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Katie Lee's Classic Meatloaf

Zach Pagano / TODAY
Cook Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

A classic meatloaf is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. I love the way the ketchup caramelizes on the top of the meatloaf.

Technique tip: Be careful not to over-mix the meat. Mix it just until the ingredients come together. Over-mixing causes meatloaf to be tough.

Swap option: This recipe works great with ground turkey or chicken, too.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium red pepper, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh fat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup ketchup, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray lightly with oil.


Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions, garlic and bay leaf until the onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper and cook until it's tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and thyme and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and let the onion mixture cool. Discard the bay leaf.


In a large bowl, combine the beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and the cooled vegetables. Use your hands to combine, mixing just until all the ingredients come together, taking care not to over mix the meat and spices. 


Transfer the mixture to the center of the baking sheet and form into a loaf. Coat the meat loaf with the remaining 1/2 cup ketchup.


Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes (depending on the shape of your loaf), until the loaf is firm. Let it set 5 minutes before slicing and serving.