Air fryer meatloaf bites are filled with seasonings and then cooked in the air fryer to make for a speedy, but delicious meal.
Making a comforting dinner doesn’t have to be difficult. We love making these air fryer meatloaf bites for a quick and easy dinner. Meatloaf is a pretty easy meal to make even in the oven, but turning them into “bites” and cooking in the air fryer is even faster, and more fun to eat too!
With its simple seasonings and ketchup glaze, these bites are flavorful and juicy. They cook to perfection in the air fryer in just
Making meatloaf bites in an air fryer makes this recipe even better. The powerful tool cooks the meatloaf in a matter of minutes, and gives the bites wonderfully crispy edges.
Ingredients You Need
- Ground beef: feel free to use the fat percentage you like best, just note that the amount of breadcrumbs needed may differ depending on how much fat is in your ground beef. We are using Butcher Box 85-15 for this recipe.
- Dried onion flakes: If you have them on hand, dried onion adds a lot of flavor to the meat. It’s optional. You could also add sautéed onions, if you’d rather go fresh.
- Italian seasoning: it adds notes of earthiness and a lovely aroma to the dish.
- Garlic & Onion powder: gives a boost of flavor to the meat.
- Salt & black pepper: adjust the amount of salt and pepper used depending on your taste preferences.
- Egg: the egg acts as a binding agent for the meatloaf bites.
- Breadcrumbs: regular breadcrumbs or panko can be used for the meatloaf bites.
- Ketchup: adds a nice sweetness to the meatloaf bites and prevents them from going dry.
There are a few things you’ll need to make this recipe:
Air fryer – not all air fryers are made the same so times and temperature may differ for your air fryer.
If shaping them by hand, you can make them into muffin shapes, ovals, or just meatball shapes. They will cook the same in the air fryer as they do in the silicon pan, so don’t worry about it.
How to Make Air Fryer Meatloaf Bites
Making these meatloaf bites is very simple. It will only take a few minutes to prepare. In a bowl, mix the meat together with the remaining ingredients, except for the ketchup.
Lightly pack the meat mixture into the wells of a silicon cupcake or muffin pan. You don’t want to mash it down. Overpacking it leads to meatloaf that is tough and like a brick when you cut into it. You want to give room for the juices to flow.
Lay the mold into the basket of the air fryer. The muffin mold that I use is round and it fits into most air fryers. If you have an especially small air fryer basket, it might not fit, so be sure to try it out beforehand. If your muffin pan doesn’t fit, you can just form them by hand and lay them in the basket.
Cook at 380° for 5 minutes, until the internal temperature of the meatloaf is 145-150° F. Since every air fryer is different, it’s important to make sure the meat reaches the right temperature. While you can go by timing alone in many cases, it’s really best to insert a meat thermometer to make sure.
Brush the tops of the meatloaves with the ketchup and cook again on 380° F for 2-4 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 155° F. Remove the mold carefully from the air fryer with oven mitts. Set it on a heat-proof surface to rest for 3 minutes before removing from the mold to serve. During this time, the meat temperature will rise to 160° F.
Substitutions and Variations
- Not a ketchup lover? Skip the ketchup and cover the meatloaf bites in BBQ sauce, sriracha, or a ketchup-BBQ mix. Experiment with other sauces to see what kind of glaze you like.
- Swap out the ketchup for chili sauce and add red pepper flakes to the ground meat mixture.
- Add some smokiness into your meatloaf bites by mixing in some bacon. Cut the pieces big, so you get lovely chunks of bacon inside.
- Give the meatloaf bites a nice gooey texture by filling it with shredded cheese. You can use mozzarella, cheddar, or something spicy like Monterey Jack. Anything goes.
Questions About the Recipe
Can I make them ahead of time?
Yes! Make the meatloaf bites, then place them on a plate or baking sheet. Cover them in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them in the air fryer. It is best to cook them the day of, or the next day. However, they can be frozen – either uncooked or cooked. This is an easy way to do meal prep. Frozen meatloaf bites can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Can I use a different kind of meat?
Yes. If you don’t like ground beef, you can use other kinds of meat as well. Ground pork or ground turkey or chicken are fantastic options. I like to use a mixture of beef and pork.
How do I know when it’s done cooking?
The best way to check if the meat is done is with a meat thermometer. The middle of the meatloaf should reach 160°F. There should be no pink in the center of the meatloaf bites. When cooking in the air fryer, cook them to 155°F and carry over cooking will bring them up to the proper temperature as they rest.
Can I make them in the oven?
If you don’t have an air fryer, you can make them in the oven as well. Follow the same instructions as the air fryer, but place them into an oven that has been preheated at 375°F. Bake the meatloaf bites for around 30 minutes, then remove them from the oven. Glaze the bites and bake for another 5 minutes.
What Side Dishes to Serve?
There are some really easy side dishes you can serve with your main dish cooked in the Air Fryer. In some cases, you can even cook them together in the air fryer to make it even faster.
Some of our favorite side dishes to serve include air fryer cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and corn on the cob. We love these crispy smashed potatoes and cottage fries because they go with just about anything. Other quick options are to make a side garden salad or some macaroni and cheese.
Why Use an Air Fryer
An air fryer is an incredibly easy way to cook just about anything. You place the food in a fryer-style basket and hot air rapidly circulates all around the food, making the food crisp – much like deep-frying, but without the oil. You can cook anything you’d make in the oven.
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Easy Air Fryer Meatloaf Bites
- 3/4 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes optional
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- In a bowl, mix the meat together with the remaining ingredients, except the ketchup.
- Lightly pack the meat mixture into the wells of a silicon cupcake or muffin pan.
- Lay the egg mold in the basket of the air fryer.
- Cook at 380° for 5 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf is 145-150°
- Brush the tops of the meatloaves with the ketchup and cook again for 2-4 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 155°. Remove the pan from the air fryer and rest for 3 minutes before serving.
- Here is the silicon muffin pan we used: https://www.amazon.com/Silicone-Cupcake-3-5-5-8-Accessories-Universal/dp/B08X6QD5W1
- You could also use an egg bites mold.
All air fryers have different wattage and may cook at different rates. You may need to adjust the time or temp for the best results.
🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite recipes over at A Food Lover’s Kitchen, and you’ll find Instant Pot recipes at A Pressure Cooker Kitchen, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!
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Laura spends a lot of her time cooking and creating recipes to share. She loves traveling and learning about new foods around the world to bring into her own recipes at home.