Brown Sugar Meatloaf

This tasty Brown Sugar Meatloaf flavored lightly with ginger, has a sweet brown sugar and ketchup glaze. It’s the BEST meatloaf EVER!

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Growing up Meatloaf made a pretty regular appearance on our family dinner table. I wasn’t a huge fan of Mom’s meatloaf.  I’m lying…I hated Mom’s meatloaf! (I may have just lost my only reader! Sorry Mom!) 

In my defense…if you ask my Mom if she is a “good” cook she would say “No!”.  Now, I wouldn’t say that (I mean I do need to hang on to my biggest fan!).

My Mom can follow any recipe and make anything. She is a REALLY good cook and an AMAZING baker!  She joked around when I was growing up that she needed a recipe for P.B.& J and to boil an egg. I don’t think I’d go that far! (Well…the egg maybe! lol)

My memories of meatloaf were not “happy” memories…So I never made it for my family. That’s one perk of being the “head cook” of  your own kitchen. If there’s a childhood dish you didn’t like…ya don’t make it! For my Mom it was Grandma’s Liver and Onions! (Praise the LORD!!!) 

Brown Sugar Glazed Meat Loaf on a platter

One day I was reading a wonderful WWII series and became intrigued with the notion that women, because of food rations, began adding ingredients to their ground beef to make it stretch.

Now I know “meat loaves” have been around for centuries, but I was so impressed with the thriftiness of these women during a really difficult time in our country’s history, that I was determined to find a GREAT meatloaf recipe and give it a try.

I did! Thanks to Allrecipes I stumbled onto this recipe. I made this Brown Sugar Meatloaf and to my surprised my family DEVOURED it! I mean the raves coming from the dinner table…I had to pinch myself to make sure I was actually serving meatloaf! This is NOT the meatloaf of my childhood.

This meatloaf is dense and meaty! Then it’s coated in this drool worthy glaze that makes itself while baking. It is truly the BEST meatloaf I’ve ever had… in my entire life. You have got to try this recipe! So let’s…

How To Make Brown Sugar Meatloaf

In a large bowl combine the following ingredients…1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef, 3/4 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 small onion, chopped OR 1/4 cup dried onion flakes, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 3/4 cup regular breadcrumbs.

Please, please, please…leave that ginger in the recipe! You’re just gonna have to trust me on this one!

Dried Onions, bread crumbs, milk, and ground beef in bowl for Meat loaf

I know the “milk” seems a bit strange. It’s okay. This will bind together beautifully so don’t worry if it seems a little “wet” to you. Just dig in with your hands and blend all this together really well.

This is your chance to get every frustration out! Remember your three old having the tantrum in the super market and the old lady behind you giving you advice and wanting to “ring her neck”…DO IT NOW!

Pretend this meaty concoction is her neck and squeeze and twist away! Doesn’t that feel great! lol (Whoa! I might a little anger management therapy!) 

Meat Loaf ingredients all mixed together

In a lightly greased 5 x 9 inch loaf pan.  Press 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar into your prepared loaf pan.

Brown sugar pressed into bottom of loaf pan for brown sugar glaze

Next spread the 1/2 cup ketchup over the top of the brown sugar.

Ketchup on top of brown sugar in loaf pan to create brown sugar glaze

Shape your meatloaf mixture into a loaf. Place on top of the brown sugar and ketchup.

Meat loaf mixture placed on top of ketchup and brown sugar

Bake in a 350ยฐF oven for 1 hour or until juice are clear. Take out of oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.

The easiest way to remove this meatloaf from the pan, is to carefully place a plate larger than the loaf pan, on top of the meatloaf, and carefully invert it on to the dish.

PLEASE do this carefully so the hot glaze does not get on you.

Look at all that “glazey” goodness! (Okay so “Glazey” isn’t a real word…it is here at Norine’s Nest! lol) Go ahead and smack your lips together. It’s perfectly acceptable where this dish is concerned.

The sauce that is created between the brown sugar, ketchup, and the meat juices is just OUT OF THIS WORLD! (If you’re drooling you should be!)

Brown Sugar Meat Loaf cooked and out of pan on platter

I like to cut my meatloaf in 3/4 – 1 inch thick slices. Everyone is going to fight over the ends. May the force be with you! I’ll be praying for ya! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Brown Sugar Meat Loaf sliced and on a serving platter

I love to serve this dish with a big green garden salad, baked potato, and a nice dinner roll or muffin!

I really love this meatloaf recipe! It’s simple to make and beyond delicious! I promise your family will love this recipe as much as mine does. It’s such a fantastic family dinner! No more meatloaf boycotts!

Let’s bring Meatloaf back to the dinner table!!! Make those thrifty women of WWII proud of us for stretching our family budgets, even in time of plenty!

Brown Sugar Meat Loaf sliced and on platter

I hope this becomes a regular at your family dinner table! It deserves to be. The leftovers heat up well and make a spectacular “BBQ Meatloaf Sandwich”!

Here are some other Family Favorite Recipes I think you might enjoy!

I want to thank everyone who signed up for my Newsletter this past week! I’m completely BLOWN away by your response, and feel truly honored to have you join me here at my little Nest!

If you’re ever looking for a recipe or need help in the kitchen… feel free to shout out to me via comments or e-mail! I LOVE hearing from you!

The Printable recipe is below…have a fantastic day!

Norines Photo and signature

Yield: 8 servings

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

This tasty meatloaf flavored lightly with ginger, has a sweet brown sugar and ketchup glaze. It's the BEST meatloaf EVER!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Inactive Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped OR 1/4 cup dried onion flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup regular bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan.
  2. Press the brown sugar in the bottom of the prepared loaf pan and spread the ketchup over the sugar.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly all remaining ingredients and shape into a loaf. Place on top of the ketchup.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until juices are clear.
  5. Invert meatloaf onto a serving platter and slice into 1 inch thick slices.
  6. Be careful of the hot glaze when inverting.

Nutrition Information:


8 servings

Serving Size:

One slice of meatloaf

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 333 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 124mg Sodium: 714mg Carbohydrates: 26g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 16g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 28g


  1. Connie | 14th Apr 17

    I would love to know the title of your book. I have been watching the PBS series Homefires. By the way, love your blog. Beautiful recipes and the photos are great. Thanks for sharing.

    • | 14th Apr 17

      Hi Connie! Aren’t you the sweetest! I’m pretty sure I have never been so flattered! Thank you for your kind comments. They mean the world to me. I don’t have a book…yet! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am in the process of writing a cookbook that will be filled with my favorite recipes and hopefully include some of my stories. (My mother will be thrilled that someone actually asked me this question. She has been begging me for years to write a book. Did she pay you? lol) I LOVE PBS TV shows! I have been wanting to see Homefires. I will have to remember to watch it. Thanks again for your sweet comments and for stopping by my Nest! Have a Wonderful Easter! ~ Norine

  2. Lexie | 24th May 17

    My husband is a pretty picky meatloaf guy and every time I try a new recipe on him he says “It just isn’t the same as my mission”. I decided to try this one last night and I finally got the 100% approval from him that this recipe was a keeper! Thanks for sharing this recipe:)

    • | 24th May 17

      Hi Lexie!
      Oh my goodness! You mean we beat the “mission comparison” test!!! THAT’S HUGE! Oh I’m so excited that I was able to help you find a recipe that he likes! I totally understand though…until this recipe came into my life…I struggled with meatloaf love! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks so much for all your support and for sharing with me. Totally made my day! Have a GREAT 3 day weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Wanda | 1st Aug 17

    Would this freeze well?

    • | 3rd Aug 17

      Hi Wanda!
      I’m not sure if you mean before cooking or after? Regardless I’m not sure it would be the best, if frozen, because of the “glaze” that is on the meatloaf. I think if you were to make just the meatloaf and omit the glaze for freezing then the meatloaf portion would be fine. I know that isn’t the answer you are looking for, I hope it helps in some small way. Thanks for visiting my Nest! Have a Great day.

  4. Michelle | 20th Sep 17

    12 cups of ketchup… is that right?

    • | 20th Sep 17

      Oh Michelle…NO! That is NOT right. Oh my goodness gracious how did I over look that typo?!!! I am SO sorry! It’s a 1/2 cup of ketchup. I suppose if you REALLY like ketchup you could do 12 cups and I’d say a prayer for ya. lol ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you SO much for bringing that to my attention. I try so hard to make sure the actual recipe has no typo’s…I guess my motto was “Go Big or Go Home” on that one! Yikes!
      Thanks for visiting and thank you so much for sharing that with me. Have a Great week!

  5. Mindy | 20th Jan 18

    This is the best meat loaf I’ve ever had. I have never been a fan of meat loaf, but you’re right with the brown sugar and juices. It’s amazing. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • | 23rd Jan 18

      Hi Mindy!
      I know how you feel! Like I said, I was never a fan of meat loaf. This recipe was a game changer for me too! There is just something about that Brown Sugar Glaze that makes this the BEST! I’m so glad you liked it as much as I do! We should start a club for “Meat Loaf Converts”! lol
      Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a GREAT week!
      Happy Nesting!

  6. Jessica | 30th Jul 18

    Hi, I donโ€™t have a loaf pan, I usually just shape it out onto a sheet pan. Would this recipe still work on a sheet pan?

    • | 30th Jul 18

      Hi Jessica!
      If you have a baking dish rather than a sheet pan, that would work better. The problem is that the bottom of this meatloaf becomes the top. If you lay all the glaze ingredients on the bottom of a sheet pan it will all just run all over and burn to the bottom of the pan. Any pan with at least a two inch side is what you need. Sorry…but it’s worth making! I promise.
      Thank so much for stopping by and visiting with me. I hope you get the chance to make this meatloaf. It’s the best!
      Happy Nesting!

  7. Patrick Linderman | 13th Sep 18

    WOW, best meatloaf recipe I have ever made by far. After making my own forover 40 years and always missing something to make it pop, how right u are about ginger it really does put it over the top. I made a board on Pinterest of 15 meatloaf recipes and on a whim I decided to try yours. I am in awe. I doubled the recipe and added onion sandwich green peppers and a little grated Parmesan cheese to the recipe and also put American and mozzarella cheese in the middle and it was Wow amazing. Thank you so much after 40 yrs of wondering what was missing, you supplied the answer. No need to try another recipe. THANK YOU

    • | 18th Sep 18

      You are so welcome! I love your additions to the meatloaf. Stuffing with cheese! WHOA! Adding that to my “to do” list next time I make it! I’m so glad you like this recipe. You expressed exactly how my family feels about this meatloaf. I will never make another one either! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share with me. I love hearing from my foodie friends! Have a great week!
      Happy Nesting!

  8. Lyn R | 1st Nov 18

    What about all the grease that ends up in the bottom of the pan? Doesn’t that affect doing this this way?

    • | 1st Nov 18

      Hi Lyn!
      Great question. Actually the beauty of this recipe is that the “drippings” from the meat, and by the way I use very lean ground beef with this recipe, mixes with the sugar and ketchup to create the most amazing glaze. It a thick sauce that will just slowly slide over the meat loaf when you turn it upside down the platter. I just made this for a big family dinner…I made two…my mother was scooping the sauce off the platter to put over her meatloaf! I had the same concerns when making this…but it’s outstanding!
      Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
      Happy Nesting!

  9. Alyson King | 15th Feb 19

    Hi Norine!
    I put together this recipe today and plan on cooking it tomorrow. Should it be covered or uncovered while cooking?

    • | 15th Feb 19

      Hi Alyson!
      I bake mine uncovered. I love that you made it ahead of time. Great time saver for dinner! Hope you love this recipe as much as we do. It’s always on the rotation! Have a GREAT weekend!
      Happy Nesting!

  10. Tracy | 14th Mar 19

    Do you think ground Turkey would change the “drippings” too much?

    • | 15th Mar 19

      Hi Tracy!
      I wish I had great news for you…but I do think it would change the “drippings” too much! Basically Turkey is lean and ground beef has the necessary fat content to create the drippings that will make the brown sugar glaze for this dish. Sorry. Wish I had better news for ya. You could try it…and see. I’m just concerned it isn’t going to work.
      If you do try it…let me know. I’d love to hear how it turns out. Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you have a GREAT weekend!
      Happy Nesting!

  11. Tobi simonsen | 7th May 19

    You are super cute. I love how you explain the directions. I’m going to give it a shot tonight. Wish me luck.

    • | 8th May 19

      Hi Tobi!
      Awww! Thanks! I try to have fun in the kitchen and want to share that fun with my readers. I hope you liked the Meatloaf? My family loves this meatloaf and can polish one off with no problem!
      Hope you have a Great week and I’d love to hear how that meatloaf turned out!

  12. Diane Smith | 17th Jul 19

    Hi Norine,
    I made this meat loaf this week, and it is AMAZING! My husband & daughter LOVED it! Theyโ€™re both health nuts & wonโ€™t eat any sugar…so shhhhh!

    • | 17th Jul 19

      Hi Diane!
      You’re secret is totally safe with me! My lips are sealed! I’m so glad y’all loved this meat loaf. I’ve been craving it and thinking it’s time to make this for dinner! Thanks for stopping by and sharing with me. This made my day! Have a great week!
      Happy “Sugar Free” Nesting! (wink, wink)

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