Cast Iron Loaf Pan Basic Meatloaf Recipe

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This easy, basic meatloaf, proves the cast iron loaf pan was made for more than just scrumptious breads. Even heating, easy clean-up, ready in just an hour with only 8 ingredients – this is an easy reason to love your loaf pan again.

Image of: three slices of meatloaf on a white plate and cast iron loaf pan in the background.
Easy meatloaf with a ketchup glaze is the perfect weeknight dinner!

What meat can be used for meatloaf?

At the very base of a good meatloaf is a choice of good meat and a bit of fat. While you can use turkey or chicken, and even sausage as a base, basic meatloaf is often created using solely hamburger meat. I suggest using leaner hamburger meat such as 90/10 when making your meatloaf. The meatloaf will shrink as it cooks just as a burger does. As it cooks it will also release grease. Both of these characteristics will allow for the meatloaf to slip out of your loaf pan with ease. Using a higher fat hamburger, such as 80/20, will result in a pool of grease the loaf cooks in. Not great for binding or flavoring.

A close-up image of meatloaf on a fork.
If your meal is made of meat, it’s important to have the best!

What are the ingredients for basic meatloaf?

  • Hamburger
  • Raw Onion
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Bread Crumbs
Ingredients for a simple meatloaf recipe and a 9 inch loaf pan
Minimal ingredients for maximum flavor.

What substitutions can be made?

  • Hamburger – for the hamburger you can substitute ground chicken, ground turkey, a mixture of ground sausage and beef, or a plant-based meat substitute.
  • Raw Onion – if you do not like chunks of onion, you can grate a raw onion using a cheese grater. This will incorporate that onion flavor without offering chunks in every bite. You can also use onion powder or garlic powder. Two teaspoons of onion powder or one teaspoon of garlic powder will give the meat a great taste.
  • Egg – egg is a binder ingredient in meatloaf. However, if you do not have any eggs on hand or have an allergy to eggs, removing them altogether and doubling the amount of bread crumbs will work.
  • Milk – heavy cream and even half and half will work. Milk adds a bit of richness back into the lean meat.
  • Bread Crumbs – gluten-free breadcrumbs, panko (seasoned and non), and pork rinds for keto diets are great options.
Image of: three slices of meatloaf with ketchup glaze on a white plate and a cast iron loaf pan in the background.
Chopped or grated, onion is a must-have flavor in the perfect meatloaf.

How to make cast iron meatloaf

It really is as simple as 1, 2, 3 with this recipe. Mix the meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the glaze ingredients in a seperate bowl. Pack the meatloaf into your loaf pan, top with glaze and bake in the oven at 350F for about 45 minutes.

How to make a meatloaf glaze

Three simple ingredients make a meatloaf glaze: ketchup, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar. Simply whisk those ingredients together and layer onto your meatloaf before placing into the oven. Tent the meatloaf with foil to keep it from forming a skin. The steam while cooking will help the glaze be more like a jelly, and less like a film.

Can meatloaf be made ahead?

Yes! Kept in it’s raw form, mix the meatloaf ingredients together. Line your loaf pan with plastic wrap and add the meat mixture. Press and form the “log”. Wrap the meat completely with plastic wrap. Set in the refrigerator for no more than 48 hours. When ready to cook, remove from the plastic wrap, place in the loaf pan, add the glaze, and cook as normal.

How to freeze meatloaf

Meatloaf can be frozen in it’s raw state just like mentioned above, or once fully cooked. Meatloaf should never be frozen IN your cast iron. Tin loaf pans are best for cooking your meatloaf straight from the freezer. If you would like to cook it in your cast iron, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight – 24 hours.

An overhead image of three slices of meatloaf with ketchup glaze on a white plate.
Depending on the slices and sides you serve, this meatloaf can satisfy 4-8 people.

Serve with these side dish recipes for a complete meal

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Basic Meatloaf

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 people 2 slices each
The most basic and delicious of meatloaf recipes. Use this recipe for an easy dinner during the week or as the base to experiment with flavors you love.



  • 1 pound ground beef 80/20
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion medium diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs italian seasoned
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Ketchup Glaze

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Combine all ingredients meatloaf ingredients except the glaze ingredients into a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl combine all glaze ingredients.
  • Pour the glaze over the meatloaf and cover with tinfoil. Bake in a 9×5 cast iron loaf pan for 45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 155-160F.
  • Allow the meatloaf to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serve with parsley or shredded cheese.


Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 932mg | Potassium: 447mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 161IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 3mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. Debby Blom says:

    5 stars
    Such a simple recipe yet so satisfying!

  2. Tupper Steven says:

    5 stars
    I made this and added chopped bell pepper and shredded cheese. It was excellent, easy to prep and great flavor, highly recommend!

    1. Awesome! Thank you! I’ll have to try that next time. Can never go wrong adding bell pepper and who doesn’t like cheese?! I appreciate you! Thank you!