This slow cooker meatloaf is so moist and is pretty much fool-proof! Made with onions, bell pepper, and saltine crackers! This is the ultimate classic comfort food and is easy to make in the slow cooker. This is my mom’s recipe that I converted to the slow cooker.
I don’t understand why some people hate meatloaf, were they fed awful meatloaf as a kid? My mom made the best meatloaf, and I wish I still lived at home and had my meals made for me! My mom made hers on a baking sheet; I love this updated way to make it!
How to make Meatloaf in the Crock Pot
- Ground beef – Use a very lean ground beef for meatloaf. I always get asked why is my meatloaf floating in grease? If you use a ground beef 7% – 10% fat, your meatloaf won’t be floating in grease.
- Vegetables – Onions and bell pepper. Trust me on the bell pepper, it makes this recipe. Cut the onion and bell pepper into a small chop.
- Seasonings – Onion powder, salt and pepper.
- Ketchup – This helps moisten the meatloaf.
- Milk – This also helps moisten the meatloaf and some say milk makes for a more tender loaf.
- Crackers – Crush saltine crackers for the binder in this recipe.
Step by Step Directions
- Step 1 – Make the meatloaf mixture in a large bowl, I like to add everything but the meat into the bowl first and combine that, then mix in the meat. I feel it’s easier to mix evenly that way and doesn’t overmix the meat. Overmixing the meat can cause a tough meatloaf.
- Step 2 – Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Shape the meatloaf into a loaf into the slow cooker. If you have a round slow cooker, make a round shaped loaf.
- Step 3 – Cover and cook on low for 5 hours without opening the lid during the cooking time.
- Step 4 – Remove any fat from around the meatloaf before serving.
- Step 5 -Use my sauce recipe to glaze the meatloaf if desired.
What do I top my meatloaf with?
- A mixture of ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce is a classic sweet and tangy way to top meatloaf.
- You can also use warm brown gravy, barbecue sauce, ketchup, or even a zesty salsa.
What to serve with meatloaf:
- Mashed or baked potatoes (potatoes are a must if you can have them)
- Slow Cooker Baked Beans
- Corn or green vegetable
- Green Salad
- A sauce or gravy for topping the meatloaf.
Try one of these leftover meatloaf recipes:
- Leftover Meatloaf Soup – Recipe by Food Network
- Leftover Meatloaf Tater Tot Casserole – Recipe by Allrecipes
- Leftover Meatloaf Quiche – Recipe by Kitchen Magpie
- Leftover Meatloaf Chili – Recipe by Food.com
- Leftover Meatloaf Baked Ziti – Recipe by Rachael Ray
- Leftover Meatloaf Sandwiches – Recipe by Best Recipe Box
Recipe FAQs and Variations
It takes 5 hours on low to cook a two-pound meatloaf in a crockpot.
Yes, you can! You can use ground turkey for this recipe. Though you may need to add more crushed saltine crackers, ground turkey tends to be wetter than ground beef.
Add crumbled bacon and barbecue sauce instead of ketchup to this recipe. Or for an Italian twist and a teaspoon of Italian seasoning to the meatloaf mixture and top with warm marinara to finish off the dish.
You can use crushed Ritz Crackers instead of saltine in meatloaf. Or you can use bread crumbs or even oatmeal as a binder. I suggest about a cup for any of these substitutions.
Your meatloaf should have an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and will be safe to eat. If it is still pink, it is from chemical changes due to myoglobin and heat.
This slow cooker meatloaf is my new favorite comfort food; I’m going to put it on my weekly meal list every week.
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Slow Cooker Meatloaf
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup diced white onion
- 1 cup diced red or green bell pepper
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 25 saltine crackers
- 2 lbs. 7% – 10% fat ground beef
For the Sauce
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. mustard
- 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce (optional)
- In a large bowl, add the eggs ,onion, bell pepper, ketchup, milk, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Crush the saltine crackers in next, and mix this all together with clean hands. Add the meat next, only mixing everything until it just comes together.
- Spray a 6-quart slow cooker with non-stick spray, and shape the meat into a loaf on the bottom of the slow cooker. Your meatloaf should hold into a loaf form without falling apart. Add more crushed saltines if the mixture seems too wet.
- Cover, and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours, without opening the lid during cooking time.
- Scoop out the fat with a spoon, discard.
- Mix together the sauce ingredients, and spoon over meatloaf.
- Cover and cook for 30 more minutes on LOW if you want the sauce heated. Serve and enjoy!
How to Video:
- Barbecue sauce
- Warm brown gravy (can buy packets or jarred gravy)
- Plain ketchup
- Zesty salsa
Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.
I have always liked the look of meatloaf but have never had it, not from USA. Made this yesterday and it was fab so tasty, really flavourful and moist, will definitely make again. Thank you for all your recipes I am new to slow cooker cooking and have now tried a few of your recipes and they all come out so so good.
Use no liquid to the meatloaf while cooking?
Sarah Olson says
No, it will keep itself moist with its own ingredients.
Why aren’t the ingredient amounts listed?
Sarah Olson says
The amounts are in the recipe card, right above the comment section.
Joe Berardo says
My mom and Grandma always used a can of tomato soup over the meatloaf and I can’t imagine it any other way. I make my meatloaf almost the same way but use bread crumbs and minced onions, 2 eggs , 1 and a half cup bread crumbs. No green pepper for my loaf because to me it takes over the flavor of the whole dish. I usually cook in the oven but am trying a crockpot because I have too much travel today. Try the can of tomato soup , mixed with one cup water and poor over loaf when half way done. Makes the best red gravy ever
I’ll be trying this with my next meatloaf! Thank you!
Karen H. says
I made this last night with 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound ground turkey because that’s what I had. It was wonderful! The preparation was easy and the meatloaf was moist and flavorful. The sauce on top was really tasty too! My husband, sons and I really enjoyed it. Thank you for an excellent recipe!
Excellent recipe. However I also like to add some chopped celery to the mix.
Kresann Hutman says
I love meatloaf and could never get to turnout right.
I tried this recipe and it was great. Now I cook it once every 2 weeks. Thanks for a great recipe. Love it.
Can i cook this on high to make it in less time? And what time?
Sarah Olson says
I have not tested it on high, I apologize. It should do fine though, probably 3.5 -4 hours on high.
Husband loved this meatloaf.
Can I pre make the meatloaf the nite before and put in crockpot in morning?
Penny Mearns says
If you lay a strip of foil down one side, across the bottom and up the other side it’s much easier to lift the loaf out of the crock. Let the strips go out under the lid a little. Then you can deal with the fat, replace the loaf and make your sauce if wanted. (BYW, I always use ground turkey – not much fat!)
Cannot believe the title went over my head “Ma…the meatloaf!” Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers. So this is where you got the recipe. LOL
Sarah Olson says
Yes! Your eye first one to notice. Lol
I cannot believe the title went over my head. “Ma…the meatloaf!!” Will Ferrell, Wedding Crashers LOL!
how can you make this without so many carbs and what is a substitute if I cannot use Diary
Sarah Olson says
Hi Suzie, a recipe similar to this may be better. And would work fine in the slow cooker on LOW for 5 hours. https://www.wholesomeyum.com/recipes/low-carb-meatloaf-paleo-gluten-free/