The Cozy Cook

Mini Meatloaf

This easy recipe for Mini Meatloaf can be made in portion sizes on a sheet pan with half the baking time! Simple ingredients like Ritz crackers, cheddar cheese, and a delicious BBQ/Ketchup glaze pack on the flavor.

Be sure to serve this with creamy mashed potatoes and roasted green beans!

Mini Meatloaf topped with glaze on a pile of mashed potatoes with green beans.

Mini Meatloaf

Who needs to bake an entire meatloaf when you can make perfect portion sizes with half the baking time?! A few keys to this process is to make sure you don’t overwork the meat (as that will make the meatloaf tough), you want to cook it at the right temperature, and you want a really flavorful panade.

What is a Panade

  • A panade is a combination of a starch and a liquid and it keeps the meat moist as it’s cooking. The starch in the panade turns to a gel when cooked and lubricates the fibers in the meat as it cooks.
  • In this case, the starch is crushed Ritz crackers (or breadcrumbs)  and the liquid is milk with a hint of ketchup, yellow mustard, BBQ Sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. 
  • An egg is added as a binder and shredded cheddar cheese just takes this over the edge.

Adding Sautéed Vegetables

  • Sautéed vegetables such a onions and bell peppers add flavor, texture, and moisture to the meat.
  • Softening them in butter first is one of the keys to a perfectly tender meatloaf. (And picky eaters won’t even notice the onions. 😉)
  • Be sure to add freshly minced garlic to the mix as well.

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Sautee onions, bell peppers, and garlic in butter until softened. Set aside and let cool.
  • Whisk together wet ingredients: Milk, egg, mustard, ketchup, BBQ Sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cheese, salt/pepper.
  • Add crushed Ritz Crackers (or breadcrumbs) and cooled vegetables.
  • Add the ground beef.

Making meatloaf mixture be sauteeing vegetables and adding them to a panade with ground beef for meatloaf.

Mix meat mixture until just combined and form into 4 5-inch loaves of equal size. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Combined meatloaf mixture in a glass bowl next to a baking sheet with molded mini meatloaf.

Brush meatloaf with half of the glaze mixture (ketchup + BBQ sauce). Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Use a spatula to carefully transfer the meatloaf to a clean baking sheet (to remove grease). Brush with remaining glaze and bake for 15 more minutes. The internal temperature should be 160° prior to serving.

Serve with any of the following: Mashed potatoes, brown gravy, twice baked potato casserole, green bean casserole, corn casserole, Copycat TX Roadhouse Rolls, buttermilk biscuits, roasted green beans or carrots. See all side dish recipes here

Mini Meatloaf on a baking sheet before baking and on a plate after baking.

Make-Ahead Method

  • Mold meatloaf as instructed, cover with saran wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, then bake as outlined.
  • You can also freeze the uncooked meatloaf. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight and when ready to serve bake as outlined.

The Best Meat to Use

  • 80% lean ground beef is a good choice. Leaner meats tend to dry out.
  • A combination of ground beef, pork, and veal will also give you very tender and flavorful results. Some grocery stores have this meat combination already packaged up in the meat section, specifically for making meatloaf and/or meatballs.

Muffin Tin Method

  • If preferred, the meat mixture can be added to 8 muffin tins.
  • Bake for a total of 25 minutes.
  • Let them rest for 5 minutes in the muffin tins prior to serving.

Pro Tips

  • Don’t overwork the meat. This can ruin the tender consistency of the meat and cause it to become tough.
  • There is grease that we will be draining halfway through. An alternative is to place the meatloaf over a few slices of fresh bread before baking. The bread will act as a sponge and soak up excess grease.

Storage

Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

A mini meatloaf on top of mashed potatoes with a fork slicing into it.

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A mini meatloaf with glaze on a pile of mashed potatoes with parsley.

Mini Meatloaf

5 from 2 votes
This easy Mini Meatloaf recipe can be made on a sheet pan or in muffin tins for a perfect portion-sized family dinner!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
  • ¼ cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon BBQ Sauce
  • ½ Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup crushed Ritz, or Italian breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 pound ground turkey, 85% lean

Glaze:

  • ½ cup ketchup, plus more for serving
  • ½ cup BBQ Sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sauté the vegetables: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onions and peppers for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Remove and let cool.
  • Combine Wet ingredients: Whisk together the egg, milk, mustard, ketchup, BBQ Sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cheese, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Add remaining ingredients: Stir in the Ritz crackers, then add the cooled onions/peppers/garlic. Add the ground beef and gently mix until just combined. Don’t overwork the meat or it will become tough.
  • Form into loaves: Divide the meat mixture into 4 equal parts and mold them into 5-inch loaves. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet (preferably a sheet that has raised edges to avoid overflow from drippings.) Combine the glaze ingredients and brush half of it over the meatloaf.
  • Bake Once/Remove Grease: Bake for 25 minutes and carefully remove it from the oven, there will be grease to remove. To do this, carefully transfer each meatloaf to a new parchment paper lined baking sheet using a spatula. OR, transfer to a plate and replace the original baking sheet with new parchment paper. (See PRO tips in notes section for an alternative method of handling the grease.)
  • Bake Twice: Brush remaining glaze on top of the meatloaf. Bake for 15 more minutes, the internal temperature should be 160 degrees.
  • Serve: I like to brush a little more ketchup on top prior to serving. Serve with mashed potatoes and roasted green beans or roasted carrots.

Notes

Doubling the Recipe:
This recipe is easy to double in case you’d like to have a second helping or leftovers to refrigerate or freeze:
  • Tap or hover over the number of servings at the top of the recipe card and slide the lever right to increase the number of servings. The ingredient quantities will automatically update.

PRO TIP: A trick for catching the grease:
  • Place fresh bread underneath each loaf to absorb the grease as it cooks.

Make-Ahead Method:
  • Mold meatloaf as instructed, cover with saran wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, then bake as outlined.
  • You can also freeze the uncooked meatloaf. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight when ready to serve and bake as outlined.

Meatloaf Muffins
  • If preferred, the meat mixture can be added to 8 muffin tins.
  • Bake for a total of 25 minutes.
  • Let them rest for 5 minutes in the muffin tins prior to serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 359kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 128mg, Sodium: 1431mg, Potassium: 570mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin A: 805IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 156mg, Iron: 2mg

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Recipe Rating




6 comments on “Mini Meatloaf”

  1. I’ve been making meatloaf for 40 years and this was hands-down the best I’ve ever made. Definitely keeping this one in the rotation, I’m already making it for a second time tonight and will be doubling the recipe to freeze some- as well. Thank you for the recipe! -Joanie

    • You’re very welcome Joanie! I’m so happy to hear this from a seasoned Meatloaf cook! My husband used to hate meatloaf but he loves this recipe! Thanks so much for the review!

  2. I absolutely love the glaze on top! This was such a hit, even from my picky eaters that normally don’t like meatloaf. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • I’m so happy you and the picky eaters liked it so much! I agree, the glaze on top is so amazingly sweet and delicious!😋 Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!

  3. I have a question … like full-sized meatloaf sometimes suggest, could you put a piece of bread under the mini loaves to soak up grease?   Thanks!   I’ve made so many of your recipes and have loved almost all of them!  Thank you!

    • Hi Rhonda! YES!! That is a pro tip in the notes section for this recipe as well! It’s a great trick! 🙂 I’m so happy that you have been enjoying my recipes- I love to hear that! Enjoy this meatloaf. Talking about it today made me go to the freezer and heat up more for lunch, haha! -Stephanie

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