Easy Meatloaf Recipe

Say what you may about meatloaf, but it truly is an easy and filling dish. But what if I told you that it could be easier? Usually, meatloaf takes some early prep, due to the amount of time it takes to cook. However, My Easy Meatloaf Recipe can have dinner on the table from start to finish in 30 minutes!

Here we see the finished easy meatloaf recipe baked to perfection and served with mashed potatoes.

Easy Meatloaf Recipe

It doesn’t get much better than comfort food on a busy evening, does it?

When it comes to comfort food, you may roll your eyes, but meatloaf is definitely on the list.

Whether it’s made with ground beef or ground turkey, ketchup or Worcestershire sauce, everyone has their own version, often passed down for generations. 

Meatloaf is a hearty, dense dish made from meat, veggies, and usually a binding filler such as breadcrumbs or oats.

The combination of ingredients is completely up to you! Create a meatloaf that your whole family will enjoy, based on everyone’s likes and dislikes.

A close shot of the whole batch of easy meatloaf recipe made in muffin cups!

One of the reasons people shy away from making meatloaf is the amount of time it takes to cook.

But what if I said there was a version of meatloaf that can be on the table in 30 minutes? Yes, you read that right. 

Instead of using a large loaf pan, which is the reason for the long cook time, try using muffin pans or miniature loaf pans.

Not only will you cut the cooking time in half, but you’ll also be able to make individual portions that are easy to serve, and let’s face it, pretty cute.

The ingredients for easy meatloaf recipe laid out before we begin cooking.

Ingredients for Easy Meatloaf Recipe 

  • Meat: You’ll want some meat with fat in it, but not an overabundance of fat. This helps maintain some moisture to keep your meatloaf juicy, but not swimming in grease. Any ground meat will do, but keep in mind, beef will have a bit more flavor than, say, ground turkey, so be sure to season well if you venture away from beef.
  • Filler: Most meatloaf recipes include a filler or binding agent. Whether it’s to make sure your meatloaf stretches or for texture, fillers really do contribute to making a meatloaf taste great and stay in one piece. Traditional filler ideas include breadcrumbs or oats, but to keep this dish lower carb I ofter use ground pork rinds. You can use your imagination and use whatever you have on hand. Just make sure you follow the recipe and don’t skimp on the binding ingredients, otherwise, your meatloaf will fall apart.
  • Meatloaf Seasoning: Without seasoning, meatloaf would probably come across a little bland. Just like hamburgers taste better with proper seasoning, meatloaf needs a little pick-me-up, too!

Garlic and onion are always a good jumping-off point. From there, any seasonings will do. You may have special beef seasonings that you use for grilling that could contribute some tasty flavors, or you can use the spices you have on-hand.

After picking spices, decide if you’d like barbecue sauce, ketchup and/or Worcestershire sauce include in the mixture and to top it off halfway through cooking.

Personally, I love bottled Stubbs barbecue sauce for that added kick and the brand G Hughes sugar free sauce when I want to lower my carbohydrates.

A top down look at the batch of mashed potatoes and the finished result of our how long do you bake meatloaf tutorial.

How to Make Meatloaf 

If you want a meal to get your kids involved in making, meatloaf should be your jam.

You practically toss all the ingredients together, mix it up (using your hands, which is why kids love it!) but only until combined or your loaf will be too dense.

Then press the meat mixture directly into the muffin tins or mini loaf pans.

Definitely some kid-friendly prep!

Sides to Serve and Variations to Try

Side dishes for meatloaf are pretty simple. Mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower are always a hit, truly hitting all the comfort food columns, and a vegetable will round out your food groups.

Your vegetable options are abundant, but some tasty options include roasted asparagus or Brussel sprouts, green beans, or even a light salad.

If you need to switch it up a little, you can put a side dish directly in your meatloaf! Try adding a layer of filling in the middle.

Some favorites include leftover potatoes or even macaroni and cheese. You can take comfort food to a whole new level!

To add a layer of filling, just put the meat mixture in the bottom 1/3 of the muffin tin, add your filler, then top with more meat! Super simple, plus it adds a special surprise to your meatloaf that is sure to make it a hit.

Here we see a serving of the meatloaf with great meatloaf seasoning on a plate ready to eat.

How Long Do You Bake Meatloaf?

The next time you want to make meatloaf, you may be wondering how long to bake it.

Well, my recipe will have your meatloaf on the table after 20 minutes. It’s quite amazing how you can make meatloaf so quickly with the right recipe! 

Check out my “mock” mashed potato recipe with cauliflower! It’s a delicious new family favorite!  Using Cauliflower instead of potatoes!!

A horizontal view of a serving of the finished easy meatloaf recipe with tasty meatloaf seasoning.
A close up view of a bite of the finished tutorial for how to make meatloaf.

Easy Meatloaf Recipe

Looking for a easy way to cook meatloaf? Cook it in muffin pans and you're meal will be ready in 20 minutes!
4.58 from 45 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef, dinner, meatloaf, muffin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 559kcal
Author: Sandra Shaffer


  • 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup bread crumbs old fashioned rolled oats or ground pork rinds for low carb version
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 cups your favorite prepared barbecue sauce


  • Pre-heat over to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine beef, onion, garlic, bread or oats, milk, egg and seasonings. Mix well.
  • Add barbecue sauce and mix thoroughly.
  • Form meat into muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes top with bbq sauce if you would like.



Layer some mock mashed potatoes in between each meatloaf muffin. To add a layer of mashed potatoes or mac ‘n cheese, place meat on the bottom 1/3 of the pan, layer with your cooked filling, and top with more meat.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 559kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 146mg | Sodium: 1102mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g


Please note that the nutritional information provided are guidelines and may vary based on the brand of products used. For your specific nutritional goals use My Fitness Pal or Verywell Fit recipe calculators. All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise.

This post was first published June, 2013. I have since updated photos and added new content June, 2020.


20 minute meatloaf recipe! Cut the time it takes to cook this classic comfort food dish by baking the meatloaf in muffin tins! Delicious and great idea for meal prepping. #comfortfood #healthyrecipe
Hugs Sandra Signature

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    1. Hi Aiko, the egg helps with binding the ingredients, so unless you forgot to add it, the only thing I can think of is that you didn’t let it cool long enough before removing them from the pan.

  1. The mini size was so perfect now that it is just my husband and me at home. We froze some for another meal and they make a great lunch too!

  2. Now that we are empty nesters, I’m always on the look out for recipes that will prepare several meals for us but are freezable. These were not only easy, but delicious and I fear we didn’t freeze as many as I’d hoped!

  3. I love the idea of muffin pan meatloaf because it makes it easier to pack lunches for leftovers! And normally they dry out quickly but these are so moist!!

  4. I hadn’t made meatloaf in ages, so I gave this a try. Made it in smaller loaves so everyone could take what they wanted. Easy to make and the family loved it! I used the oats, but mom always used instant potato flakes in hers. I might try that next.

  5. I don’t know about the cauliflower thing but if it stands up to the reviews it’s a “Gotta Try” recipe

  6. These little muffin tin meatballs look awesome!! I love the idea of small bite size portions. Seems like they would be great for on the go as well as pot lucks. Will give them a go on Sunday, thanks!