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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.

overhead shot of sliced meatloaf in a crockpot.

Easy Crockpot 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!

If you’re not in the mood to use your slow cooker, try this pellet grill meatloaf.

sliced meatloaf on a platter.

Why you’ll love this Crockpot Meatloaf with Stuffing

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

Ingredients

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 BeefYou’ll need about 2 lbs of ground beef to make slow cooker meatloaf that will serve about 8 people. Opt for a blend of around 80/20 so that there is enough fat to not dry out.
  • Chopped OnionAdding 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.
overhead shot of labeled ingredients laid out to make meatloaf.

Can you cook meatloaf in a crockpot?

Sure can! Let me show you how.

This section shows you how to make this recipe, with process photos showing the steps to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.

  1. 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.
  1. Step Two: Place the formed loaf into the center of a 5.5 to 6 quart slow cooker.
formed meatloaf in a black crockpot.
  1. 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.
  1. Step Four: Serve with extra glaze overtop then finish with a sprinkling of fresh parsley. Enjoy!
overhead shot of crockpot meatloaf.

Every slow cooker runs differently. Times given are a general recommendation and should be tested in your own slow cooker and adjusted as needed.

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?

overhead shot of sliced meatloaf on a platter with mashed potatoes & green beans.

Possible Substitutions/Additions

  • 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.

slice of meatloaf on a plate with mashed potatoes & green beans.

FAQs

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.

How long to cook 2 pound meatloaf in crockpot?

It takes approximately 6 hours on LOW or 3-4 hours on HIGH to cook a 2lb meatloaf in the crockpot.
As always, every slow cooker runs differently so adjust as needed in yours.

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:

Slow Cooker Lasagna

Shepherd’s Pie with Ground Beef

Slow Cooker Chili

Click here for my entire collection of beef recipes.

Need more crockpot recipes? Try these:

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Slow Cooker Beef Ramen Noodles

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Steak Bites

closeup of sliced meatloaf on a plate.

Did You Make This?

If you made this recipe, I’d love to know how it went in the comments section below.

You can also tag me on Instagram – @melissa_pplates or share a pic in the Persnickety Plates Community Facebook group. I love seeing what you’ve tried!

overhead shot of sliced meatloaf in a crockpot.
4.58 from 7 votes

Crockpot Meatloaf with BBQ Sauce

Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
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.

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 12 ounces stuffing two 6 ounce boxes, any flavor
  • 1 ¼ cup milk I use 2%
  • ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tablespoon steak seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mustard divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup bbq sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • parsley for garnish

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef, onion, stuffing, milk, Worcestershire sauce, steak seasoning, pepper, one tablespoon of mustard and the 2 eggs.
    2 pounds ground beef, 1 small onion, 12 ounces stuffing, 1 ¼ cup milk, ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, ½ tablespoon steak seasoning, ¼ teaspoon pepper, 2 tablespoons mustard, 2 large eggs
  • Stir until well combined and then use your hands to form into a loaf.
  • Place the formed loaf into the basin of a 5.5-6 quart slow cooker.
  • In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, bbq sauce, brown sugar, and remaining mustard.
    ½ cup ketchup, ½ cup bbq sauce, ¼ cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons mustard
  • Pour half the mixture over the top of the meatloaf.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  • Right before serving pour the rest of the glaze over the meatloaf.
  • Optional but recommended: Lift the meatloaf from the slow cooker and place it on a baking sheet. Broil in the oven for a few minutes so the sauce gets glazy.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve!

Notes

  • Use any flavor stuffing you like as well as your favorite BBQ sauce. 
  • The broiling step is optional but recommended to get the glazed effect. 
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
Every slow cooker runs differently. Times given are a general recommendation and should be tested in your own slow cooker and adjusted as needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 784mg | Potassium: 587mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram @melissa_pplates so I can see!

Originally published February 25, 2023; photos updated February 24, 2024

overhead shot of bbq sauce glazed meatloaf in a slow cooker.


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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    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.

  2. 5 stars
    I absolutely love this and have made it multiple times! Do you think I can make it exactly as is in the oven? How long do you think it would take?