Tender, fall-apart, and packed with flavor, this air fryer meatloaf is an easy and quick weeknight meal when you’re seeking comfort food and a meal that will stick to your ribs!
Classic meatloaf is a well-loved American comfort food dish that is, at its simplest form, made with ground beef (or a mix of beef and pork) and mixed together with a variety of seasonings and breadcrumbs. It is then shaped into a loaf and baked in the oven, or in this case, made even faster by making this in the air fryer. What can’t the air fryer do?!
Why You’ll Love This
- Pure comfort food. Meatloaf carries a strong sense of nostalgia for many people, as it often reminds them of home-cooked meals enjoyed with family. It’s definitely a comfort food dish for me and it’s a go-to-choice for those seeking a warm and satisfying meal.
- Moist, tender, and fall-apart. Together with the lean fat from the ground beef and the breadcrumbs and milk, this air fryer meatloaf is literally fall-apart tender. It is effortless to slice through the loaf and it melts right in your mouth.
- Packed full of flavor. Blended with Italian seasoning and other spices, it is flavor packed in every single bite!
- Fast and cleanup friendly. Making this meatloaf in the air fryer makes it so incredibly fast and the clean up is a breeze. Most air fryer inserts are dishwasher-safe so after you’re done with your meal, let the dishwasher do the cleaning!
Ingredients for Air Fryer Meatloaf
Here’s what you’ll need to grab for the meatloaf:
- Ground beef – we used 85/15 ground beef for this. You gotta have a little fat to keep it moist! Alternatively, if you can find it at the store, you can use meatloaf mix which is typically equal parts ground beef, ground pork, and ground veal all mixed together. You can also do half and half of ground beef and ground pork for your meatloaf.
- Plain breadcrumbs – if you have Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, you may use that but I would suggest omitting the Italian seasoning so you don’t have an overpowering flavor.
- Milk – dairy-free milk works in this as well as cow’s milk.
- Italian seasoning
- Salt and black pepper
The glaze has ingredients you already have in your pantry:
- Ketchup – aim for a sugar-free ketchup if you can find it so this glaze isn’t too sweet.
- Brown sugar
- Worcestershire sauce
How to Make Meatloaf in the Air Fryer
Make the meatloaf mixture. Combine the ground beef, onion, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, milk, Italian seasoning, parsley, salt, pepper, and ketchup together in a bowl.
Form the loaves. Using your hands, shape the meat mixture into two loaves, roughly 500 grams each. Place both loaves into the basket of an air fryer.
Air fry the meatloaf. Insert the basket into your air fryer and air fry at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer shows 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make the glaze. While the meatloaf is cooking, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze.
Glaze the meatloaf. When there is about 5 minutes left of cooking, brush on a generous amount of the glaze with a pastry brush then insert the basket back into your air fryer to finish cooking.
- Gently combine the meat mixture with your hands. You don’t want to overwork and overmix the mixture, which results in a tough meatloaf that is like a brick!
- Form equal-sized loaves. For this to cook evenly and be finished at the same time, make sure they’re about equal in weight. It doesn’t matter if it matches my weight, just make sure they are equal in weight for you.
Air Fryer Meatloaf Variations and Substitutions
- No air fryer? I’ve got you. You can make classic meatloaf in the oven or in the Instant Pot!
- Make it gluten-free. Swap the plain breadcrumbs for a gluten-free option instead. All of the other ingredients should be naturally gluten-free, but you should always double check your labels just to be sure!
- Use different ground meats. We used 85/15 ground beef for this. If you can find it at the store, you can use meatloaf mix which is typically equal parts ground beef, ground pork, and ground veal all mixed together. You can also do half and half of ground beef and ground pork for your meatloaf. I would avoid using leaner meats like ground chicken or ground turkey as they will yield a dryer meatloaf.
Allow the meatloaf to cool to room temperature. Store any leftovers you may have in an airtight container in the fridge. Properly stored, it’ll stay fresh for about 3-4 days. It reheats very well in the microwave – reheat it for 30 seconds at a time until it’s warmed all the way through.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Meatloaf
Since meatloaf is a comfort food for me, I like to serve my meatloaf along with side dishes that are comfort foods to me as well. These are some side dish ideas that would pair well with this meatloaf:
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Cheesy Creamed Spinach
- Easy Garlic Knots
- Crispy Parmesan Potatoes
- Bacon Brussels Sprouts
Air Fryer Meatloaf
- 1 pound 85/15 ground beef, or meatloaf mix
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 egg
- 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teapoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
For the glaze:
- ¼ cup sugar-free ketchup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- In a large bowl, using your hands or a spoon, gently mix ground beef, onion, eggs, breadcrumbs, garlic, milk, Italian seasoning, parsley, salt, pepper, and ketchup. Do not overmix or it will create a tough loaf!
- Shape this mixture into two equal loaves. Place both loaves, side by side, into the basket of your air fryer.
- Air fry at 350 °F (177 °C) for 20 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the center comes out 165 °F (74 °C)
- While the meatloaf is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce.
- When there is 5 minutes left of cooking, pull out the air fryer basket and using a pastry brush, generously brush on the meatloaf glaze. Insert the air fryer basket back into the air fryer to finish cooking.
- Allow meatloaf to cool for 10 minutes then remove from the air fryer basket and slice into thick slices on a cutting board.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.