It’s the best invention ever. Make lots of them, and freeze the ones you will not eat.

Pull them out in a pinch for dinner; in 30 minutes, you have dinner on the table. How fantastic is that?

individual meatloafs

When I started making this mini meatloaf recipe, I discovered that they cook faster and will not dry out as a leftover. However, stopping before the last bite is all gone is hard when you have mini meatloaves.

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Green salad, peas, beans, gratin potatoes, and roasted vegetables are great side dishes.

In this Article

What is Meatloaf?

Classic meatloaf is a dish popular in various cuisines across the globe, primarily in Europe and North America. It consists of ground meat, usually beef, mixed with other ingredients such as eggs, bread crumbs, and vegetables, then shaped into a loaf and baked or smoked. 

The dish is known for its versatility, as it can be customized with various seasonings, sauces, or cheese. It’s typically served sliced, often alongside vegetables or potatoes, and can be enjoyed warm or cold.

What’s the Best Meat for Meatloaf?

The best meat for meatloaf is ground beef, particularly the sirloin cut.

Ground beef sirloin perfectly balances flavor and fat content, ensuring your meatloaf is deliciously juicy and rich but not overly greasy.

It’s essential to avoid extra lean cuts, as they can result in a dry and less flavorful meatloaf.

A mixture of meats, such as beef, pork, and veal, can also be used for a unique and complex flavor profile.

Recipe tips 

Choosing the right meat: As previously mentioned, ground beef sirloin is preferred for meatloaf due to its flavor and fat content. However, feel free to mix different meats for a unique flavor profile.

Don’t overmix: Overmixing the meat and other ingredients can produce a dense and tough meatloaf. Try to mix just until all the ingredients are combined.

Adding moisture: Ingredients like milk and ricotta cheese are needed for a tender, moist meatloaf. Don’t skip these!

Testing doneness: The best way to ensure your meatloaf is cooked perfectly is by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 160°F.

Rest before slicing: After you take your meatloaf out of the oven, let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. This will help the juices redistribute throughout the loaf, making it moister and more manageable to slice.

individual matloafs

Equipment needed

Mixing bowl

Cookie sheet

Step by Step

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Cook the shallots in olive oil until translucent. When they are ready, let them rest until they cool off.
  • Meanwhile, put the slice of bread with the milk in a large bowl. Mix well until the bread absorbs all the milk.
  • Add all the chopped parsley at this time, blend them well, and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  • Add all the other ingredients to the bread-milk mixture and mix well.
  • Form 4 mini loaves with your hands. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

What is the difference between individual and standard meatloaf?

The primary difference between individual and standard meatloaf lies in the portion size and cooking time.

Individual meatloaves are smaller and cooked in separate ramekins or muffin tins, which reduces cooking time significantly compared to a standard-size meatloaf. 

This quick cooking time also helps the meatloaf retain moisture, yielding a juicier and more flavorful dish.

Moreover, individual meatloaves offer the convenience of serving portions already divided, which is particularly useful for meal planning and portion control.

Substitutes and Additions

For a more flexible and creative cooking experience, feel free to explore these suggested substitutes and possible additions to your meatloaf recipe:

  • Lean Ground Beef: Ground turkey, ground pork, or chicken can be used as a lighter, leaner alternative to beef sirloin. For a vegetarian version, consider using lentils or a plant-based meat substitute.
  • Shallots: Onions can be an excellent substitute for shallots, providing a slightly more robust flavor. 
  • Ricotta and Parmesan Cheese: For a dairy-free option, use nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan, providing a similar cheesy flavor. A tofu blend can also replace ricotta cheese.
  • Bread and Milk: For a gluten-free alternative, use gluten-free bread or almond meal. Almond milk or coconut milk can be a dairy-free substitute for whole milk.
  • Egg: For a vegan alternative, flaxseed or chia seed “eggs” can replace the traditional egg.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Soy sauce or tamari can be used as an alternative to Worcestershire sauce.

Consider adding chopped vegetables such as bell peppers or carrots for added texture and nutritional value.

You can mix in some chopped bacon or ham for extra flavor or add a glaze made from ketchup and brown sugar for a sweet and tangy top layer.

A fun and delicious recipe to try with ground beef is cabbage roll casserole, quite tasty and easy to make.

individual meatloafs in a white plate over a white tablecloth

Storage 

Proper storage is key to preserving the deliciousness of your individual meatloaf for future meals.

Refrigerator:

If you have leftovers, allow them to cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container. They can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Freezing is also a great option for longer-term storage.

Wrap each mini meatloaf in cling film or foil, then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.

To reheat:

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then bake in a 350°F oven until heated.

As for make-ahead tips, you can prepare the meatloaf mixture and refrigerate it for up to two days before forming and baking the mini loaves.

This saves you preparation time on the baking day and allows the flavors to meld together for an even tastier result.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this recipe in a standard loaf pan instead of individual servings?  

Yes, you can make this easy recipe in a standard loaf pan. However, the cooking time must be adjusted as it will take longer to cook through. Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes should be sufficient, but be sure to check for doneness.

Can I use other types of meat in the recipe?  

Yes, you can substitute the ground beef sirloin with ground chicken, turkey, or pork. Each will offer a unique flavor to your meatloaf.

How do I know if the meatloaf is cooked thoroughly?  

The best way to ensure your meatloaf is cooked through is by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 160°F for beef and pork and 165°F for turkey or chicken.

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Individual Meatloaf

5 from 3 votes
Individual meatloaf
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Soft, rich in flavor and so easy to make, you will love having a few in your freezer for that last minute dinner.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound ground beef sirloin
  • 2 shallots, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 slice white bread, torn into piece
  • Worcestershire sauce, dashes
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven at 375. Cook the shallots in olive oil until translucent. When they are ready, let them rest until cool off.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl put the slice of bread with the milk. Mix well until all the milk is absorbed by the bread. Add all the chopped parsley at this time, blend them well and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Add all the other ingredients to the bread milk mixture and mix well.
  • Form 4 mini loaves with your hands. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown
  • It can do ahead and can also freeze.

Nutrition

Calories: 468kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 421mg | Potassium: 413mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 485IU | Vitamin C: 2.6mg | Calcium: 291mg | Iron: 3.4mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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