Where did meatloaf get such a bad reputation? It’s AMAZING! It’s like a big fluffy burger without the bun. Comfort food at its finest. What’s not to like? On it’s own, with ketchup, in a sandwich, with gravy… there are so many possibilities for such a simple supper.
And when the meatloaf is made mini, it’s extra amazing. Why?
- Not only do they taste amazing, they are also so adorable!
- They are extremely quick and easy- with only 5 minutes of prep time (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
- They can be made in bulk and frozen individually for really easy future meals
- Because they are small, they take half the cooking time of traditional meatloaf (only 25 minutes!)
- Meatloaf is already an inexpensive meal to make, and by making the mini loaves, it’s a little easier to make it go a bit further (and prevent you from going in for too many helpings).
- It’s only 5 ingredients besides salt and pepper!
Have I convinced you yet?
Seriously, this has to be one of the most easy, simple things I’ve cooked in quite some time. And, you know me… I LOVE quick and easy*, especially with my busy schedule. I made mine in bulk with two pounds of ground beef (my grocery store has a delicious grass-fed brand that’s under $5 a pound, so I stocked up), which yields eight mini meatloaves. That’s four (FOUR!) dinners for me and Zach. In only 5 minutes of prep, and for about $10 total. The cost to benefit ratio here is outrageous!
You can make meatloaf with either breadcrumbs or oats. Since I usually make my own breadcrumbs by putting whole wheat bread in a food processor (to avoid the extra scary ingredients in most breadcrumbs), I opted for the quicker and easier option of oats this time.
This is simply a mixture of ground beef, eggs, oats, salt, pepper, and a little soy sauce and hot sauce for an extra boost of flavor.
The mixture is divided into eight parts (originally, I did six, which you can do if you have a big appetite. We wanted ours a little smaller next time) and formed into small loaves, with some individually wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for later.
When you are ready to bake, place in a buttered baking dish (I have this one by Pyrex, pictured in the photos. It’s the perfect size for me and Zach and has a lid, so I can defrost the meatloaves covered in the fridge and just place them in the oven when I get home!), and add ketchup or barbecue sauce to top it off.
Or, add nothing! It’s delicious plain as well :-) Enjoy!
- Combine all ingredients except for ketchup/barbecue sauce in a large bowl.
- Mix well- for best results, use hands.
- Divide the mixture into eight parts and form them into loaf shapes.
- If not cooking right away, follow directions in recipe notes to freeze/store them.
- Place loaves in a buttered baking dish and spread ketchup or barbecue sauce on top, if desired. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
- This recipe is for a bulk batch of mini meatloaves. You can cut it in half, if you want to!
- Make-ahead / freezer directions: After all the loaves have been formed, wrap the ones you don't want to cook right away like burritos in plastic wrap. They can be kept in the fridge for a few days until you are ready to cook, or freezer for up to 6 months. Before cooking, make sure you defrost in the fridge for at least 24 hours to fully unfreeze the meat, otherwise you risk overcooking the outside and undercooking the inside.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.