Meatloaf barrel cracking

Classic Meatloaf Recipe with Tips to Prevent Cracking

This meatloaf recipe ensures a moist and flavorful dish while addressing common issues that cause cracking. Follow these steps to make a perfect meatloaf.


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (80% lean)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup ketchup (plus extra for glazing)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano


1. Preheat the Oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease a loaf pan.

2. Prepare the Panade:


  • In a small bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in the milk and let it sit for a few minutes until the milk is absorbed. This mixture, called a panade, helps keep the meatloaf moist.

3. Sauté the Vegetables:

  • In a small skillet, sauté the chopped onion and minced garlic in a bit of oil over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.

4. Mix the Meatloaf:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, soaked breadcrumbs, sautéed onion and garlic, grated carrot, chopped parsley, eggs, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano. Mix gently until all ingredients are just combined. Avoid overmixing to keep the meatloaf tender.

5. Shape the Meatloaf:

  • Transfer the meat mixture to the prepared baking sheet or loaf pan. Shape it into a loaf that is evenly thick, avoiding making it too high to ensure even cooking. Press gently to form a compact shape but do not press too hard.
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6. Glaze the Meatloaf:

  • Spread a thin layer of ketchup over the top of the meatloaf for a classic glaze.

7. Bake the Meatloaf:

  • Place the meatloaf in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C).

8. Let It Rest:

  • Allow the meatloaf to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. This helps the juices redistribute and keeps the meatloaf moist.

9. Serve:

  • Slice the meatloaf and serve with your favorite sides like mashed potatoes, green beans, or a fresh salad.

Tips to Prevent Cracking

  1. Low and Slow: Baking at a moderate temperature of 350°F (175°C) helps the meatloaf cook evenly without cracking.
  2. Gentle Mixing: Mix the ingredients just until combined. Overmixing can make the meatloaf dense and more prone to cracking.
  3. Moisture Balance: Ensure enough moisture in the mix with ingredients like eggs, milk, and ketchup.
  4. Even Shaping: Shape the meatloaf evenly to ensure it cooks uniformly. Avoid making it too high.
  5. Resting Time: Allow the meatloaf to rest after baking to let the juices settle, reducing the likelihood of cracks forming as it cools.

By following this recipe and these tips, you can enjoy a delicious, crack-free meatloaf that’s perfectly moist and flavorful.



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