Crockpot meatloaf is a twist on a family favorite that’s melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Prep it in 15 minutes and let the crockpot do the rest!
Whether you don’t have time to spend in the kitchen or you’re just too tired, you can still enjoy a meal that’s both filling and delicious.
Making meatloaf with oatmeal might seem a little strange, but that secret ingredient helps hold everything together when you aren’t using a pan.
I also have a smoker version of this dish that gets a gorgeous, crispy exterior. It’s ready in the same amount of time and has an extra kick from chiles in adobo.
Crockpot Meatloaf – Tips and Tricks
- Don’t overcook! Once the internal temperature reaches 165°F, it’s done. If you leave it in the slow cooker for longer, you risk having a dry and tough meatloaf.
- Make a sauce nook. I like to make an indent in the top of the loaf for plenty of sauce to settle in.
This ensures maximum juiciness, and whatever drips down the sides will thicken into a delicious glaze.
- Wear gloves. You’ll get better results when combining the ingredients by hand, but gloves will prevent the mixture from sticking to your skin.
Plus, you won’t need to stop at the sink afterwards!
- Avoid overmixing. Ground meat becomes tough and chewy if it’s handled too much, so mix just until everything is incorporated.
- Not super hungry? Cut the recipe in half to make just one loaf! Or, make two and pop one in the freezer to cook at a later date.
You can’t go wrong with a helping of mashed potatoes or throw together a green salad for an easy side dish.
FAQ – Common Recipe Questions
How can I keep crockpot meatloaf from falling apart?
Eggs are a natural binding agent, but making meatloaf with oatmeal is an easy way to help it stay together. Breadcrumbs will help as well, plus they add a nice texture to each bite.
Do I have to soak the breadcrumbs first?
Technically, no, but you’ll regret it if you don’t! Allowing the crumbs to soak up all that milk adds tons of moisture to the loaf without relying on too much grease and fat.
How do I store leftover crockpot meatloaf?
Once cooled, transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. Reheat slices in the microwave or air fryer until warmed through.
If you decide to only cook one loaf, you can store the other in the freezer for up to one month. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator first, then cook as directed.
However, meat should only be frozen and thawed once for food safety. So if you used thawed meat for this recipe, you’ll need to bake the second loaf from frozen instead of thawing it first. It will take about 1 ½ hours at 350°F.
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Other Easy Crockpot Recipes
- 1/4 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 pound ground beef
- 7.5 ounces tomato sauce, half of 15 ounce can
- 1 cup quick-cook oats
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Fresh Italian parsley for garnish
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 of 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together bread crumbs and milk. Allow the mixture to sit for a few moments so that the milk is absorbed into the bread crumbs.
- To the breadcrumb/milk mixture, add remaining meatloaf ingredients. Use gloved hands to mix the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
- Divide meat mixture in half. Form into two loaves. You can cook both now if they will fit in your crockpot or freeze one loaf for cooking later.
- Place loaf into the bottom of the crockpot.
- Whisk together the glaze ingredients until fully combined and smooth.
- Pour half of the glaze over the loaf (or all of the glaze if you are cooking both loaves).
- Cover crockpot with lid and cook on LOW for 3 hours or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf registers 165°F.
- Slice meatloaf and serve with sauce from the crockpot.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published November 2021
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