My savory and satisfying Cracker Barrel meatloaf is the best meatloaf recipe you’ll make all year! The meatloaf is perfectly seasoned, super tender from the addition of shredded cheese, and topped with a delicious glaze that’ll knock your socks off!
The little bits of green peppers are a tasty addition that pulls all of the delicious flavors together in this crowd-pleasing meatloaf!
My incredible copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf is savory, tangy, and utterly delicious!
Craving the best-ever meatloaf recipe? This meatloaf fits the bill! This recipe tastes just like Cracker Barrel’s amazing recipe, without the need to go out to a restaurant! This recipe is not only absolutely delicious, but it’s easy too! It only takes 15 minutes to prep and will be on the table before you know it!
This meatloaf recipe is topped with an easy, delectably sweet glaze that contrasts well with the savory meatloaf. It combines ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and a little Worcestershire sauce to keep it simple and delicious!
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
- So Delicious! Meatloaf is such a comforting classic, and this recipe is made even better with tasty veggies and cheese inside. It’s the most delicious way to prepare this meatloaf!
- It’s Easy! One of the reasons meatloaf remains so popular is because of how easy it is to make! You simply mix the meat with seasonings, shape, and bake!
- The Whole Family Will Love It! Kids and adults alike will love this flavorful meatloaf!
Take your meatloaf recipe to the next level with this Cracker Barrel Meatloaf recipe! It’s packed with flavorful veggies and tasty cheese to make it absolutely delicious.
- Ground Beef – I prefer a ground beef that has 85% lean, 15% fat, so it’s a bit healthier but still rich enough to keep it juicy.
- Yellow Onion – I recommend yellow onion for this dish, but you can use white if you prefer a sharper flavor. You want the onion to be finely diced or even grated so it blends into the meatloaf perfectly. (See Tips & Recipe Notes)
- Green Bell Pepper – Green bell pepper adds that rich, savory flavor and makes the meatloaf taste just like Grandma used to make! You also want this to be finely diced or grated.
- Eggs – The eggs help bind the meat together and keep the meatloaf well-formed.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese – The cheddar is one of the special ingredients of this recipe. It adds extra flavor and a cheesy bite you’ll be sure to love! You can grate your own sharp cheddar or use pre-grated.
- Whole Milk – Milk helps to keep the meatloaf moist. If you can’t have milk, you can use an alternative but be sure it’s unsweetened.
- Ritz Crackers – Ritz crackers are the other special ingredient in this recipe! They add such a delicious, buttery flavor that regular breadcrumbs just won’t deliver! Crush them up to make sure they blend into the dish.
- Salt & Pepper – You’ll use these to season the meatloaf. I recommend freshly ground pepper.
The Meatloaf Glaze
- Ketchup – This is the base of our glaze! It’s rich, sweet, and goes perfectly with the other ingredients.
- Brown Sugar – Brown sugar turns this sauce into a delicious sticky glaze when it bakes! You can use dark or light brown sugar, whichever you prefer!
- Yellow Mustard – Mustard adds a salty tang here, which contrasts well with the ketchup and brown sugar.
- Worcestershire Sauce – Just a little of this flavorful sauce goes a long way! It helps to season our glaze and make it irresistibly delicious.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
You’re going to love this easy Cracker Barrel meatloaf recipe! Make sure you don’t overwork the meat when mixing in the ingredients, so it doesn’t get tough!
- Preheat and prep glaze. Preheat your oven to 350°F (176°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then in a small bowl, combine ½ cup of ketchup, ½ cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard, and 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce. Whisk until smooth and well combined, then set it aside to use later.
- Make the meatloaf. In a large mixing bowl, add 1 ½ lbs. ground beef, ½ cup of finely diced yellow onion, ¼ cup of finely diced green bell pepper, 3 eggs, 4 ounces of grated sharp cheddar cheese, ¼ cup of whole milk, 2 sleeves of crushed Ritz crackers, and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, or to taste. Using clean or gloved hands, thoroughly mix the ingredients until well combined.
- Bake the meatloaf. Place the meatloaf mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and form it into a loaf shape. Bake at 350°F (176°C) for 30 minutes. Then, remove from the oven and apply the glaze generously over the top of the meatloaf.
- Finish baking the meatloaf. Return your meatloaf to the oven and continue baking for 30 minutes or until the meatloaf is at least 160°F (72°C) when the temperature is checked in the center of the loaf. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice into even pieces, then serve and enjoy!
What is an amazing meatloaf without rich and creamy mashed potatoes? I love serving this delicious Cracker Barrel-style meatloaf for dinner with my incredible garlic red skin mashed potatoes and a green veggie like Roasted Broccoli with Garlic or crisp roasted asparagus.
💭 Angela's Tips & Recipe Notes
If you have trouble getting a fine dice on your veggies, try grating them!
- Using the large holes on a box grater makes the onion and bell pepper fine enough to meld into the meatloaf perfectly. The big bonus here is that you can easily get grated veggies past most picky eaters!
- This is also perfect if you’re short on time, have any issues with your hands, or just aren’t super comfortable with a knife! Just be sure to watch your fingertips!
This recipe calls for a free-form meatloaf, but if you prefer you can use a loaf pan to shape!
- If you want a more defined loaf shape, you can put the meat mixture into a parchment lined bread/loaf pan. Press down on it evenly, then flip the bread pan upside down over the parchment lined baking sheet. Remove the pan (and parchment paper) and bake as usual!
To ensure your meatloaf is cooked all the way through, use a meat thermometer!
- Meatloaf should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (72°C) to be safe to eat. Unless you’re a total meatloaf pro, it can be hard to know when it’s full done.
- Using a thermometer to check temp makes this so easy – you’ll never have to cut into under-cooked meatloaf!
🥡 Storing & Reheating
This incredible meatloaf refrigerates beautifully! Store in an airtight container or wrap well with aluminum foil and it’ll last for 3 to 4 days in your fridge.
You can also freeze either a whole cooked meatloaf, or leftover meatloaf! Wrap the cooled meatloaf well with plastic cling film, place in a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months for the best quality.
When you’re ready to reheat the meatloaf, the oven is my favorite way to keep it moist while reheating! Preheat your oven to 250°F (121°C) and place the leftover meatloaf (you want to defrost any frozen meatloaf overnight in the fridge before reheating) into a baking dish. Add a few splashes of beef broth or water to the bottom of the dish, then cover with aluminum foil and reheat for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the center is at least 165°F (74°C)when checked with a thermometer.
Definitely! If you don’t prefer beef, you can try making this recipe with turkey! Be sure not to overcook the meatloaf (you want turkey to reach a temperature of 165°F (74°C) to be safe to eat) so it doesn’t dry out.
Milk makes the meatloaf extra moist, especially when combined with the cracker crumbs! You’ll never have a dry meatloaf when using it! If dairy milk isn’t your thing, you can use beef stock or an unsweetened milk alternative.
Sure! I love the savory taste of bell pepper in this recipe because it tastes just like how Cracker Barrel (and my grandma!) makes, but not everybody loves it! You can leave it out of the recipe, and it’ll still be delicious.
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Cracker Barrel Meatloaf
- 1 ½ lbs ground beef (lean 85%)
- ½ cup yellow onion (finely diced)
- ¼ cup green bell pepper (finely diced)
- 3 eggs
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup whole milk
- Ritz crackers (2 sleeves)
- 1 teaspoon each, salt & pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (176°C).
- In a small bowl combine the glaze ingredients, whisk till smooth. Set aside for later.½ cup ketchup, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon yellow mustard, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- In a large mixing bowl add the ground beef, onion, green pepper, eggs, cheese, milk, crushed Ritz crackers, salt, and pepper. Using your clean hands thoroughly combine all ingredients.1 ½ lbs ground beef, ½ cup yellow onion, ¼ cup green bell pepper, 3 eggs, 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, ¼ cup whole milk, Ritz crackers, 1 teaspoon each, salt & pepper
- Place meatloaf mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and form it into a loaf shape.
- Bake at 350°F (176°C) for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and apply the glaze over the top of the meatloaf.
- Return your meatloaf to the oven and continue baking for 30 minutes or until the meatloaf is 160°F (72°C) when the temperature is checked in the center of the loaf.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
- For fine bits of your onion and green bell pepper, grate the vegetables using a cheese grater.
- To get a better shaped loaf look, you can put the meat mixture into a parchment paper lined bread pan and press down on it evenly. Flip the bread pan upside down over the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Use a digital meat thermometer to check the center of the meatloaf for doneness.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!