Slow Cooker Meatloaf

September 15, 2013
With this Slow Cooker Meatloaf, you can whip up the classic comfort of meatloaf with slow cooker convenience.
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Slow Cooker Meatloaf image ~ whip up the classic comfort of meatloaf with slow cooker convenience.


Wow, was it ever a gorgeous fall weekend here in North Carolina!  While I did spend some time outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather, strangely enough the pleasantly cooler weather made me want to be in the kitchen.  Oh, who am I kidding? ... pretty much any weather {except high-temperature scorchers} makes me want to be in the kitchen.

So I spent most of Saturday doing initial trial runs of three new recipes and whipping up a classic comfort food dinner, including this Slow Cooker Meatloaf.

Until recently, I had never thought of cooking meatloaf in the crockpot.  But I'm so glad to have now discovered this method.

I absolutely adore meatloaf ... especially making meatloaf sandwiches with the leftovers.  But truth be told, I have always had trouble cooking it myself.  Yup.  My meatloaf has always turned out dry.  Way too dry for my liking.

Well, guess what?

Cooking meatloaf in the slow cooker keeps it nice and super moist.  With this cooking method, my dry meatloaf problem is solved!

How to Make Slow Cooker Meatloaf image

When cooking meatloaf in the slow cooker, you mix together "traditional" meatloaf ingredients, form them into the bottom of the slow cooker, and cook the meat mixture for about 5 or 6 hours.  Then, pour on the sauce topping for the last 30 minutes or so of cooking time.

Since the slow cooker naturally traps in moisture, the result is a moist and tender meatloaf that's not one bit dry at all.

One thing to point out, though, is that the fat released from the meat during cooking will collect as grease around the edges and on the top of the meat.  Before spreading on the sauce, I spoon off as much of this grease as I can.  The rest stays behind in the crockpot when I lift the meatloaf out to a serving platter. 

So for a classic comfort food dinner, whip up this slow cooker meatloaf, some mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, and maybe even some pumpkin biscuits with pecan-honey butter like I did this past Saturday.  Mmmmm, mmmmm.  We were in comfort food heaven!

Now excuse me, please ... I've got to go make a delicious meatloaf sandwich to bring for my lunch tomorrow.  Made with nice and moist meatloaf, courtesy of my slow cooker!

Crockpot Meatloaf image


Slow Cooker Meatloaf
Source:  A Tracey creation, adapted from my Mom's classic meatloaf recipe
(Printable recipe)
Ingredients
Meatloaf:
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (I use 85% lean)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 medium-sized onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 c. tomato sauce*
Sauce:
  • 1/2 c. tomato sauce*
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. dried sage
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch black pepper
Directions
  1. FOR THE MEATLOAF: Place all meatloaf ingredients in a large mixing bowl; mix until well combined. Place meatloaf mixture in a slow cooker, covering the entire bottom and patting mixture to the shape of the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low setting for 5 to 6 hours.
  3. FOR THE SAUCE: Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate while the meatloaf cooks.
  4. When the meatloaf has 30 minutes of cooking time remaining, spoon or pour out some of the grease in the slow cooker. Spread the sauce on top of the meatloaf. Turn the slow cooker to high and cook for 30 more minutes.
  5. Remove meatloaf to a serving plate (I use 2 spatulas to lift if from the slow cooker) and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve.
* A total of 1 (8 oz.) can of tomato sauce is used in this recipe.

Note - Change up the seasonings to suit your personal taste ... this recipe is very flexible.

33 comments

  1. This sounds so good. I love the fact that it is cooked in a slow cooker. Makes meal getting easy if you have a busy day, no matter who you are. Thanks for sharing

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  2. I am obsessed with my slow cooker and have never made meatloaf in it before! I am going to have to try this soon. :)
    Thank you for sharing at Marvelous Mondays this week!

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    Replies
    1. I hadn't either until recently, Carrie. I LOVE this meatloaf method! Enjoy!

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  3. These sound AMAZING! I love the way that you made that meal.

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  4. Meatloaf is an old favorite of mine - Mama could make the best. Haven't tried it in the slow cooker yet, thanks for sharing your recipe. Please send some of that cooler weather down here to South Georgia!

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  5. This looks great! Meatloaf is one of my favorite meals (almost as good as the meatloaf sandwiches the next day.) I had no idea I could make it in the slow cooker. Thanks!

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  6. You wont believe I have never actually made meatloaf before but Iv always wanted to. Cooking it in the slow cooker sounds like a great way to go as well as it will keep it moist. Im saving this to my favourites :) Thanks for sharing

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  7. This seems like a great idea but for anyone that doesn't have a slow cooker you can make moist meatloaf in the oven if done right. First off, do not just use all ground beef. Use a mixture of beef, veal and pork. I usually by the meatloaf mixture at my local grocery store which is a mixture of beef, pork and veal. Beef for flavor, pork for fat and veal for texture. Also add 4 slices of white bread, crust cut off to a bowl of milk and let soak for a few minutes. Squeeze out excess milk and add to meat mixture. Also use less dry bread crumbs. Instead of 3/4 cup, use 1/2 cup. The dry bread crumbs and only using beef is what is drying your meatloaf out.

    I also make home made meatballs with the same ingredients.

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  8. hamburger meat from raw should never be cooked in the slow cooker. It should always be browned so no pink is showing. the slow cooker never gets hot enough to kill all the bacteria.

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    Replies
    1. That's not true. The slow cooker does just what it says, slow cooks the meat until done and killing all bacteria. You need to Educate yourself before posting scare tactics to people. The heat of the slow cooker has nothing to do with the food. the food will eventually get hot enough at a longer time to kill all bacteria.

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    2. I was not sure of this, so I looked it up in my Cuisinart slow cooker cookbook and recommends browning all ground meats prior to cooking in the slow cooker due to "high incidence of bacterial contamination...We strongly advise against cooking a meatloaf in the slow cooker," page 3. In my opinion, the best way to know if the meat has reached the right temperature is to stick a thermometer in it and make sure it hits 160 degrees for at least 5 minutes. You would do that anyway if you were cooking it in the over, right? So, if you are not sure, use your thermometer if your using your slow cooker and then you will know if your slow cooker reaches the correct temperature for raw, ground meat.

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  9. i wondered about the safety of cooking in the slow cooker also,,but i suppose u can use a thermometer to check the temp of the loaf.. id imagine the slow cooker gets hot enough since it cooks stuff to boiling.

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    Replies
    1. Slow cookers do cook hot enough or they wouldn't sell them. Don't listen to people that have no idea what they are talking about. All of the BBQ joints in Texas cook there meats low and slow and cooking in a slow cooker is no different.

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  10. Ooh, I've never made meatloaf in the slow cooker so I'm really intrigued by your recipe. It looks yummy, and I love the spices you have used. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with the Hearth and Soul LInk Party, Tracey!

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  11. Hope you are having a great day and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen

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  12. My kids love meatloaf. I have never made it in the slow cooker, it looks delicious! Thank you for linking up with us at the #HomeMattersParty linky.

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  13. Would you be able to cook it on a rack up out of the grease and it still be moist

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    Replies
    1. I would think so, Katrina. I've never tried it ... but I would think it would work.

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  14. I cooked Leftover Turkey Noodle Casserole! This is amazing! Thank you very much!!!

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