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Meatloaf Muffins

These easy Meatloaf Muffins transform boring meatloaf into fun individual portions that are absolutely irresistible. And they cook up in half the time, so you can even make them for a weeknight dinner!

They’ve got lots of flavor and a sweet-and-tangy glaze. They’re moist, tender and fluffy. And (shhh!) there’s even some veggies tucked away in there!

Meatloaf is a classic comfort food, but for some reason, it also seems to be a dish that people either love or hate.

Me? I was not always on Team Meatloaf. Over the years, I’ve had more lousy meatloaves than good ones (and, yep, many of those were ones that I made myself).

They were either too dry, drowning in grease, had no flavor, didn’t have enough glaze, fell apart when they were cut, or were too dense and tough. And they usually didn’t look very appealing. You’ve been there.

BUT…when it’s done right, meatloaf is actually very delicious and easy to love (and it can look good too).

Well, I’m happy to say that this meatloaf made in a muffin pan is most definitely done right. After lots and lots of tries, it’s the recipe that made me love meatloaf…and even crave it!

These mini meatloaves are the perfect size (two is an ideal portion) with just the right amount of glaze. And they look so darn cute, both the kids and the grown-ups will want to dig right in.

Thanks to the finely chopped vegetables – onion, garlic, bell pepper, and carrot – and some ketchup, mustard, thyme and seasoned salt in the meat mixture, they’re both moist and flavorful.

And the panko breadcrumbs keep them light and fluffy, and they’re so tender they almost melt in your mouth!

2 meatloaf muffins on a plate with potatoes and Brussels sprouts with a forkful being taken out of one of the muffins so you can see the inside

Ingredients you need:

Note: Exact amounts are in the recipe card below.

  • Cooking spray
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Bell pepper (any color; I used green)
  • Carrot
  • Dried thyme
  • Garlic
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Ketchup
  • Dijon mustard
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Seasoned salt
  • Black pepper
  • Lean ground beef (90/10 recommended)
  • Brown sugar (light or dark)

Special equipment needed:

  • Standard 12-muffin pan (½ cup per muffin)
  • Large, rimmed baking sheet (one that is larger than the muffin pan all the way around so it can catch any grease that may leak over the sides of the muffin pan)
  • Meat thermometer

Here’s a look at how to make Meatloaf Muffins:

Note: This is just a quick overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe with detailed instructions.

2 images; one a graphic of an oven with text that says preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit; the other of vegetables being cooked in a pan with text that says sauté onions, bell peppers, carrots, and thyme in olive oil until softened
2 images' one of garlic being added to the pan with text that says add garlic, sauté for another minute; the other of the cooked vegetables in a glass bowl with text that says transfer veggies to a large bowl and let cool
2 images; one of the meatloaf glaze in a bowl with a spoon with text that says make glaze by mixing ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard in a small bowl, set aside; the other of the vegetables being mixed with other ingredients in a bowl with text that says add panko, ketchup, mustard, egg, milk, salt, and pepper to the veggies, stir to combine
2 images; one of ground beef added to the bowl with the veggie mixture with text that says add the ground beef, gently mix until well combined; the other of the meat mixture rolled into balls and placed in the muffin pan with text that says roll the meat mixture into 12 equal sized balls, place in a greased/sprayed muffin pan
2 images; one of a hand pressing down the tops of the meatloaf muffins with text that says gently flatten the tops with your fingers; the other of the glazed meatloaf muffins in the pan on top of a larger sheet pan
2 images; one a graphic of an oven with text that says 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake to internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, about 25 to 30 minutes; the other of the cooked meatloaf muffins in the pan resting with text that says let rest for 10 minutes, enjoy

Tips & Tidbits:

  • Ground sirloin (90/10) is perfect for this recipe, and it’s what I use and recommend because it keeps the meatloaves from swimming in grease, helps prevent too much grease from spilling out of the muffin cups, and keeps shrinkage to a minimum.
    • You can use 85/15 (ground round) or even 80/20 (ground chuck). Just know that you will have more grease/overflow to deal with.
  • Use a gentle hand when mixing your meatloaf and when shaping the balls and flattening the tops. This will help keep your meatloaf light, fluffy and tender. If you overwork the meat, it can make your meatloaf dense and tough.
  • Always put your muffin pan on a large, rimmed sheet pan that is larger than your muffin pan on all sides so that it can catch any grease before it ends up on the bottom of your oven.
  • You could use ground turkey instead of beef (cook to 165°F).
  • Be careful to not overcook these, as this can make them dry and tough. Use a meat thermometer and cook them just until they reach 160°F.
  • Leftovers are excellent! Keep them stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 to 4 days. Reheat in a 325°F oven, covered, just until heated through.
    • Or slice ’em up cold and make meatloaf sandwiches (sooo good)!
  • These also freeze well. Once cooled, place them on a sheet pan and freeze until firm, then put them in freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to 6 months (use sooner for best quality). Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
several meatloaf muffins arranged on a white plate with a serving fork on the side

I like to serve these with potatoes (boiled, mashed, or baked) and a green vegetable (usually Brussels sprouts, green beans or peas) for a delicious and satisfying meal that everyone will love!

I hope you try this Meatloaf Muffins recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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2 meatloaf muffins on a white plate with potatoes and Brussels sprouts

Meatloaf Muffins

These easy Meatloaf Muffins transform boring meatloaf into fun individual portions that are absolutely irresistible. And they cook up in half the time, so you can even make them for a weeknight dinner!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 34 minutes
Rest Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 59 minutes
Servings: 6 (2 meatloaf muffins each; recipe makes 12 total)
Estimated Calories: 331

Ingredients

Meatloaf:

  • cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • ½ cup finely diced bell peppers, any color (I used green)
  • ¼ cup finely grated carrots, use the smallest holes on your grater
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt, or to taste (regular salt can be used instead)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • pounds lean ground beef, 90/10 recommended (see notes below)

Glaze:

  • 6 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, light or dark
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Special Equipment

  • standard muffin pan (12 muffins, ½ cup each)
  • large rimmed baking sheet (larger than the muffin pan on all sides so it can catch any grease)
  • meat thermometer

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a standard muffin pan (12 muffins, ½ cup each) with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat (I use an 8 or 10-inch skillet). Add the onions, peppers, carrots and thyme; sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic to the pan; sauté, stirring constantly, for one more minute.
  • Transfer the veggie mixture to a large mixing bowl; allow to cool, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • While the veggies are cooling, make the glaze by mixing together the 6 tablespoons ketchup, the brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard in a small bowl; set aside.
  • To the cooled veggies, add the panko breadcrumbs, ½ cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, the egg, milk, seasoned salt, and black pepper; stir until well-combined.
  • Add the ground beef, breaking it up into small pieces as you put it in the bowl; gently mix just until everything is well-combined (I think hands are the best tool for this part, but use a fork if you'd rather).
  • Roll the meatloaf mixture into 12 equal sized balls and place one ball in each cup of the muffin pan.
  • Using your fingers, gently flatten the top of each meatloaf muffin (don't compress the meat too much, as this can make your meatloaf dense and tough).
  • Place the muffin pan on a large, rimmed baking sheet (one that is larger than the muffin pan all the way around). Top the meatloaf muffins with the glaze.
  • Bake until just cooked through (internal temperature of 160°F), about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Ground sirloin (90/10) is what I use and recommend because it keeps the meatloaves from swimming in too much grease, helps prevent grease from spilling out of the muffin cups, and keeps shrinkage to a minimum.
    • You can use 85/15 (ground round) or even 80/20 (ground chuck). Just know that you will have more grease/overflow to deal with.
  • Be careful not to over-work the meat, as this can make your meatloaf tough.
  • The meat mixture will be on the wetter side, but it should still hold together when you roll it into a ball. If it doesn’t, add more breadcrumbs just until it does.
  • The purpose of the sheet pan is to catch any grease that might leak out of the muffin cups so that it doesn’t end up on the bottom of your oven. Don’t skip this step…just in case!
  • Be very careful not to overcook, as this can make the meatloaves dry and tough.
  • Leftovers are excellent! Keep them stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 to 4 days. Reheat in a 325°F oven, covered, just until heated through. Or slice them up cold and make meatloaf sandwiches.
  • These also freeze well. Once cooled, place them on a sheet pan and freeze until firm, then put them in freezer bags and store in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!

Recipe adapted from Jenny Can Cook.

Recipe Rating




Jo Ann

Thursday 21st of April 2022

When do put put glaze on before or after baking

Michelle

Thursday 21st of April 2022

Oops! Thanks for catching that, Jo Ann. You put the glaze on before baking. The recipe card has been updated!