This Cracker Barrel Meatloaf recipe is a classic and delicious dish that is perfect for any occasion. Made with ground beef, crackers, and savory seasonings, this meatloaf is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
❤️ Why its a must-try
- It's an easy recipe with minimal ingredients, so you don't have to worry about spending much money at the grocery store.
- Leftovers make for a tasty sandwich the next day. So, it's great for meal prep.
- Plus, it tastes just like the classic comfort food that you order from the restaurant with buttery Ritz crackers flavor.
One of my favorite things about copycat recipes like this one is that you can still enjoy your restaurant cravings without spending a lot of money or having to leave the house. I consider that a win-win.
Note: This is an overview of the ingredients. You'll find the full measurements and instructions in the recipe card (printable) at the bottom of the page.
📋 Ingredient Notes
- Eggs - Eggs act like a binder in meatloaf to help hold the ingredients together.
- Onions - I prefer to use yellow onions or white onions as they are best for adding flavor to the meatloaf.
- Green pepper - This vegetable adds a nice crunch and flavor to the meatloaf.
- Ground beef - I recommend using ground beef with 85% lean and 15% fat for the best flavor and texture.
- Ritz Crackers - These buttery crackers add a delicious crunch to the meatloaf. Plus, they work as binders, similar to bread crumbs.
- Cheddar cheese - Using shredded cheese in the meatloaf adds a nice creaminess and flavor.
- Salt and black pepper - These basic seasonings will add a touch of flavor to your meatloaf.
- Milk - This helps add moisture and flavor to your meatloaf. I recommend that you use whole milk for the flavor and fat content.
- Ketchup - For sweetness, ketchup is added to the glaze for this recipe. You can also use BBQ sauce or tomato sauce as a substitute.
- Brown sugar - Brown sugar adds a hint of sweetness to the glaze.
- Yellow mustard - Mustard adds a tangy and sharp flavor to balance out the sweetness of the brown sugar.
Note: This is an overview of the instructions. The detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
- In a large bowl, combine eggs, crackers, onions, milk, sharp cheddar cheese, bell pepper, salt, and pepper.
- Add the ground beef and shape the meat mixture into a loaf, do not overmix it.
- Place the meatloaf on the baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Mix the glaze and pour it over the meatloaf, spreading evenly on top of the meatloaf. Return it to the oven for another 45-60 minutes or until done. Let it stand for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
- One of the most common complaints is ending up with a dry meatloaf. For this reason, I don't recommend using beef that is leaner than 80% lean the higher fat will add some additional moisture.
- Another secret to making restaurant-quality meatloaf is to not overmix the meat. Mix until just combined and not more than that.
- It's also important that you do not compress the meat too much when you are forming the loaf a loose loaf is better.
- Don't heat the oven higher than 350 degrees. This temperature is best because a higher temperature will dry out the meat.
- You can also bake in a loaf pan.
- To prevent your meatloaf from absorbing too much grease in the baking process you can either place a few slices of bread underneath the loaf or you can cook it on a wire rack to elevate it in the pan.
Both crackers and breadcrumbs can be used as a binder in meatloaf, but Ritz Crackers are preferred for this recipe as they add a buttery flavor and crunch that complements the other ingredients.
Yes, you can freeze cooked meatloaf for up to 3 months. Just thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Storage - Leftover meatloaf can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Reheating - You can reheat meatloaf in the microwave or oven. To keep it from drying out, add a little bit of water or broth to the dish before covering and reheating.
⌛ Make Ahead
To save a little time in the kitchen on busy weeknights, you can assemble your meatloaf the night before and store it on your baking sheet covered in aluminum foil or plastic wrap in the fridge. Then bake as directed.
🍽️ Serve With
- Are you looking for a vegetable side dish recipe to serve with this easy meatloaf recipe? I like to serve it with Air Fryer Frozen Asparagus, or Air Fryer Frozen Broccoli.
- Meatloaf with potatoes are a classic combination. Here are some of my favorites! Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes, (no instant pot? No problem! make this creamy delicious Cheesy Mashed Potatoes instead.)
- Meatloaf pairs so well with just about any side dish that your family enjoys. Some of our favorite sides to make with this classic recipe are Candied Sweet Potatoes, or this Green Bean Casserole with Cream of Chicken.
- For a healthier option, you can use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef.
- Want to make it spicier? Add some diced jalapenos or hot sauce to the meatloaf mixture.
- To add more veggies, try adding shredded carrots or chopped spinach to the meatloaf mixture.
- You can also change up the glaze and use BBQ sauce or even a honey mustard glaze instead.
- For a different twist, add some cooked and crumbled turkey bacon to the meatloaf mixture before baking.
📣 Related Recipes
- Love meatloaf but want to try something with some different flavors? Next time give this Salsa Meatloaf a try. It's a great Mexican-inspired twist to this classic recipe.
- Want something on the healthier side? Make this Moist Turkey Meatloaf instead. It's a great way to save on calories but still indulge in your favorite comfort food.
- This Meatloaf with Oatmeal is a great option for a super juicy, delicious and easy family dinner. With its delicious glaze, this meatloaf will make kids run to the dinner table!
More Copycat Recipes
- Do you enjoy making your restaurant favorites at home? If so, check out this Cracker Barrel Sweet Potato recipe. It's the epitome of comfort food.
- This Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice recipe is one of my favorite copycat recipes to make. Not only is it filling and budget-friendly but it tastes amazing also.
- A homemade Big Mac Sauce that tastes just like the real thing and can be used on all of your favorite burgers and sandwiches.
If you love this recipe, please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating! Thank you.
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- Large mixing bowl
- Large rimmed baking sheet
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Cracker Barrel Meatloaf
- 3 eggs
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 small green bell pepper finely chopped
- 48 Ritz Crackers crushed
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 pounds ground beef
For the glaze:
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl combine eggs, crackers, onions, milk, cheddar cheese, bell pepper and salt and pepper.
- Add the ground beef and shape into a loaf, do not overmix it.
- Place the meatloaf on the baking sheet and bake it in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a small bowl combine the glaze ingredients.
- Pour the glaze over the meatloaf and spread evenly, then return to oven for another 45-60 minutes or until the meatloaf is done.
- Remove and let it set for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
- I like to place three slices of bread over the parchment paper and place the meatloaf over the bread to soak up extra fat and the meatload does not get soggy at the bottom.
- You can also place a wire rack on top to elevate the meatloaf.
- Please check the nutrition disclaimer policy.