Meatloaf Muffins


Meatloaf Muffins Stuffed with Mozzarella are wonderfully juicy, cheesy, flavorful and on your table in less than 35 minutes!


This Meatloaf Muffins Recipe will be your family’s new favorite way to devour meatloaf!  These Mozzarella Stuffed Meatloaf Muffins are packed with spices, the perfect amount of veggies, oozing with melty mozzarella cheese and smothered in sweet, spicy, tangy BBQ Ketchup Glaze!  I’ve also included instructions how to make ahead and how to freeze so you can enjoy this muffin tin meatloaf at a moments notice!

easy meatloaf muffins lined in a muffin tray topped with glaze

Muffin Tin Meatloaf 

Early January my mom came over so we could pick out our family “New Year’s” card.   Each year at Christmas we take our family “New Year’s” picture because it is the only guaranteed time of the year the Fam is all together (one brother living in Utah, another in New York).

While she was here, the aroma of these delectable Meatloaf Muffins was wafting from the oven.  Very distracting to our goal.  As soon as their perfection came out of the oven, we couldn’t stop eating them.

Thankfully, I had doubled the batch, so I was able to send her home with a dozen Muffin Tin Meatloaf Muffins and she was able to drop them off at a friend’s house who was not feeling well.

My phone lit up with grateful texts from the receiving family that they were “amazing” and that the two-year-old repeatedly chanted for  “more meat!”  “more meat!”

This Meatloaf Muffins recipe is not only incredibly delicious, but incredibly easy, making them the perfect family meal that everyone craves.  They also can be made 100% ahead of time so now you can have them on your table in less than 25 minutes.  Great news, especially once you taste their deliciousness and realize how impatient that can make you for them to be IN-YOUR-MOUTH.

up close of Meatloaf Muffins Recipe (Muffin Tin Meatloaf) in muffin tins

Ingredients for Meatloaf Muffins

Now, I have to be honest.  I have not always been a meatloaf fan.  Too much meat. Not enough texture.  Not enough spice.  So when I saw Rachel Ray’s idea of “meatloaf muffins,”  I loved the idea of the perfect amount of meat that bakes evenly all over so they remain incredibly moist.  I could add texture and spice!  And add I did…

  • VEGGIES and CRUMBS: Not enough texture?  This Meatloaf Muffins recipe is a perfect balance of crushed saltine crackers, Italian breadcrumbs and chopped, onions, green peppers, celery, and carrots all cradling melty, cheesy mozzarella.  Problem solved.
  • SPICES: Not enough spice?  These Meatloaf Muffins are oozing with garlic, beef bouillon, paprika, parsley, cumin, Worcestershire Sauce and a splash of lemon.  And that’s just in the meatloaf muffins.  Problem solved.
  • BEEF:  Meatloaf too dry?  These Meatloaf muffins use lean ground beef which is juicy but not too greasy, so when combine with the veggies, you get tender, juicy meatloaf every time!  Problem Solved.

Can I Use Ground Turkey?

You may substitute the lean ground beef with ground turkey in this Meatloaf Muffin recipe, but I cannot guarantee juicy results as turkey is leaner than ground beef and can dry out more easily.

Do I have to use Cheese?

The cheese in these Meatloaf Muffins not only rewards you with an ooey gooey surprise, it helps the muffins cook more evenly because the beef is not as thick due to the cheese center.

That being said, you can skip the cheese if you would like but I HIGHLY encourage you to try it next time for the BEST Muffin Tin Meatloaf Muffins!

Meatloaf Muffin Sauce

Every meatloaf needs a fabulous sauce to marry all of the flavors together.  These Meatloaf Muffins are slathered with a delectable sweet, tangy and as spicy as you like easy mixture of barbecue sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and hot sauce.  I love this glaze!  It elevates these Meatloaf Muffins to a whole new level of YUM!

Up close top view of turkey Meatloaf Muffins in a muffin tin

How to Make Meatloaf Muffins

These Meatloaf Muffins are super easy to make!  Here’s are a few tips and tricks:

  • Use Your Food Processor:
    • The food processor does all the tedious chopping for you!  Simply add roughly chopped onion, green bell pepper, celery, carrot and garlic cloves to your food processor and finely chop.
  • Use Lean Ground Meat:
    • You MUST use lean meat for this Meatloaf Muffin recipe or grease will overflow the muffin tins.
  • Do Not Overmix:
    • Add the veggies to large bowl along with lean ground beef, crushed saltine crackers, breadcrumbs and seasonings.  Mix just combined for tender, juicy results.  If you over mix, you will will end up with dense meatloaf muffins.
  • Correct Consistency:
    • You want meat mixture consistency to be moist but hold it’s shape. It should not be crumbly-dry or runny-wet. If too wet, add breadcrumbs. If too dry, add milk.
  • Cook in Muffin Tint:
    • Line a 12-muffin tin with muffin liners and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.  This is a regular size cupcake/muffin baking pan.
  • Use Measuring Cup:
    • Using a ⅓ cup measuring cup, fill measuring cup, add a mozzarella piece to the center and roll into a ball and place in muffin liner. This ensures each Meatloaf Muffin is uniform size and will cook evenly.  Repeat until muffin tin is filled.
  • Rest the Meatloaf Muffins:
    • Just like any chicken or beef recipe, it is important to rest the meatloaf after it is pulled out of the oven.  This allows all of the juices that have pushed to the outside of the muffins to be redistributed.  This ensures a juicy meatloaf in ever bite.

a collage showing how to make Meatloaf Muffins Recipe by adding veggies to food processor, adding cheese to the center of the muffin tin meatloaf and glazing the meatloaf muffins

How Long to Bake Meatloaf Muffins?

Bake Meatloaf Muffins at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center (but not the cheese) reads 165 degrees F.

If you don’t own an instant-read thermometer, you may cut open 1 muffin to ensure it is cooked all the way through. Continue to cook if muffin tin meatloaf is not fully cooked through.

WOULD THESE TASTE GOOD ON A SANDWICH?

Absolutely! You can place your Meatloaf Muffins inside your favorite hoagie roll with additional melted cheese or place in a dinner roll and serve as a slider.

What Sides Go with Muffin Tin Meatloaf?

Meatloaf Muffins are a fabulous juicy, meaty main course.  They pair well with all sorts of sides.  Here are a few of my favorites:

top view of a tray of easy Meatloaf Muffins with glaze

CAN I MAKE MEATLOAF MUFFINS AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes!  You can certainly prep your Meatloaf Muffins ahead of time, store them in the refrigerator then simply pop in the oven to bake!

  1. After completing Step 2, cover your glaze with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator.
  2. Then, follow all of the instructions through step 4.
  3. Cover your muffin tin with plastic wrap (no glaze on top yet) then place it in your refrigerator. I suggest storing for no longer than 24 hours to maintain freshness.
  4. When you’re ready to bake, remove the muffin tin from the refrigerator and place it on the counter for 20-30 minutes to come to room temperature (so they cook evenly).  Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  5. Now you can proceed with Steps 5-7: cover your meatball muffins with glaze (already made and stored in your refrigerator), bake them in the oven for 20 minutes and let them rest for 5 minutes before happily devouring with family and friends.

How do I STORE MEATLOAF MUFFINS?

Baked Meatloaf Muffins should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  When properly stored, muffins are good for up to 5 days.

If you have leftover glaze, place it in an airtight container or zip bag and store in the refrigerator.

HOW DO I REHEAT MY MEATLOAF MUFFINS?

  • To reheat meatloaf muffins in the oven: Place your meatloaf muffins on the counter while your oven preheats.  Pop them back into your muffin tin or line on a baking sheet.   Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.
  • To reheat meatloaf muffins in the microwave: Place a couple of muffins in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 60 seconds then at 30 second intervals as needed until heated through.

up close side view of muffin tin Meatloaf Muffins Recipe with mozzarella cheese

CAN I FREEZE MEATLOAF MUFFINS?

The wonderful thing about this easy Meatloaf Muffin recipe is that you can freeze your muffins before OR after baking them and save some for later!   Who doesn’t like the sound of heat and eat snacks, lunch or dinner featuring fully flavored morsels of meat? Send some seconds my way please!

How To freeze RAW Meatloaf Muffins:

  1. Follow the recipe instructions through forming the muffins  – do NOT glaze muffins.
  2. Store glaze separately in a freezer-safe airtight container or plastic bag in the freezer.
  3. Place the muffin tray in the freezer to flash freeze muffins until solid, about 2 hours.
  4. Remove Meatloaf Muffins and place them in a freezer-safe bag or divide into smaller bags.
  5. Squeeze out any excess air (to prevent freezer burn), label and store up to 3 months.

How To freeze BAKED Meatloaf Muffins:

  1. Follow the recipe instructions all the way through.
  2. Cool Meatloaf muffins to room temperature.
  3. Place the muffin tray in the freezer to flash freeze muffins until solid, about 2 hours.
  4. Remove Meatloaf Muffins and place them in a freezer-safe bag or divide into smaller bags.
  5. Squeeze out any excess air (to prevent freezer burn), label and store up to 3 months.

How to I reheat Frozen Meatloaf Muffins?

Frozen RAW Meatloaf Muffins:

  1. Transfer the muffins and your glaze to your refrigerator to thaw overnight.
  2. Remove meatloaf muffins from packaging and place on a plate on the counter for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  3. After 30 minutes (not before because we want to avoid condensation), place the muffins back into lightly greased muffin tin liners in a muffin tin.
  4. Evenly top each meatloaf muffin with BBQ Ketchup Glaze.
  5. Bake until heated through, or until the center reaches 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 20 minutes.

Frozen BAKED Meatloaf Muffins:

  1. Transfer the muffins to your refrigerator to thaw overnight.
  2. Remove meatloaf muffins from packaging and place on a plate on the counter for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  3. After 30 minutes (not before because we want to avoid condensation), place the muffins back into lightly greased muffin tin liners in a muffin tin.
  4. Bake until heated through, or until the center reaches 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 15 minutes.

a plate with a Meatloaf Muffin sliced open oozing mozzarella cheese

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatloaf Muffins  – each bite a perfect proportion of moist, spiced BBQ Ketchup Glazed meatloaf that will have you craving “more meat!”  “more meat!”

Want to try this Meatloaf Muffins Recipe?

Pin it to your ITALIAN, MEATLOAF or DINNER BOARD to SAVE for later!

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Meatloaf Muffins | Carlsbad Cravings

Meatloaf Muffins Stuffed with Mozzarella

Meatloaf Muffins Stuffed with Mozzarella are wonderfully juicy, cheesy, flavorful and on your table in less than 35 minutes! This Meatloaf Muffins Recipe will be your family's new favorite way to devour meatloaf! 
Servings: 12 meatloaf muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 muffin/cupcake tin liners
  • 3 mozzarella sticks each cut into 4 even pieces

Meatloaf Muffins

  • 1 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 12 saltines saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 rib celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
  • 1/2 tsp EACH paprika, dried parlsey, pepper
  • 1/4 tsp EACH ground cumin, salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

BBQ Ketchup Glaze

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar more to taste
  • 1-3 teaspoons hot sauce optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450F degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together BBQ Ketchup Glaze ingredients. Taste and adjust with more brown sugar for sweeter or more hot sauce for spicer. Set aside.
  • Add roughly chopped onion, green bell pepper, celery, carrot and garlic cloves to your food processor and finely chop. Add to large bowl along with the remaining Meatball Muffin ingredients and mix until well combined.**
  • Line a 12-muffin tin with muffin liners and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Using a ⅓ cup measuring cup, fill measuring cup, add a mozzarella piece to the center and roll into a ball and place in muffin liner. Repeat until muffin tin is filled.
  • Evenly top each meatloaf muffin with BBQ Ketchup Glaze.
  • Bake Meatloaf Muffins at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center (but not the cheese) reads 165 degrees F.  If you don't own a thermometer, cut open 1 muffin to ensure it is cooked all the way through. Continue to cook if meatloaf is not fully cooked through.
  • Let stand 5 minutes then serve warm.

Notes

*You MUST use lean meat or grease will overflow the muffin tins. **You want meat mixture consistency to be moist but hold it’s shape. It should not be crumbly-dry or runny-wet. If too wet, add breadcrumbs. If too dry, add milk.

To Prep Ahead

  1. After completing Step 2, cover your glaze with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator.
  2. Then, follow all of the instructions through step 4.
  3. Cover your muffin tin with plastic wrap (no glaze on top yet) then place it in your refrigerator. I suggest storing for no longer than 24 hours to maintain freshness.
  4. When you’re ready to bake, remove the muffin tin from the refrigerator and place it on the counter for 20-30 minutes to come to room temperature (so they cook evenly).  Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  5. Now you can proceed with Steps 5-7: cover your meatball muffins with glaze (already made and stored in your refrigerator), bake them in the oven for 20 minutes and let them rest for 5 minutes before happily devouring with family and friends.

HOW TO FREEZE RAW MEATLOAF MUFFINS

  1. Follow the recipe instructions through forming the muffins  – do NOT glaze muffins.
  2. Store glaze separately in a freezer-safe airtight container or plastic bag in the freezer.
  3. Place the muffin tray in the freezer to flash freeze muffins until solid, about 2 hours.
  4. Remove Meatloaf Muffins and place them in a freezer-safe bag or divide into smaller bags.
  5. Squeeze out any excess air (to prevent freezer burn), label and store up to 3 months.

How to Reheat Frozen RAW Meatloaf Muffins

  1. Transfer the muffins and your glaze to your refrigerator to thaw overnight.
  2. Remove meatloaf muffins from packaging and place on a plate on the counter for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  3. After 30 minutes (not before because we want to avoid condensation), place the muffins back into lightly greased muffin tin liners in a muffin tin.
  4. Evenly top each meatloaf muffin with BBQ Ketchup Glaze.
  5. Bake until heated through, or until the center reaches 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 20 minutes.

HOW TO FREEZE BAKED MEATLOAF MUFFINS

  1. Follow the recipe instructions all the way through.
  2. Cool Meatloaf muffins to room temperature.
  3. Place the muffin tray in the freezer to flash freeze muffins until solid, about 2 hours.
  4. Remove Meatloaf Muffins and place them in a freezer-safe bag or divide into smaller bags.
  5. Squeeze out any excess air (to prevent freezer burn), label and store up to 3 months.

How to Reheat Frozen BAKED Meatloaf Muffins

  1. Transfer the muffins to your refrigerator to thaw overnight.
  2. Remove meatloaf muffins from packaging and place on a plate on the counter for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  3. After 30 minutes (not before because we want to avoid condensation), place the muffins back into lightly greased muffin tin liners in a muffin tin.
  4. Bake until heated through, or until the center reaches 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 15 minutes.

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12 Comments

  1. Savita @ ChefDeHome says

    Jen, me too not a huge fan of making a huge meatloaf! love the idea of muffin-size loaf 🙂 just perfect!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Savita! The proportions seem to be just right this size and it stays super moist. Enjoy!

  2. Sandy P in NC says

    I made this recipe last night for dinner. I used lean, grass-fed ground bison. It was wonderful! So tender and moist as well. I turned the oven down to 400, and it still cooked within 25 minutes. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • Jen says

      Hi Sandy, you are most welcome! Thank YOU for letting me know you tried this recipe and enjoyed it! The use of lean ground bison sounds wonderful as well!

  3. SK in Haines says

    Awesome recipes and photos. I’m so glad I found your site through a Pinterest photo (of your stuffed meatloaf muffins, can’t wait to try them). I wish you and yours the very, very best. As a fellow survivor of multiple medical… um… adventures… I sense that we share a certain sparkle-still-on-it appreciation of the world. So much of the little stuff — those day to day irritants — just falls away when we can let it go. Which makes a lot of room in the heart for joy.
    Like you, I’m blessed to have found my best friend and soulmate, who has been with me every step of the way now for 29 years (25 married as of Aug 18!). Anyway, I just wanted to reach out and send a hug your way. Thanks for being exactly who you are, and for sharing so generously of your self with others.
    tigger, Haines Alaska

    • Jen says

      Welcome to my site – I am so happy you found me as well and thank you so much for reaching out! You sound like such a wonderful, optimistic, grateful soul that only medical “adventures” can bring 🙂 I am so happy you have found your soul mate as well and congratulations on your anniversary! (My parents anniversary is on the 18th as well 🙂 ) God bless you and yours!!

  4. Lezlie Pascoe says

    I just found your recipes — they all look wonderful — can’t wait to try them. You mentioned that your mom used to make porcupine meatballs. My sister used to make these and we’ve lost the recipe. Would you have it and be willing to share it? I’d love to try them again. Thanks for your consideration!

    • Jen says

      Welcome to my site Lezlie! I would be happy to share my mom’s recipe with you – if I can find it 🙂 I have never made them myself so let me ask my mom for the recipe and I will email it to you!

  5. Karra J says

    Jen! You have done it again!! Every single recipe we have ever tried from you is just delicious, and this one is the same. And my favorite part of using your recipes – NO substitutions needed – if I follow your recipes to the “T” they are always perfect. This is my new favorite way to make meatloaf. Thank you!!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Karra for your super thoughtful comment! I am honored you are loving my recipes so much and that this was a huge hit! xoxo

  6. Barbara says

    Made this tonight and loved it! Will use the leftovers for sandwiches. So excited to have found you and your recipes. My husband is looking forward to your cornbread this weekend 🙂

    • Jen says

      Welcome to Carlsbad Cravings Barbara, I’m so pleased you found me too and that these meatloaf muffins were a winner! I hope you find many new favorites here!