This Air Fryer Meatloaf is classic comfort food made quicker and easier in the air fryer! It’s moist, tender, and juicy in the middle, with a slightly crispy exterior.
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If you’ve never made meatloaf in the air fryer, get ready for your life to change drastically.
Seriously. This air fryer meatloaf is as good as it gets!
It’s ultra-tender, extra juicy, and gets that crispy exterior that makes the air fryer worth every penny. It also takes 10 minutes to prep and cooks in half the time as regular meatloaf. It’s become as much a favorite here as these Air Fryer Meatballs and this Air Fryer Chicken Breast!
Ingredients for air fryer meatloaf
- Ground Beef: I like to use regular ground beef rather than lean ground beef, because it keeps the meatloaf moist. Since the oil drips off the loaf in the air fryer, you don’t have to worry about it being too greasy. You can also use lean ground beef if you prefer!
- Breadcrumbs: I use plain dried breadcrumbs. You can use seasoned breadcrumbs, but you may want to adjust the other seasonings.
- Parmesan Cheese: provides moisture and salty cheesiness.
- Milk: soaks into the breadcrumbs to add moisture. The softened, moist breadcrumbs also act as another binder for the meatloaf.
- Egg: binds the ingredients together so the meatloaf can hold its shape.
- Ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce: used to add even more moisture and sweet, salty, tangy flavors. The acidity in the Worcestershire sauce also helps break down the meat for a more tender texture.
- Italian Seasoning, Salt, Paprika, Onion Powder, and Garlic Powder: a sweet, earthy, spicy seasoning blend that adds so much flavor to the meatloaf.
- Ketchup and Brown Sugar: whisked together to form a sweet meatloaf glaze to top it off.
How to make air fryer meatloaf
- Mix meatloaf ingredients: In a large bowl, combine beef, breadcrumbs, parmesan, milk, egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings.
- Make a foil sling: Create a sling using a piece of foil that’s roughly 2-3 inches wide. Lightly grease the top and place the sling into the air fryer basket.
- Shape the meatloaf: Shape the meat mixture into a log shape ( roughly 6 inches long, 3-4 inches wide, and 1.5-2 inches deep.) Place the loaf onto the sling in the air fryer.
- Cook: Cook the meatloaf for 30-40 minutes in the air fryer at 350ºF. Cook until the internal temperature of the meatloaf is at least 160ºF.
- Finish and top with glaze: Stir together ketchup and brown sugar in a small bowl. Open the air fryer, brush the glaze on top, and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Rest, slice, and serve: Remove the meatloaf from the air fryer and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
What meat to use for meatloaf
You can use regular or lean ground beef for this air fryer meatloaf recipe!
Since this meatloaf is cooked in the air fryer, the grease drips off of the meatloaf through the holes in the air fryer basket. You get the tender, moist texture of regular ground beef without the excess grease!
If you prefer, you can also use lean ground beef. It may not be quite as juicy, but it will still be delicious.
Why do you need breadcrumbs in meatloaf?
Breadcrumbs actually serve a few different purposes in meatloaf:
- Add moisture. Breadcrumbs soak up the milk and absorb the juices from the beef to keep all that moisture inside the loaf.
- Act as a binder. The moist breadcrumbs help bind the meatloaf ingredients together as it cooks.
- Make it lighter. Breadcrumbs work with the beef to create the structure of the meatloaf which helps create a lighter texture. If the meatloaf was just beef, it would be much more dense.
Why do you put egg in meatloaf?
Eggs help hold everything together! Without the egg, the meatloaf would be much more likely to be crumbly and fall apart.
Tips, tricks, and notes for air fried meatloaf
- Don’t over-mix. Mix together the meatloaf ingredients until just combined. If you over-mix, the meatloaf may come out dry or tough.
- Preheat the air fryer. Be sure you take a few minutes to preheat the air fryer to 350ºF before adding the meatloaf. This ensures that it cooks evenly.
- Check the top. After the meatloaf has cooked for 15-20 minutes, check to make sure that the top isn’t getting too dark. If it looks too brown, cover it with foil and continue to cook.
- Let it rest. After the meatloaf is done cooking, make sure you let it rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes before slicing into it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and makes it easier to slice.
- Use a serrated knife to slice. A serrated knife makes it easier to cut into the meatloaf without it crumbling.
What to serve with meatloaf
Meatloaf is a classic comfort food entree that pairs well with so many side dishes. Here are a couple of my favorites:
- Roasted Potatoes
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Honey Glazed Carrots
- Broccoli Salad
- And of course a basket of Mom’s Homemade Buns!
How to store
Leftover meatloaf will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen, then warm in the microwave, oven, or air fryer at 350ºF until heated through.
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Air Fryer Meatloaf
- 1 pound regular ground beef (or lean)
- ½ cup dried bread crumbs
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees F according to manufacturer's instructions.
- In a large bowl, combine beef, bread crumbs, Parmesan, milk, egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder.
- Create a sling using a large piece of foil, roughly 2-3 inches wide that will extend beyond the sides of the meatloaf so you can lift it out after. Lightly grease the top and place the sling into the basket of the air fryer.
- Shape the meatloaf mixture into a log shape (about 6 inches long by 3-4 inches wide and 1.5-2 inches deep) and place on the sling in the air fryer.
- Cook for 30-40 minutes, checking and covering the top with foil partway through if necessary to prevent burning (this is a bigger problem with smaller air fryers, as the element is closer to the meat). Cook until the internal temperature is a minimum 160 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, stir together the ketchup and brown sugar.
- Open the air fryer, brush on the glaze on top and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Remove from the air fryer and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing (the longer it rests, the easier it will slice).
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