Marvelous Million Dollar Meatloaf Recipe Is Worthy of Every Cent by Donna John

Marvelous Million Dollar Meatloaf Recipe Is Worthy of Every Cent

My husband and I grew up eating entirely different styles of meatloaf. His mom made meatloaf with corn in it and ketchup on top, while mine liked to top her meatloaf with cream of mushroom soup. Needless to say, my husband thinks ketchup is a must when making meatloaf, though he tries all the different meatloaf creations I come up with. When I saw a Southern Living recipe that elevated the ketchup topping, I knew I had to try it. I'm happy to report that this ground beef meatloaf recipe was a success with all parties involved in eating it!

The secret ingredient in this million dollar meatloaf recipe is pepper jelly. The jelly is stirred into the ketchup and adds another layer of flavor that's a little sweet and a little spicy (see Recipe Notes). To make this fancified meatloaf recipe you will need lean ground beef, buttery crackers, evaporated milk, Worcestershire sauce, sea salt, black pepper, eggs, garlic, onion, ketchup and pepper jelly (or another jelly of your choice). The moist meatloaf bakes up in about an hour in the oven.

Serve this easy meatloaf for dinner with your favorite side dishes. Because the meatloaf is so moist, the leftovers heat up will for dinner or lunch the next day. Or grill them up and make a meatloaf sandwich

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Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour (approximately)
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Servings: 6  



  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed buttery crackers (I used Ritz)
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced fine or pressed (original recipe called for 2 cloves)
  • 1 medium onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater (see Recipe Notes)


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Recipe Notes

  • If you don't have pepper jelly or don't want any spice to your meatloaf, use another jelly like apple-horseradish (delicious!), peach, apple, pear or whatever you like. The jelly elevates the ketchup and adds another sweet flavor dimension. Don't skip it!
  • I used my Le Creuset 13x9-inch baking pan, but any baking dish big enough to hold the loaf or a baking sheet will work just as well.
  • Grating the onion on a box grater produces thinner pieces of onion and releases the juice, which adds more flavor. If you don't have a grater with large holes, you can simply dice the onion.
  • If you don't have evaporated milk, you could use heavy cream or half and half.
  • I used Ritz crackers, but any buttery cracker would work. I would not use saltines, as they would not add the rich, buttery flavor this meatloaf needs to be worth one million dollars!

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Put all the meatloaf ingredients (not topping) into a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix until combined.
  3. Form the mixture into a loaf in an aluminum foil-covered baking dish or baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven for 35 minutes.
  4. While the meatloaf bakes, put the ketchup and jelly into a small bowl.
  5. Mix well. Set aside.
  6. Remove the meatloaf from the oven at 35 minutes.
  7. Spread the ketchup mixture over the meatloaf. Return to the oven for about 30 more minutes or until meatloaf is cooked through (165 degrees F internal temperature).
  8. Let the meatloaf rest about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 421

Total Fat: 17.3g

Saturated Fat: 6.2g

Cholesterol: 206mg

Sodium: 480mg

Total Carbohydrate: 29.2g

Dietary Fiber: 0.5g

Total Sugars: 13.5g

Protein: 36.4g

Vitamin D: 12mcg

Calcium: 65mg

Iron: 5mg

Potassium: 493mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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I noticed you have an interesting way of using aluminum foil. First sheet shiny side up, second sheet shiny side down. Can you elaborate?
Donna John
Nope! I don't put much thought into it. Just pull some off and put it into on onto the pan. :) Don't think it really matters which way it is facing. Happy cooking!
Elisa Schmitz
Now I am starving. This looks SO good!
Stuart Wyman-Cahall
Donna, I can't wait to try this. And like you, I just use tin foil any which way. So here's the skinny on this....Foil has a shiny side and a dull side because of how it is manufactured. Unless you are using foil that's labeled non-stick, which does have a non-stick side, it does not matter what side you use. Both the shiny and dull sides can be used the same way to cook, freeze, and store food.
Happy cooking and baking!!
Jeff Kramer
If you like meatloaf chances are you have your own favorite recipe. I love meatloaf, I grew up eating meatloaf and the one constant was it always had a can of tomato soup poured over it. Served with mashed potatoes and a veggie, peas and carrots for me, the tomato soup made an excellent gravy and there was always homemade bread. These days it’s warm dinner rolls and a pat of butter. Add a slab of cherry pie or apple crisp and I’m in heaven.
Donna John
You made my stomach growl!

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