Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Recipe: Perfect Family Comfort Food


The Cracker Barrel Meatloaf is a classic American comfort food, featuring a mix of ground beef, onions, bell pepper, cheddar cheese, and Ritz crackers. This combination creates a moist, flavorful loaf, uniquely enhanced by the buttery crackers. Topped with a sweet and savory glaze of ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard, it offers a perfect balance of flavors. Easy to prepare, this meatloaf is ideal for a hearty family meal, delivering a comforting, home-cooked experience.


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, finely diced (optional)
  • 1 1/2 sleeves of crushed Ritz crackers (48 crackers total)
  • 4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar or Colby cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. mustard


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a small bowl, combine ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard. Set aside for later use as the topping.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, crushed Ritz crackers, cheese, milk, onion, bell pepper, salt, and black pepper.
  4. Add in the ground beef and mix well, just enough to combine. Avoid overmixing.
  5. Form the mixture into a loaf and place it inside a baking pan or baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and spread the topping over the meatloaf.
  8. Bake for an additional 30 to 40 minutes or until the center reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Let it cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Cracker Barrel Meatloaf



  • You’ll need about 1.5 sleeves of Ritz crackers to make 48 crackers in total.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories: 393 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 20.7 g
  • Protein: 42.2 g
  • Fat: 15.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 167 mg
  • Sodium: 522 mg
  • Potassium: 587 mg
  • Fiber: 0.4 g
  • Sugar: 8.5 g
  • Calcium: 120 mg
  • Iron: 4 mg

Serving Suggestions

  • Mashed Potatoes: A classic side that pairs wonderfully with meatloaf, offering a creamy texture that complements the savory flavors.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Such as green beans, carrots, or broccoli, for a healthy and colorful addition to your meal.
  • Mac & Cheese: For an extra indulgent, comfort-food experience.
  • Garden Salad: A light and fresh salad can balance the richness of the meatloaf.

Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

Storage and Reheating

  • Refrigerate: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Make sure to wrap it well or store in an airtight container.
  • Freeze: This meatloaf freezes well. Wrap it tightly in foil and place it in a freezer bag. It can be stored for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until warmed through, or microwave individual slices.

Tips for the Perfect Meatloaf

  • Don’t Overmix: Overmixing the meat can make the meatloaf tough. Mix just until the ingredients are combined.
  • Let It Rest: Allow the meatloaf to rest for about 15 minutes after baking. This helps in slicing it neatly.
  • Check Internal Temperature: For food safety, the internal temperature should reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Creative Variations

  • Add Herbs: For an aromatic twist, consider adding herbs like thyme, rosemary, or parsley to the meat mixture.
  • Spicy Glaze: If you enjoy a bit of heat, mix some hot sauce or cayenne pepper into the glaze.
  • Vegetarian Option: For a vegetarian version, substitute ground beef with a plant-based meat alternative or a mixture of lentils and mushrooms.

Fun Facts about Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

  • Origin: Cracker Barrel, known for its traditional Southern cuisine, has made this meatloaf a staple in their menu, loved by many for its home-style cooking feel.
  • Popularity: This dish is a favorite for its comforting and familiar flavors, embodying the essence of American comfort food.

Hosting with Meatloaf

  • Dinner Parties: This meatloaf can be a showstopper at casual dinner parties, offering a comforting and hearty meal.
  • Family Gatherings: Its easy-to-make and large-serving nature makes it ideal for family gatherings and potlucks.


This Cracker Barrel Meatloaf recipe is more than just a dish; it’s a comforting experience that brings the warmth of Southern cooking into your home. Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner, a gathering with friends, or simply looking for a comforting meal, this meatloaf is sure to satisfy. Enjoy the rich flavors and the joy of cooking a meal that feels like a hug on a plate. Happy cooking!


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