Everything tastes better in miniature form! And meatloaf is no exception. These cute little meatloaf muffins are irresistible to kids – big and small. And they bake in 20 minutes compared to about 1 hour for traditional meat loafs. I piped the mashed potato on for the photo but ordinarily I just pile it on then fluff it up with a fork – much faster!
“One of the reasons I like these is that they cook in around 20 minutes, compared to a full size meatloaf which usually takes around 1 hour.”
I really love meatloaf. But I find that to make a really good one, you need to make it big so you need to use at least 750g – 1kg /1.5 – 2 lb of mince. That is ALOT of meat! It is way too much for a family for one meal (unless you have an extraordinarily large one!). And to be honest, I am not the hugest fan of reheated slices of meatloaf. I don’t know why, but to me, meatloaf is one of those things that is sensational eaten fresh, then OK-ish the next day. Am I just fussy?
So one of the reasons I started making meatloaf in muffin tins is because they are great individual size portions. Because each “cupcake” is browned on the outside, I find that they reheat much better than slices of a large meatloaf.
“I piped the mashed potato on to make it look pretty for the photo. But ordinarily I just pile it on with a spoon then use a fork to fluff it up.”
The other reason I like making cupcake size meat loafs is because they cook much faster. A large meatloaf typically takes close to 1 hour to bake, whereas these little ones take around 20 – 25 minutes.
The added bonus is that kids find these irresistible! OK, so I admit it, part of the reason these look so cute is because I went to the effort of piping the mashed potato on. And no, I would not do that ordinarily! Usually I just pile the mashed potato on, then fluff it up with a fork.
“You can easily increase the amount of hidden vegetables in this.”
You can bake these after putting the mashed potato on if you want. The mashed potato will brown nicely, like in these Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins. However, I am partial to the mashed potato being soft and fluffy for this particular recipe, without a crunchy skin.
The other tip is to increase the hidden vegetables. I only added grated carrots (and onion which is part of the base recipe), but you can add whatever shredded or grated vegetables you want. Shredded cabbage and spinach suits this well, as does grated zucchini. The mince mixture is quite wet and sticky so it will be able to absorb a decent amount of extra vegetables and still hold together – 2 to 3 cups. If it does start to crumble, just add a squidge of extra tomato sauce and/or an egg to bind it.
These freeze really well. Once they have cooled, the mashed potato forms a thin skin so you can wrap them in cling wrap and it won’t stick to the potato. They also last well in the fridge for up to 2 days (probably 3, but I like to be cautious).
Love to hear if you give this a go! If you have any questions, just leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond!
- 1 lb / 500g beef mince (ground beef)
- 1 onion, grated (brown, white or yellow)
- 2 small carrots, grated
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup tomato ketchup (or tomato sauce)
- 1 cup panko (or breadcrumbs)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large or 3 medium potatoes
- 1 tbsp butter (optional)
- ½ - 1 cup milk
- Tomato ketchup or sauce
- Parsley, finely chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
- Spray 8 holes of a muffin tin.
- Grate the onion and carrot straight into a large bowl.
- Add remaining meatloaf ingredients and use your hands to mix and combine well.
- Scoop up ½ cup of mince and use your hands to form a rough ball shape. Press into the muffin tin. The surface should be a slight dome shape.
- Repeat with remaining mince. It should make about 8.
- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until browned on top. Remove from oven.
- Peel and dice the potato. Steam or boil until soft but not waterlogged.
- Drain, then add butter and ½ cup of milk. Mash using a potato masher until smooth or to your liking. Add extra milk if you need it. The mash needs to be creamy but stiff enough to hold its shape when piped or piled onto the Meatloaf Cupcakes.
- Smear a dollop of tomato ketchup on the Meatloaf Cupcakes.
- Top with mashed potato, either by piping it or just dolloping it on with a spoon.
- Serve with a sprinkle of parsley, if using.
2. To freeze, let the cupcakes cool then a fine skin will form on the mashed potato so the cling wrap won't stick to it. Wrap in cling wrap and place in freezer. To reheat, thaw then reheat in the microwave or oven.