method you use, try not to overwork the meat mixture.
Place the meat mixture into the pre-greased baking dish. Then form it into a loaf shape by working it with your hands.
Bake Meatloaf & Make the Glaze
Lightly tint the dish with aluminum foil and place it in the oven. Cook for one hour.
While the meatloaf is cooking, prepare the glaze by thoroughly combining the tomato sauce, brown sugar, garlic and onion powders in a medium-size bowl.
Remove Excess Grease
Remove the dish from the oven and drain the grease by very carefully pouring it out (careful not to let the meatloaf fall out), or use a turkey baster to remove the excess grease. Pour out as much as possible.
Add Glaze and Finish Baking
Spread the glaze over the entire top of the meatloaf. Place the meatloaf back in the oven, uncovered, then cook for an additional 30 minutes.
After removing the meatloaf from the oven, let it set for at least 10 minutes untouched. This ensures that the meatloaf will hold its shape when you slice. Also, a lot of the grease will continue to seep out. Drain the grease again by gently pouring it out, or using a turkey baster. Finally, enjoy this meatloaf recipe!
Alternatives and Variations:
- Homestyle Meatloaf with Gravy: If you want to top your meatloaf with gravy instead of a tomato glaze or ketchup, that would be a delicious option. Try my Easy Homemade Country gravy or this brown gravy I use to make my famous Brown Gravy Smothered Hamburger Steaks.
- Italian Meatloaf Recipe: Use Italian seasoning instead of the seasonings listed below in the recipe card.
- Lean Meatloaf: For a meatloaf recipe with less saturated fat, use lean ground beef or ground turkey.
Pro-Tips for the Best Meatloaf Recipe:
- Do not overmix the meatloaf or it could become tough.
- Do not throw out the excess grease. Reserve the juice so you can pour it over sliced meatloaf if you would like.
- Sautee any veggies prior to adding them to the meatloaf because that will help keep the meatloaf moist while it cooks.
- Allow the meatloaf to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This helps to retain moisture while also retaining the shape.
What to Serve With This Meatloaf Recipe:
Storing and Reheating:
Store leftover meatloaf in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Alternatively, store it in an airtight container. It can be placed in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To freeze meatloaf, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap then aluminum foil. It will last up to 4 months. To defrost, place frozen meatloaf in the refrigerator overnight.
Do I need to add milk to meatloaf?
Milk is usually added to traditional meatloaf recipes for moisture. But this meatloaf with salsa does not need it.
What can you put on top of meatloaf besides ketchup?
There are so many ways to make this easy meatloaf recipe yours! An easy way is to adjust the topping. I would suggest gravy, bbq sauce, or cheese as alternatives to ketchup. You could also top meatloaf with salsa.
Why is my meatloaf undercooked in the center?
Ensure that your oven is set to 375 degrees and cover the meatloaf with aluminum foil. The aluminum foil helps keep the heat even and traps in moisture.
If your food keeps burning on the outside but appears raw in the middle, your pan may be too hot. Turn the heat down to 350 degrees and cook your meat a bit longer. You can also use a meat thermometer in order to ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F before removing it from the oven.
What can I do to ensure my meatloaf doesn’t get dry in the oven?
Aside from using 80% 20% ground beef and not overworking the meat when mixing, I suggest sauteeing any veggies prior to adding them to the meatloaf. Sauté onions and peppers in butter or olive oil before mixing in order to release more of their moisture into the meatloaf.
Finally, slice and enjoy!
More Recipes to Try
- Herb Butter Cornish Hen
- Shredded Beef Ragu
- Oxtails Smothered in Red Wine Gravy
- Amazing Brown Gravy Pot Roast
NaNa's Juicy Homestyle Meatloaf with a Special Ingredient is made with a plethora of herbs and spices that create a moist, tender meatloaf!
- 2 pounds Ground beef, at least 80%/20%
- 1 whole Onion, diced
- ½ Green bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup Mild salsa, Pace picante is best
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large Egg
- 1 ½ cups Bread crumbs, plain
Seasoning (please adjust according to your preference)
- 1 packet Onion soup mix
- 2 tablespoons Seasoning salt
- ½ tablespoon Garlic powder
- ½ tablespoon Onion powder
- ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ½ tablespoon Black pepper
Glaze for the Meatloaf
- 8 ounce can Tomato sauce
- ½ cup Brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion powder
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, add ground beef, diced onion and bell pepper, salsa, Worcestershire sauce, egg, and bread crumbs. Next add all of the seasonings into the bowl.
- Using gloved hands, combine all ingredients by mixing with hands. Try not to over work the meat mixture. Turn over-and-over until everything is thoroughly combined into the meat.
- Place the meat mixture into the pre-greased baking dish. Form it into a loaf shape by working it with your hands.
- Lightly tint the dish with aluminum foil and place it in the oven. Cook for one hour.
- While the meatloaf is cooking, prepare the glaze by thoroughly combining the tomato sauce, brown sugar, garlic and onion powders in a medium size bowl.
- Remove the dish from the oven and drain the grease by very carefully pouring it out (careful not to let the meatloaf fall out), or use a turkey baster to remove the excess grease. Pour out as much as possible.
- Pour and spread the glaze over the top of the meatloaf, ensuring to completely cover it. Place the meatloaf back in the oven, uncovered, and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- After removing the meatloaf from the oven, let it set for at least 10 minutes untouched. A lot of the grease will continue to seep out. Drain the grease again by gently pouring it out, or using a turkey baster.
80%/ 20% ground beef mixture is preferred to help retain the juiciness of the meatloaf. If a leaner meat is used, reduce the amount of bread crumbs (using your best judgment), or the meatloaf may be on the drier side.
A large spoon can be used to combine ingredients instead of hands. Being careful not to overwork the meat is important to help retain the fatty content which enhances the juiciness of the meatloaf.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 393Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 1780mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 3gSugar: 13gProtein: 29g
This website provides approximate nutrition information as a courtesy and for convenience only.