Slow-cooked deliciously seasoned meatloaf smothered in a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, cooked until perfectly juicy and moist, with a caramelized outer crust, and then finished with even more glaze. This slow cooker meatloaf is an easy way to make a true comfort meal that’ll be ready to serve with all your favorite sides any night of the week.
Easy Slow Cooker Meatloaf Recipe
Meatloaf has always been an old-fashioned ground beef recipe. It’s stood the test of time not only because of how tasty it is, but it’s always served a crowd on a budget, it’s simple to make, and leftovers are always put to good use!
There are plenty of ways to make meatloaf and depending on who you ask, their grandma’s version is probably the best.
I might argue that my classic meatloaf with brown gravy, meatloaf muffins, and now this slow cooker meatloaf with BBQ sauce are the best, but I’ll let you discover that for yourself. I promise I won’t tell your grandma 😉
This is a one bowl recipe which makes clean up easy, and I love that I can put it in the crockpot in the morning and come home to it ready at the end of the day.
Served with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and oven roasted carrots, this juicy meatloaf with a BBQ glaze is a meal the whole family will love!
Why you’ll love Slow Cooker Meatloaf
Customizable – It takes simple ingredients to make a meatloaf as delicious as this one, but there are also ways you can tweak the recipe to make it your own. It’ll be just as good.
Leftovers are even better – Ok, maybe not better but just as good! Have leftovers for dinner, or make yourself a meatloaf sandwich for lunch.
Freezer friendly – When made without the top glaze, you can freeze the slow cooker meatloaf for months! Just add the tangy glaze when you’re ready to enjoy it.
Classic comfort food – Coming home to a family favorite, delicious meal after a busy day makes this mama happy.
Equipment you’ll need
- Slow Cooker – I use a 6 quart, you can read my full review of my favorite here.
- Mixing Bowls – You’ll need a large bowl to mix the meat mixture.
- Silicone Spatulas – I use these for everything!
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
- Ground Beef – You’ll need about 2 lbs of ground beef to make slow cooker meatloaf that will serve about 8 people. I use lean ground beef (80/20) so that there is not too much excess grease.
- Chopped Onion – Adding onion to any recipe is always a great way to develop even more flavor.
- Stuffing – Use any flavor you prefer. Instead of using bread crumbs, I like to use this store-bought stuffing as a binding agent. It works great!
- Milk – Helps to moisten the stuffing to keep it from drying out the meat.
- Worcestershire Sauce – An umami flavor that is a bit salty, a bit sweet, and a bit tangy.
- Seasoning – Steak seasoning and pepper are all you need. There is already so much flavor in this recipe.
- Mustard – Tangy mustard helps to balance out the sweetness with some zip!
- Eggs – Another binding agent that works with the stuffing to keep the meatloaf mixture from falling apart.
- For the Meatloaf Glaze – Ketchup, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, and mustard.
- Parsley – For garnish.
How to make Slow Cooker Meatloaf
- Step One: In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, onion, stuffing, milk, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning, mustard and the eggs. Do not over mix, but stir until combined. Form it into a loaf.
- Step Two: Line the basin of a slow cooker with heavy-duty foil and place the formed loaf into the center of the foil-lined crockpot.
- Step Three: In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the glaze (including remaining mustard) and pour half of it overtop the meatloaf. Cover the cooker with the lid and set it to cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
- Step Four: Serve with extra glaze overtop then finish with a sprinkling of fresh parsley. Enjoy!
Melissa’s Tip ✨
I highly recommend putting it under the broiler for a few minutes once it has been cooked. Use the foil lining to carefully lift the meatloaf onto a baking tray. Place the slow cooker meatloaf under the broiler so the sauce gets caramelized and glazy!
What to serve with it
Meatloaf is pure comfort food and what better way to enjoy it than with some classic sides? Mashed potatoes are one thing, but sometimes I’ll switch it up with oven roasted potatoes, my favorite potato salad recipe, or slow cooker mac and cheese.
Then I’ll whip up an amazing veggie side. Something as simple as a coleslaw or crockpot corn on the cob, or maybe green beans, roasted zucchini or loaded cauliflower casserole.
A slow cooker meatloaf needs a classic dessert to finish the meal. How does a vintage chocolate fudge pie sound?
- Use any flavor stuffing you like. If not stuffing, by all means use breadcrumbs.
- You can use any flavor bbq sauce you like. I have a KFC honey BBQ sauce copycat recipe as well as an easy homemade spicy BBQ sauce. Both would be great.
- I recommend Montreal steak seasoning, though you can use your favorite blend.
- Swap the steak seasoning for Italian seasoning if preferred.
- You do not have to broil the top if you don’t want, it just makes the topping a little more caramelized.
- To make this a gluten-free meatloaf, use gluten-free breadcrumbs and make sure (read the labels) that all the condiments you are using don’t contain any gluten.
- Make it a lighter meatloaf by using ground turkey instead of ground beef.
How to reheat and store homemade meatloaf
How to store leftovers
Store leftover pieces of meatloaf with BBQ sauce in an airtight container.
How long will it last in the fridge?
It will keep fresh for up to 3 days.
Can I freeze crockpot meatloaf?
You can. If you’re freezing sliced meatloaf, it’s worth wrapping each piece individually in plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn, then placing them all in a freezer bag.
Otherwise, you can wrap the entire loaf in plastic wrap, and store it in the bag that way. Keep it frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
How to reheat it
You can always use the microwave for a slice or two or use the oven to warm any leftovers.
Can you put raw ground beef in a slow cooker?
Sure you can! In most slow cooker recipes, I recommend to brown the meat first for flavor, but meatloaf isn’t one of them. The seasoning, glaze, and optional broiling at the end are all you need to give it flavor inside and out.
Is it safe to put aluminum foil in the slow cooker?
Yes, it is safe and using the foil as a barrier helps to create a barrier from the hot slow cooker walls so the meatloaf doesn’t dry out or burn.
It also makes it super easy to lift the meatloaf from the slow cooker.
Read more about using aluminium foil in the slow cooker on America’s Test Kitchen.
What do you put in meatloaf to keep it from falling apart?
You always need a binding agent, which is something that holds the meat together while maintaining the moisture balance.
Things like breadcrumbs, oats, almond meal, milk, flax seeds, eggs, cracker crumbs, etc., are all considered binding agents and good options.
I use stuffing which is essentially seasoned bread cubes.
Can I make this slow cooker meatloaf ahead of time?
Certainly! If you’re pressed for time in the morning, prepare and assemble it the night before. Cover it and keep it refrigerated. Then, the next day, add it to the slow cooker to cook in the morning. Perfect for busy weeknights.
Need more ground beef recipes? Try these:
Shepherd’s Pie with Ground Beef
Click here for my entire collection of beef recipes.
Need more crockpot recipes? Try these:
Slow Cooker Beef Ramen Noodles
Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Steak Bites
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I love the recipes they sound delicious when I make a run to the grocery store I will be picking up ingredients for the easy chicken and dumplings. I might get also the Ingredients for the meatloaf. I know that I will be following more thank you for your time and for sharing your recipes that means a lot for me thank you very much and I will be looking at your recipes.
Melissa Williams says
I appreciate the kind comment!