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Craving the comforting flavors of meatloaf but don’t want to make a whole loaf? This easy Mini Meatloaf recipe is the perfect solution. This individual meatloaf delivers all the classic flavors you love, without the leftovers.

If you’re a fan of meatloaf, don’t miss our variety of small batch options: Turkey Meatloaf, Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf, and Slow Cooker Meatloaf. Each recipe is perfectly portioned, ideal for one or two people to enjoy!

Why You’ll Love This Meatloaf Recipe

  • Flavorful: This recipe packs a punch with a blend of spices and a tangy glaze.
  • Quick to Prepare: No need to spend hours in the kitchen; this meatloaf comes together quickly.
  • Minimal Waste: Designed for one or two servings, so you won’t have to worry about leftovers.
  • Versatile: Serve it with a variety of sides to make a complete meal.
A forkful of meatloaf from a plate with mashed potatoes and a side salad.

Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this small meatloaf recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

  • Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is my go-to for its rich, authentic olive flavor and high nutrient content. It’s less processed than other types of olive oil, making it the highest quality option available. If you prefer a milder flavor, a light olive oil will work too.
  • Onions and garlic: These aromatic ingredients are essential for adding depth of flavor to the meatloaf. Don’t skip them; they make all the difference.
  • Seasonings: Dried thyme, salt, and black pepper are the simple yet effective seasonings in this recipe. They work together to enhance the natural flavors of the meat and vegetables.
  • Ground beef: This small meatloaf recipe calls for 6 ounces of ground beef. It’s the main protein source and offers a rich, meaty flavor. If you’ve got extra ground beef, consider using it in Taco Soup or Lasagna Rollups.
  • Worcestershire sauce: This sauce adds a complex, umami flavor that elevates the meatloaf to the next level.
  • Egg: A single large egg serves as the binding agent, helping to hold the meatloaf together while also adding flavor.
  • Breadcrumbs: Whether you use homemade breadcrumbs or store-bought, breadcrumbs provide the necessary structure to the meatloaf.
  • Ketchup and molasses: These ingredients combine to create a deliciously balanced sauce that adds both sweetness and tanginess to the dish.

This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why I used them. For the full recipe please scroll down to the recipe box at the bottom of the post.

Recipe Variations

This small meatloaf is a versatile dish that can be adapted to suit your taste buds. Whether you’re a fan of spicy foods or prefer a sweeter profile, there’s a variation for you.

  • Spicy: Add some chopped jalapeños or hot sauce.
  • Cheesy: Mix in some shredded cheddar or mozzarella.
  • BBQ Style: Use BBQ sauce instead of ketchup for the meatloaf glaze.
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What Is The Ideal Meat For Meatloaf?

Choosing the right type of meat is crucial for a juicy, flavorful meatloaf. While lean meats like ground chicken or turkey are healthier options, they can result in a dry meatloaf. To counteract this, you can mix lean meat with ground pork, which has a higher fat content, or opt for 80% lean ground beef. In my recipe, I typically use ground beef with a lean-to-fat ratio of 85-90%.

Pro Tip: When you see numbers like 80/20 or 90/10 on a package of ground beef, they indicate the percentage of lean meat to fat. The higher the first number, the leaner the meat.

Why Fat Matters

The fat content in the meat contributes to both the flavor and the texture of your meatloaf. A higher fat content will yield a juicier, more flavorful result. However, if you’re watching your fat intake, you can still achieve a moist meatloaf by adding moisture-retaining ingredients like grated zucchini or mushrooms.

How To Make Meatloaf

These step-by-step photos and instructions help you visualize how to make a meatloaf for one or two people. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Cook the vegetables: Season the onions and garlic with thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook them in a small skillet until the vegetables are soft.
onions, garlic, and seasonings in a small frying pan on a stove.
  1. Make the meatloaf: Place the ground meat in a medium-sized mixing bowl and pour in the cooked vegetables, Worcestershire sauce, egg, and breadcrumbs; mix until the ingredients are fully combined.
ground turkey, vegetables, egg, and breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl
  1. Place the meat into a small baking dish and shape the meat into an oval.
Uncooked meatloaf in a baking dish.
  1. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) oven for 30 minutes.
  1. Make The Sauce: After 30 minutes, remove the meatloaf from the oven and whisk together the ketchup and molasses. Spoon over the top of the meatloaf and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Pro Tip: The glaze is a game-changer for this mini meatloaf recipe. My go-to combination is ketchup and molasses, which creates a balanced sweet and tart flavor profile. If you’re a fan of sweeter sauces, you can easily increase the molasses quantity. On the other hand, if you lean towards tangier flavors, just reduce the molasses amount. Alternatively, barbecue sauce is a fantastic substitute that works well as a meatloaf topping. Feel free to swap it in for a different twist.

meatloaf in a small baking dish with a ketchup and molasses sauce being spooned over the top.
  1. Let the meatloaf rest: After baking, remove the meatloaf from the oven and cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil to allow the meatloaf to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Meatloaf topped with sauce in a small baking dish on a wooden trivet.

Expert Tips

  • Pre-cook the Veggies: Don’t skip sautéing the onions and garlic before mixing them into the ground meat. This extra step enhances both the flavor and moisture content of your meatloaf.
  • Space Matters: When baking, opt for a 5×5-inch baking dish or something slightly larger, even a small sheet pan will do. Allowing some room around the meatloaf aids in achieving those crave-worthy caramelized edges.
  • Rest and Relax: After pulling the meatloaf from the oven, let it rest for a few minutes. Cover it loosely with aluminum foil to keep it warm. This resting period helps the meatloaf firm up for easier slicing and ensures that all the tasty juices are locked in.

Serving Suggestions

Pair your mini meatloaf with sides that complement its rich flavors. From classic mashed potatoes to a light green salad, the options are endless.

Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions

Preparing Meatloaf in Advance

You can prepare the meatloaf mixture up to a day before you plan to bake it. Simply follow the recipe steps until you reach the point where you shape the meatloaf. Store the unshaped mixture in the fridge, and when you’re ready to bake, shape it into an oval and proceed with the baking instructions.

Freezing Unbaked Meatloaf

To freeze the meatloaf before baking, shape it into an oval as per the recipe. Wrap the shaped meatloaf in plastic wrap and then place it in a freezer-safe bag. You can store it in the freezer for up to one month. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before baking.

Freezing Baked Meatloaf

If you’ve already baked the meatloaf and want to freeze it for later, let it cool completely first. Wrap the cooled meatloaf in either foil or plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to one month.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal baking dish size for this mini meatloaf?

For optimal results, I recommend using a 4×6-inch baking dish with a base area of 24 square inches. Alternatively, a 5×5-inch dish with a 25-square-inch base area works well. The key is to choose a dish that gives the meatloaf some breathing room for better caramelization.
These baking dishes can be viewed on our Store page.
If you would like additional information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

Is ground turkey a good substitute for ground beef in meatloaf?

Absolutely, ground turkey can be used as a leaner alternative to ground beef. However, turkey tends to be less flavorful, so consider boosting the seasonings and Worcestershire sauce to compensate.

Can this recipe be scaled up?

Yes, you can easily double the ingredients for a larger meatloaf. If you do, extend the baking time to 40-45 minutes before adding the glaze. To ensure it’s fully cooked, use a digital instant-read meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C).

Slices of meatloaf topped with sauce in a small baking dish on a wooden trivet.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

If you’ve tried this mini meatloaf recipe or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

If you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!


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Mini Meatloaf Recipe

4.88 from 48 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Resting time: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Easy Mini Meatloaf recipe made with ground beef and topped with a sweet and tangy glaze. Enjoy a classic meatloaf flavors without leftovers.

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ounces chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs

For The Meatloaf Glaze

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon molasses

Instructions 

  • Heat oven to 350° F (177°C).
  • Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook for 2 minutes. 
  • Add in the chopped garlic, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for an additional minute. Remove skillet from the heat and set aside.
  • Place the ground beef in a medium-sized bowl. Pour the seasoned vegetables over the meat. Add in the Worcestershire sauce, the egg and the breadcrumbs. Using a large spoon, mix the meat and all of the ingredients together until fully combined. Shape into an oval and transfer to a lightly greased small baking dish.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the meatloaf from the oven and whisk together the ketchup and molasses in a small bowl. Spoon over the top of the meatloaf and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • After removing the meatloaf from the oven, cover with aluminum foil or a plate and let the meatloaf rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Video

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Pre-cook the Veggies: Don’t skip sautéing the onions and garlic before mixing them into the ground meat. This extra step enhances both the flavor and moisture content of your meatloaf.
  • Space Matters: When baking, opt for a 5×5-inch baking dish or something slightly larger, even a small sheet pan will do. Allowing some room around the meatloaf aids in achieving those crave-worthy caramelized edges.
  • Rest and Relax: After pulling the meatloaf from the oven, let it rest for a few minutes. Cover it loosely with aluminum foil to keep it warm. This resting period helps the meatloaf firm up for easier slicing and ensures that all the tasty juices are locked in.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 652kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 48g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 16g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 291mg, Sodium: 1595mg, Potassium: 1317mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 33g, Vitamin A: 582IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 171mg, Iron: 8mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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68 Comments

  1. OmG
    The best meatloaf I have ever had!!!
    Meatloaf was my staple after my son was born 31 years ago – I ate meatloaf every meal for a month!!
    BUT
    This is truly the best!!!
    Love and follow all the tips cause it works!
    My mum is 99 and it is super soft and moist and the sauce is killar!!!

  2. I might have goofed ( I multiplied by four because I wanted extra to freeze.) but mine came out a bit salty and a bit too peppery. Truly delish and the texture is wonderful. It’s almost creamy and without the noticeable ground beef “curds.” With all that meatloaf (4 batches) the next day, I rolled it into bite-sized pieces, coated each with potato starch, then whisked egg, and finally rolled them in panko. Then I sprayed the “meatloaf bites” with oil and air-fried at 350F for 18 mins turning once and respraying the oil. I served them as appetizers with ranch dressing and cocktail sauce. ‘Zero complaints from guests!

  3. Why 18 oz of ground beef? Why not use a pound? Much easier to buy. Everyone says it’s the best meatloaf they’ve ever had!

  4. Can i use crushed corn flakes or quick oats instead of bread crumbs which i don’t have at this time.

    Margaret. H.

    1. Yes. You can freeze meatloaf before or after baking. To freeze before baking: Mix the ingredients and form the loaf, then wrap it very well with plastic wrap and place it in an airtight freezer bag. Raw meatloaf should last up to 6 months. If the meat was frozen before you made the meatloaf, it may not be safe to refreeze. Only freeze meat that has not been already frozen and thawed. Thaw the unbaked frozen meatloaf in the refrigerator overnight before baking.
      To freeze meatloaf after baking: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the wrapping and reheat in a 350 F oven until heated through. Meatloaf can also be reheated in the microwave.

      1. It is perfectly safe to use food that has been frozen, thawed and refrozen. …even ground beef. You lose a bit of quality each time but no safety concerns.