Mini meatloaves - little loaves or muffin-size - are easier & cook a lot faster than regular meatloaf, making them perfect for everyday as well as a great company main dish. Try them slathered with this easy homemade chipotle BBQ sauce sweetened with honey - it's kind of amazing.
I'm pretty excited to share this recipe for mini meatloaves with a super tasty chipotle-honey BBQ sauce because they actually changed my mind about meatloaf. I don't know if it's the same for you, but meatloaf is something I rarely used to make. For one, it just seemed so...blah. I didn't really get the appeal based on the meatloaves I had growing up.
Second, it just takes SO long - you need to prep the ingredients, mush it all up together (many people use their hands - sorry, I do not want to be picking raw meat out of my fingernails, yuck), press it into a pan, and then wait more than an hour to cook.
And serving it? I don't know what the problem is, but the few times I did make it I could never get nice clean slices and the plate would end up with a glob of meat mixture in the middle. Lovely. I could've just made a ground beef hash in a fraction of the time for almost the same result.
Because of these things, making meatloaf just never seemed worth it to me, so I only made it if someone in my family requested it, which was pretty much never.
Mini Meatloaves with Chipotle-Honey BBQ Sauce
So what changed? Why mini meatloaves?
One day it occurred to me (who knows why...) that I could make individual mini meatloaves in the same pan I use to make little bread loaves (like these Cranberry Crumb loaves - yum!). If I had needed to make more or wanted smaller serving sizes, a regular muffin tin would work, too.
Well, this was pretty much a revelation for me - not only do they cook quicker and are a snap to serve, I actually like them better because more of each serving gets that nice crisp edge and coating of barbecue sauce. I was starting to get the whole idea of meatloaf!
So I started playing around with flavors and seasonings. I came up with this recipe that has plenty of garlic and is topped with a super easy homemade spicy chipotle barbecue sauce. Um, this is not your mama's (or grandma's) meatloaf - there's nothing blah about this!
A side benefit is that with this presentation the humble meatloaf is elevated to company fare and actually looks good on a platter or plate.
So whether you make them in a mini meatloaf pan or regular muffin tins, these mini meatloaves liberally spread with a spicy sauce (or not - you can adjust the seasoning easily) just might make a meatloaf believer out of you, too. Unless you already were - in that case, you'll just enjoy another version of a favorite!
And you can bet my family asks for meatloaf now - only if it's these quick mini meatloaves with the yummy sauce.
Quick Mini Meatloaves with Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce
- For Chipotle-Honey BBQ Sauce:
- 6 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (about 1/2 a can)*
- 1 6- ounce can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons honey**
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- For Meatloaves:
- 1 pound ground beef or turkey
- 1 pound ground pork or sausage you can use all beef or turkey, but adding the pork really makes a flavorful, moist meatloaf
- 1 small onion diced - about 1 cup
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup diced sweet peppers***
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup oatmeal or bread crumbs I prefer oatmeal and makes it gluten-free
- 2 eggs
- Make Easy Chipotle-Honey BBQ Sauce:
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender and whir until smooth.
- If sauce is too thick, add water as needed to thin to desired consistency.
- Make Mini Meatloaves:
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. I use my Kitchen Aid mixer, but any way you want to mix it together works.
- Divide meat mixture evenly in an 8-mini-meatloaf pan OR into 12 regular sized muffin cups. No need to grease or line the pans.
- Liberally spread some of the chipotle barbecue sauce over the tops. You won't use all the sauce.
- Bake mini loaves for 25-30 minutes and muffin tin sized loaves for 20-25 minutes, until nicely brown and pulling away from the edges.
- Let sit about 5 minutes before serving with remaining barbecue sauce.
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