Mini Meatloaf Recipe without Bread Crumbs

Meatloaf is one of those comfort foods that you eat with a scoop of mashed potatoes and a delicious salad. It is warm and flavorful and this mini version is perfect for serving a family or guests. The individual loaves makes this dish feel different and special.

I’ve always loved meatloaf and I remember my mom making this when I was a kid. I’ve had meatloaf other places and none holds a candle to this simple meatloaf recipe. Be sure to try it, even if you think you’re not a meatloaf kind of person. You might be surprised!

mini meatloaf with fried potatoes

This mini meatloaf recipe without bread crumbs requires one bowl to toss everything into and mix, plus a baking sheet. It really is that simple! Very little meal prep needed!

One way to make this a family affair is by letting the kiddos make their own loaf. My kids love being in the kitchen and this recipe is a perfect opportunity for them to get their hands dirty.

Making mini meatloaves allows me to customize the loaves for each person’s tastes. For example, I have two kiddos who prefer their meatloaves to be plain, while two others love having ketchup on top. The individual servings makes it easy for me to meet those needs, which makes this classic dish a family favorite.

meatloaf on a fork and potatoes

What is Meatloaf?

Meatloaf originally comes from Germany and the first place the recipe settled here in the states was Pennsylvania during colonial times.

They were told to combine whatever meat they had with a starch to stretch the meat as far as it could go. It was a comforting meal that used simple ingredients.

Now a days, we use bread crumbs, crackers, oats, or cornmeal to make meatloaf. It really is a simple and humble dish.

Why You’ll Love this Mini Meatloaf Recipe

This mini meatloaf recipe will become an instant favorite for your home because, as long as you have the meat thawed, it comes together in mere minutes and adds a flavorful punch to the table.

My husband was a self-proclaimed “non-meatloafer” until he married me. Now, he devours this recipe and your family will, too!

  • Comes together quickly– All you have to do is mix, form the loaves, and bake!
  • Variations– You can use what you have on hand to make substitutions
  • Leftovers- Meatloaf leftovers are delicious and just as good on day 2
  • Make Ahead– You can make the loaves, pop in the fridge, and cook when you need to!

Meatloaf without Bread Crumbs

Meatloaf is typically made using a breadcrumb of some sort. The starch helps hold the loaf together, paired with the egg.

If you don’t have breadcrumbs on hand, there is no need to worry. There are many substitutes for breadcrumbs and I actually don’t use breadcrumbs in my recipe!

You do need to use something as your binder, or else you will have a crumbly meatloaf as a final product.

Here are some alternatives to breadcrumbs for meatloaf:

  • Crackers
  • Oats
  • Cornmeal
  • Crushed Chips
  • Crushed Nuts
  • Croutons
  • Almond flour
mini meatloaf recipe ingredients in a glass bowl

Mini Meatloaf Recipe Ingredients

This meatloaf recipe can be made into mini portions or cooked as a regular loaf in a loaf pan. It’s up to you!

  • Ground meat– We use lean ground beef, but you can use what your family likes and what you have on hand. If you need to mix different meats, that is fine. This recipe is very forgiving. You can even use multiple types of meat: ground turkey, grass-fed ground beef, ground pork.
  • Egg– This helps to bind all of the ingredients together and works with the starch
  • Ketchup– The ketchup gives this dish the tang it needs while helping it to stay moist. You can also make a glaze for the top of the meatloaf to add more flavor.
  • Onion Soup Mix– So much of the flavor comes from this ingredient. You can even make your own mix, which I will share here in a minute, if you don’t want the kind that comes in a packet.
  • Crackers– One-half sleeve of finely crushed saltines, or other starch, will work perfectly for this recipe. Remember, you can substitute with other starches if you’re in a pinch.
how to make mini meatloaves step by step

How to Make Mini Meatloaves

These come together so quickly and then you can forget about them until you pop them in the oven. This really is one of the biggest bonuses for this recipe. It is adaptable and unfussy.

  1. Add meat to a large bowl
  2. Crack the egg over top and pour in the ketchup
  3. Drop in the Onion Soup Mix to the meat mixture
  4. Crumble 1/2 sleeve of saltines over top
  5. The best way to do this next step is to just mix with your hands, form into equal sized loaves and place on a parchment or aluminum foil lined baking sheet. To get the proper loaf shape, think about shaping them similar to a football shape.
  6. Drizzle with ketchup, if desired, and bake at 350°F for 50 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 160°F
  7. Let the meatloaf rest for 5 minutes before serving
forming mini meatloaf recipe on a baking sheet

Meatloaf Onion Soup Mix

If you like to steer clear of packaged foods, then you can easily whip up some onion soup mix on your own! It doesn’t use any fancy ingredients and you can make several batches and store it in an airtight container until you need it again.

  • ¼ cup dried onion flakes
  • 2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon parsley flakes
  • ⅛ teaspoon celery seed
  • ⅛ teaspoon paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

This recipe makes the equivalent of one packet of onion soup mix.

Optional Add-Ins to Spice up your Meatloaf

If you want to add a bit of zip to this classic meatloaf recipe, consider these add-ins that can take even the best meatloaf recipe up a notch:

  • 1/8 cup BBQ sauce- adds a little sweet
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard- adds a little bite
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning- to get an Italian meatloaf
meatloaf ketchup glaze on mini meatloaf recipe

Meatloaf Glaze

You might be looking for something a bit fancier than a simple drizzle of ketchup over top, so here are two different glazes to up the anté while still adhering to the traditional meatloaf recipe.

Meatloaf Glaze with Brown Sugar

  • 1/2 cup regular ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Mix the ingredients and pour over the top of their meatloaf to add a sweet heat to the dish. When the meat loaf is almost cooked and only has 15 minutes left, top with this glaze.

Meatloaf Ketchup Glaze

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix ingredients together and brush on the top of the meatloaves when there’s 15 minutes left on the baking timer.

meatloaf without breadcrumbs recipe and meatloaf dinner sides

Can I make these mini meatloaves into one meatloaf?

Yes, you can make one large meatloaf instead of mini meatloaves. If you want one meatloaf, simply place the mixture into a glass loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 50 minutes to an hour. Check to make sure it’s done before serving.

You can even make the mini loaves into any size you desire, just be sure to adjust the bake time accordingly. If they are smaller, bake for less time. If they are larger, err on the longer side.

What do you serve with meatloaf?

Meatloaf is a down-home comfort dish and the sky is the limit as far as sides are concerned. You can enjoy this dish in the summer with barbecue side dishes or in the winter with comfort sides.

Meatloaf Dinner Sides

  • Potato– This changes with the seasons. You can do mashed potatoes or fried potatoes in the winter. Or, you can do potato fries or potato salad in the summer! Mix it up!
  • Salad– We love doing a delicious spinach salad in the winter and a homemade slaw in the summer using broccoli slaw.
  • Veggies– A veggie medley or grilled asparagus pairs nicely with meatloaf. If it’s summertime, grab some sweetcorn and pair this dish with corn! Some fresh green beans would be a great option, too!
  • Bread– For any meal, bread is always the answer! Whether a roll or a loaf, bread and meatloaf are perfect for each other. Try my No Fail bread recipe if you’re needing a great basic recipe!
  • Macaroni and Cheese– For all of the kids out there, this one’s for you.
How do you get moist meatloaf?

The secret is using ingredients to aid in the moisture of the loaf, such as ketchup and eggs. Some recipes even call for mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

Do you bake meatloaf covered or uncovered?

To get the crusty outer layer, it is best to cook meatloaf uncovered.

What is a good meatloaf cooking temp?

Most recipes call for a cooking temperature between 350°F and 375°F. Full loaves (2 pounds) will bake around 50 minutes.

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meatloaf without breadcrumbs recipe

Mini Meatloaf Recipe without Breadcrumbs

Liz Quick
This simple, crowd pleasing meatloaf recipe is moist and packed with flavor. Even the "non-meatloaf" people will rave about this dish! It is comfort food that can be served any time of the year.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 5 people
Calories 100 kcal

Equipment

  • large mixing bowl
  • baking sheet

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 packet Onion Soup Mix, dry
  • 1/2 sleeve Saltine crackers, crushed

Instructions
 

  • Mix all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Form into individual loaves and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350°F. Drizzle ketchup or glaze on the loaves when there's 15 minutes left for baking.

Notes

Meatloaf Glaze with Brown Sugar

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Mix the ingredients and pour over the meatloaves to add a sweet heat to the dish. When the meatloaf is almost cooked and only has 15 minutes left, top with this glaze.

Meatloaf Ketchup Glaze

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix ingredients together and brush on the top of the meatloaves when there’s 15 minutes left on the baking timer.
 
You can make these mini loaves into a large loaf by placing the 2 pound loaf into a glass loaf pan and baking for 1 hour.
Keyword meatloaf without breadcrumbs, mini meatloaf

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