The Ultimate Brown Sugar Meatloaf Recipe: A Comfort Food Classic

Meatloaf is a timeless comfort food that brings warmth and nostalgia to any dinner table. With its savory flavors and tender texture, it’s a dish that’s beloved by many. This Brown Sugar Meatloaf recipe puts a deliciously sweet twist on the classic, adding a rich caramelized flavor that elevates this humble dish to new heights. Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner or hosting a gathering with friends, this recipe is sure to be a hit. Let’s dive into how to make this mouthwatering Brown Sugar Meatloaf and explore some variations to suit your taste preferences.


  • 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
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly grease a 5×9-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and ketchup. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, milk, eggs, salt, pepper, chopped onion, ground ginger, and cracker crumbs. Mix until well combined.
  4. Transfer the meat mixture to the prepared loaf pan and shape it into a loaf shape.
  5. Spread the brown sugar and ketchup mixture evenly over the top of the meatloaf.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until the meatloaf is cooked through and the top is caramelized and slightly crispy.
  7. Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Cook Notes:

  • For extra flavor, you can add minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, or your favorite herbs and spices to the meat mixture.
  • If you prefer a tangier sauce, you can add a splash of apple cider vinegar or mustard to the brown sugar and ketchup mixture.
  • Make sure to use lean ground beef to prevent the meatloaf from becoming too greasy.
  • To check if the meatloaf is done, insert a meat thermometer into the center. It should register at least 160°F (71°C).


  • Turkey Meatloaf: Substitute ground turkey for the ground beef for a lighter option.
  • BBQ Glazed Meatloaf: Replace the brown sugar and ketchup topping with your favorite barbecue sauce for a smoky twist.
  • Cheesy Meatloaf: Add shredded cheese to the meat mixture for an extra gooey and flavorful meatloaf.

Keto Version:

To make a keto-friendly version of this Brown Sugar Meatloaf, you can make the following adjustments:

  • Replace the brown sugar with a keto-friendly sweetener like erythritol or monk fruit sweetener.
  • Use sugar-free ketchup or make your own keto-friendly ketchup using tomato paste, vinegar, and spices.
  • Substitute the saltine cracker crumbs with crushed pork rinds or almond flour.

With its perfect blend of savory and sweet flavors, this Brown Sugar Meatloaf is a comfort food classic that never disappoints. Whether you’re serving it up for a cozy family dinner or impressing guests at a dinner party, this recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. So gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to enjoy a deliciously comforting meal that will leave everyone asking for seconds

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef?
    • Yes, you can easily substitute ground turkey for ground beef in this recipe. Just make sure to use lean ground turkey to avoid excess grease.
  2. Can I make this meatloaf ahead of time?
    • Absolutely! You can prepare the meatloaf mixture in advance and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake. You can also freeze the unbaked meatloaf for longer storage.
  3. What can I serve with this Brown Sugar Meatloaf?
    • This meatloaf pairs well with a variety of side dishes such as mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a fresh green salad. You can also serve it with some crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
  4. Can I customize the seasoning in the meat mixture?
    • Of course! Feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your taste preferences. You can add garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, or any other spices you like to enhance the flavor of the meatloaf.
  5. Is this recipe suitable for meal prep?
    • Yes, this Brown Sugar Meatloaf is great for meal prep. You can make a batch ahead of time and portion it out for easy grab-and-go lunches or dinners throughout the week.
  6. How do I store leftovers?
    • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can reheat individual slices in the microwave or oven until heated through.

In conclusion, this Brown Sugar Meatloaf is a timeless classic that never fails to satisfy. With its rich and savory flavor profile, tender texture, and irresistible caramelized topping, it’s sure to become a favorite in your household. Whether you’re cooking for a cozy family dinner or entertaining guests, this easy-to-make recipe is guaranteed to impress. So why wait? Give it a try today and enjoy the comforting goodness of homemade meatloaf at its finest!

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