The jackpot numbers were: 28, 70, 5, 62, 65, with a Mega Ball of 5.
Tickets had to match all five white balls and the yellow Mega Ball to claim total victory.
Until now the U.S. record jackpot was $1.586 billion for a different lottery, called Powerball, in 2016.
It costs $2 (£1.50) to play the game but the odds of winning the grand prize are 302.5 million to one.
America will be holding its collective breath ahead of Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing, and while the top prize is often seen as a blessing, it can also be a curse.
Had there been no winning ticket sold on Tuesday, Friday's jackpot would have reached $2 billion. The $1.6 million prize has a cash option value of $913.7 million.
The biggest Mega Millions jackpot victor prior to this was a $656 million ticket sold back in 2012, she said, "so it's a record for Mega Millions and it came very close to breaking the world record of all the jackpots". Mega Millions officials referred to the $1.537 billion jackpot as "historic".
One winning ticket was apparently sold for the world record $1.6 million Mega Millions jackpot. "Our obsession with lotteries, with gambling, is that unicorn feeling of, like, 'Maybe it'll be me,"' CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger said.
Even if you didn't win the Mega Millions, you still have a shot at the Powerball.
We rely on readers like you more than ever before to support us as we tell stories about the people and issues important to SLO County readers. The cash option, which almost all winners take, was estimated to be $913 million.
As of 3:30 p.m., the Massachusetts Lottery had done more than $13.4 million in sales for Tuesday night's drawing, a lottery spokesman told the news service. Only one person matched all the numbers to win the jackpot, Mega Millions said.
Mega Millions has already smashed its own jackpot record, which was $656 million, shared by winners in three states in March 2012.
The Powerball has climbed since the last victor in NY in August, and has had 20 drawings since then without a jackpot victor. Wednesday's will be the third-largest Powerball jackpot.