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Cracker Barrel’s Meatloaf Recipe is made with ground beef, celery, onion, crushed crackers, and the best meatloaf glaze for topping! Make this restaurant favorite right in your own kitchen with my easy-to-follow recipe tutorial with lots of tips.

For more copycat recipes be sure and try my Copycat Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese and this Copycat Cafe Rio Dressing.

Slices of meatloaf on a plate with cheesy potatoes and vegetables.

Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Recipe

Make the famous meatloaf from Cracker Barrel Restaurant with this easy-to-follow recipe made with ground beef. Cracker Barrel’s meatloaf has a ‘secret ingredient’ of saltine crackers that really makes it stand out from the rest. Along with some extra ingredients like chopped onion and green bell pepper, milk to keep it moist, and dried seasonings, this easy copycat recipe is simple enough to make for a weeknight family dinner. 

For more flavorful meatloaf recipes be sure and also try my rave-reviewed Lipton Onion Soup Mix Meatloaf and BBQ Meatloaf. I promise there is no dry meatloaf with any of these recipes!

A loaf of meatloaf on a white plate.

Common Ingredients For Making This Best Meatloaf Recipe (Cracker Barrel Copycat Meatloaf)

Meatloaf Mixture

  • Ground Beef : For a moist meatloaf it’s best to use 80/20 ground beef. The leanest ground beef that I would recommend using is 85/15. You want the higher fat content to help produce a flavorful and juicy meatloaf that is not dry. 
  • Saltine Crackers : Finely crush the saltine crackers (use a food processor, food chopper or Ziploc bag + rolling pin) and then measure out 1 cup of the crushed crackers. 
  • Small Onion : A yellow or white onion is best to use. Make sure you finely chop the onion so you have small onion pieces in the meatloaf rather than large ones. Unless of course you prefer the large chunks of onion, then go for it. 
  • Finely Chopped Green Peppers
  • Large Eggs
  • Whole Milk : I recommend using whole milk for the thicker texture and fat content. 2% could be used but I would not recommend using anything lower in fat. Half and half would also work well. 
  • Ketchup
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Dried Thyme, Dried Parsley, Dried Basil

Tangy Meatloaf Glaze

  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Ketchup
  • Yellow Mustard
Ingredients for this recipe

How To Make Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Copycat Recipe (Printable Recipe Card Below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. You can also line a baking sheet (12″x17″) with parchment paper or tin foil (spray the foil. lightly with cooking spray). 

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, crushed saltine crackers, chopped onion, chopped green bell pepper, eggs, milk, ketchup, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, parsley, and basil. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. 

Process images
Process images

Form the meatloaf mixture into a loaf shape and place it inside the prepared loaf pan or on the baking sheet. 

In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard until combined well. Spoon & spread the glaze mixture evenly over top of the meatloaf. 

Process images
Process images

Bake for 1 hour or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F. 

Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. 

Process images
Process images

Expert Tip

Don’t over mix the meatloaf mixture! When combining the ingredients, mix just until they are well combined and evenly dispersed. Over-mixing can lead to a dense and tough meatloaf. Use your clean hands to mix the meatloaf together to prevent over-mixing. I like to use disposable gloves when doing this. 

How To Store Leftover Meatlaof

Fridge : This cracker barrel meatloaf should be stored in the fridge and placed inside an airtight container for 3-4 days. 

Reheat Meatloaf : Place the meatloaf in the oven (350 degrees F) for 20-30 minutes or microwave individual slices until heated through. 

To Freeze : Wrap the meatloaf tightly in a double layer of aluminum foil, place it inside a freeze-safe Ziploc bag or container, and store it in the freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw the meatloaf in the fridge overnight before reheating. 

What Are Substitutions I Can Make?

  1. Ground Beef : You can use ground turkey or ground chicken as leaner option. Keep in mind that the meatloaf will be drier and not as flavorful and moist if using a leaner protein option. You can also do use half ground beef + half ground turkey. 
  2. Crushed Saltine Crackers : Substitute with plain breadcrumbs or Ritz cracker crumbs.  
  3. Ketchup : Try using BBQ sauce for a different flavor. 
  4. Brown Sugar : Honey or pure maple syrup can be used as sweeteners. 
  5. Yellow Mustard : Dijon mustard or honey mustard can be used and provide a different flavor. 
Overhead shot of the meatloaf and serving plate with slices on it.

What Should I Serve With Meatloaf?

There are plenty of favorite sides that can be served with meatloaf. Here are some of my family’s favorites and then some additional ideas to get your started. 

  1. Mashed Potatoes : Creamy mashed potatoes, like these Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes, make for a classic and comforting side dish. 
  2. Gravy : Serve meatloaf with homemade gravy or store-bought gravy to drizzle over the meatloaf and potatoes. 
  3. Roasted Vegetables : Steamed, roasted, or sautéed green beans provide a healthy and colorful addition. You can also make my Slow Cooker Sweet Carrots, Roasted Root Vegetables, these Parmesan Roasted Brussels SproutsParmesan Roasted PotatoesRanch Potatoes, or Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  4. Green Salad : For a lighter side dish serving option make a big green salad loaded with fresh veggies. 
  5. Macaroni & Cheese : Creamy Mac and cheese is always a crowd-pleaser. Try my One Pot Mac and Cheese or make this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese. 
Serving plate with sides and meatloaf.
Slices meatloaf

Meatloaf Recipe FAQ’s

Can I Make Meatloaf In Advance and Reheat It?

Yes, you can prepare the meatloaf in advance and store it in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through. You can also prepare the meatloaf ahead of time, place it inside the loaf pan, and store it in the fridge raw until dinnertime. If storing the meatloaf raw, make sure it’s not in the fridge for longer than 24 hours. 

How Do I Prevent The Meatloaf From Becoming Too Dry?

To preven the meatloaf from becoming too dry, avoid over-mixing the meat mixture and be sure to not over cook it. Once it reaches the safe internal temperature (165 degrees F) then remove it from the oven. It’s also best to use 80/20 or 85/15 ground beef for optimal moisture and flavor in the meatloaf. 

Is There A Recommended Cooking Time For The Meatloaf To Ensure It’s Full Cooked But Not Overdone?

Cooking times may vary based on your oven, but generally, 1 hour of cook time should be sufficient time to ensure it’s fully cooked. It’s always important to have a Digital Food Thermometer to ensure that the meatloaf is cooked to the safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F before removing it from the oven. 

Can I Make a Larger Batch Of This Meatloaf For A Crowd?

You can easily double this recipe if needed to serve a larger group. Place the two formed meatloafs onto the baking sheet or use two (9×5-inch) loaf pans and cook them together in the oven. The cook time may need to increase if cooking two loafs in the same oven. 

Serving plate with sides and meatloaf.
Together As Family Logo

Cracker Barrel Meatloaf


Author Jessica – Together as Family
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6
Cracker Barrel's Meatloaf Recipe is made with ground beef, celery, onion, crushed crackers, and the best meatloaf glaze for topping! Make this restaurant favorite right in your own kitchen with my easy-to-follow recipe tutorial with lots of tips.

Ingredients
  

Meatloaf

  • pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup finely crushed saltine crackers
  • 1 small yellow onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk OR half and half
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil

Meatloaf Glaze

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. You can also line a baking sheet (12"x17") with parchment paper or tin foil (spray the foil lightly with cooking spray). 
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, crushed saltine crackers, chopped onion, chopped green bell pepper, eggs, milk, ketchup, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, parsley, and basil. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. 
    1½ pounds ground beef, 1 cup finely crushed saltine crackers, 1 small yellow onion, 1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper, 2 large eggs, 1/3 cup whole milk OR half and half, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon dried parsley, ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • Form the meatloaf mixture into the prepared loaf pan OR form the meatloaf into a loaf shape and place it on the baking sheet. 
  • In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard until combined well. Spoon & spread the glaze mixture evenly over top of the meatloaf. 
    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • Bake for 1 hour or until the internal temperature is 165℉
  • Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Video

Notes

Ground Beef : 80/20 ground beef is preferred but for a leaner option that still yields good results, you can use 85/15 ground beef. 
Crackers : Finely crush the saltine crackers and then measure out 1 cup of the crushed cracker crumbs. Ritz crackers can also be used instead of saltines if preferred. 
Don’t Overmix The Meatloaf Mixture : I think it’s best to use clean hands to go in and gently mix all the meatloaf ingredients together. You can also wear disposable gloves when doing this. Just mix everything until it’s thoroughly combined and the ingredients are dispersed throughout. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 137mg | Sodium: 841mg | Potassium: 550mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 269IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 4mg

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