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.
Other Easy Dinner Recipes You May Like:
Sriracha Beef and Vegetable Rice Bowls
Rotisserie-Style Slow Cooker Spiced Whole Chicken
French Beef Stew Recipe – The Best Stew Ever!
Easy Slow Cooker Cassoulet
Simple Real Food Dinner Menus + Shopping Lists
Kathy Thomas says
Blessings Jami, love your mini meatloves. Tried them for a dinner and they made a huge impression on my folks here.
Problem now is I have purchased all that I need to prepare these for my Bible study and it has to be cancelled because of Joaquin the hurricane. Can I prepare these and freeze before or after cooking? I'm not sure.I sure would appreciate your advice.
Thank you bunches
A loyal reader
Oh wow, sorry to hear about the hurricane - stay safe, Kathy!! And yes, these meatloaves are perfect for freezing- I'd freeze after cooking, but maybe not put the sauce on top until you cook them for real (thaw and reheat with the sauce on top then), just so the sauce doesn't all come off on the freezer packaging. I'm glad you all like them!
Looks good! I was thinking yesterday about making meatloaf in muffin tins. I've only made meatloaf a couple of times but my teenage boys are always hungry! I've been trying to think of more high protein snacks for them and thought meat muffins might just be a solution.
Yes, that sounds like a perfect solution for hungry teens. 😉
Gosh Jami: I just now found your blog, following a search for sourdough artisan bread. I'm so glad I clicked on your hit (Read that again and tell me what it means. What has happened to the language? It's been electronified!). So, I'm going to try your recipe as soon as my starter gets a little fluffier this afternoon. It's been in the fridge. Thanks for all you are doing in the home arts. I collected a few of your recipes and tips.....thank you....it's such fun. And pinned some things. Please come by and visit at Prairie Cottage Corner and we'll have a hot, virtual cup of something. I'm just up the hill in Washington State (Odessa). Cheers!
Thanks so much, Kathie - I'm glad you found me! I'll take you up on that invite, too. 🙂
These sound great, meatloaf isn't something that I've ever tried, perhaps a country thing, but I would really like to try these, do you think you could freeze them?
I haven't made meatloaf in a long time. I don't know why I never think about it, the whole family loves it.
I've taken to making it in muffin tins for that very reason. The time, and the fact that it ALWAYS turns into a big pile of meat mush on the plate. Gross.
I love that your recipe doesn't include ketchup. Which, quite frankly, grosses me out. I can't even stand the smell of it.
The sauce would probably be too spicy for my kiddos, but The Dad and I would be all over it, so I could leave some plain for the little mouths. Pinning. 🙂
You've no idea how great you've made me feel that I'm not the only one with the less-than-perfect slices of meatloaf, Mindy - thought it was a defect or something. 😉