Meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food. I am pretty sure every American diner serves meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy. It is one of those meals that warms your belly and fills you up.
The one thing about my homemade meatloaf is that I often bake it in the oven in a loaf pan. Doing this results in the loaf swimming in the fat that renders out of the meat. It does keep the meatloaf moist, but it is greasy.
In an effort to reduce the amount of fat I have tried making lean turkey meatloaf. Yet, that is generally too dry. I have also tried baking the loaf on a sheet pan. This does allow the fat to render out better, but still isn’t perfect.
My solution to a leaner and still tasty meatloaf is to mix ground beef with ground dark turkey meat and cook the loaf in my air fryer. I have experimented with different meat mixtures, such as beef, pork, veal, and even lamb. I encourage you to try different ground meats until you get the results that suit your taste buds best.
A Bit about the Recipes
What I have found with cooking meatloaf in the air fryer is that you do need to add a little moisture to the mix. I like adding an egg, a little extra virgin olive oil (if using very lean meat), and some bone broth or milk. I also add some vegetables that have some inherent moisture content.
Keep in mind that the air fryer basket or grate may be too small for a typical 2 pound meatloaf. The recipe developed here uses 1/2 a pound of ground beef mixed with 1/2 a pound of ground dark turkey meat. A 1 pound meatloaf fits perfectly, cooks in only 30 minutes, and will feed 4 people. As mentioned above, feel free to use the ground meats of your choice.
I have included a ketchup based glaze for the loaf. It caramelizes during the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking. This is delicious and it forms an attractive coating for an otherwise beige looking protein.
Included are recipes for creamy mashed potatoes and easy homemade gravy, the classic pairings with meatloaf. You could always make those ahead of time and warm them up while the meat is cooking. If you don’t want potatoes and gravy you might consider making meatloaf sandwiches with extra glaze and shredded lettuce on sourdough bread. That is a personal favorite, especially the next day with leftover meatloaf.
Beef and Turkey Meatloaf (with Paleo ingredient options)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 TBS whole milk (bone broth for Paleo)
- 2 tsps extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (nut meal for Paleo)
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground dark turkey meat
- 1 medium carrot shredded, approximately 1/2 cup
- 1 small celery stick, chopped finely
- 2 scallions white and green parts, minced or sliced thinly
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 TBS minced flat leaf parsley
- 1-1/2 TBS good ketchup (Paleo compliant made with pure maple syrup)
- 1-1/2 tsps Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil for coating the rack or basket
- 1/4 cup ketchup (Paleo compliant made with pure maple syrup)
- 3 TBS Dijon or yellow mustard
- 4 tsps pure maple syrup
Total time:45 min – Prep time:15 min – Cook time:30 min – Serves:4 people
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and olive oil. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Add the beef, turkey, carrot, celery, scallions, garlic, parsley, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, mix all the ingredients until well combined.
2. Remove the basket or rack from your air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 370°F.
3. Coat the rack or basket of your air fryer well with olive oil. Shape the ground meat mixture into a loaf or log that will fit inside your air fryer. Place the meatloaf on the rack or in the basket.
4. Place the meatloaf in the preheated air fryer and set the timer for 25 minutes. Cook the meatloaf for 20 to 25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 155°F when checked with a digital meat thermometer (mine took 23 minutes). Make the glaze while the meatloaf is cooking. See next step.
5. Glaze: In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the ketchup, mustard, and maple syrup until it starts to bubble. Turn the heat to low and keep the glaze warm until ready to use. Thin with a little water if it becomes too thick.
6. When the meatloaf has reached 155°F, coat the top and sides of with as much of the glaze as will cover it. Reserve the rest for meatloaf sandwiches, if desired.
7. Turn the air fryer back on to 370°F and reset the timer for ten minute. Return the meatloaf to the air fryer and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (mine took 7 minutes).
8. Place the meatloaf on a cutting board and cover loosely with foil. Allow the meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
9. Cut the meatloaf into 3/4 inch thick slices. Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy. Recipes for both follow.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- 2 pounds Russet potatoes, washed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup warm milk, or more if needed
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives for garnish
Total time: 45 min – Prep time: 15 min – Cook time: 30 min – Serves: 4 people
1. Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Place the potatoes in a large pot (6-quart) and cover with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Turn the burner onto high and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the water to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.
2. Drain the potatoes in a colander.
3. In the same pot, warm the milk until almost simmering. Turn the heat off and whisk or stir in the butter and yogurt or sour cream until the butter melts.
4. Add the potatoes back into the pot. Smash the potatoes with a potato masher until smooth and completely combined with the milk mixture. Add a little extra milk if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl and garnish with the chives. Serve the potatoes with meatloaf and gravy.
- 4 TBS fat drippings from any roasted meat or butter
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 2 TBS all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken or beef broth at room temperature
- 1 TBS half and half or cream
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Total time: 15 min – Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 10 min – Serves: 4 to 6 people
1. In a shallow saucepan over medium-high heat, warm up the fat or butter with the onion powder. Whisk in the flour a spoonful at a time, stirring constantly to make a roux. Cook the roux until the flour is almost brown, smooth, and smells nutty, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add the broth a little at a time and continue whisking to incorporate into the roux. After all the broth is incorporated, allow the mixture to come back up to a boil. Cook until the gravy starts to thicken but is still pourable, a few minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the half and half, salt, and pepper.
4. Transfer to a gravy boat or small pitcher and serve while hot with meatloaf and mashed potatoes.