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Old School Meatloaf

Old School Meatloaf is moist and tender with green pepper and onion and a tangy tomato soup glaze on top.

Old-School Meatloaf on serving platter with green beans.

This traditional meatloaf tastes just like grandmother made it. Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans for a down-home comfort food supper. Leftovers make great meatloaf sandwiches.

Eggs, tomato juice, onion, and bell pepper help keep the meatloaf moist. Buttery crackers (Ritz) form the filler for this meatloaf. They make a great binder and add more flavor than breadcrumbs.

The sauce is a delicious sweet and tangy mixture of condensed tomato soup, brown sugar, mustard, soy sauce, and apple cider vinegar.

Overhead of meatloaf with one slice cut.

Old School Meatloaf Recipe Tips

Use ground beef that is between 85-90% lean. If the ground beef is too lean, you will have dry, tough meatloaf. If it is too fatty, you will have a greasy mess.

Saltine crackers can be used instead of Ritz crackers.

The bell pepper can be left out if you don’t like it.

Don’t overmix the meatloaf mixture. It can make the meatloaf dense and tough.

Place the loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet in case any grease overflows the sides.

If you don’t have a loaf pan, you can bake the meatloaf on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper for easy clean-up. Just shape the meatloaf mixture into a loaf.

Let the meatloaf cool a good 10-15 minutes before slicing or it will fall apart.

Meatloaf on plate with green beans and mashed potatoes in background.

Great Sides To Serve With Meatloaf

Meatloaf on serving plate with green beans.

Old School Meatloaf

Old School Meatloaf is moist and tender with green pepper and onion and a tangy tomato soup glaze on top.
PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 2 pounds ground beef (85 to 90%)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttery cracker crumbs, about 25 Ritz crackers
  • 1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten


  • 1/2 cup condensed tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • Combine all meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with your hands just until evenly combined.
  • Transfer meatloaf mixture to loaf pan.
    While meatloaf bakes, stir together all sauce ingredients in a bowl.
    Bake for 45 minutes. Pour off grease.
  • Pour sauce over meatloaf. Return to oven for 20 minutes.
  • Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.


Don’t overwork the meayloaf mixture of you will have a tough meatloaf.
Place loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet in case any grease overflows.


Calories: 348kcal
Course: Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: ground beef

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6 thoughts on “Old School Meatloaf”

  1. This is not really a review, but what I will do different, next time I make this: Use milk instead of tomato juice, add 1/2 green Bellpepper. Sauté onion and bell pepper because it was not cooked all the way. Add 1 Tbl worstershire sauce. Cook on a rack on a sheet pan.

  2. I use ground turkey in place of beef. family enjoys this recipe I make two loaves and freeze one.

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