Crock Pot (or Instant Pot) Meatloaf Recipe

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Beef Recipes » Crock Pot (or Instant Pot) Meatloaf Recipe

Love it or hate it (we love it!) meatloaf is a classic comfort food. This is a great versatile base recipe that works in the slow cooker or Instant Pot to keep things simple. I can either pop it in the slow cooker early in the day, or toss it in the Instant Pot half an hour before dinner.

We like both better than regular oven-baked meatloaf, plus you avoid the chance of any grease overflowing in the oven and causing a major cloud of smoke! (Just me?!)

Healthy Crock Pot Meatloaf

The slow cooker option (or slow cooker function on the Instant Pot) is great because it can cook while you work, go for a walk, or cross things off your to-do list. I like that I can get it done early in the day and not have to worry about anything later on.

To cook the meatloaf in the slow cooker, I like to just form it into the right shape with my hands and place it in the middle of the slow cooker. Make sure there are no areas touching the edges of the pot or they’ll get dry and crispy.

If you want, you can place the meatloaf in a loaf pan and put the whole thing in the slow cooker, but it’s not necessary. (Although it is easier to get out this way.)

Make Meatloaf Speedier in the Instant Pot

There is definitely a special place in my heart for my Instant Pot. It has saved my sanity many evenings when I’m running short on time.

To make Instant Pot meatloaf, I use the same recipe as for the slow cooker, but put the formed loaf in a baking dish that will fit in the Instant Pot. I add some water and the trivet to the bottom of the pot, put the baking dish on top of the trivet, and set the timer for 25 minutes.

I’ve also heard of cooking sweet potatoes in the bottom of the Instant Pot while the meatloaf is cooking up top. This post is handy for gauging the right-sized sweet potatoes for the amount of time it takes the meatloaf to cook.

Fun and Creative Meatloaf Ideas

Here are some other meatloaf variations we’ve enjoyed over the years:

  • Meatloaf “Cupcakes” With Sweet Potato “Frosting” – My kids LOVE this fun spin on meatloaf (and make it themselves thanks to this online cooking class for kids). Don’t forget the chopped chives for sprinkles! Here’s the recipe.
  • Greek-Inspired Meatloaf – This one mixes it up a little with ground turkey flavored with chopped mint and fennel and served with a yogurt sauce. Get the recipe here.
  • Bacon and Barbecue Meatloaf – Add a little chopped bacon to the mix and top with barbeque sauce. No recipe required!

Bulk Cooking Tip

Meatloaf in all its varieties also freezes really well. Triple or quadruple this recipe (I bake some in the oven if I run out of room in the Instant Pot) and freeze for a later meal.

Crock Pot Meatloaf Recipe (With Instant Pot option)

Make delicious meatloaf ahead of time in the slow cooker or at the last minute in the Instant Pot.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Resting time 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Calories 183kcal
Author Katie Wells


8 people



  • Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix lightly with hands to combine.

To cook in the Crock Pot

  • Shape into a loaf and place it centered in the Crock Pot, making sure the edges of the meat aren't touching the edges.
  • Put the lid on and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  • When cooked, turn the Crock Pot off and let the meatloaf rest for about 15 minutes with the lid off before slicing.
  • Top with homemade ketchup (optional) and serve.

To cook in the Instant Pot

  • Put the trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot and pour in 1 cup of water.
  • Shape the meat into a loaf and place in a dish that fits into the Instant Pot.
  • Put on the lid, set valve to seal, and pressure cook for 25 minutes with a quick pressure release.
  • When cooked, turn the Instant Pot off and let the meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes with the lid off before slicing.


Nutrition Facts
Crock Pot Meatloaf Recipe (With Instant Pot option)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 183 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 111mg37%
Sodium 590mg26%
Potassium 483mg14%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 26g52%
Vitamin A 59IU1%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 26mg3%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • Avoid dirtying extra dishes by putting in a dish that will fit in your Instant Pot or slow cooker before putting the meat in it — try a stainless steel pan.

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Ever made meatloaf in a Crock Pot? What is your secret to great meatloaf? Share below!


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Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


63 responses to “Crock Pot (or Instant Pot) Meatloaf Recipe”

  1. Erin Avatar

    5 stars
    I ended up cutting it in half because I only had 1.2 lbs of ground bison. I left out the eggs (my poor breastfed baby can’t tolerate them 🙁 I added chopped carrots and celery as suggested above in the comments and a handful of chopped parsley. It stayed together with great texture! It was a perfect little loaf for our little family and made wonderful leftovers for lunch. Thank you, Wellness Mama!

  2. Audie Davidson Avatar
    Audie Davidson

    5 stars
    Thank You Wellness Mama’ {katie) I’m a single working dad of a 10 year old daughter. I not only found your recipe helpful but delicious. I followed ur recipe to the T and also added the chili powder and cumin. We both loved it, but next time we both agreed to try the apple sauce! Again thank you and could you send link to any more recipe ‘s you may have???

  3. Kat Avatar

    5 stars
    I’ve always made my meatloaf in a crock pot, although I’ve never used a loaf pan. I just cook it right inside the crock pot alone. I always mix ketchup and bbq sauce in the loaf, as well as on the top and people love it with bbq sauce!! 🙂

  4. Ruth Scott Avatar
    Ruth Scott

    At first, I thought your comment about the applesauce on top was unusual. Then, I had a similar thought that I would make some baked apples, crock pot style. So I formed the meatloaf directly on the bottom of my large oval shaped crock pot and put the cored apples in the middle. It was terrific! Hubby ate 3 servings!

  5. Cheryl Avatar

    To hot to turn on oven… But I don’t have a big enough crock pot that fits the loaf pan… Do you think it would work if I made a lifter out of heavy duty foil to lift the finished loaf out of pan?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      You could certainly try it… The worst thing I could envision is that maybe if it does not work you might have to cut the loaf up in the pan (which is not that bad).

      1. Andrea Avatar

        Making a loaf tonight for dinner. Was so easy and didn’t have to make a mess in the oven.

  6. Lani Avatar

    Has anyone tried this with a ceramic pan instead of a metal pan??

  7. Lenore Avatar

    So I have an 8qt crockpot and I prepared the loaf the night before. I also made the Ketchup (Awesome!). I didn’t have time to alter anything this morning when I put the loaf pan in the pot. It didn’t fit to the bottom. I was able to put the pan in the pot but the loaf pan lips made it, sort of, suspended in the pot. I set it to low 8 hours. It will automatically set to warm after 8 hrs and I’ll get home about 10 hours after I started the pot. Now I’m worried it won’t cook through because it’s not sitting on the bottom of the pot. Anyone have any thoughts on this? 🙁

    1. Michelle Avatar

      Hi Lenore, how did you meatloaf turn out – I had the same issue with my loaf pan not sitting on the bottom of the slow cooker but its cooking now. Wondering if I need to pick up pizza on the way home!!! Thanks!

      1. Lenore Avatar

        Hi MWB! It was not fully cooked through but almost! I popped it in the oven for another 20-30 minutes at (I think) 350 degrees and it turned out yummy!

    2. Sara Simn Avatar
      Sara Simn

      My pan too suspends in the crock pot. I wonder if I set it for 6 hours on high suspended if it will cook?! Thoughts…

  8. Veriria Avatar

    I put this together last night, so that it would be ready this morning. Oh, my! It is SO GOOD. I’ll never made meatloaf in the oven again!

  9. Howell Avatar

    Would it be okay if i used double the ingredients and use 4 lbs of burger?

    1. Lenore Avatar

      I skip the curry powder of this recipe but everything else is good. It took 5 minutes to make and was so good!!! 🙂

  10. Christy Hampton Avatar
    Christy Hampton

    Suggested variation: Roll the “meatdough” into a thick flat rectangle. Then put on it some cheese and veggies (onions, peppers, tomatoes, olives, etc) and roll up so the filling makes a spiral in it. This offers some variation and more opportunity for veggies to be included.

    Also, keep the dough lightly mixed so it keeps a good texture (I don’t like paste like meatloafs)

    1. Heidi Ringer Lloyd Avatar
      Heidi Ringer Lloyd

      Love this recipe! I layer half the meat in the bottom. Then put diced red and green bell peppers, onions, olives, tomatoes, slivered almonds and Parmesan cheese over it. I cover it with the other half of meat mixture and cover that with more Parmesan cheese and almonds. After putting so much in the middle, I could no longer roll it! So this works too! Wonderful! Thank you for the idea!

      1. Cy Avatar

        One of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments. Rolling it is always the hardest part since I also try to stuff far too many veggies in it. Thanks for the insight!

  11. Barbara Avatar

    You will need to go ahead and have to add a recipe card section for me and these awesome crock meals. Loving it!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      🙂 Glad you are enjoying. I’m actually working on some kind of printable ebook with all my recipes… and possibly a cookbook…

  12. Patty p Avatar

    i add chopped carrots and celery to mine.  it adds a little sweetness to  it.  i dont use eggs either and it is still really tasty

  13. Patty p Avatar

    i add chopped carrots and celery to mine.  it adds a little sweetness to  it.  i dont use eggs either and it is still really tasty

    1. Erin Avatar

      If not using eggs, will the loaf crumble? Any suggestions for making a tasty loaf without egg? Has anyone cut this recepie in half? Thanks 🙂

  14. Kirsten Avatar

    Should you brown the meat before placing in the crock pot or put it in raw?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I haven’t tried it, but you could always just make it in the crock
      pot itself without another pan. It will be a little thinner but will still taste great!

    2. Joe Littlejohn Avatar
      Joe Littlejohn

      No. Glaze inside of pot/cooking spray. Line/2 sheets of foil. Spray foil. Leave enough foil outside lid to facilitate lifting after cooking. Shape meatloaf on foil. I use a standard 4qt. round pot & this works well. Let loaf stand before cutting. Wrap leftovers in foil for next use.

      1. Maryellen Watson Avatar
        Maryellen Watson

        Oh Good Idea?
        I have a Cake and Bake pan that I’m going to use,,,I had them for many years , and also you have to use cooking spray too.

  15. Kitty Avatar

    Yes, I have and I also regularly make it in the pressure cooker.  Unfortunately I can’t use eggs in my meatloaf because my husbands sisters is allergic to eggs, feathers, etc.  I’m used to adjusting recipes for the lack of egg.  Your recipe is so straightforward and I’m sure tasty.  I love meatloaf sandwiches w/the leftovers.

      1. Jeanneb Avatar

        I use egg replacement powder…haven’t tried in meatloaf yet, but it works in other baked recipes really well.

  16. Tatiana Avatar

    Thank you for this recipe, I’ve been interested in trying a meatloaf without breadcrumbs now that we are grain free, and this sounds easy and good.

    1. Lora R. Avatar

      Instead of bread crumbs I had the idea to use the dried mixed veggies that come in the bulk section of my local market (beets, green beans, turnips, etc), and ground them in to a chunky powder in my food processor. Soaks up some of the juices AND adds flavor and nutrients.

4.13 from 32 votes (25 ratings without comment)

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