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Meatloaf Muffins

By Polly Conner

Here’s a twist on your average meatloaf recipe: Meatloaf Muffins! Prep ahead for healthy lunches, whip up for a quick dinner, and even make a double batch so you can freeze one for later. All ages love this meal!

meatloaf muffins on a white serving platter

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These Mini Meatloaf Muffins are a freezer meal that has made its way into the regular rotation of family meals in our house for years. Everyone loves them!

True story: I shared some with my neighbors’ family and the kids sent me this HILARIOUS “thank you” text (and even sang a song about them). Just listen to the raving review. Please, please listen through the end for a laugh.

meatloaf muffins served on a white plate with salad

Besides being kid-friendly, easy to throw together, and freezer-friendly, I love that this meatloaf version includes some sneaky nutrition in it thanks to added fresh herbs and veggies. The kids will never know. 🙂

Ingredients You’ll Need

This meatloaf mixture combines your favorite ground meat (we chose grass-fed beef), bread crumbs, veggies, fresh herbs, and lots of seasonings to add major flavor! Here’s what you’ll need:

ingredients on a wooden cutting board for mini meatloaf muffins

Ground beef – Or, you can sub ground turkey, if you want. Here’s where we get our grass-fed beef.

Whole wheat breadcrumbs – Soaks up the moisture and lightens the meatloaf. The whole wheat version adds a little nutrition, too.

Onion, carrot, and fresh parsley – Finely diced, for flavor and sneaky nutrition.

Garlic cloves – Mince these up finely. Lends a little pungent flavor (and that’s good).

Chicken stock – Adds moisture without using milk, making this dairy-free.

Egg – The binder that keeps everything together. Whisk with either a little milk or water (to make this dairy-free).

Tomato paste – Brings in some umami taste!

Worcestershire sauce – More umami to create depth of flavor.

Organic or all-natural ketchup – Simple topping for the muffins that gets caramelized in the oven.

Salt and pepper – Must have seasonings.

meatloaf mixture in a muffin tin

How to Make Meatloaf Muffins

Watch this 1 minute video to see how easy it is to make this recipe…

What Kind of Muffin Pan Should I Use?

You can use whatever kind you have on hand, whether metal or silicone. The metal pan will produce a little more of a crunchy texture around the sides and bottom, but either pan works great. Just be sure to spray the muffin tins with cooking spray to help them release easily.

If you need a muffin pan, we recommend either this non-stick metal muffin pan OR this silicone pan (with metal frame) that’s even dishwasher safe.

meatloaf mixture in a muffin tin

You also may want to get a large cookie dough scoop to help transfer the meatloaf mixture into the tins in even amounts. The scoop helps release the mixture easily. I use my cookie dough scoop for all kinds of things, including transferring muffin batter to muffin tins, scooping ice cream for the kids, and of course making cookies.

mini meatloaf in a muffin tin

What to Serve with Meatloaf Muffins

Wondering what to serve with these yummy mini meatloaves? Here are a few of our favorite side dishes:

Cream Cheesy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

These may be healthier than mashed potatoes, but these Cheesy Mashed Sweet Potatoes will have your family coming back for more! #realfood #freezermeal #delicious

Oven Roasted Broccoli

Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing

How to Freeze and Reheat Meatloaf Muffins

As with all our freezer recipes, you can make a double batch and freeze one for later. This is such a wise use of your time!

To Freeze For Later:

Method #1 (Uncooked): Follow instructions through Step 5 but DO NOT bake. Wrap the muffin tin with plastic wrap and a layer of foil and freeze.

Method #2 (Fully Cooked): Fully cook and cool the muffins. Place in a flat gallon-sized freezer bag in a single layer. Squeeze out excess air, seal and freeze flat.

To Prepare From Frozen:

Method #1 (Uncooked): Thaw. Set muffin tin out on the counter for about 20 minutes before baking. Bake according to directions, but increase baking time if muffins are still partially frozen or really cold. They register 160° F internally when done or have no more pink inside.

Method #2 (Fully Cooked): Wrap one in a moist paper towel. Warm in the microwave using the defrost setting or by microwaving in 30 seconds increments, until warmed through.

Meatloaf Muffins on a plate with green salad

Whether you want a healthy, kid-friendly dinner or lunches prepped for the week, we think you’ll love the simplicity of these Meatloaf Muffins!

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meatloaf muffins

Mini Meatloaf Muffins

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 meatloaf muffins or 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Freezer Meal
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These mini meatloaf muffins are a kid and parent favorite! Kids love the delicious taste. Parents love the healthy additions of sneaky nutrition.


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
  • 1/2 medium onion (about 1/3 cup), finely diced
  • 1 small carrot (about 1/3 cup), finely diced or grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock (sub: beef broth)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (Gluten free: Look for a version that is labeled “gluten free”.)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 pounds 90% lean ground beef or ground turkey (Here’s where we get our  grass-fed beef.)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish (Sub: 2 teaspoons dried parsley)
  • 1 large egg, beaten with a splash water
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (Gluten Free Option: Sub almond meal or gluten-free breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup all-natural ketchup, for topping

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Generously spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and carrot until vegetables are softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic for another 30-60 seconds. Remove from the heat. Stir in the salt, pepper, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste and allow the mixture to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, use your hands to combine the cooled veggie mixture, ground beef, parsley, egg, and bread crumbs. Do not over mix. 
  4. Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to fill each muffin tin hole to the top. Gently press to fit into muffin tin mold.
  5. Top each mini meat loaf with a spoonful of ketchup and spread it around with the back of the spoon. (Freezing instructions for Method #1 begin here.)
  6. Bake about 20-25 minutes. Cut open a muffin to test that the middle is cooked through (no more pink or registers 165°F internally). Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley at the end, as garnish. (Freezing instructions for Method #2 begin here.)

Freeze For Later:

Method #1 (Uncooked): Follow instructions through Step 5 but DO NOT bake. Wrap the muffin tin with plastic wrap and a layer of foil and freeze.

Method #2 (Fully Cooked): Fully cook and cool the muffins. Place in a flat gallon-sized freezer bag in a single layer. Squeeze out excess air, seal and freeze flat.

Prepare From Frozen:

Method #1 (Uncooked): Thaw in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Set muffin tin out on the counter for about 20 minutes before baking. Bake according to directions, but increase baking time if muffins are still partially frozen or really cold. They register 160° F internally when done or have no more pink inside.

Method #2 (Fully Cooked): Wrap in a moist paper towel. Warm in the microwave using the defrost setting or by microwaving in 30 seconds increments, until warmed through.

Looking for more ground beef recipes?

Check out our Top 10 Ground Beef Freezer Meals!

Ground Beef Freezer Meals

If you’re wanting to find more easy freezer meals, make sure to snag our Top 10 Easy Freezer Meals. You can download this, print it off, and have it for future reference when looking for great freezer meals.

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Instant Pot Beef Stew {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe is easy enough to be a mid-week dinner or fancy enough for dinner guests. What would typically take all day in the slow cooker, only takes about an hour from start to finish in the Instant Pot. You’ll take a short cut by using stew meat (no chopping!) and Yukon gold baby potatoes (no peeling!).

bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Here’s our full disclosure.

Instant Pot Beef Stew turns out melty-in-your-mouth delicious. Mmmm…the red wine, stock, soy sauce, and tomato paste work together to create a velvety sauce/broth that is full of complexity. While the meat pressure cooks, it tenderizes and soaks up all that sauce flavor.

bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

Now, don’t confuse this Beef Stew, a classic comfort food, with an unhealthy choice, though. Thanks to grass-fed stew meat (or chopped grass-fed chuck roast from our favorite meat source) and all the vegetables included–onion, carrots, celery, garlic, potatoes, and peas–you’ll churn out a pretty darn nutritious and satiating one-pot-wonder. Serve with your favorite crusty bread and dinner is served!

bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

Instant Pot Beef Stew leftovers can be reheated in the Instant Pot, stove, or microwave, but you may need to add a little extra broth to thin it out again. I think it tastes even better the next day!

Here’s a smart idea. While you have all the ingredients out, go ahead and prep one Instant Pot Beef Stew for tonight and one for another night or to pass along to someone in need. Freezing instructions are included in this Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe, like all our freezer-friendly meals. You can store it in the freezer for 3-6 months and then–magically!–cook this stew directly from frozen in the Instant Pot later. Check out these tips for cooking freezer meals in the Instant Pot.

bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin
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bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

Instant Pot Beef Stew

  • Author: Rachel
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 47 minutes
  • Total Time: 57 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Comforting and delicious Beef Stew comes together quickly in the Instant Pot. The beef and vegetables melt into the velvety sauce making this meal worthy of guests or a weeknight dinner.


Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 12 cups sliced carrots
  • 12 cups sliced celery stalks
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)*
  • 1/2 cup red wine (recommended: Pinot Noir)
  • 2 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce*
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • About 1 1/22 pounds stew meat (preferably grass-fed and organic)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 2 1/23 cups)
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Instructions

  1. Turn on the Saute function. Heat the oil until shimmering. Saute the onions, carrots, and celery until softened, about 7 minutes. Season lightly with the salt and pepper, to taste, as they cook. Add in the thyme and red pepper, too. Stir in the garlic the last 30-60 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the wine, broth, tomato paste, and soy sauce until smooth, scraping the brown bits off the bottom. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes. Turn off the Saute function. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  3. Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper on all sides and nestle into the cooker. Stir in the bay leaf and potatoes. (Do not add the peas yet.)
  4. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes, with a 10 minute natural release and then quick release of the pressure.
  5. Discard bay leaf. Stir in the peas. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1 and 2. Let the sauce cool and then add to a one gallon freezer bag or pressure cooker-shaped container with lid. Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper on all sides and add to the bag or container, along with the bay leaf and potatoes. Seal, toss gently to combine, and freeze. (Note: Make sure the potatoes are completely submerged in the liquid to avoid browning.) Tip: Set the freezer bag in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours to help it freeze in the shape of the pressure cooker.

Prepare from Frozen: Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Follow Steps 4-5. (The frozen meat will cook the same amount of time as from fresh.)

COOKING NOTES:

*To make this recipe Gluten-Free: 

  • Use coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari soy sauce in place of the soy sauce.
  • Do not add the flour at the beginning of the recipe. Instead, thicken the stew by using arrowroot powder right after Step 4 (before Step 5). To do so, in a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons arrowroot with 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Stir this into the stew. (It will thicken up shortly.) Then, follow Step 5.