Small Batch Meatloaf

Our Small Batch Meatloaf recipe is a classic comfort food that hugs your soul, warming you up from the inside out. This nostalgic dish reminds you of home, no matter where you are. Why go small, you ask? Simply put, it’s perfect for those evenings when you’re craving something hearty but not looking to feed an army.

The beauty of a Small Batch Meatloaf Recipe lies in its simplicity and the personal touch it allows you to add to each meal. Let’s make your kitchen the heartwarming center of your home with this scrumptious, easy-to-follow recipe.

The Origin of Meatloaf and the Benefits of Small Batch Cooking

The history of meatloaf stretches back centuries, evolving from a European dish that made its way to America, where it became a beloved staple. Its versatility and convenience have stood the test of time. But why opt for small-batch cooking?

Firstly, making meatloaf in smaller quantities ensures that every bite is as fresh as can be. Imagine the flavor and texture of a meatloaf straight from the oven – there’s nothing quite like it. Additionally, small batches mean better portion control, allowing you to enjoy this classic dish without overindulging.

Plus, it’s a fantastic way to reduce waste; you’ll only make what you need. Transitioning to small-batch cooking not only elevates your dining experience but also aligns perfectly with a mindful and sustainable lifestyle.

Essential Ingredients for Small Batch Meatloaf

Making a delicious small-batch meatloaf requires a few key ingredients that combine to create a comforting and savory meal. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Olive Oil (1 tablespoon): A staple for sautéing your onions and garlic, bringing out their flavors.
  • Onions (2 ounces, chopped): They add a natural sweetness and texture to your meatloaf.
  • Garlic (1 clove, minced): It adds flavor, making the meatloaf aromatic and tasty.
  • Kosher Salt (½ teaspoon) & Black Pepper (¼ teaspoon): Essential for seasoning and enhancing the overall taste.
  • Ground Beef (6 ounces): The star of the show, providing a rich, meaty base.
  • Worcestershire Sauce (½ teaspoon): Adds umami, a deep savory flavor to the meat.
  • Egg (1 large): Binds the ingredients together, keeping your meatloaf moist and cohesive.
  • Breadcrumbs (3 tablespoons): They help to absorb moisture, adding to the texture and structure.
a fully formed small batch meatloaf before baking

Substitution Options for Dietary Preferences

  • Gluten-Free Option: Swap out traditional breadcrumbs for gluten-free breadcrumbs or rolled oats.
  • Lower Fat Option: Choose lean ground beef (e.g., 90% lean) or substitute ground turkey or chicken to reduce the fat content without compromising the taste.
  • Low Lactose Option: This recipe is already low lactose, but always check your Worcestershire sauce and ketchup labels to ensure they’re lactose-free.
  • Vegetarian Option: Consider using a plant-based ground meat alternative and ensure the Worcestershire sauce is vegetarian.

You can enjoy a delicious, comforting small batch meatloaf that fits perfectly into your meal plan by tweaking these ingredients to suit your dietary needs or preferences.

Step-by-Step Recipe: Preparing and Cooking Small Batch Meatloaf

Now, with our ingredients ready, let’s move on to the exciting part – making your small batch meatloaf! Follow these detailed steps for a moist and flavorful meatloaf that’s sure to impress.

  1. Preheat Your Oven: Begin by heating your oven to 350°F (175°C). This ensures the oven reaches the right temperature for cooking your meatloaf evenly.
  2. Sauté the Veggies: Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook for about 2-3 minutes until they start to become translucent. Add the minced garlic and sauté for another 1 minute. This not only softens the vegetables but also unlocks their flavors, making your meatloaf more aromatic and tasty.
  3. Mix the Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the sautéed onions and garlic with the ground beef. Add in the Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, black pepper, egg, and breadcrumbs. Gently mix everything until just combined. It’s important not to overmix, as this can make the meatloaf tough.
  4. Shape the Loaf: Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased baking dish (a small one is perfect). Mold the mixture into an oval shape, creating a consistent thickness throughout. This ensures even cooking.

Baking the Small Batch Meatloaf

  1. Bake: Place your meatloaf in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the Glaze: While the meatloaf is baking, mix together the ketchup and molasses in a small bowl. After 30 minutes of baking, remove the meatloaf and evenly spoon the glaze over the top. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C).
  3. Rest Before Serving: Once done, take the meatloaf out of the oven. Cover it loosely with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. This crucial step lets the juices redistribute, ensuring a moist, flavorful meatloaf every bite.
a baked small batch mini meatloaf

Tips for Ensuring a Moist, Flavorful Meatloaf Every Time

  • Don’t Overmix: Handling the meat mixture too much can lead to a dense, tough meatloaf. Mix until just combined for the best texture.
  • Check Internal Temperature: Using a meat thermometer, check that your meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) before removing it from the oven. This ensures it’s cooked through but still juicy.
  • Add Moisture with Ingredients: Ingredients like onions, garlic, and sauces not only add flavor but also contribute moisture. Don’t skip them!
  • Allow it to Rest: Giving your meatloaf time to rest after baking is key. It helps the loaf to set and makes slicing easier.

By following these detailed steps and tips, you’ll create a Small Batch Meatloaf that’s not just comforting and delicious but also perfectly portioned.

Customization Ideas

Expanding on the basic small batch meatloaf recipe, there are numerous ways to customize your dish to accommodate varying tastes and occasions. Whether you’re looking to infuse new flavors or make your meal even more nutritious, here are some ideas to inspire your next culinary creation:

  • Try Different Meats: Mixing different types of ground meat can add depth to your meatloaf. Consider combining beef with pork or lamb for a richer taste. For a gamey flavor, ground venison can also be a unique addition.
  • Incorporate Veggies: Enhance the nutritional value by adding finely chopped vegetables into your meatloaf mix. Bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, and zucchini not only add moisture but also make your dish colorful and packed with vitamins.
  • Spice It Up: For those who enjoy a kick to their meals, integrating spices such as crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, or smoked paprika can add a new dimension of flavor. Fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, or basil can also elevate the freshness of the dish.
  • Cheese, Please: Inserting chunks of cheese into your meatloaf mixture or topping it off with a cheese crust can transform your dish into a gooey delight. Mozzarella, cheddar, or even feta can add a deliciously creamy texture.
  • Glaze Variations: Moving beyond the classic ketchup and molasses glaze, you can experiment with BBQ sauce, honey, and mustard, or even a tangy balsamic reduction for an unconventional finish.

These customization ideas for your small batch meatloaf are just the beginning. By experimenting with different ingredients and cooking techniques, you can create a dish that not only suits your dietary preferences but also comforts and delights your palate.

Side Dishes to Complement Your Meatloaf

small batch meatloaf on a plate with carrots and mashed potatoes

Choosing the right side dishes can elevate your meatloaf meal from good to unforgettable. Here are some classic and innovative side options to pair with your meatloaf, enhancing its flavors and making your meal more balanced:

  • Garlicky Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic is a timeless side that pairs beautifully with meatloaf, soaking up the glaze and juices perfectly.
  • Roasted Vegetables: A medley of roasted vegetables such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes, seasoned with herbs and olive oil, can add a healthy and colorful component to your meal.
  • Crisp Green Salad: For a lighter side, a crisp green salad with a vinaigrette dressing provides a fresh contrast to the rich flavors of the meatloaf.
  • Macaroni and Cheese: A creamy, cheesy macaroni and cheese is a hearty side that’s always a hit, offering a comforting and indulgent complement.
  • Sautéed Green Beans: Green beans sautéed with garlic and almonds offer a crunchy, flavorful addition that balances the meal nicely.
  • Homemade Dinner Rolls: Soft, warm dinner rolls are perfect for mopping up any leftover glaze on your plate, ensuring not a single drop of deliciousness is wasted.

These side dishes not only round out your meal but also allow for customization based on your guests’ dietary preferences and the seasonality of ingredients. Pairing your small batch meatloaf with one or more of these sides will surely provide a delightful dining experience for everyone at the table.

Storing and Reheating

Proper storage and reheating techniques are crucial for maintaining the taste and safety of your meatloaf leftovers. Here’s how to ensure your meatloaf remains as delicious as when it was first made:

  • Storing Leftovers: Allow your meatloaf to cool to room temperature before wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. You can also place it in an airtight container. Stored in the refrigerator, meatloaf will be kept for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: For longer preservation, meatloaf can be frozen. Wrap the cooled meatloaf in foil, then place it in a freezer bag or an airtight container. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Remember to label it with the freezing date.
  • Reheating: To reheat, thaw frozen meatloaf in the refrigerator overnight if it is frozen. For oven reheating, wrap the meatloaf in aluminum foil and place it in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 25-30 minutes, or until heated through. If microwaving, cover the meatloaf and heat on a medium setting, checking regularly to avoid drying it out.

Ensuring you follow these steps for storing and reheating will keep your meatloaf moist and flavorful, making your leftovers just as enjoyable as the initial serving.


Mastering the art of making and serving small batch meatloaf invites a cozy, comforting ambiance to any mealtime.

Remember, the key to a perfect meatloaf lies not only in the ingredients and cooking techniques but also in the love and creativity you bring to the process. We encourage you to experiment with the variations and side dishes suggested to discover your perfect meatloaf pairing.

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you think!

Happy cooking and bon appétit!

small batch meatloaf on a plate with carrots and mashed potatoes

Small Batch Meatloaf

This classic small batch meatloaf recipe hugs your soul and warms you up from the inside out. This nostalgic dish reminds you of home, no matter where you are.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2


  • 1 small casserole dish


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ounces chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs

For The Meatloaf Glaze

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar


  • Heat oven to 350° F (177°C).
  • Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add in the chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for an additional minute. Remove skillet from the heat and set aside.
  • Place the ground beef in a medium-sized bowl. Pour the seasoned vegetables over the meat.
  • Add in the Worcestershire sauce, the egg and the breadcrumbs.
  • Using a large spoon, mix the meat and all of the ingredients together until fully combined. Shape into a loaf and transfer to a lightly greased small baking dish.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Spoon over the top of the meatloaf after 30 minutes, then bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  • After removing the meatloaf from the oven, cover with aluminum foil or a plate and let the meatloaf rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.


Nutrition Estimates:
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 652kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 48g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 16g,  Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 291mg, Sodium: 1595mg, Potassium: 1317mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 33g, Vitamin A: 582IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 171mg, Iron: 8mg
Keyword classic easy meatloaf, meatloaf, small batch meatloaf

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