Most cooks in America seem to have their own spin on the classic meatloaf recipe. They change things up by adding their own ingredients, changing up the seasonings, and making their own unique glaze. Ideally, the end result is juicy, flavorful, and a total crowd favorite. This air fryer meatloaf version is just as delicious and a favorite for weeknight dinner for my family.
Now, my own mother couldn’t cook a meatloaf if her life depended on it. While she could cook many other things, her meatloaf either ended up too dry or a pile of crumbled ingredients. My grandmother and aunts all had meatloaf recipes that were juicy, tasty and didn’t fall apart when you took it out of the pan.
Meatloaf is one of those entrees that I make a few times a year, usually for family gatherings or when my spouse is having a craving. I developed my own recipe that creates a flavorful loaf that’s firm and moist. When I started cooking with an air fryer, I made a few tweaks to make sure the end result was just as good. You’ll see the results in the recipe below.
I’m not one of those cooks who stay with the same recipe time after time. I use this basic recipe and build on it, depending on what flavor I’m going for.
What Makes A Good Meatloaf Recipe
One thing that is a must for making a good meatloaf is the choice of meat. Ground beef is probably the most common meat used in American-style meatloaf. It’s an affordable cut of meat that easily takes on a ton of flavor from what it’s cooked with.
But, what type of ground beef works best in a meatloaf? A meatloaf needs some fat in the mix to add flavor and to keep the ingredients moist. That’s why meatloaf made with leaner mixes of ground beef, as well as ground chicken or ground turkey, can leave the loaf a bit dry. On the other hand, too much fat can cause the mixture to become too moist and fall apart.An 80/20 ground beef mixture is ideal. It offers the right balance of meat to fat to be moist and juicy, while remaining firm at the same time.
If you want to add some additional flavor to the meatloaf mix, add in some ground pork. I usually add about 1/4 pound of ground pork to every 1 pound of ground beef I’m using. It adds additional flavor without throwing the fat ratio off.
How To Make The Best Air Fryer Meatloaf
First, always use ground beef with some fat. For this recipe, I used 80/20 ground beef. The added fat just taste much better than going with leaner ground beef.
Take a couple of minutes to saute the chopped onions before mixing with the ground beef. If you skip this step, you will likely have raw onions in the meatloaf which I don’t like.
Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meatloaf. It should be at least 160F. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the meatloaf and your air fryer. For me, it took about 40 minutes.
Don’t forget the glaze!
That’s it folks, simple but super delicious perfect for weeknights when you don’t have much time to prepare.
Air Fryer Meatloaf
Simple and delicious air fryer meatloaf.
- 1-2 lbs 80/20 Ground Beef
- 1 pc Egg (beaten)
- 3 tbsp Breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup Onion (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 cup Ketchup
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
Saute chopped onion for 2 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, sauteed onion, breadcrumbs, beaten egg, salt, and pepper.
Mix meatloaf ingredients thoroughly. All the ingredients should be incorporated throughout the entire loaf.
Preheat the air fryer, setting it to 380°F.
Place beef mixture on the air fryer tray.
Make sure the top is smooth.
Air fry the meatloaf for 40 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix the ketchup and brown sugar together to make the glaze.
After the air frying cycle is complete, spread the glaze all over the top of the meatloaf.
Put meatloaf back into the air fryer for another 5 minutes to set the glaze.
Take the meatloaf out of the air fryer and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.