Meatloaf with Sweet Ketchup

Meatloaf - Featured

When I think of American cuisine, the first dish that comes to mind is Meatloaf. Meatloaf is a classic dish that I have to master. My husband, who is Mexican as can be, loves Meatloaf! He loves the punch of flavors smothered in ketchup. I think it’s the sauce that reels him in, he is a sucker for a good sauce. We pair ours is some roasted diced potatoes and If we feel like it, some sort of vegetable, I suppose. Broccolini or Brussel sprouts usually wins. My mouth is getting watery already, is yours? 

Meatloaf is another dish, much like my Sloppy Joe’s,  that doesn’t need any added Mexican flair. As the saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Meatloaf Flavors

The magic of meatloaf is all in the flavors. The meat has to be seasoned with the right components because the meat won’t be moved around. Once it’s in the oven, that’s it. The added sauce is an accent flavor and not a seasoning fixer. So I cooked this meatloaf twice, one with raw onions and garlic, and one with cooked onions and garlic. The cooked version is definetly the way to go! The onions and garlic will continue to sweat into the meat as it cooks in the oven, further releasing aromas and juices into the packed loaf. Melt some butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Saute the onions until fragrant and lightly browned, and add the garlic untill fragrant. Set aside and cool enough to handle. 

Mushrooms aren’t really a part of the classiness of meatloaf but it’s my attempt of adding a veggie, and we love mushrooms in these parts. Cook the mushrooms in a saute pan much like the onions and garlic. Do the same, set aside and cool to handle. Note that the mushrooms will release a lot of water when being cooked. Don’t panic, if you continue to cook them, stirring occasionally, some water will reabsorb but for the most part it will evaporate. That is when you know your mushrooms are done. You don’t want to add water mushrooms to your meat mixture because when it comes time to build your loaf, it may loose its shape.

Meatloaf - Onions and Garlic Cooked
Meatloaf - Mushrooms Cooked

Once the cooked components have cooled, add to a large bowl with the ground beef and remaining loaf ingredients. Use your hands to combine the meat together, but do not over work the meat! Over working could lead to a droopy meat mixture. Is droopy a word? Basically I mean thin, a thinned out meat mixture that won’t hold it’s shape. So watch out. 

Creating the Loaf

Raw loaf - Meatloaf

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Once the sauce is spread over the loaf and cooked, it can get quite thick and sticky. Once it sticks to the sheet pan it could make it difficult to remove. Lining the pan makes for an easier clean up. 

Drop the meat mixture onto of the pan and begin forming into a loaf  with your hands. Ain’t much to it, all  you have to remember is do not build the meatloaf too high to ensure the inside cooks evenly. Don’t create the loaf too thin or it won’t resemble a loaf – that’s it! Voila! 

Sweet Ketchup Goals

Combine the Sweet Ketchup ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

Get your oven ready and preheat to 350F. Any higher in temperature and the meat will dry out quickly. Pop the loaf into the oven and cook until halfway done, about 40 minutes. Take the loaf out (do not turn the oven off) and spread ½ the Spicy Ketchup over the entire surface of the loaf with a butter knife. Be careful, it’s hot.

Place back into the oven and continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 160F, about 35 additional minutes. In the last 10 minutes, remove from heat and spread the remaining sauce over the loaf like the first addition. I like to split the sauce in two additions because we enjoy a saucier texture in the end. If you split it, ½ the sauce will infuse into the meat and the remaining sauce will give the top of the loaf a kick of flavor. This is all preference on my end. If you want to add the entire batch in one addition, that works perfectly fine! Allow the loaf to cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Yum! Flavors all over the place!

Sweet Ketchup - Meatloaf
Cooked Meatloaf

Is this Meatloaf now a part of your weeknight line up? Weekend maybe? Show me! 

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Meatloaf with Sweet Ketchup

Enjoy a classic meatloaf with a twist! Throw in some mushrooms and give it a spice kick, you will never try another again!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Resting Time5 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ground beef, ketchup, spicy brown mustard, worcestershire sauce
Servings: 4 people
Author: Sharon Guerrero-Perez


Sweet Ketchup:

  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 1.5 tbsp Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar


  • 2 tbsp Butter divided in half
  • 8 oz Button Mushrooms, small diced
  • 6 oz White Onion, small diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves (.3 oz)
  • 1.5 lbs Ground Beef 80/20
  • 3 oz Panko (1 cup)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Milk Lactose Free *
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chili Flake
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper


Sweet Ketchup:

  • Combine the ketchup, spicy brown mustard and brown sugar in a bowl. Set aside until needed. 


  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Heat ½ the butter in a saute pan over medium heat.
  • Add the mushrooms and saute until golden and all the water has cooked out. Remove from the pan to a separate plate. Set aside to cool.
  • Heat the remaining butter in the same pan over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and saute until fragrant and lightly golden, about 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Be sure to stir consistently to prevent burning. Remove pan from heat and set side to cool. You want the mushrooms, onions, and garlic to be cool enough to handle because the meat will be mixed by hand.
  • In a bowl, combine the ground beef, salt, black pepper, red chili flake, panko, egg, Worcestershire sauce and the cooked mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Use your hands to combine so it works in well into the meat, but be sure not to over work the meat. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop the meat over the top of the baking sheet and form into a loaf. 
  • Bake for 40 minutes, uncovered, with no sauce. 
  • Remove from oven, spread ½ the Spicy Ketchup over the top. Continue to cook for an additional 35 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160F. In the last 10 minutes, top with the remaining sauce.
  • Remove and cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Yummy


  • I split the Sweet Ketchup Sauce in two parts, so the first half can soak into the meat and the second half will give it a saucier texture. 
    • If you want to add the entire batch of sauce at once, feel free!
  • Milk is Lactose Free due to preference and diet - this works well with whole milk or 2% if you prefer.
  • Make sure the mushrooms are cook completely and all the water has absorbed - watery mushrooms will thin out the meat mixture and the loaf may lose its shape.

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