This Mini Meatloaf recipe is an easy, yummy, family-favorite dinner. As a bonus, the tender meatloaf muffins with flavorful glaze cook in a fraction of the time thanks to muffin pans!
When you have a hankering for a dinner that's quick, easy, economical, and appealing to those from 1 to 99, it doesn't get any better than meatloaf. And if you're looking to jazz up your meatloaf and save time making it, topping it with a flavor-packed glaze and baking it up as cute Mini Meatloaf Muffins is the way to go!
Why Make Meatloaf Muffins?
This Mini Meatloaf recipe has been a staple of mine for years now when I need to get a quick, tasty meal on the table. In fact, I can't even remember the last time I cooked a meatloaf that wasn't in muffin form. 🙂
So why do I love these so?
- Mini Meatloaf bakes up much faster (think 20 minutes vs. 1 hour) than the traditional loaf shape -- meaning that dinner is ready in a flash!
- Meatloaf Muffins stay extra moist.
- They have a perfect ratio of glaze-to-meat.
- Finally, they're already nicely portioned and so dang cute, which is always a bonus when feeding persnickety children.
Meatloaf Muffins are not only quick to make, but they're also easy, requiring just eight simple ingredients.
- Ground beef. I like to use lean ground beef (such as 90/10) when I make Meatloaf Muffins so that there's less fat to drain off. If you wish to use ground turkey instead, be sure to use regular ground turkey (all or mostly dark meat), since ground breast meat can result in meatloaf that's dry and crumbly. You could also opt to use half ground beef and half regular ground turkey.
- Egg. For its moisture and binding ability.
- Plain breadcrumbs. You can use either dried breadcrumbs purchased from the store (just check the ingredient label!) or homemade breadcrumbs, freshly ground or from your freezer.
- Garlic powder.
- Seasoning. Feel free to use your favorite seasoning blend here. I typically either use season salt or Creole seasoning. If your seasoning blend doesn't contain any salt, however, you'll probably want to add ¼ to ½ teaspoon fine salt to your meatloaf mix to make up for it.
- Barbecue sauce. Choose a barbecue sauce that you enjoy the flavor of, whether smoky or spicy or sweet. I either use my Homemade BBQ Sauce or a combo of store-bought spicy Texas and smoky-sweet Kansas City barbecue sauces.
- Salsa. For a bit of spice, this recipe incorporates some salsa as well as barbecue sauce. Use a salsa that's as mild or hot as you like! I prefer using a smooth, pureed, restaurant-style salsa, as opposed to a chunky, picante sauce-type one.
- Worcestershire sauce. For added depth of flavor.
How to Make Meatloaf Muffins
(The below photos are intended to be helpful, but please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for FULL DIRECTIONS.)
- Preheat oven to 450°F, spray a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and, if desired, line a baking sheet with foil. This last step will make clean-up easier if your meatloaf muffins decide to bubble over while cooking.
- Make the glaze. In a 1-cup measuring cup, measure out the BBQ sauce, salsa, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Make the meatloaf mix. In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, half of the glaze mixture, the egg, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and seasoning until well-combined.
- For equal-sized mini meatloaves, I like to smooth the top of the meat mixture and then use a butter knife to slice it into six equal "wedges" (like a pizza or a pie).
- Then I use a cookie-scoop to scoop up one section at a time, filling the scoop with the meat mixture.
- Release the scoop into the muffin pan, gently pressing the meat mixture into the pan.
- Spoon the reserved glaze onto the muffins, dividing it evenly between them.
- Place the muffin pan on your baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Lift the Meatloaf Muffins out of the pan and onto a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Serve warm.
Doubling the Recipe
As written, this recipe makes six meatloaf muffins which, depending on appetites, is three servings of 2 muffins each or four servings of 1 ½ muffins each.
When I first started making this Mini Meatloaf recipe, I had three very young children, so six meatloaf muffins were plenty for my whole family. But now that I have bigger kids with larger appetites, I simply double this recipe for a dozen meatloaf muffins.
Veggie Add-In Options
My family likes our Meatloaf Muffins relatively plain and simple (as opposed to chunky) when it comes to the texture.
That being said, y'all know that I'm a fan of sneaking in veggies every chance I get. So sometimes when I make meatloaf muffins, I work one cup of finely grated carrots, zucchini, or yellow squash into my ground beef mixture with great success.
Alternatively, you could finely chop (or toss into the food processor to mince) half an onion, a rib of celery, and/or a bell pepper and mix those into your Mini Meatloaf mix.
This recipe can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free plain breadcrumbs in place of the regular breadcrumbs, whether store-bought dried GF breadcrumbs or fresh homemade breadcrumbs made with GF bread.
Recommended Muffin Pan
I prefer baking meatloaf muffins in a ceramic muffin pan. I don't have to worry about scratching it if I use a knife to loosen a mini meatloaf from the pan. This type of pan is also easy to soak and clean -- or even pop in the dishwasher -- without worrying about rusting.
That being said, this recipe will work just fine using a regular metal muffin tin!
I have not tried making it in a silicone muffin pan.
Make-Ahead Meatloaf Muffins
Up to 3 Days Ahead of Time:
- Mix up the glaze.
- Mix up the ground beef mixture.
- Tightly cover both and refrigerate for up to three days.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven, scoop the meat mixture into a muffin pan, and follow the recipe from there.
Up to 3 Months Ahead of Time:
- Mix up the glaze and transfer to a freezer-thickness, zip-top plastic bag. Squeeze out the air, flatten and seal, then freeze flat.
- Mix up the ground beef mixture. Divide into six large meatballs, flash freeze on a baking sheet for a couple of hours, and then transfer to a freezer-thickness, zip-top plastic bag. Squeeze out the air, seal, and freeze for up to three months.
- The night before you're ready to bake, transfer the meatballs into a muffin pan, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to thaw. Thaw the baggie of glaze in the fridge at the same time.
- Once the meatballs are thawed, preheat the oven, press the meatballs down into the muffin pan, glaze, and follow the recipe from there.
Freezing Cooked Mini Meatloaves
If you find yourself with leftovers -- or you'd like to bake up a double-batch of meatloaf muffins -- cooked meatloaf freezes beautifully as well.
Simply pop the cooked/drained/cooled meatloaf muffins into a freezer-safe container or bag, squeeze out excess air (if applicable), and freeze for up to three months. (If the muffins are delicate and not holding together, you can first flash freeze them on a baking sheet for a couple of hours before transferring them to a freezer bag.)
Thaw completely in the refrigerator before reheating.
One option is to reheat individual servings in the microwave.
Or you can place the thawed mini meatloaves back in a muffin pan, cover with foil, and heat in a preheated 250°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.
So there you have it!
A simple, speedy, yummy dinner for hectic nights! Add some mashed potatoes and frozen veggies -- or a side of Baked Seasoned Fries -- and you've got simple comfort food bliss! This Mini Meatloaf recipe will not only be well-received by your hungry family, but it will also be requested time and time again.
It's quick to make...quick to cook...and even quicker to disappear. 🙂
More Mini Meatloaf Muffins
Mini Meatloaf Muffins
For the Mini Meatloaf Mix:
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 egg
- ⅔ cup plain bread crumbs
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt OR Creole seasoning
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil (if desired, for easy clean-up). Spray a six-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and set on top of the baking sheet.
Make the Glaze:
- Into a 1-cup measuring cup, measure out the barbecue sauce, salsa, and Worcestershire sauce; stir well. (Half of this mixture will be used in the meatloaf mixture and half will be reserved for the glaze.)
Make the Meatloaf Mixture:
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, half of the glaze mixture, the egg, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and seasoned salt/Creole seasoning.
Form & Bake:
- Evenly divide the meat mixture into the six muffin cups, pressing and smoothing the tops of the mounds into the pan. Carefully divide and spoon the remaining glaze mixture over the meatloaf muffins.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until each Mini Meatloaf is cooked through.
- Use a thin spatula or knife to loosen the edges of each meatloaf muffin, then use a spoon to help lift them out of the pan. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and serve warm.
- Nutrition information calculated for 1 Mini Meatloaf Muffin.
- The baking sheet under the muffin pan is to prevent any potential overflow of grease or glaze from making a mess on the bottom of your oven.
- You may use ground turkey in place of ground beef, but be sure it's regular ground turkey (dark meat or a blend)...not straight ground turkey breast, which can get too dry.
- You may add 1 cup of finely minced/grated veggies (carrots, zucchini onions, celery, bell peppers) to the meat mixture, if you wish.
- In the meatloaf mix, you can use seasoned salt, Creole seasoning, or whatever your favorite seasoning blend may be. If your seasoning blend doesn't already contain salt, however, consider adding ¼ to ½ teaspoon additional salt to the meat mixture.
- This recipe feeds a small family, but you'll want to double it for a large family. I double this recipe for 12 meatloaf muffins to feed my family of five (with a bit of leftovers).
- For equal-sized mini meatloaves, smooth the top of the meatloaf mix in the bowl and use a butter knife to slice it into six equal "wedges" (like a pizza or a pie). Then use your hands or a cookie-scoop to scoop up one section at a time.
Originally posted on August 19, 2013, and updated on February 7, 2022.