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Air Fryer Meatloaf

This Air Fryer Meatloaf recipe makes a family favorite in only 30 minutes with a short list of simple ingredients, including ground beef, savory seasonings, breadcrumbs -and a sweet and tangy umami-forward glaze that sets it apart from any meatloaf you’ve had in the past. It’s seriously SO good!

sliced meatloaf in the air fryer

Ma, the meatloaf! This classic all-American comfort food is made with ground meat, binders and fillers (like breadcrumbs and eggs), and other flavor-enhancing ingredients. It’s traditionally formed into a loaf shape and then baked in the oven -that is, until the air fryer came along!

With these step-by-step instructions and an air fryer (like a Ninja Foodi or Power XL), you’ll “bake” the perfect ground beef meatloaf. It has a gorgeous glaze crusted over the surface and a moist, melt-in-your-mouth middle.

This new and improved meatloaf-making method works because the surface begins to brown the moment it touches the hot air fryer basket. The continuous circumventing heat ensures the center stays moist and juicy.

The best part? There’s no wrong way to flavor a meatloaf, so the seasoning options are truly endless. You can even make this air fryer meatloaf gluten-free, paleo, Whole30, and keto with minor modifications.

I love that this air fryer meatloaf pairs perfectly with practically any potato and vegetable side; mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, peas & mushrooms, green beans -anything goes!

Why Make Meatloaf In The Air Fryer?

  • It’s done in 30 minutes, so it’s quicker than baking in the oven, and clean-up is a breeze.
  • All sides of the loaf get browned, so the glaze encrusts beautifully all over the surface.
  • You can make mini meatloaves!
  • The excess fat drips to the bottom, resulting in meatloaf with less fat but all of the flavor.
  • The meatloaf ingredients are flexible. As for customization possibilities, the sky is the limit.

🧾 Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Ground beef – I recommend lean ground beef with a ratio of 85% meat to 15% fat. Ground chuck has the perfect proportion of fat to meat, resulting in a juicy, never greasy meatloaf.
  • Minced onion & garlic – Gives the meat a delicious savory flavor. I used dried seasonings, but feel free to use fresh, finely minced onion and garlic.
  • Salt & black pepper – Balances the meaty, savory, and umami flavors.
  • Worchestershire sauce – Enhances and enriches the meat mixture with a dynamic and delicious blend of flavors. You can also use steak sauce.
  • Breadcrumbs – Plain or seasoned breadcrumbs are the filler ingredient that brings it all together. Feel free to use gluten-free breadcrumbs here.
  • Egg – The proteins and moisture from an egg bind everything together, creating a tender but sturdy meatloaf that will hold its shape as it cooks.
  • Meatloaf glaze – A simple mixture of ketchup, brown sugar, and Worchestershire (or steak sauce) makes the BEST tangy, sweet, and sticky topping.

🥣 How To Make Meatloaf In Air Fryer

1️⃣ Prep equipment. Program your air fryer temperature to 350°F, and let it preheat for 3-5 minutes.

2️⃣ Mix and shape into a loaf. Meanwhile, add the ground beef, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, Worchestershire sauce, egg, salt, and pepper to a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix until the ingredients are incorporated (without overworking). Then form the meat mixture into a loaf shape using your hands.

3️⃣ Cook. Place the meatloaf on a piece of parchment paper (for easy removal) and place it in the preheated air fryer basket. Set the timer for 30 minutes.

4️⃣ Brush with glaze. While the meatloaf cooks, make the glaze by combining ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire. Once the timer reaches the 15-minute mark, brush the glaze over the surface of the loaf.

5️⃣ Finish cooking. Continue cooking for the remaining 15 minutes or until the meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

6️⃣ Rest and serve. Remove the meatloaf from the air fryer and let it stand for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving with your favorite side dishes.

👩🏻‍🍳 No air fryer? No problem. An oven is always an option. Baking the meatloaf for about 45 minutes at 350°F should do the trick.

🗨 Recipe Tips

  • Parchment VS. silicone loaf pan – As long as the parchment paper doesn’t touch any heating elements, using it for cooking meatloaf keeps it from sticking, makes it easier to handle, and allows the loaf to brown on all sides. Of course, you can use a silicone loaf pan instead, but only if it will fit in the basket without coming in contact with the heating element.
  • Catch drippings with foil – You can safely use foil to line the space UNDER the air fryer basket, making clean-up easier, but only if the foil cannot come in contact with any heating element.
  • Don’t forget to preheat – The surface begins to cook immediately, making a nice browned layer on the exterior.
  • Use tongs – Be very careful placing the loaf in the preheated basket -it will be HOT. Use tongs, not your hands, to handle it.
  • Check for doneness – Meatloaf is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Feel free to use a kitchen thermometer for precision.
  • Let it rest – Letting your meatloaf loaf rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing allows the loaf to re=absorb all of the juices. Don’t skip this step!

🦃 Variations

Ground meat – I used ground beef, but you can use any ground meat you like. Try ground turkey or ground chicken -or make your meatloaf with a mixture of meats—for instance, ground beef, ground veal, and ground pork sausage.

Seasonings – You can deepen the savory flavors with oregano, thyme, sage, basil, and parsley -or use Italian seasoning. Likewise, you can add some ground mustard (or Dijon), smoked paprika, or marjoram.

Glaze – Get creative with the glaze formula. Barbecue, sweet chili, Heinz 57, and teriyaki sauce are fun options.

Mini meatloaves – To make mins, use about a 1/2 cup of the meat mixture per loaf and cook for less time.

Paleo/Whole30 – To adapt this recipe, use coconut aminos instead of Worchestershire and almond flour instead of breadcrumbs. As for the glaze, omit the brown sugar and Worchestershire, and make a glaze with compliant ketchup or barbecue sauce.

Low Carb/Keto – Use crushed pork rinds instead of bread crumbs and a sugar-free ketchup or barbecue sauce for the glaze.

🧊 Storage

How To Store Leftover Meatloaf: If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can reheat leftovers in the microwave or pop them back into the air fryer.

How To Reheat Meatloaf In The Air Fryer: Line the air fryer basket with parchment paper, ensuring it isn’t touching any heating elements. Spray both sides of a slice of meatloaf with cooking spray, then place it on top. Reheat at 350°F for about 5 minutes or until heated through.

FAQ

Can you freeze cooked meatloaf?

Yes, so consider cooking one to enjoy immediately and one to freeze for later! Let the loaf cool completely to room temperature, then freeze it in a covered airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag for 3-4 months.

What’s the best type of beef to use for meatloaf?

Ground chuck is ideal, and 80/20 is the perfect meat-to-fat ratio. As a result, the meatloaf firms up during the cooking process yet stays moist and juicy.

Do you cook meatloaf covered or uncovered?

Meatloaf is perfectly fine to cook uncovered, but if you notice the top is browning too quickly, you can cover it loosely with foil to slow things down.

How do I keep the meatloaf from drying out?

The secret to moist meatloaf is using ingredients that add flavor and moisture, so don’t skip eggs, Worcestershire, or the glaze. Other wet ingredients like tomato paste, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and soy sauce keep the meatloaf from drying out while adding flavor.

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sliced meatloaf in the air fryer

Air Fryer Meatloaf

Cooking meatloaf in the air fryer makes a mouthwatering loaf in a fraction of the time, and clean-up is a breeze! This new and improved meatloaf-making method comes together with a short list of simple ingredients in 30 minutes. It's finished with a tangy, umami-forward glaze, setting it apart from any meatloaf you've had in the past. Enjoy!
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 492kcal

Equipment

  • air fryer
  • large mixing bowl
  • small mixing bowl
  • Parchment Paper

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef 85/15
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs plain or seasoned
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce or steak sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For the glaze:

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce or steak sauce

Instructions

  • Program the air fryer temperature to 350°F, and let it preheat for 3-5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the ground beef, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, Worchestershire sauce, egg, salt, and pepper to a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix until the ingredients are incorporated (without overworking). Then mold the meat mixture into a loaf shape using your hands.
  • Place the meatloaf on a piece of parchment paper for easy handling, and place it in the preheated air fryer basket. Set the timer for 30 minutes.
  • While the meatloaf cooks, add the glaze ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Then, once the cooking time reaches the 15-minute mark, brush the glaze over top of the meatloaf.
  • Continue to cook for the remaining 15 minutes or until the meatloaf reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Remove the meatloaf from the air fryer and let it stand for 5 minutes before slicing and serving with your favorite side dishes.

Nutrition

Calories: 492kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 1135mg | Potassium: 482mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 160IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 4mg

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