Brown Sugar Meatloaf

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Comforting and hearty, Brown Sugar Meatloaf elevates ordinary meatloaf with a brown sugar-infused glaze for a hint of sweetness. Stuffed with plenty of sautéed onions, a trio of dried herbs, plus crunchy breadcrumbs to hold it together, this brown sugar meatloaf recipe is sure to become a favorite.

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Overhead close-up photo of sliced brown sugar meatloaf served with green beans.

Meatloaf is an always-welcome dish in my house, and this special version, including a sweet glaze, will have you reaching for another slice. Pair meatloaf with creamy mashed potatoes and a green vegetable for a satisfying meal.

Why You’ll Love This Brown Sugar Meatloaf

  • Sweet & Savory: I love this combination! The caramel-sweet brown sugar glaze offsets the savory ground beef and vegetables perfectly.
  • Different: The addition of a glaze that’s comprised of more than a simple tomato sauce makes this a meatloaf to remember.
  • Quick to Prepare: You need just 15 minutes of prep time to put it together, making this meatloaf a great option for busy nights.
The ingredients for brown sugar meatloaf are shown portioned out: meat, ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, herbs, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, olive oil.

Recipe Ingredients

  • For the Brown Sugar Glaze: Ketchup, brown sugar (light or dark), and apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.
  • For the Meatloaf: Olive oil, yellow onion, garlic, eggs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, ground beef, salt, pepper, dried herbs, breadcrumbs, and parsley.
    A side view of a sliced brown sugar meatloaf, exposing its texture.

    How to Make Brown Sugar Meatloaf

    I’ve outlined how to make meatloaf with brown sugar glaze below. The detailed instructions are in the recipe card lower down.

    • Prep. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with foil.
    • Make the glaze. Mix the ketchup, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar.
    • Cook the onions. Heat the olive and cool the onion and garlic.
    • Whisk the eggs. Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk them with the milk, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard.
    • Make the meatloaf. Combine the ground beef with the rest of the ingredients. Gently mix the ingredients until combined.
    • Bake. Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and bake for about 50 minutes.
    • Glaze. Five minutes before the loaf is done, brush with the glaze, and pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes.
    • Rest. Allow the meatloaf to rest before slicing it.

    Tips for Success

    Meatloaf is a straightforward recipe that is appreciated for its unfussy preparation. Here are a few tips to help you make it perfectly:

    • Don’t Overmix: Be careful not to overmix the ingredients when you combine them – this will help keep your meatloaf tender. Try to fold them together rather than stir.
    • Use Fresh Herbs: You can swap the dried herbs for fresh if you have them on hand.
    • Sub Tomato Sauce: For a slightly different flavor, substitute the ketchup for tomato sauce.
    • Bring Meat to Room Temperature: Let the ground beef sit on the counter for about 20 minutes while you cook the onion and prepare the rest of the ingredients to take some of the chill off. This will help the meat cook more evenly.
    • Make it Gluten-Free: Substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs for the breadcrumbs to make this a gluten-free brown sugar meatloaf.
    Overhead image of brown sugar meatloaf on a serving platter.

    What Goes With Meatloaf?

    Meatloaf’s ideal pairing is a fluffy pile of buttery Classic Creamy Mashed Potatoes or Creamy Basked Mashed Potatoes. If you’re not in the mood for mashed potatoes, I like my Crispy Garlic Parmesan Baked Potato Wedges or Sauteed Green Beans. A side of creamy Scalloped Potatoes is always a hit. I also love Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, or a Corn Souffle, but my Avocado Tomato Salad or Jennifer Aniston Salad would also be a great accompaniment.

    How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

    • Placed cooled leftover meatloaf slices in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Thaw the meatloaf thoroughly in the refrigerator before reheating.
    • To Reheat, place meatloaf on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F until heated through.
    Two slices of brown sugar meatloaf served over mashed potatoes.

    More Ground Beef Recipes

    Brown Sugar Meatloaf

    Brown Sugar Meatloaf, with its sweet brown sugar glaze, sautéed onions, dried herbs, and crunchy breadcrumbs, offers a delicious twist on traditional meatloaf.
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour
    Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
    Servings: 6 servings


    For the Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze:

    For the Meat Loaf:

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 medium yellow onion,, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic,, minced
    • 2 large eggs,, slightly beaten to break up the yolks
    • ¼ cup milk
    • tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 2 pounds ground beef
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    • ½ teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
    • ½ cup breadcrumbs
    • cup chopped fresh parsley
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    For the Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze:

    • In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.

    For the Meatloaf:

    • Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
    • In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and minced garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until the onion is softened and translucent. Set aside.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard. Set aside.
    • In a large bowl, combine ground beef, cooked onion and garlic, egg mixture, kosher salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, paprika, breadcrumbs, and chopped fresh parsley. Gently mix in the egg mixture. Mix the ingredients with your hands if possible, until well combined, and be careful not to overmix to keep the meatloaf tender.
    • Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place it on the foil-lined baking sheet.
    • Bake the meatloaf for approximately 50 minutes or until the internal temperature of the beef reaches 160°F.
    • About five minutes before the loaf is done, brush the entire loaf with the brown sugar glaze and place it back in the oven for 5 more minutes.
    • Remove from the oven and rest the meatloaf for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


    Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 157mg | Sodium: 673mg | Potassium: 706mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 229IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 5mg

    Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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