Meatloaf Seasoning Recipe for a Classic Loaf Mix

Nicole Austin

Use our meatloaf seasoning recipe to create a more flavorful and satisfying meal!

Meatloaf is the perfect staple for a comfort food dinner, but it’s the meatloaf seasoning that makes the meal truly unique. 

Without the right type and amount of meatloaf seasoning, you’re unfortunately looking at trying to choke down a slice that’s flavorless and dull — not something you want to offer for dinner!

I love meatloaf because it’s easy to assemble, customize, experiment with, and enjoy. Almost everyone enjoys meatloaf in my household, and it’s a wonderful recipe for a large family like ours because it’s just so hard to find something we can all agree on.

I’ve also added ground turkey to my meatloaf to cut back on red meat, or made it entirely out of turkey just to try something new that’s healthier.

Meatloaf Seasoning Recipe Photo

How to Make a Really Good Meatloaf

Making meatloaf is simple, but there are two tricks to keep in mind that will help make your meatloaf better than ever before. The best meatloaf recipe is nothing without these key points:

  • Proper browning
  • Proper seasoning

Forming your meatloaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper will allow airflow to circulate around most of the entire loaf. This will help caramelize the exterior, adding a wonderful texture and flavor, and preventing the meat from being mushy and soggy.

For this reason, we suggest avoiding using a loaf pan — or, use it to form the meatloaf, then turn it over onto your sheet pan.

Another secret for making the best meatloaf is using high-fat ground meat. If you’re considering using turkey or lean ground beef, it may be worth adding a higher-fat product like pork or veal to balance the ratio.

The fat content of meatloaf is what makes it moist and tender, and there’s a lot of added texture and flavor in higher-fat meats.

Adding a starch also completes a meatloaf. Starchy foods like breadcrumbs, soaked stale bread, or brown rice along with a binder such as eggs help hold the meatloaf together. You will use about one egg per pound of meat.

Meatloaf Seasoning Recipe Picture

Meatloaf sometimes gets a bad rap, but when you think about it, isn’t it really just a gigantic meatball? Everyone loves meatballs.

Proper seasoning is key to an appetizing dish as well. Including a variety of herbs and spices will add dimension and memorable flavors.

Some of the more common ingredients for meatloaf seasoning include black pepper and sea salt, along with a combination of multiple other options, ranging from the expected garlic powder or onion powder to the more unusual brown sugar. (Don’t forget that adding a sweet component is going to give you that full-bodied flavor you want!)

Seasonings like our pot roast seasoning are a great starting point for making a good beef seasoning. You’ll notice that even carne asada seasoning has some of the same ingredients.

This is because certain herbs and spices pair well with beef.

The most common dried herbs for beef recipes include oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves.

Spices that complement beef well include garlic, onion, black pepper, and salt.

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf Photo

What Can You Add to Meatloaf to Make it Taste Better?

Spices and herbs aren’t the only things you can add to your meatloaf recipe to enhance its flavor and give it more body and texture.

Sauteed onions are a classic addition to meatloaf. I make my meatloaf with onions that are cut large enough for kids to pick out because onions have a strong taste that not everyone prefers. The meatloaf still benefits from being cooked with onions, but the flavor is more subtle and palatable for children or people who prefer not to eat them.

Similarly, sauteed green peppers make a meatloaf taste very good. My kids really enjoy peppers, and adding green peppers makes the meatloaf somewhat reminiscent of a steak and cheese sub, which my family loves. If you prefer a different color of peppers, use it! It doesn’t really matter which one you add — the idea is the same.

I have also used sauteed garlic and mushrooms in combination with the above to give meatloaf more flavor and texture. This helps increase our vegetable intake, which I struggle with from time to time.

It is essential to cook your vegetables before adding them to your meatloaf recipe. Despite the long cook time at moderate temperatures, vegetables in the loaf will not soften to the desired texture and may make the meatloaf less appealing.

One main ingredient in just about any meatloaf recipe is ketchup or tomato sauce. Ketchup is the perfect glaze for meatloaf, as it helps retain moisture. It also adds that tangy flavor that helps set meatloaf apart from other beef-based recipes.

Worcestershire sauce is another great addition that meatloaf recipes frequently call for, along with BBQ sauce.

Barefoot Contessa Meatloaf Photo

Why is My Meatloaf Bland?

As illustrated above, meatloaf is bland when not paired with flavorful ingredients and seasonings.

At a minimum, meatloaf should contain half a teaspoon of salt per pound of meat.

Using too many binders and not enough meat can keep the loaf bland, as the neutral ingredients will overpower the meat's flavor. This will also make your loaf mushy, so beware.

Likewise, you do not want to add too small an amount of the binder, as this will lead to your meatloaf falling apart.

Barefoot Contessa Meatloaf Pic

Our Best Meatloaf Seasoning Recipe Ever

Use this seasoning recipe per loaf of meatloaf (approx. 2 pounds of meat). One loaf of homemade meatloaf should feed the whole family, unless you're having a large gathering!

  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • Dash of celery salt
  • Dash of garlic salt
Instant Pot Meatloaf with Garlic Mashed Potatoes Picture

Recommended for flavor: add a little bit of brown sugar to your meatloaf to take it to the next level and enjoy the browning capabilities and extra flavor. You could also use kosher salt instead of sea salt.

Measure the dry spices and mix them together in a large bowl. Fold in the beef, adding your binding agent like dry bread crumbs to your meat mixture as you kneed everything together with your hands. Now you're ready to cook this family favorite!

Alternatively, you can store this seasoning mix with simple ingredients for future use in an airtight container for several months at room temperature.


Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf Pic

Meatloaf Seasoning Recipe for a Classic Loaf Mix

  1 Servings


  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Stone Ground Mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1 dash Celery Salt
  • 1 dash Garlic Salt


  1. Measure the spices and mix them together thoroughly in a bowl.
  2. If using immediately, fold into ground beef and binding mixture. If storing, put into an airtight container and keep in pantry at room temperature.
  3. Use seasoning mix within three months, if not immediately.


This seasoning mix is meant to add flavor to a meatloaf, but you'll still need to add other ingredients to make the loaf such as egg, bread crumbs, and more.

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Related Recipes:
Seasoning Recipes, Meatloaf Recipes, Ground Beef Recipes
Recipe Yields:
1 serving
Prep Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: Nicole Austin
Recipe Yields: 1 serving
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size Enough for one meatloaf
Servings Per Recipe 1

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 0
Calories 79

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g
  Saturated Fat 0g
Sodium 2331mg
Total Carbohydrate 13g
  Dietary Fiber 0g
  Sugars 0g
Protein 0g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.

Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.

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