mama’s meatloaf

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Mama's Meatloaf Cupcakes

I’ve been teasing you guys with the recipe for my Mama’s meatloaf for a few months now. The truth is, this recipe is so insanely simple that you’re probably going to look at it and assume there is no way it could produce spectacular results. Well, banish that thought because the end result is nothing short of spectacular.

For years, I’ve tried to change the recipe. Add this, remove that, use ground turkey, add spices. And the results were always fine, but none of them compared to the perfect simplicity that was the original recipe. In the past few months, I’ve accepted that Mama really does know best (doesn’t she always?) and I’ve just been making the recipe as written on the card she gave me when I moved into my first apartment 10 years ago.

For this particular post, I decided to skip the “loaf” part of meatloaf and make them into meatloaf cupcakes. Complete with mashed potato “frosting” piped on. For no other reason than I think they are cute. I tend to alternate between making this recipe in the muffin tin and the loaf pan. I’d imagine the meatloaf cupcakes would be awesome for kids. And the loaf is perfect for making the always delicious next day meatloaf sandwich. The only difference between the preparation for the two is the time in the oven. The loaf bakes away for about an hour, while the smaller cupcakes bake up in about 20 minutes.

You may be tempted to skip the ketchup glaze in this recipe, but I promise you that is the real star of the show. It adds the flavor and complexity to the otherwise simple meatloaf. Promise me you’ll make the glaze, k?

Oh, also promise me that when it comes time to form the meatloaf, you’ll use your hands. The best tool in the kitchen is a pair of clean hands, and they are the only acceptable tool for mixing and forming a meatloaf proper. If I catch any of you trying to mix this stuff together using a spoon? I will bring the wrath of Mama to your house (which actually isn’t that scary because my Mom is quite possibly, the nicest person in the world, but still, she’s a red head and seeing you go all “EWWW. MEAT!” on her meatloaf recipe might be the thing that flips the Hulk switch). Got it? Good.

Mama's Meatloaf

Mama's Meatloaf

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

I believe this recipe was the first dinner that my Mama made for my Dad when they first started dating. He was a goner after one bite. Use this recipe wisely. I wouldn't serve it to anyone you don't want a long-term relationship with. Because one bite of this meatloaf, and they are in your life forever. True story.


For the Glaze:

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

For the Meatloaf:

  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons onion, diced finely
  • 3 tablespoons green pepper, diced finely
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix all glaze ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Mix all loaf ingredients together and form into a greased loaf pan. Pour glaze over loaf.
  4. Bake at 350° for one hour or until sauce is bubbly and middle of meatloaf is cooked through.
  5. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 232Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 393mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 18g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.


Do you have a family recipe that you’ve discovered is perfect the way it was written?

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.
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