Brown Sugar Meatloaf

This is the time of year I consider meatloaf season, and I’ll tell you why.  According to the calendar, we have officially crossed over from winter into spring.  And here in the Northeast, we’ve been treated to a whole run of days where it definitely feels like spring.  The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, the flowers are coming out, and everyone is in a great springtime mood.

You can’t help but bury your nose in the nearest bunch of pink cherry blossoms and breathe in.

And then just like that, Mother Nature changes her mind and blows a blast of Arctic air across your back yard and you feel a little foolish for spending all that time moving your winter clothes out of your closet and your summer clothes in.

And/or switching from your winter collar to your summer collar, as the case may be.  And that’s why we have meatloaf.  On a chilly early spring evening it is a scrumptious and comforting supper that will warm you up right to your toes. And when the weather turns right around and makes you want to flip on the air conditioner, there’s nothing like a cold meatloaf sandwich made out of the leftovers.  See what I mean?  Meatloaf season!

Now THIS meatloaf is particularly wonderful, because it has a little brown sugar action going on.  The traditional meatloaf approach is to pack the meat mixture into a loaf pan, spread some ketchup on top, and bake away.  Personally, I don’t like how that dries out the ketchup, so I take a different tack.  First I pack the bottom of the loaf pan with a nice layer of brown sugar.  Then I spread some ketchup over it, and THEN comes the meat mixture.  Bake it for an hour or so, and when you take it out of the oven, tip the pan over a bowl and let some of the juices run out.

Now be very patient and let your meatloaf sit for about 10 minutes to compose itself.  This will give it a chance to solidify a little more, which will make your life easier when you cut it.  After 10 long minutes have passed, flip the pan over onto a cutting board.  The brown sugar will have melted into the meatloaf and the ketchup will still be lusciously smooth and soft.  Now feel free to slice away…just remember to save some leftovers for those cold meatloaf sandwiches I mentioned.  And don’t be tricked into putting away your winter clothes until at least mid-April.


Brown Sugar Meatloaf
Serves: 6 servings
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1½ pounds meatloaf mix (equal parts ground beef, ground veal and ground lamb, although all ground beef will work fine too)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Pour the brown sugar into a 9x5 loaf pan and press it into the bottom. Spread the ketchup on top of the sugar.
  3. Mix all remaining ingredients together and press into the loaf pan on top of the ketchup.
  4. Bake for one hour. Remove from oven and pour juices into a bowl. Discard juice and let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Invert loaf onto a platter or cutting board, slice it up and enjoy!


Want a photo beside your name? Go to, sign up for a free account, and upload a photo. It's super easy!

  1. Babs says

    This looks delicious!! My husband was saying, really, only yesterday that I had not made a meatloaf in a while. Well, today I think he will get his wish. Brown sugar sounds like the magic ingredient along with the upside down meat loaf.

  2. Lisa O. says

    Should the printed recipe say 1 1/2 pounds of meat instead of 1 1/2 cups? I don’t make a lot of meatloaf, so I just wanted to be sure before I defrosted some ground beef. This looks yummy!

    • Kate says

      It definitely should and thanks for telling me about that – all fixed! (What would I do without my wonderful eagle-eyed readers???) xx

  3. ruthie says

    Well, you snookered me, again! I was all ready for a brown sugar glazed meatloaf or one with your candied bacon on it or something. Instead we get meatloaf upside down…metloaf. Heh. This is a good idea! And I adore cold meatloaf sammies. One of my Brit friends taught me to make them with butter, Dijon mustard and sliced cucumber. Mmm-good. Especially if the temps have risen and hotted things up a bit. 😉
    Have you seen this: on Saveur? All their bacon recipes? I particularly like the Speķa Pīrāgi (Bacon Turnovers). Made me think of you, also sound delish.

  4. Karen T. says

    Thanks for a great meatloaf recipe! I made this the other night, my only adaptation was grating the onions–turned out fabulous. My sons, who “hate” meatloaf, inhaled it and my husband ate two (huge!) slices. Next time I will increase the quantity of ketchup/brown sugar since my husband likes copious amounts of sauce. Love your newly redesigned site and all of your recipes!!

    • Kate says

      Well, you can never go wrong adding more brown sugar to just about anything. :) Thanks for your sweet words about the new design!

  5. Wendy Bloedt says

    Just wanted to share this with you:

    I’ve toyed with this one a bit as I found it just a wee bit bland. I found that if I just about tripled the measurements for the fresh herbs, it was spot on. The roasted garlic sauce made for the top is divine!

    Now every time I make a meatloaf I add boatloads of fresh thyme, sage and parsley to it.

    Oh, and last time I did it, I used Ina Gartens idea of sauteing my onions and a shallot then adding beef broth and a tbsp. of tomato paste to that mixture before incorporating into the meat. That combined with the herbs made the best meatloaf I’ve ever made! Just check out Ina’s meatloaf recipe to see what I’m talking about.

    • Kate says

      Wow – what a lot of FAB ideas! Thanks for the link and I will definitely check it out – I love pretty much everything Ina makes. :)

  6. Pawherbst says

    Way too bland! I followed directions carefully, as I always do the first time I try a recipe. Badly needs garlic, salt and pepper! Possibly seasoned bread crumbs would be a good alternative. Needs to be kicked up a bit.

    • Kate says

      Thanks for your suggestions – I’m always up for extra seasoning to the cook’s taste! Thanks for giving it a try.


Let's Talk!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *