This Crockpot Meatloaf recipe is comfort food at it's finest! It is easy to prep and the slow cooker ensures a moist loaf every-single-time.
We tried out this recipe for crockpot meatloaf a few years ago. When I shared it over on Facebook I was surprised at how many people asked for the recipe.
It's incredibly easy, and if you already have a favorite meatloaf recipe, you could easily substitute it for this one. Just cook in your crock pot following these directions. I was tickled that it actually worked!
I am not a girl who typically likes meatloaf, but this is one mighty-fine meatloaf. My husband loves the stuff and it was a treat for him, so if you have a meat-loaf-lovin'-man at home you'll make him very happy. And I never think pictures of meatloaf look all that appetizing . . . but I promise, this one is good. 😉
Why cook meatloaf in the crockpot?
I've found that cooking a meatloaf in the crockpot makes the loaf more tender and moist. Plus, you can cook it all day and have dinner mostly done when you get home. Even though meatloaf is quick to make up it does have to bake over an hour in the oven. I don't always have that much time in the evenings.
If you're feeding a crowd, a crockpot can hold a really big meatloaf. You can line your crock with aluminum foil and fit in a pretty substantial loaf.
How long does it take to cook meatloaf in the crockpot?
It depends on how big your loaf is, but for a 1 1/2 – 2 pound meatloaf 5-6 hours on LOW heat is about all it will take. We don't recommend cooking on high because it will dry out your meatloaf.
If you have an instant read meat thermometer, check for doneness by cooking until meatloaf is at 160ºF.
How to make meatloaf in the crockpot?
The steps to mixing the meatloaf are the same whether you choose to bake in the oven or slow cook. Mix the ground beef with eggs, milk, bread crumbs, minced onion and salt. Don't over-mix here!
Put your meatloaf in a loaf pan and sit inside the crock, or line your crock with aluminum foil and shape mixture into a loaf. That's it!
Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours. After it's cooked through, mix together some ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Spoon over the cooked meatloaf.
Cover the slow cooker again and cook another 15 minutes. Let the meatloaf stand 10-15 minutes before slicing.
How do I keep the bottom of my meatloaf from burning?
Meatloaf can burn on the bottom if it's cooked at too high of a temperature. The recommend temperature to bake meatloaf is 350ºF. If using a slow cooker be sure to always cook on the LOW setting.
Some people swear that placing a piece of bread on the bottom of the pan will also prevent a burnt bottom. This will also absorb some of the grease so it could possibly dry the meatloaf out. That one is up for debate!
Why did my meatloaf turn out tough?
There are a few reasons you can end up with a dry meatloaf.
1. Not using meat with a high enough fat content.
I know, I know, gross! But for this recipe you really don't want to use super lean ground beef. Go for the 85/15 or 80/20 blends.
Don't mix too much! If you over-mix your ingredients it can really make for a tough and dry meatloaf. You'll be mixing the meatloaf a bit more before shaping it to bake so just mix until combined to start with. Also try to keep it loose (don't compress the meat too much or it will need to cook longer).
3. Didn't rest the meatloaf.
Just like a good steak, it’s best to let the meatloaf rest before cutting into it. It allows the juices to even out throughout the loaf. Let your meatloaf rest 5-15 minutes before slicing and you'll get a great textured loaf.
Can I freeze this meatloaf recipe to make later in the crockpot?
Meatloaf is actually the perfect freezer food. In fact, I usually make at least 2 meatloaves when I make one. I mean if I'm going to get my hands down in that oh-so-icky meat I might as well just do it once! Ha! 🙂
Slow Cooker Meatloaf
- slow cooker
- 1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup milk
- ⅔ cup bread crumbs
- 2 tsps dried minced onion
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tsps brown sugar
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Combine first six ingredients in large bowl; shape into loaf.
- If you have a large slow cooker, put loaf in loaf pan and then place in slow cooker. You can cook this directly in a small slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours.
- Mix together ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and Worcestershire; spoon over meatloaf after it has cooked. Cover and cook an additional 15 minutes, or until heated.
- Let stand 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. (Be sure to let it stand, otherwise it will fall apart very easily.)
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