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Mini Meatloaf

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This Mini Meatloaf is tender, juicy, covered in a sweet and tangy sauce, and comes in a perfect portion size! It is the ultimate comfort food for any day of the week and gets rave reviews every time I serve it. Definitely the best ever mini meatloaf recipe.


main image for recipe of 3 mini meatloaf muffins.


Meatloaf isn’t the most glamorous dish. But when you serve up a mini meatloaf covered in a red, sweet glaze, who can resist that? My three year old likes to call the glaze her candy sauce. Because it’s that good.

I love the faster cooking time. Cooking regular sized meatloaf takes a while to make sure it’s cooked through. But when you make them mini meatloaf muffins, they cook ever so much faster.

I also love the flavor of this mini meatloaf recipe! Have you ever had a meatloaf that tasted like a bland hamburger? That is not this meatloaf.

It is packed with sweet, tangy, and a hearty meat flavor that makes you want to come back again and again.

The mini meatloaf’s are so easy to prepare. No need to precook any vegetables. They actually make a wonderful pre-made meal. Make them ahead of time. Freeze them. Eat when you’re ready. Perfect!


ketchup, brown sugar and lemon juice in a bowl.


Ingredients in Mini Meatloaf

  • Ketchup: Chiefly made from tomatoes and vinegar the ketchup will be used both in the meatloaf and in the glaze.
  • Brown Sugar: This is probably what makes my three year old call the glaze a candy sauce. Who can resist a glaze with brown sugar.
  • Lemon Juice: Most often I like getting lemon juice fresh from the lemons instead of from a bottle. I think it adds a lot of flavor to most dishes. However, bottled juice works great too.
  • Powdered Mustard: I prefer powdered mustard so as not to make the meatloaf too wet. 
  • Ground Beef: The main staple to this recipe.
  • Bread Crumbs: If you don’t have bread crumbs or want to try a more low carb version, use saltine crackers instead.
  • Onion: The onion doesn’t need to be precooked. 
  • Egg: The egg holds it all together. Without eggs the meatloaf would just fall apart. 
  • Beef Bouillon Granules: I love adding bouillon granules as they are so easy to toss in and pack a lot of flavor. You could also substitute for beef bone broth concentrate.

Pro Tip: Lean meat is more likely to dry out than fatter meats. I recommend using between 80-90% lean but no higher than that so your meatloaf will stay extra juicy.


ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, and bone broth with red sauce in a bowl ready to be mied.


How to Make Mini Meatloaf

  • Make Sauce: You’ll make the sauce first as a portion of it will be going into the meatloaf and another portion will be used to glaze the tops. 
  • Mix: Combine the ground beef, a portion of the ketchup mixture, and the rest of the ingredients. Plop them into your cupcake pan.
  • Cook: In order to turn the ketchup mixture into a glaze, it needs to be cooked with the meatloaf but it cannot be cooked the whole time or it’ll burn or may run off the sides with the amount of fat that will be coming out of the meatloaf muffins. Wait until the meatloaf is cooked through and then bake it at the end.

Pro Tip: The muffin tin meatloaf can be served right away. If you need to wait a little while, cover them with aluminum foil to keep them warm until you’re ready to eat.


meat all mixed together ready for muffin tin.


How Long To Cook Mini Meatloaf

While regular sized meatloaf takes about an hour to cook, mini meatloaf only takes half of that. Plan on 20 minutes for the meat to cook and another 10 for the glaze.


meat loaf pushed into a muffin tin pan.


How to Store Meatloaf

  1. Refrigerate: Keep them in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  2. Freeze: Don’t cook the mini meatloaves but follow the recipe up to that point. Place the raw meatloaves, pressed into the cupcake pan, into the freezer for 1 hour to flash freeze. Remove them from the freezer and place them in a freezer bag and back in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Pro Tip: Write the date and cooking instructions on the bag so you don’t need to look for the recipe when you are ready to eat them.


fresh baked mini meatloaf in pan


How to Cook Frozen Mini Meatloaf

Remove the uncooked mini meatloaves from the oven, pop them back into the muffin tins, and cook for 30- 40 minutes, until cooked through. Super simple.

You could also remove them from the oven, thaw them in the muffin tin overnight and then cook according to directions. Whichever one you find easiest, it’ll work either way.


mini meatloaf in pan with red sauce on top


Can I Use Cupcake Liners to Bake Mini Meatloaf?

I find that when you use cupcake liners to bake mini meatloaf the liners become totally saturated with grease and therefore not fun to pull off. And also really messy. You can use silicone muffin liners and those work great!


3 meatloaf muffins on a plate side view.


More Kid Friendly Ground Beef Recipes:


3 meatloaf muffins on a plate, top view


You are going to love eating mini meatloaf. Tender, sweet, and flavorsome, it is the perfect addition to your weeknight meal or for company. Kids can’t resist the fun portion sizes and neither can adults. Enjoy!


Yield: 15 muffin sized meatloafs

Mini Meatloaf

Top side view of meatloaf on a plate.

This Mini Meatloaf recipe is tender, juicy, covered in a sweet and tangy sauce, and comes in a perfect portion size! It is the ultimate comfort food.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, divided
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powdered
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs (or 3/4 sleeve of saltine crackers crushed for low carb version)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 teaspoon beef bullion granules (or 1 Tablespoon beef bone broth concentrate)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and mustard powder.
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine the ground beef, bread, onion, egg, bouillon granular, remaining lemon juice and 1/3 of the ketchup mixture from the small bowl.
  4. Mix well and place in cupcake pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes or until cooked through, drain any excess fat, coat with remaining ketchup mixture and bake for 10 more minutes.
Recipe adapted from All Recipes

Originally Posted: June 30, 2014

Photos & Text Updated: October 13, 2021

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Wednesday 13th of October 2021

These are so great for us "solo" people - ya know divorcees and widows? I did change the bouillion cube (has MSG in it) to 1 Tablespoon Better than Bouillion Beef Base (has no MSG) and I did add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash original Seasoning - just to add a bit of flavor. Also, salt and pepper to taste. What a great recipe. Thanks so much for posting it.


Monday 6th of February 2017

My kiddos LOVED this... we used Panko for the bread crumbs and added basil and oregano (1 tsp each) and stuffed them with a half slice of a mozzarella cheese stick! My family devoured them up! SO DELICIOUS!


Monday 6th of March 2017

Great ideas Kendra! Thank you so much!


Tuesday 4th of November 2014

Made your meatloaf recipe tonight!!!! AMAZING!!! Such a hit with my 7 year old son! I added minced garlic, kosher salt and pepper... Such a simple yummy recipe! Thank you! We will be making this again soon!

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