This air fryer meatloaf is perfectly juicy and moist, and cooks in a fraction of the time! The sweet and tangy glaze takes it to another level.
We are a meatloaf-loving family; if there is one thing that grinds our gears, it is a dry and overcooked meatloaf.
Enter- the air fryer. I’ve been skeptical about cooking a meatloaf in this gadget because I didn’t want to be disappointed. But the benefits of both time and ease made it a viable option.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- Made with pantry-friendly ingredients. This recipe uses basic ingredients that you might already have in your pantry.
- Quick and easy. There’s no foil to grease, messy cleanup, or need for multiple pots. It’s so easy I can even get the kids involved in the cooking process.
- Cost-effective. Using affordable cuts of meat and basics like eggs and milk, this feels fancy without the price tag.
- Perfect texture and flavor. Can I lament about how incredible the texture is? It’s tender and slightly crisp in the right places but always juicy and moist in the middle. The sticky, sweet glaze gives it a subtle sweetness that balances out all the meaty flavors.
We’ll be using common meatloaf ingredients that you’d be familiar with if you often cook it. The only difference is the cooking method. Here is what you’ll need:
- Ground beef. Always use regular ground beef instead of anything too lean or lower in fat. This is the secret trick to perfectly juicy meatloaf every single time.
- Yellow onion. Finely chopped or grated. If you have time, grate the onion as it mixes into the meat much better and amplifies the taste.
- Eggs. Act as binding ingredients and keeps its shape.
- Milk. For soaking the breadcrumbs and making the meatloaf soft. I used whole milk but use whatever milk you have on hand.
- Panko breadcrumbs. Helps keep the juices in the meatloaf and also helps with binding. If you only have standard breadcrumbs, you must reduce the amount by two tablespoons. The finer consistency absorbs more moisture than the larger panko flakes.
- Parmesan cheese. My secret ingredient in all my meatloaf recipes. If you can, freshly grate the cheese as it will melt better.
- Garlic. Either fresh or pre-minced garlic.
- Fresh parsley. Chopped.
- Worcestershire sauce. Adds a sweet, tangy and salty flavor to the meatloaf.
- Italian seasoning.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Ketchup. You can also use tomato sauce.
- Brown sugar. Powdered or granulated sugar also work; make sure to mix it well.
- Apple cider vinegar. An acidic element that balances the sweet and tangy flavors.
How to make air fryer meatloaf?
Cooking meatloaf in the air fryer is so simple. You’ll love how hands-off it is for such an impressive dish.
Make the meatloaf mix: Start by adding the ingredients for the meatloaf in a bowl and mix well. Using your hands, prepare meatloaf from the mixture.
Cook in the air fryer: Next, add the meatloaf to a preheated air fryer diagonally so it fits easily.
Add the glaze: Now, prepare the ketchup glaze, and spread it over the cooking meatloaf in the air fryer.
Cook again: Let it cook for 5 minutes before moving it to the serving plate.
Can I bake this in the oven?
Yes, you can bake meatloaf in the oven. To bake this particular recipe, add it to a preheated oven (180C/350F) and bake it for 40-45 minutes.
Recipe tips and variations
- Line the air fryer basket with aluminum foil to avoid potential over-spill. Contrary to popular belief, you CAN add tin foil to the air fryer. I also recently tried using disposable air fryer liners, which were okay, but the meatloaf was a little soggy at the bottom.
- Don’t over-mix the ingredients after adding meat; otherwise, your meatloaf will become tough and gummy.
- To know when the meatloaf is fully cooked, use an instant-read thermometer. Oven makes and models differ, so this is your surefire way to know it’s done. In my Phillips XXL air fryer, this recipe took exactly 20 minutes to cook.
- If you aren’t a fan of ground beef, use something else. Ground turkey, ground pork, or a mixture of beef and pork are all good options for this recipe.
To store: Place leftovers in a shallow container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To freeze: Place the cooked and cooled meatloaf in a ziplock bag and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Reheating: Easily reheat portions of the meatloaf in the microwave, oven, or air fryer.
More air fryer dinners to try
Frequently Asked Questions
Using ground beef with a higher fat percentage will prevent the drying of the meatloaf. Alternatively, you can add more glaze, too.
The temperature of the air fryer for cooking meatloaf should be 200C/400F for the best texture. The higher heat cooks the meat quickly on the outside while keeping the middle juicy.
Air Fryer Meatloaf
- Preheat the air fryer to 200C/400F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and onion and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients until completely incorporated.
- Using your hands, shape the meat mixture into a thick loaf. Transfer it into the air fryer basket diagonally.
- Air fry the meatloaf for 18-22 minutes, or until the internal temperature 160F.
- Whisk the glaze ingredients and brush on top of the meatloaf. Place it back in the air fryer for 1-2 minutes, or until warm.
- Remove the meatloaf from the air fryer and let it sit for 5 minutes, before slicing and serving.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.