Air frying your meatloaf is the new way to make the classic dinner! This 1 lb. meatloaf is the perfect size for a family meal on a busy weeknight, made in a snap and with very little cleanup. It’s so easy to make that you’ve got to try this new take on the old classic.
Why We Love It
Air fryers are the new “it” kitchen appliance. Why? They cook all your favorites to perfection in a short amount of time, and they make cleanup a breeze.
I love it so much I even made an air frying guide to use as a reference while cooking. And today I’m sharing this fabulous recipe for air fryer meatloaf.
Because when you cook meatloaf in the air fryer, it comes out perfectly cooked, totally moist, and super tasty, without much hands-on time at all. And best of all, there’s almost no clean up after!
Make it whenever you need a delicious and easy dinner. Better yet, make it tonight!
- Ground beef. 85% ground beef works great in meatloaf, with the right amount of fat for flavor and won’t get dried out (I get my beef from Porter Road).
- BBQ sauce or ketchup. Ketchup will give you a more classic meatloaf flavor, and bbq sauce will give you a bit more oomph. Use my homemade BBQ Sauce recipe or your favorite sugar free ketchup.
- BBQ seasoning. Use my homemade recipe, your favorite store bought blend.
- Garlic and onion. Minced garlic and rred onion add a bit of oomph to the recipe!
- Egg. This binds the ingredients together so they form the loaf shape we all know and love.
- Bread Crumbs. Bread crumbs are the traditional ingredient used to bind the ingredients together. I like to use panko bread crumbs but any kind work great!
👉 Whole30 / Low Carb / Gluten Free Adaptation: Omit the breadcrumbs and substitute almond flour.
🧑🍳 Step by Step instructions
Step 1: Combine the ingredients.
Add all the ingredients to a large bowl. Gently mix them together just they’re until fully combined, using your hands or a wooden spoon.
👉 Tip: Try not to overmix the meatloaf ingredients. A little texture is a good thing!
Step 2: Form & cook.
Use your hands to form the mixture into a loaf shape. Set the loaf on a piece of aluminium foil.
❗ Important: Pull the edges of the foil up into a boat-like shape, to form a rim around the edge of the meatloaf. This is important, because any grease that drips off as the meatloaf cooks will be caught. If you skip this step, it may begin to smoke inside the air fryer!
Close the air fryer and cook for 20 minutes.
Step 3: Brush with sauce and finish cooking.
Grab the remaining ketchup or bbq sauce, open your air fryer, and brush the sauce on top of the meatloaf. Cook the meatloaf for another 5 minutes or so, until the sauce caramelizes on top.
❗Important: Be sure to use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of the meatloaf. Insert the meat thermometer halfway into the deepest part of the meatloaf.
- The safe internal cooking temperature is at least 160°F, per USDA.
Allow the meatloaf to rest for 5-10 minutes after it’s done cooking, then slice and serve with your favorite sides!
Meat Loaf Cook Time & Temp
Cook the meatloaf at 370°F for 25-28 minutes, stopping to brush the top with ketchup or bbq sauce the last five minutes. Always test the internal temperature to be sure your meatloaf is fully cooked, and cook a few more minutes if necessary.
FAQ & Tips
Yes! But rather than make one two-pound meatloaf, the best way to double this recipe is to form two one-pound meatloaves. If your air fryer is big enough to fit the two meatloaves with a little space between them, you can cook them in the air fryer at the same time following the same cook time and temperature in the recipe below. If your air fryer can’t fit two, cook one meatloaf at a time.
Prepare the meatloaf mixture and form into a loaf. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to a day, then follow cooking instructions.
Transfer leftovers to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 days, per USDA.
Meatloaf freezes beautifully both raw and cooked.
To freeze raw meatloaf: Form the meatloaf, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and place that in a freezer-safe bag or another airtight freezer-safe container. Store it in the freezer for 3-4 months, then defrost it in the refrigerator overnight completely, before following the cooking instructions.
To freeze leftover meatloaf: Transfer cooled leftover meatloaf to a freezer-safe bag or container. Squeeze out as much air as possible, then close and freeze for 3-4 months.
Making this recipe? I’d love to hear about your experience making it!
Leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @cookathomemom!
Classic Air Fryer Meatloaf
- Tin Foil
- 1 lb. 85% ground beef
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup onion, minced
- 1.5 Tablespoons bbq seasoning
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup ketchup or bbq sauce, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the air fryer to 370°F (~180°C). Meanwhile, mince the garlic and onion.In a large bowl, add the ground beef, seasonings, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, water, and about 1/4 cup of the ketchup (or bbq sauce). Mix until combined but avoid over-mixing.
- Use your hands to form the mixture into a loaf shape that will fit into the basket of your air fryer without touching the sides or top of the basket, allowing the air to circulate. Shape a piece of tin foil into a bowl with 1-2 inch tall sides all around (this catches the rendered from dripping off and keeps it from smoking). Set the raw meatloaf on top of the foil, then place inside the air fryer basket. Close the air fryer and cook for 20 minutes.
- Open the air fryer basket and brush the top with the remaining 1/4 cup of ketchup or bbq sauce. Close the air fryer and cook for another 5-7 minutes.
- Insert a meat thermometer into the middle of the meatloaf to test the internal temperature has reached at least 160°F (~71°C). Remove the meatloaf from the air fryer and allow it to rest for about 5-10 minutes. Slice it and serve!
- To make in advance: Prepare the meatloaf mixture and form into a loaf. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to a day, then follow cooking instructions.
- To store leftovers: Transfer leftover meatloaf to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, per USDA.
- For Whole30/Paleo Adaptation: Omit the breadcrumbs and substitute 1/4 cup almond flour. Allow the mixed meatloaf ingredients to sit for at least 20 minutes before cooking.