Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Recipe


If you miss the classic Cracker Barrel flavors in your meatloaf, then here is a chance to enjoy the juicy and tangy flavors at home using this copycat Cracker Barrel meatloaf recipe.

Whether you serve it at the family dinner or on the kitchen table, this meatloaf will garner all the praises for you due to its mouth-watering combination of spices and saucy topping.

Let’s have a look at the ingredients and how to make the perfect dish.

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Cracker barrel-meatloaf has to be one of my favorite dinners of all time. Awesome flavors the minute it hits your senses, it will make anyone’s day a delight. Plus anything with cheese and cracker barrel wins me over.

cracker barrel meatloaf

How to Make Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

To make a good meatloaf, it is very important to bake it at a perfect temperature, and to do so; you must preheat your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, you can work on the meatloaf mixture.

Place a large mixing bowl over a working surface and add 3 eggs, 1 ½ sleeves of crushed ritz crackers, 1 small chopped onion, ½ cup milk, ¼ tsp black pepper, 1 tsp salt, 4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese and ½ cup bell pepper finely diced then mix well it all well.

Yes, you’re finally on your way to learn how to make meatloaf with crackers. It’s such an awesome addition to this authentic dish.

Once the ingredients are well incorporated, then stir in 2 pounds of the ground beef and mix it well. Use beef in 80/20 ratio, meaning there has to be 80 percent beef mixed with 20 percent of its fats. The leaner the beef is, the drier the meatloaf turns out to be. The use of fats makes the meatloaf juicier and moist.

Take a baking pan or a loaf pan and place it with parchment paper or foil sheer then spread the beef in the pan evenly. Bake this for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in the preheated oven.

Meanwhile, whisk ketchup, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and mustard in a small bowl to prepare the sauce. Spread this sauce over the dish and bake again for 30 minutes. Slice it to serve.



  • Lean Ground Beef: Serves as the primary component of the meatloaf, providing texture and flavor.
  • Onion: Adds a savory depth and slight sweetness to the meatloaf.
  • Bell Pepper: Contributes a mild, sweet flavor and adds moisture to the meatloaf.
  • Ritz Crackers: Used as a binder and for adding a buttery flavor, replacing traditional breadcrumbs.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Melts into the meatloaf, adding richness and a tangy flavor.
  • Eggs: Act as a binding agent, helping to hold the meatloaf together.
  • Milk: Adds moisture to the meatloaf, ensuring it doesn’t dry out during baking.
  • Salt: Enhances the overall flavor of the meatloaf.
  • Black Pepper: Adds a slight kick and depth to the flavor profile.

For the Topping:

  • Ketchup: Forms the base of the glaze, adding a sweet and tangy flavor.
  • Brown Sugar: Sweetens the glaze, balancing the tanginess of the ketchup.
  • Mustard: Adds a sharp, piquant flavor to the glaze.

Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Recipe

4 from 828 votes
Recipe by Laura Ritterman Course: DinnerCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time







This cracker barrel meatloaf recipe is a unique dish that will be a perfect compliment to any occasion. If you’re looking to bring a smile to friends and family then take 15 out of your day to make this fresh from scratch and impress your loved ones.


  • 2 pounds 2 of lean ground beef

  • 1 small 1 diced or chopped onion

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 of cleanly diced bell pepper (optional)

  • 1 ½ bag 1 ½ of crushed Ritz crackers

  • 4 oz. 4 shreded sharp cheddar cheese

  • 3 medium 3 eggs

  • 1/2 a cup 1/2 of milk

  • 1 tablespoon 1 of salt

  • 1/4 tablespoon 1/4 of black pepper

  • For the topping:
  • 1/2 cup 1/2 ketchup

  • 2 tablespoonss 2 brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 mustard

  • worcestershire sauce


  • Prepare and set your oven at 350 degrees F.
  • Mix brown sugar, mustard, and ketchup in a small bowl and keep it aside.
  • Now beat eggs in a large bowl and add cheese, crackers, milk, salt, onion, bell pepper, and black pepper then mix well.
  • Stir in the ground and mix just enough to combine the beef mixture.
  • Spread the beef mixture in a loaf pan, lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, approximately 350 degrees F.
  • Spread the ketchup topping over the meatloaf and bake it for another 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Allow it to cool, then slice.
  • Serve fresh.


  • Shredded cheese is a great addition to this dish.

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Tips & Tricks

Meat Quality: Use high-quality ground beef. The fat content in the beef contributes to the juiciness and flavor of the meatloaf. A good choice would be 80/20 ground beef.

Vegetables: Finely dice your vegetables (onions and green bell pepper) to ensure they cook evenly and integrate well into the meatloaf mixture. Green pepper with the onion make a big difference in the dish.

Crackers: Using Ritz crackers instead of breadcrumbs adds a buttery flavor and helps to bind the meatloaf together. Make sure to crush them finely.

Tomatoes: Using diced canned tomatoes adds moisture to the meatloaf. Be sure to drain them well before adding to the meat mixture.

Mixing: Don’t overmix your meatloaf ingredients. This can result in a dense meatloaf. Mix just until the ingredients are combined.

Cooking: Use a loaf pan or shape the meatloaf on a baking sheet. Shaping it yourself can help the edges to caramelize and create a nice crust. Use a meat thermometer to get the internal temperature correct.

Glaze: Don’t forget the glaze! A simple mixture of ketchup, brown sugar, and yellow mustard brushed on top of the meatloaf adds a touch of sweetness and tanginess. Secret ingredient you can include is a little worcestershire sauce.

Resting Time: Allow your meatloaf to rest for about 10 minutes after removing from the oven. This helps the juices redistribute throughout the meatloaf, making it more flavorful and easier to slice.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t turn out exactly as you planned. 

What kind of meat is best?

The most common and traditional choice for meatloaf is ground beef, ideally an 80/20 mix for a juicy and flavorful result. However, a blend of meats can elevate the flavor profile, with many opting for a “meatloaf mix” of ground beef, pork, and veal.

For a healthier, leaner meatloaf, ground turkey or chicken can be used, bearing in mind these options may result in a slightly drier meatloaf. The choice of meat largely depends on personal preference and dietary requirements.

Why is my Meatloaf Dry?

If you remove all the fats from the meat and make it 100 percent lean beef, then its meatloaf will definitely turn out to be dry. To get the softness and necessary moisture in the meat, keep it 80 percent lean meat and 20 percent of the fats.

The Secret to a Juicy Meatloaf

So, what’s the secret to a juicy meatloaf? The answer lies in keeping the meat moist and full of flavor. One way is by using a mixture of meats, typically beef, pork, and veal.

Another way is by adding some finely chopped vegetables like onions and bell peppers that release moisture as they cook. Adding some breadcrumbs soaked in milk also helps in retaining the moisture inside the meatloaf.

What To Serve With It?

There are several options if you’re looking for what to serve with meatloaf, including:

  1. Creamy mashed potatoes
  2. Mac and cheese
  3. Fried okra
  4. Roasted carrots
  5. Sauteed Mixed Vegetables

Or you can use a combination of side dishes to complete your meatloaf platter. Like I usually serve it with mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables.

How to store leftover meatloaf?

Leftover meatloaf can be stored safely and used for later meals by following these steps:

  1. Cooling: Allow your leftover meatloaf to cool down to room temperature. However, don’t leave it out for more than two hours to avoid bacterial growth.
  2. Wrapping: Wrap the meatloaf in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Make sure it’s sealed well to prevent air from getting in and drying out the meatloaf.
  3. Storing in a Container: For an extra layer of protection, you can place the wrapped meatloaf in an airtight container.
  4. Refrigeration: Store the wrapped and/or contained meatloaf in the refrigerator if you plan to eat it within 3-4 days.
  5. Freezing: For longer storage, you can freeze the meatloaf. It can last for up to 3 months in the freezer. To use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven or microwave.

Remember, always reheat your meatloaf to at least 165°F (74°C) before eating to ensure it’s safe to consume.

Can You Freeze It?

Sure the meatloaf can also be stored in the freezer. Wrap the unbaked meat in a foil sheet and then seal it in a Ziploc bag or airtight container. Put this bag in the freezer, and in this way, you can even store it for up to 3 months.


There you have it, that is how quick and easy it is to bake a super moist, juicy Cracker barrel meatloaf with ritz crackers right in your kitchen. Serve this meatloaf with a fresh piece of bread or toasts for best taste. You can also use the meatloaf slice to stuff your burgers or sandwiches.

Try this meatloaf and do provide us with your valuable feedback. For more copycat recipes, be sure to check out the other restaurant recipes on our site, our Facebook page and Pinterest account.

copycat recipe for cracker barrel's meatloaf



  1. I always mix together brown sugar and ketchup to top my meatloaf too.

  2. Saundra McKenzie

    Trying this today. Looks so yummy.

  3. Darla Peduzzi

    I have never had Cracker Barrel meatloaf, but it sounds delicious.

  4. yum

  5. Lori Padgett

    This looks so good! It’s going on my list of recipes to try. 🙂


    love meatloaf

  7. Marsheila Kerner

    I will try this one !! We love meatloaf !!

  8. This recipe explains everything I’ve done wrong in the past. Giving it a try!

  9. debra dubois

    Thanks sounds amazing i will be making this yummy

  10. Sandy Klocinski

    Brown sugar and ketchup on meatloaf is awesome! This looks delicious.

  11. Can’t wait to try! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  12. Sounds delicious!I love meatloaf!

  13. Looks tasty. Can I use ritz crackers in this meatloaf?

  14. This sounds like an interesting twist on “traditional” meatloaf. I’ll have to give it a try.

  15. love meatloaf w/lot’s of ketchup!

  16. Vickie williams

    My father in law made this for us one night and it was so good. Thought I would try and make it and yes it was still so good when I made it. Love this recipe.

  17. Sandra Watts

    That looks so good.

  18. This looks juicy and delicious. I love the idea of adding shredded cheese to it.

  19. Donna L Holder

    awesome stuff

  20. Arlene Mccurdy

    Am trying it tomorrow

  21. Mary Meadows

    Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  22. My hubby would love this, he loves everything that includes meat 😛 I’m also trying to switch to a healthier lifestyle and started to make healthy recipes like yours.

  23. This looks tasty

  24. I love the suggestion of adding carrot and celery.

  25. Just like my mothers recipe other than the Ritz crackers. I bet this makes it special.

  26. Looks yummy!😋 Can’t wait to try it out for my Family!:) I give this 4 stars for looking and sounding soo yummy!!

  27. Chris Legault

    Hi there, love this recipe but it doesn’t tell me how much mustard is needed to make the sauce

  28. This was very delicious and moist. Used ground round beef and followed directions as written except for the green peppers. Me and my grandson are not fans. It was delicious without them.

  29. This is my go to recipe! My grandkids absolutely love this and request it every time they stay with me. I prefer to bake on a cookie sheet (lined with foil) instead of a loaf pan. The meat doesn’t steam in the juices and gives it a nice crust.

  30. Angela Johnson

    AMAZING! Making it for the 2nd time tonight, it’s in the oven now and smells so wonderful. My husband told me to never lose this recipe, it’s his favorite! Even better than Craker Barrel’s meatloaf! Thank you so much!!

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