Meatloaf muffins are flavorful individual-sized meatloaves made in a traditional muffin tin and painted with a sweet and tangy glaze. Not only are they great for portion control, they are just as easy to prepare as a classic meatloaf, but they cook much less baking time because of their smaller size.
Why is this recipe so easy?
A standard meatloaf will take over an hour to bake, however, you can expect to have these mini-loaves in and out of the oven in only twenty minutes! This recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight meal that the whole family will love.
You can actually even substitute any of your regular meatloaf recipes to bake in these muffin tins too at the time and temperature listed. This is a fun way to switch up my brown sugar meatloaf or venison meatloaf. However, this recipe works best with 1 ½ pounds of meat, so you may have some mixture leftover if you use a 2-pound recipe. In that case, make yourself a meatloaf sandwich with the leftovers!
Ingredients and Best Substitutions
- Ground beef - I recommend 90/10 lean ground beef for this recipe, rather than the 80/20 beef I typically use in meatloaf. I want to use a less fatty meat so the smaller muffin cups don't fill with grease. Beef is best for this meatloaf recipe, but you can substitute ground turkey, or wild game as well.
- Plain breadcrumbs - Plain bread crumbs are best, but you can substitute Panko if needed too.
- Onion - A sweet onion or standard yellow onion is perfect.
- Beef broth - You can substitute milk instead.
- Egg - Egg is needed as a binder, I do not recommend skipping this.
- Tomato paste - This can be swapped out with tomato sauce, which will add more liquid.
- Seasonings - Salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. You could also add paprika and a little brown sugar if you wish.
- Ketchup - Ketchup is best, but Heinz Chili Sauce also works.
- A-1 sauce - Use apple cider vinegar instead for a different flavor.
- Worcestershire sauce - This is best omitted rather than substituted.
If you want a sweeter topping, feel free to add some brown sugar to it. You could use only ketchup for an easy glaze, or even barbecue sauce. However, I recommend just using my BBQ meatloaf recipe if you want those flavors.
How to make it
To begin, you will need a large bowl for mixing the meatloaf, a small bowl for mixing the glaze, and a standard muffin tin for baking. First, prepare the meatloaf by mixing together all of the meatloaf ingredients in the large bowl until well combined. Working it together with your hands is the easiest way, just make sure your hands are clean.
In the small bowl mix together the ketchup, A-1 sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. This can be set aside.
Fill each cup of the muffin pan with an equal amount of meat. You can use an ice cream scoop, large spoon, or just clean hands. Once filled, paint the top of each mini meatloaf liberally with the glaze, then place your pan in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Once removed from the oven, let it cool for 5 minutes then serve.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
These mini meatloaf muffins can be stored in the freezer prior to baking, if you wish to prep this meal in advance. I recommend covering them tightly with plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn, then placing them in a freezer bag.
Once cooked, any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. These should be eaten within a few days, for best flavor. The easiest way to reheat them is individually in the microwave, but the best way is to bake them in a 350 degree oven until they are heated through again.
Tips and Suggestions
- This can be baked as a traditionally shaped meatloaf as well, using a loaf pan. However, I would bake it at 350 degrees for 1 hour instead.
- These also make flavorful meatballs if you wish to bake them as such. This would be a great recipe to use for an easy meatball sub.
- The meatloaf mixture can be made a day or two in advance and kept in your refrigerator until you are ready to bake.
What to serve with meatloaf muffins?
Every meatloaf dinner pairs well with a heaping pile of fluffy mashed potatoes. You get bonus points if you prepare some brown gravy to serve with the potatoes too! I like the traditional style, but steakhouse mashed potatoes would also work well here.
Finish off the meal by prepare a vegetable to serve with it as well. Simple canned peas or carrots work, but you can pack more flavor onto your plate with one of these great recipes:
- Muffin Tin
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 teaspoons A-1 sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine all of the meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl and work together with your hands.
- In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the glaze.
- Add the meat mixture to the wells of a muffin tin until each well if filled with an even amount.
- Paint the top of the mini meatloaves with the glaze and place the muffin tin in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
- The meatloaf is done when it reaches 160 degrees. Let cool for five minutes and then serve.