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Alton Brown Meatloaf (Easy Recipe)

Alton Brown meatloaf is exceptionally moist and packed with flavor.

If your current recipe gives you bland and rubbery meatloaf, it’s time to give this one a try.

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Meatloaf is the quintessential American lunch or dinner. It’s super easy to make, and it’s also bursting with deliciousness.

Alton Brown Meatloaf

But if you make a few mistakes here and there, it’s also not impossible to mess up. 

If you stick to Alton Brown’s recipe, though, you’re guaranteed success 100% of the time. I’ve used this recipe many times, and it’s never failed me once.

Alton Brown Meatloaf

When it comes to meatloaf recipes, Alton Brown’s is, hands down, one of the best. You can always trust this food scientist to deliver!

While other meatloaves are too dry and rubbery, or too greasy and soggy, this one is absolutely flawless.

With a perfect combination of ground meats, croutons, and eggs, the texture of this meatloaf is on point: moist and tender but doesn’t fall apart.

The flavor is also extraordinary. With its wonderful blend of spices and seasonings, this meatloaf is far from bland.

The fact that the recipe is embarrassingly easy to follow is just a plus.

Homemade Meatloaf with Ketchup and Rice


It may look like a long list, but these ingredients are super basic! I’ll bet you already have them on hand.

  • Garlic-Flavored Croutons – These crunchy salad mix-ins bind the ingredients together to keep the meatloaf from falling apart. I like to use garlic-flavored because I just love the taste. Feel free to use classic croutons, though. If you can’t find croutons, breadcrumbs make a great alternative.
  • Ground Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, Dried Thyme, Salt – This is the mix of spices and seasonings that give the meatloaf its flavor. Don’t be afraid to season the meat!
  • Onion, Garlic – These are aromatics.  
  • Carrots And Bell Peppers – These vegetables give the meatloaf some sweetness and crunch. 
  • Ground Chuck And Sirloin – This mix of ground meat results in the perfect meatloaf texture: tender and moist, not dry, tough, or greasy. If you’re using only one kind of meat, be sure to stick to 80/20 or 85/15 lean.
  • Egg – Along with the croutons, binds the meat mixture together such that it holds its shape during baking.
  • Glaze – A sweet, savory, and spicy mix of ketchup, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and honey. Adjust the spices to suit your taste. Aside from flavor, the glaze also helps keep the meatloaf moist.
Meatloaf with Rice

Tips for the Best Meatloaf 

  • Alton Brown uses a mix of chuck and sirloin for a flavorful meatloaf. Chuck is the ground meat commonly used in burgers and is high in fat. Sirloin, on the other hand, is lean yet flavorful. Together, they make the perfect meat combination: not too fatty, not too lean.
  • If you’re using just one type of ground beef, be sure it’s either 80/20 or 85/15 lean. These are the ideal ratios for a moist, yet not greasy meatloaf.
  • Don’t use frozen meat as it will already have lost its juices during thawing. Stick to fresh meat for best results.
  • The meats typically used when making meatloaves are beef and pork, or a mix of both. If you want a healthier option, though, you can use ground turkey or chicken.
  • Don’t overwork the meat, otherwise, your meatloaf will be rubbery and dry. Stop mixing as soon as the ingredients have come together.
  • If you want your meatloaf to have a nice, crisp outer crust, don’t cook it in a loaf pan.
  • Don’t slice the loaf right after baking. Give it 10 to 15 minutes of resting to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. If you slice it too soon, the meatloaf will fall apart.
  • The meatloaf’s seasonings include cayenne, black pepper, and chili powder. The glaze has hot sauce in it, too. That said, expect this meatloaf to have a bit of a kick. If you’re serving it to kids, adjust the spices accordingly.
  • Store leftover meatloaf in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap, or placed in an air-tight container. It will keep well for up to 3 to 4 days.

Can I Freeze the Meatloaf?

Definitely. I like to triple the recipe and pop the other two loaves in the freezer.

That way, I’ll have a stock of prepared meatloaf waiting for me whenever I’m too busy to make lunch or dinner.

Simply place the meatloaf mixture in a loaf pan, cover it with plastic wrap, and freezer. Raw meatloaf will keep well in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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Thaw it in the fridge 24 hours prior to cooking it. Remove the plastic wrap and bake it as instructed.

More Easy Dinner Ideas

San Giorgio Baked Ziti
Old-Fashioned Hamburger Casserole
American Goulash
McCormick Chili
Ragu Lasagna

Alton Brown Meatloaf (Easy Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time






  • For the Meatloaf:
  • 6 ounces 6 garlic-flavored croutons

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon 1 chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon 1 dried thyme

  • 1/2 1/2 onion, roughly chopped

  • 1 1 carrot, peeled and broken into 3

  • 3 cloves 3 garlic, whole

  • 1/2 1/2 red bell pepper, halved and seeded

  • 18 ounces 18 ground chuck

  • 18 ounces 18 ground sirloin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon 1 1/2 kosher salt

  • 1 1 egg

  • For the Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup 1/2 ketchup

  • 1 teaspoon 1 ground cumin

  • Dash Worcestershire sauce

  • Dash hot sauce

  • 1 tablespoon 1 honey


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a food processor, crush the croutons, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and thyme until fine. Place the mixture into a large bowl.
  • Place the onion, carrot, garlic, and bell pepper in the food processor, Pulse them just until finely chopped, not pureed. Transfer the vegetable mix into the bowl of breadcrumbs.
  • Add the chuck and sirloin to the bowl and season with salt. Add the egg. Mix the ingredients with your hands until well-combined. Avoid squeezing the meat.
  • Place the meatloaf mixture into a 10-inch loaf pan to mold it. Turn the pan over onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Insert a food thermometer into the center of the meatloaf at a 45-degree angle, making it doesn’t touch the baking sheet. Set the thermometer to 155 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until the meat thermometer beeps, about 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Whisk together the ketchup, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and honey. Brush the glaze onto the top and sides of the meatloaf after 10 minutes of baking.
  • Let the meatloaf rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serve and enjoy!
Alton Brown Meatloaf

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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