Crockpot Meatloaf

Crockpot Meatloaf

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 18 mins
Cook: 8 hrs
Rest Time: 10 mins
Total: 8 hrs 28 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 meatloaf (8 slices)
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
414 Calories
22g Fat
17g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 414
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 149mg 50%
Sodium 868mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 99mg 8%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 602mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Meatloaf is an easy weeknight meal, but the long baking time may not always fit into a busy schedule. Preparing it in a slow cooker, however, allows you to make the meatloaf ahead of time and have a delicious meal on the table when ready to eat. In addition, when meatloaf is prepared in the crockpot, the end result is even moister than when it is made in the oven.

You can mix the ingredients in the morning and set the slow cooker to low, or ready the meatloaf a couple of hours before mealtime and cook on high. Serve this crockpot meatloaf with classic mashed potatoes and green beans or your choice of vegetable side dishes.

"This meatloaf was excellent. I would probably use less mustard in the glaze next time, but we loved the flavor of the loaf. The slow cooker was a great way to cook it, especially if you want to use the oven to bake some potatoes or a casserole. I cooked mine for about 2 1/2 hours on the high setting and it was perfectly done." —Diana Rattray

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Ingredients

For the Meatloaf:

  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion

  • 3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

For the Glaze:

  • 1/3 cup ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Crockpot Meatloaf

    Kristina Vanni

  2. Line the insert of a slow cooker with aluminum foil, leaving at least 2 inches of overhang.

    Crockpot Meatloaf

    Kristina Vanni

  3. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, onion, dry breadcrumbs, milk, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Use your hands to mix them together until everything is evenly distributed. Do not overwork.

    Crockpot Meatloaf

    Kristina Vanni

  4. Turn the mixture into the foil-lined slow cooker and shape it into an oval.

    Crockpot Meatloaf

    Kristina Vanni

  5. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard.

    Crockpot Meatloaf

    Kristina Vanni

  6. Spoon the glaze over the meatloaf, spreading to coat evenly. Tuck the overhang of the foil into the slow cooker so that it doesn't obstruct the lid and place the lid on top. Cook on the high setting for 2 to 3 hours or on the low setting for 6 to 8 hours. The meatloaf is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 160 F.

    Crockpot Meatloaf

    Kristina Vanni

  7. When the meatloaf is done, use the foil overhang to lift it out of the slow cooker; carefully drain off the rendered fat. Place the meatloaf on a rimmed baking sheet or cutting board to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

    Crockpot Meatloaf

    Kristina Vanni

  8. Serve with your choice of side dishes and enjoy.

Tips

  • When making meatloaf, do not overmix or overwork the meat, otherwise, the final product can become tough and dry.
  • The aluminum foil is not required, but it will make it much easier to get the meatloaf out of the slow cooker.
  • A food thermometer is the best way to tell if the meatloaf is done. Insert a reliable thermometer into the thickest part of the loaf. The minimum safe temperature for ground meat (e.g., beef, pork, lamb) is 160 F.

Recipe Variations

  • Meatloaf is an easy way to hide vegetables, perfect for those picky eaters. Add about 1/4 cup or more of finely shredded or grated carrot or some finely chopped bell pepper.
  • Instead of the glaze mixture, use plain ketchup or your favorite purchased barbecue sauce.
  • For a dairy-free meatloaf, replace the milk with tomato juice or broth.
  • Meatloaf recipes typically call for some sort of filler to help keep the texture of the meatloaf light and to help retain the moisture of the meatloaf so it doesn't become dry. For this recipe, you can swap the dry breadcrumbs for cracker crumbs, if desired.

How to Freeze

Meatloaf leftovers freeze well and can be reheated for a wholesome and delicious meal later on.

  • Once the meatloaf is fully cooked, allow it to cool completely. Then slice and wrap individual pieces in plastic wrap. Place in a zip-top bag or freezer-safe container and be sure to clearly label with the name of the recipe and the date frozen. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to reheat frozen meatloaf, thaw the individual piece or pieces overnight in the refrigerator. Place on a microwave-safe plate and heat in the microwave until warmed through.

What Fat Content Is Best for Meatloaf?

For a juicy, flavorful meatloaf, a ratio of 73/27 to 80/20 (lean meat/fat) is typically recommended. Leaner ground beef will produce a less flavorful, dry loaf that will not hold together well. If your ground beef is lean, reduce the amount and add some fattier ground pork.

Why Do You Add Milk to Meatloaf?

Milk is a common ingredient in meatloaf recipes because it helps keep the mixture moist by soaking the breadcrumbs. You can use other types of liquid, if you prefer, such as stock, water, or any non-dairy options.