Classic Southern Meatloaf Recipe for Comfort Food Lovers

Hark! Lend me your ears, fair readers, for I have a culinary creation to share with thee. Behold, the traditional delicacy of the Southern lands – the meatloaf! In this humble yet hearty dish lies a wealth of flavor that is sure to satisfy any craving for good food.

Allow me to regale you with my own version of the classic Southern meatloaf recipe that has been passed down through generations in my family. A dish that has melted hearts and garnered praises from all those who have partaken in its goodness.

Dear friends, brace yourselves for a journey that will take your taste buds on an adventure they will not soon forget. Follow me as we embark on this gastronomic quest into the realm of Southern cookery!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Meatloaf
Southern Meatloaf

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you a recipe that will surely captivate your taste buds and make your world go ’round! With its juicy and tender meat, perfectly seasoned with southern spices, this southern-style meatloaf recipe is sure to win your heart over.

What makes this recipe truly special is the unique blend of ingredients that gives it an authentic southern soul food flavor in every bite. The mixture of ground beef and turkey creates a perfect balance of flavor and texture that will leave you wanting more. The combination of dry mustard, black pepper, garlic powder, sage, and salt adds the perfect amount of seasoning for the ultimate southern experience.

What’s more? This classic southern recipe is incredibly easy to make, even for those who are just starting out in cooking. With some basic ingredients such as bread crumbs, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, bell pepper, onion, milk, ketchup among others, you will be able to create a mouth-watering meal in no time!

But what truly sets this recipe apart is its versatility. You can easily swap out certain ingredients or add some of your favorites to make it your own. Don’t have ground turkey on hand? No problem! Just stick to 2 pounds of ground beef for a traditional twist. Are onions not really your thing? Sub them out for finely chopped white onions instead.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a delicious, easy-to-make dish that’s perfect for any occasion or time of day, look no further than this southern meatloaf recipe! Trust me when I say: once you’ve tried it, there’s no turning back – this soulful delicacy is sure to become a family favorite!

Ingredient List

 This meatloaf is so juicy, it'll make your mouth water!
This meatloaf is so juicy, it’ll make your mouth water!

To make this southern meatloaf recipe you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of lean ground beef (85/15)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs (you can use saltine crackers crushed or bread crumbs)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup of milk
  • ⅓ cup of ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of sage
  • 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper

Note: You can also use a combination of ground beef and ground turkey for a healthier option.

The Recipe How-To

 Classic comfort food with a southern twist.
Classic comfort food with a southern twist.

Now that you have gotten an overview of this southern meatloaf recipe, let’s break down how to make it step by step. This classic southern dish is easy to make and the result is a juicy and flavorful meatloaf that will bring your taste buds alive.


Here are the recipe ingredients you will need for this meatloaf recipe:

  • 2 pounds ground beef (85/15 lean or ground chuck)
  • 20 saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup ketchup


Now let’s get cooking with these easy steps of making the Southern Meatloaf Recipe:

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the crushed saltine crackers, chopped onion, diced bell pepper and olive oil.
  3. Mix these ingredients and let them sit for about five minutes.
  4. Add the ground beef, milk, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, garlic powder, sage, black pepper and salt to the mixing bowl.
  5. Combine all the ingredients together using your hands until everything comes together easily.
  6. Place the mixture into a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Pushing the sides in so there is no air pockets or separation of meat mixture while cooking.
  7. Pour ketchup on top of the meatloaf mixture and evenly spread it out with a spoon.
  8. Put it in the preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until cooked through. Use a digital thermometer to ensure internal temperature reaches 160°F.
  9. Once fully cooked, take it out of the oven and set aside for 10-15 minutes allowing it to rest and firm up before slicing.
  10. Serve warm with some fresh greens of your choice on the side as per preference and enjoy the flavorsome Southern Meatloaf Recipe you just made.

Optional Step:

To make this meatloaf recipe extra special, you can add your own twist to it by adding a few personal touches. For example, you could mix in ground turkey or ground pork with the beef. Or, you could substitute yellow onions for the green onions.

That’s it! Making a delicious and hearty southern meatloaf has never been easier. Try out this recipe today and treat yourself and your loved ones to this traditional southern soul food meatloaf that’s guaranteed to become an instant family favorite.

Substitutions and Variations

 Perfectly cooked and seasoned, every bite is a treat.
Perfectly cooked and seasoned, every bite is a treat.

If you’re looking to add your own spin to this traditional southern meatloaf recipe, there are plenty of substitutions and variations you can try out. Here are a few suggestions:

– Meat: Although this meatloaf recipe calls for a combination of ground beef and turkey, you can use all beef or all pork instead. You could also swap out the ground turkey for ground chicken if you prefer.

– Vegetables: While this recipe uses green bell pepper and onion, you could substitute with red or yellow bell peppers or even diced carrots or celery. You could also try adding some finely chopped spinach, kale, or zucchini to sneak in some extra veggies.

– Seasonings: Sage and garlic powder give this meatloaf its signature southern flavor. But if those aren’t your favorites, feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices. Try adding some smoked paprika or chili powder for some added heat.

– Toppings: Ketchup is a classic topping for meatloaf, but you can switch things up by using barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, or even salsa. If you prefer a sweeter topping, mix together brown sugar and mustard for a tangy glaze.

No matter how you choose to customize your meatloaf, remember that the key is to keep it moist and flavorful without falling apart. With these substitutions and variation suggestions, your next southern-style meatloaf is sure to be a hit at the dinner table!

Serving and Pairing

 A whole new level of flavor packed into one delicious dish.
A whole new level of flavor packed into one delicious dish.

In serving this sumptuous southern meatloaf, you can never go wrong with pairing it with some hearty sides. Now, let me give you a list of my top picks that guarantees a burst of flavors with every bite.

First on the list is the classic mashed potatoes. The creaminess of the potatoes will wonderfully balance out the savory taste of the meatloaf. You can choose to add some garlic and butter to take it up a notch.

Another must-try is macaroni and cheese. The cheese’s tangy profile harmonizes with the ground meat’s flavor, while the pasta provides an additional texture layer.

Corn on the cob can indeed elevate your meal experience to new heights. Grilled or boiled, this side dish complements meatloaf’s taste with its sweet and juicy kernels.

Moreover, garlic green beans are another perfect pairing option for those who crave a healthy touch in their meals. Its garlicky kick offers a refreshing contrast to the heaviness of meatloaf.

Lastly, if you’re feeling fancy, you can serve southern meatloaf with some red wine. I recommend trying out Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel since they highlight the intense flavors of our beloved dish.

Keep in mind that food combinations will depend on your personal preference so feel free to explore different pairings!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This meatloaf is guaranteed to be a hit with the whole family!
This meatloaf is guaranteed to be a hit with the whole family!

Hark! When dealing with this Southern Meatloaf recipe, let us not underestimate the power of proper storage, reheating, and make-ahead options. Hear ye!

1. Make-Ahead:

When thou art making a Southern Meatloaf recipe in advance, it is best to prepare and shape the meat mixture the day before your meal. This technique will allow us to save some time on the big day. I suggest you refrigerate the mixture for at least one hour before shaping it, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and store it in an airtight container until you are ready to bake it.

2. Storing:

If there are any leftovers from your feast, store them in a refrigerator-safe storage container as soon as possible. Make sure the meatloaf has fully cooled before placing it in your fridge. When carefully stored, this meatloaf can last for up to four days in the refrigerator.

3. Reheating:

When it comes to reheating the Southern Meatloaf recipe leftovers, do not fret! A microwave can work fine for individual servings. Covering the meatloaf with a damp paper towel will ensure that heating it through does not dry out your dish. However, if you are reheating larger portions or prefer a more traditional approach, use an oven to reheat; set it at 325 degrees Fahrenheit and warm for about 10-15 minutes. Also, you may add some extra ketchup on top of your slices before putting them into the oven for better results.

Thus spoke I about storing and reheating Southern Meatloaf with utmost care so that thee may savor its soulful flavor another day!

Tips for Perfect Results

 A hearty meal that will leave you feeling satisfied and happy.
A hearty meal that will leave you feeling satisfied and happy.

Hark! Hear ye, hear ye! As a skilled chef in the art of southern-style cuisine, I have some tips and tricks to share with you on how to achieve the perfect southern meatloaf. Forsooth, with these tips in thy back pocket, thou shalt create a meatloaf so divine that it shalt be fit for kings and queens.

First of all, let’s discuss the ingredients. It is crucial to use fresh ingredients of highest quality. This includes the ground beef or turkey, onion, green bell pepper, bread crumbs and spices like garlic powder, sage, salt and black pepper. I implore you to not skimp on any of these ingredients as they all contribute to the taste and texture of the dish.

Another tip is to mix the meatloaf together with your hands instead of using a utensil. This allows for even distribution of ingredients and ensures that everything is combined thoroughly. Additionally, when mixing the ingredients together, be sure not to overmix as this can cause your meatloaf to become tough.

To keep your meatloaf from falling apart, add breadcrumbs milk or eggs bread crumbs mixture into your meatloaf mixture as a binding agent. The milk helps keep it moist while also helping with the binding process.

In addition, once you have formed the meatloaf into its desired shape, score it lightly across the top with a knife. This will allow for even cooking throughout and will prevent it from cracking open while baking.

When cooking in an oven make sure you bake it in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for about an hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C). If you prefer adding sauce, mix ketchup and brown sugar or Worcestershire sauce on top during last 5-10 minutes of baking.

Finally, resist temptation to slice into your meatloaf immediately after removing it from the oven; allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes. This will allow the juices to settle and make it easy to slice.

By following these helpful tips, you are sure to create a meatloaf with the perfect texture, succulent flavor, and undeniable southern soul that will make Aunt Peggy proud!


Hark! As thou preparest to savor the divine flavor of this southern meatloaf from Aunt Peggy, you may have some questions seeking answers. Fear not, dear reader, for in this section, I shall answer some frequently asked questions to help thy meatloaf turn out perfectly every time. Listen closely and heed my words, for thine appetite shall be pleased with the final result.

What is the secret to moist meatloaf?

When making meatloaf, it is essential to use meat that contains a higher fat content. Choosing leaner meat will result in a dry and coarse texture for your meatloaf. It is recommended to use beef with at least 15 percent fat for an all-beef meatloaf. However, if you want to use leaner beef or turkey, it is advisable to mix in some ground pork and/or veal to ensure a juicy and tender meatloaf.

How to make a Paula Deen’s meatloaf?

For this recipe, you’ll need a pound of ground beef, along with seasoning salt, black pepper, chopped onion, and bell pepper. You’ll also need a lightly beaten egg, canned diced tomatoes, and quick cooking oats. This combination of ingredients will create a tasty and hearty southern-style dish.

What is the secret to keeping meatloaf together?

When crafting a meatloaf, it’s crucial to incorporate binding agents, such as eggs and bread crumbs. These ingredients are essential in holding the meat together and preventing it from falling apart. Additionally, overcooking can also lead to a crumbly, undesirable texture.

Why do you put milk in meatloaf?

One of the secrets to making a juicy and flavorful meatloaf is to soak the breadcrumbs in milk before mixing them with the other ingredients. It helps to lock in the moisture and prevent it from drying out during cooking. Make sure to cook the meatloaf until it reaches a temperature of 160ºF to ensure it is fully cooked. As it rests, the heat will continue to distribute, a process known as carryover cooking.

What is the secret to meatloaf not falling apart?

In meatloaf making, eggs play the crucial role of binding the ingredients together, just like how breadcrumbs and milk do. To achieve a well-held-together meatloaf, we have discovered that two eggs is the perfect amount.

Bottom Line

Hark ye, my dear friends! If thou art a lover of soul food and are seeking for a hearty meal that is infused with the flavors of the south, then thou must try this traditional southern meatloaf recipe. This meatloaf recipe is easy to make and packed with juicy and classic flavors that will please any palate.

The combination of savory beef and turkey mixed with aromatic herbs like sage and garlic powder, along with a hint of Worcestershire sauce, creates a delightful symphony that will transport your senses straight to the heart of the deep south. And fear not, for those who prefer to substitute with ground pork or even use gluten-free breadcrumbs – this recipe is endlessly versatile.

As a professional chef in the southern cuisine specialization, I can confidently tell thee that there are few dishes out there that can compare to the comfort and satisfaction that a well-crafted southern meatloaf can bring. Thou wilt truly enjoy this meaty staple, be it hot or cold, as a main course or a grab-and-go snack.

So let’s celebrate the beauty of food that our elders – such as Aunt Peggy – have brought us through generations. Why not add this southern soul food meatloaf recipe to your weekly menu? I urge thee to grab thy apron and head straight for the kitchen. Trust me, one bite of this old fashioned meatloaf and thou wilt feel like you’re back home savoring a dish created by Grandma herself!

Southern Meatloaf

Southern Meatloaf Recipe

Good ole comfort food to feed hungry people. Simple to make just takes a while to bake. Has crackers instead of bread crumbs my DH likes that way.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 359.9 kcal


  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef or 1 1/2 lbs turkey
  • 1 cup saltine crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup ketchup


  • Preheat to 350*F
  • Mix all ingredients except ketchup.
  • Spread into an ungreased 9x5x3 loaf pan or shape into a loaf into an ungreased 13x9x2 pan.
  • Spoon ketchup over the loaf.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 200gCalories: 359.9kcalCarbohydrates: 17.3gProtein: 25.1gFat: 20.8gSaturated Fat: 8.1gCholesterol: 118.1mgSodium: 676.3mgFiber: 0.7gSugar: 5.5g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Meat
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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