Crockpot Meatloaf


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Crockpot Meatloaf is amazingly tender and made easily in the slow cooker!

Do you have a go-to dinner recipe?  My family LOVES my baked mac and cheese, but sometimes I need something that isn’t pasta.  That’s when I turn to a classic meatloaf recipe!

This is one of my favorite Crockpot Meatloaf recipes because it is amazingly flavorful and easy, thanks to using dried stuffing mix in place of breadcrumbs.  It may seem odd, but all the great seasonings are already in the stuffing mix, so it’s several steps in one!  The glaze on top of the meatloaf is lip-smackingly good; made with ketchup, minced onion, brown sugar and vinegar for a little tang.

Crockpot Meatloaf in crockpot with foil liner

My favorite part about this meatloaf is how it’s always tender and moist!

Why Cook Meatloaf in the Crockpot?

I love making this slow cooker meatloaf recipe in the crockpot for two main reasons.  First, a meatloaf cooked in the crockpot is much harder to “mess up” and be dry or tough.  The process of cooking in the crockpot lends to a much more tender and moist dish.  Secondly, it’s ready when you get home, meaning far less stress!  Traditional meatloaf takes an hour or more to bake, so if you wait until you get home to bake it, you’ll be having a later dinner.  This way, dinner is mostly finished!

Plus, I can generally fit more beef into my crockpot than I can in my meatloaf pan.

Two slices of crockpot meatloaf on plate with mashed potatoes

How to Make Meatloaf in a Crockpot

Making meatloaf in a slow cooker is truly so easy! The use of foil not only makes for easy cleanup, it makes it easy to get the meatloaf out of the crockpot and to broil the top at the end.

  1. Line slow cooker with foil.
  2. Combine meatloaf ingredients, mix well and place in slow cooker.
  3. Top with meatloaf glaze, cover and cook.
  4. Lift out foil and broil to brown the top. Serve!

How Long Does it Take to Cook Meatloaf in the Crockpot?

It depends on how big of a loaf you’re making, but for this 2 pound meatloaf, it’ll take about 6 hours on LOW, or 3 hours on HIGH.  If you have an instant read meat thermometer, check for doneness by cooking until meatloaf is at 160 F degrees.

Can this meatloaf be made in the oven instead? Absolutely!  I’ve included oven directions following the recipe at the bottom of this post.

Forkful of meatloaf and mashed potatoes

So the next time you get a craving for classic comfort food, give this easy Crockpot Meatloaf recipe a try! Crockpot meatloaf and potatoes really are a perfect pairing! Our favorite things to have alongside meatloaf are my incredibly easy Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes, Southwest Cilantro Lime Corn Salad, and Cheesy Roasted Broccoli!

More Meatloaf Sides!

Two slices of crockpot meatloaf on plate with mashed potatoes
4.67 from 39 votes
Review Recipe

Crockpot Meatloaf

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Amanda Batcher
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
This Crockpot Meatloaf is a great way to enjoy classic comfort food, with less stress, and without tying up your oven.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large yellow onion finely minced (divided)
  • 2 boxes (6 oz each) dried stuffing mix (I like to use the savory herb variety)
  • 1 ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup glaze (see below)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze
  • 1 ½ cups ketchup
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

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Instructions

  • In a small mixing bowl, mix all brown sugar ketchup glaze ingredients (reserving the rest of the minced onion for the meatloaf itself), stirring or whisking to combine well. Set aside.
  • Tear off a large strip of aluminum foil (heavy duty works well), and press it into the bottom and up two of the sides of a 6 quart or larger slow cooker. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray, then set aside.
  • Add ground beef, remaining minced onion (from step 1), stuffing mix, milk, eggs, 2 tablespoons glaze, salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix until just combined (being careful not to over mix).
  • Shape into an oval-like shape and place into the foil lined crockpot. Top with ½ cup of the glaze, cover, and cook on LOW for 6 hours.
  • When finished cooking, carefully lift out the meatloaf, using the foil overhang, and place on a baking sheet. Top with ⅔ cup of the glaze and broil until glaze is sticky and bubbly.
  • Serve sliced, with remaining glaze sauce served on the side for drizzling.

Recipe Notes

TO MAKE IN THE OVEN
Make glaze as directed, and mix meatloaf as directed.  Shape meatloaf, spread with glaze, and transfer to a greased meatloaf pan or baking dish.  Bake in a 350°F degree oven for 60-70 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 284, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 120mg, Sodium: 815mg, Potassium: 641mg, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 365IU, Vitamin C: 3.4mg, Calcium: 80mg, Iron: 3.2mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword crock pot meatloaf, meatloaf, slow cooker meatloaf

 

Crockpot Meatloaf in foil and on a wood board with a title
Crockpot Meatloaf with mashed potato and a fork with a title

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About the author

Amanda

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Amanda is the creator behind the food blog The Chunky Chef, where she shares comforting family meals, and the healthy food blog Smart Skinny Recipes, where she shares delicious family recipes that are on the lighter side. She firmly believes life is all about balance; eat a salad, but enjoy some bacon along with it! When she’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find her behind a camera, reading, and spending quality time with her husband and 2 children! You can visit her at The Chunky Chef and Smart Skinny Recipes!

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Comments

  1. I made this tonight using the oven method because I procrastinated too long getting dinner ready. I ended up using 3 pounds of ground beef (there are a lot of us eating dinner) and only one box of stuffing mix. Two boxes just seemed like too much. I baked it for 45 minutes @ 375 without the glaze and drained off about half a cup of liquid. I use 93/7% lean beef. I can see where the extra stuffing would come in handy if it were cooking in the crockpot 6+ hours. I added the glaze for the last 20 minutes. I’m glad I tried it but I don’t think it will become our regular meatloaf recipe. It wasn’t bad, just not our personal tastes.3 stars

  2. I am thinking about trying this recipe for dinner this weekend, but have you tried doing ground turkey in the crockpot? I saw you did have another recipe with turkey, but I’m very interested in doing in crockpot. I’m 30 weeks pregnant and have a 11-month-old, lol.

    1. I haven’t tried it with turkey, my only concern is that the turkey doesn’t have as much fat to absorb into the stuffing so it could dry out.

  3. This was honestly the worst meatloaf I’ve ever had. After my mouth watering as it cooked for SIX hours, I was starving! When we took it out of the crockpot, it was a pail colored blob with some glaze on top. We put it under the broiler as instructed. We served it up. The stuffing mix absorbed all liquid and grease, leaving a very dry wad of meat. It was way too sweet with the glaze.
    This made making meatloaf way more complicated than it should be! I’ll stick with my regular way of just throwing everything in a bowl, mixing and topping with ketchup and bacon bits.
    I have loved all of your other recipes, just not this one.1 star

  4. this has been a hit when i make it in my house! Makes a lot so there is plenty leftovers . Would it turn out the same if i used a slow cooker liner instead of foil?4 stars

    1. I’ve only used foil, but think the liners would work Jessica. Let us know if you try the meatloaf using the liners!

    1. We would love to have you Jean! To receive our newsletters, you can sign up here or scroll down to the bottom of the post and you will see a signup box.

  5. I read all the comments and do not see anything about the fat that comes out of the meat. I have only ever done mine in the oven on a sheet pan and the fat easily drips off. Is the meatloaf sitting in the fat at the end of cooking? I really want to try this, but will wait for a response. thank you

    1. Hi Penny, the fat and juices will accumulate in the crockpot during cooking. They are what keeps the meatloaf moist while it cooks for 6 hours on low.

        1. We have not found this to be greasy. I suggest a lean ground beef so you have a little bit of fat but not too much. The stuffing mix will also absorb a little bit of the fat.

  6. This was wonderful, although next time I’m going to cut back on the Apple Cider Vinegar. My husband commented that it was a little strong.4 stars

  7. Love this meatloaf !! I never liked meatloaf until I tried this recipe. I have made it several times for my parents who are in their 90’s and they love it too!!5 stars

  8. I wanted to start this before leaving for work next week. With a six hour cook time, that means it would end up sitting on war, for a couple of hours. Will it be okay for that long or will there be any issues with drying out or with the glaze drying out or burning?

    1. Hi Dave, I haven’t tried leaving this one sitting on warm so I can’t say for sure. The glaze would be fine and won’t burn.

      I do think it would be ok as there are juices and steam and the lid is keeping it in so hopefully that would keep the meat moist. Let us know how it works out for you!

    2. I thought it was a really good recipe, but honestly ours needed more time and I followed the recipe to a T.

      8 hours on low minimum is more like it, as we had a lot of pink throughout the entire meatloaf at 6 hours.4 stars

    1. Hi Tia, broiling helps heat up the glaze making it sticky and bubbly. You could just leave it continue to heat up in the crockpot however it will be a bit different texture and flavor. Let us know how it turns out!

  9. Can this been made in the round crockpot opposed to the oblong one that is bigger? And wonder if it would affect the cooking time.
    thank you

    1. Hi Pat, as long as it fits in your crockpot it should work just fine. Just make sure your meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 160°F before serving. :)

  10. I plan on making this tomorrow. I’m watching and logging my food intake. I see the estimated nutritional information which is great to have. Can you tell me what a portion is. Or how many portions there should be. That’s the only piece of the puzzle I’m missing. Thank you very much.

  11. Hello, I’m halfing this recipe – can you please let me know how much you think cooking time would need to be altered?

  12. The portion size is for 8 people but how big this turns out is honestly ridiculous! I recommend cutting the recipe in half. The stuffing to meat ratio is so wrong as you’re left with hardly any meat in the meatloaf; I can barely recognise it’s meat! I added garlic and other seasoning but still turned out bland after following this recipe. The glaze looks lovely in the photos but was more of a warm sauce on top with dried onion. You may enjoy this recipe if you’re from the cook’s home country but it does not translate well to the kiwi palette.2 stars

    1. I am sorry to hear it didn’t turn out for you Adriana. We’ve had great success with this recipe.

  13. Pretty close to how I make my meatloaf. I searched for recipes for crock pot as I have always used the oven and it heats up the kitchen in summer. I love the idea of lining the crock and just lifting it out. I will make it tonight using your recipe with stuffing instead of bread crumbs. Sadly, the Italian in me always tops my meatloaf with spaghetti sauce and I will probably continue. I know this is 5 star so you get my rating now. Thank you. I will bookmark your site.5 stars

    1. Those additions sound tasty Elaine! We love the lining trick, it just makes it to so easy after it’s cooked.

    1. That’s great Jimmy! You’ll find lots of great recipes to make here! Let us know which one is your favorite.

    1. Hi Barbara, other readers have had success using crock pot liners, parchment paper or even making without foil. Let us know how it turns out for you.

  14. I put a little tomato juice in the bottom of the crockpot when I make my Mom’s meatloaf recipe.

  15. This is absolutely the best meatloaf I have ever made, or eaten!! It’s so easy too. The glaze is wonderful.5 stars

    1. Sure Catherine. If you make it the night before I would hold off on adding the glaze until you are ready to cook it though.

  16. i like to eat a good meat lof how ever im not good at making it and cooking books and cook books have to meney was to make it i like a simple way that i can always make in my crock pot bening single is no fun but im used to it thanks pleas send moor crock pot meat lof ways to make it5 stars

  17. Have you tried making this as a freezer meal? I’m guessing that you could mix it up, form it in a ball, and freeze it. I think I would not put the glaze on it until the morning I put it in the crock pot.

    1. I have not tried freezing it, but I’d defrost the meat completely in the fridge before popping into the crock pot (and not cook from frozen). Glazing at the time of cooking would work best.

  18. Made this up last night with italian sweet sausage and beff with 1 bag of stuffing. Turned it on when i went to work. Came hi e to a wonderful smelling house. Meatliaf is absolutely delicious. Will definitely be making it over and over. Thanks so much for the recipes5 stars

    1. So glad you loved is Shelgab! There really isn’t anything better than coming some to a delicious smelling house, in my opinion anyway!

  19. Can I use the slow cooker liners for the meatloaf recipe??? I love them and they make 4 an easy cleanup. Thank you5 stars

    1. I’ve only used foil, but think the liners would work Cynthia. Let us know if you try the meatloaf using the liners!

  20. Awesome and super easy recipe! I used ground elk instead and it was delicious! Thanks for this great recipe. My kids loved it and it will no doubt become a family favorite!5 stars

  21. Thanks so much for sharing!! This recipe is absolutely delicious!! I added 2 more items:
    1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

    Trust me, everyone will love this!!5 stars

  22. Is it [email protected] 12 oz of bread crumbs? Seems like an awful lot! I have one 12 oz bag and I’m looking at the 2 pounds meat and I’m skeptical….,
    I’m making this soon for dinner ( noon) today.

  23. Could I make the recipe as is but divide it into two smaller loaves in the crockpot? Is there something that can be used other than foil in the crock pot? I don’t like cooking with foil. Maybe parchment paper? I do have crock pot liners.

    1. While I haven’t tried dividing the loaves into two, meatloaf does freeze and reheat well. If you try two loaves, let us know how it works out for you! I’ve only used foil, but think parchment would work Deborah.

    1. While I haven’t tried halving this recipe, meatloaf does freeze and reheat well. If you try halving it, let us know how it works out for you!

      1. It would work great with parchment paper just don’t have the oven over 400 degrees.
        I use parchment paper for all of my baking because it is easy clean-up!!!