Air Fryer/ Beef/ Dinner/ Main Dishes

Moist Meatloaf Made with Stuffing

Try this super moist and delicious, classic meatloaf recipe made with stove top stuffing and thousand island dressing and you’ll never go back. Made in less than an hour, this tasty classic dish, made with stuffing instead of breadcrumbs, gets an extra boost of flavor with the addition of tasty thousand island and Worcestershire. Talk about a new family favorite!

It’s meatloaf…really? Come on! You’re going to tell me you either hate it or tolerate it as a simple easy to make meal, right? Well, no more I say. I’m here to bring back this age old meal, change your mind, and make you fall in love!

What recipe can go wrong when the word “stuffing” is involved? I don’t know about you, but at all my family gatherings, the stuffing is talked about more than the turkey. I get calls ahead of time to make sure I will be making enough!

Years ago, decades actually, when I started adding some thousand island along with the ketchup to my meatloaf, I thought it couldn’t bet much better. But I’ll admit, I was wrong.

No matter what bread or crackers I used in my meatloaf, I always thought it could be better. It was about that time that I was buying funky flavored crackers to try to get that extra “umph” that I decided to use cornbread stuffing. And WOW!

Maybe it’s fitting that I post this recipe as Valentine’s Day is coming up, because this recipe will definitely take your special day up a notch.

I would love to hear your comments after trying this moist meatloaf, so please drop a comment below!

How to Make the Best Meatloaf Ever

  1. Line a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all your ingredients, then add the ground beef.
  3. Place in loaf pan and pat down. Cover with foil.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, spreading ketchup on top the last 15 minutes.
  5. Check internal temp, it should read 160 degrees F.
  6. Allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Moist Meatloaf Ingredients

Meat: When making meatloaf I like to use 90% lean ground beef. I like this choice as the low fat, in this case, only 10%, will stay with the meat and help to moisten the stove top stuffing in the recipe instead of being so much that it overflows into the pan. This meatloaf recipe isn’t just for ground beef, you could also make this recipe with ground chicken, ground turkey or ground pork.

Bread Crumbs: Stuffing, instead of bread crumbs is the real hero in this recipe! Although any bagged or boxed stuffing in any flavor can be used here, I like to use cornbread flavored stove top brand. I chose the boxed breadcrumbs and always buy several so I always have them on hand. If you are searching for a gluten free stuffing you should be able to find one as I have seen them at several grocery store that I frequent.

Egg: Most wouldn’t think of using eggs when cooking with meat, but in the case of meatloaf, it’s the perfect ingredient to help bind everything together. And if you’re cooking this in the air fryer instead of the oven, you’ll need the to bind everything together to hold it’s shape as the pan doesn’t go into the air fryer.

Ketchup: Use a homemade or store bought version, just make sure you shake it before adding it so you don’t get that little bit of liquid that seems to rise to the top. This is especially important when using small batch measurements.

Sauces: When I was a teenager, a friend of mine was making meatloaf for her family and she used thousand island along with the ketchup. I honestly thought I would hate her meatloaf, but holy cow! If you haven’t tried thousand island in your meatloaf, do so, you will thank me! It makes perfect sense as major restaurants offer hamburgers topping with thousand island. When using it with this meatloaf recipe, you’ll want to use it mixed in with the meat, not on top. I use ketchup for the glaze instead.

Vegetables: This recipe made with stuffing already contains some dried vegetables that are in the stuffing so I don’t feel the need to add any here. Besides, I love my meatloaf served with a healthy side of peas or green beans and mashed potatoes. For some added heat and spice you could add hot peppers like jalapeno or poblano peppers. If you’re a young mom with a kiddo, you can easily hide onions, celery, mushrooms, peas or corn in this recipe. Now that’s a win!

Extra flavoring: I love the addition of worcestershire sauce with my ground beef because I think it adds some depth. If you don’t have fresh minced garlic, you can use powder. If I had a choice, I would use minced onion, but I don’t always have on one on hand so onion powder, here too, is a good substitution. Red pepper flakes add just the right amount of heat and you can double this is you want. And lastly, because the 6 tablespoons of water/ beef broth isn’t significant, either will do, with my choice being the beef broth.

Slice your meatloaf in any thickness you desire.

Can I Make Meatloaf in the Air Fryer?

This is a great recipe for the air fryer. I placed the instructions in the recipe card so it would print at the same time as the oven baked option and you would have both methods handy.

Last year, I was camping with a bunch of girlfriends and we brought my air fryer and made this meatloaf by using a campsite with electric hookup. It’s one of their favorite recipes, what can I say. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Reader Questions and Tips

Do I have to use stuffing in this recipe? Not at all. If you have crackers, crush 1/2 a row instead and use those. You can also toast 4 slices of bread (minus the crust) and finely chop or grate it. Your meatloaf will have much less flavor with bread, but it works in a pinch.

Can I make this egg-free? While the egg helps to bind the ingredients together, you can make meatloaf egg-free by substituting 1/8 cup egg-free mayonnaise. Don’t worry, you won’t taste the mayo!

Can I make this ahead of time? Sure can! Make the meatloaf and cover with foil. When you’re ready to cook it, take it out and let it sit on the counter while the oven is preheating. Then pop in the oven and cook as directed.

How do I store my leftover meatloaf? Your cooked leftovers will store in your refrigerator for 4 days. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container.

Does meatloaf freeze well? Yes! Make sure you cool any meat before freezing it. Wrap in foil and a freezer bag for up to 2 months. Before heating, defrost in the refrigerator overnight. I like to slice my leftovers into pieces before I freeze, then wrap each piece separately. Not only does this defrost faster, a few hours as opposed to overnight, but I can take out a slice or two at a time to eat.

I don’t have a loaf pan, what can I use? You can buy an aluminum foil pan at the grocery store otherwise improvise. Take some foil and double it up. Place it against one side of an 8 X 8 or 9 X 13 pan. it should hold its shape relatively well. You can also make these in a cupcake pan. Since meat shrinks as opposed to a cupcake rising, you would fill the meat to the top of the cupcake. Be sure to check the temperature. The cooking time will be cut in half, with checking it after 25 minutes at first. You can still use the ketchup on top as a glaze.

How do I know when my meatloaf is cooked enough? Use a meat thermometer and stick it into the center of the meatloaf. It’s done when the temperature registers 160 degrees F.

Moist Meatloaf Made With Stuffing

Super moist and delicious, classic meatloaf recipe made with stove top stuffing and thousand island dressing. Made in less than an hour, this tasty classic dish, made with stuffing instead of breadcrumbs, gets an extra boost of flavor with the addition of tasty thousand island and worcestershire.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer, moist meatloaf, stuffing
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Calories: 346kcal
Author: Sharon Knott

Ingredients

  • 1.25 lb ground beef 90% lean
  • 3 oz stove top stuffing, cornbread flavor ½ a box
  • 1 large egg
  • .50 tablespoon minced garlic or ¼ tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2.75 tablespoons water or beef broth
  • .75 teaspoon salt
  • .5 teaspoon black pepper
  • .50 tablespoon minced onion or ¼ tbsp onion powder
  • teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2.75 tablespoons thousand island dressing
  • .25 cup ketchup

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line a 9 x 5 inch pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, stir together eggs, minced garlic, worcestershire sauce, water, salt, pepper, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and thousand island dressing.
  • Add ground beef and mix well.
  • Place in loaf pan and pat down.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour or until internal temperature reads 160°F.
  • Brush top with ketchup the last 10 minutes of baking and leave uncovered.
  • Allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Air Fryer Method for Meatloaf

  • Preheat air fryer to 350° F. Line the loaf pan with parchment paper to come above rim of the pan so you have something to grab onto.
  • Pat meat into pan then grab edges of parchment paper and raise out of pan and into air fryer. It's going to cook without a pan. Trim any long edges of parchment paper level with the top of meat.
  • Using a knife, cut two slits on the bottom of the paper so liquid can escape and drain below.
  • Bake for 1 hour. Brush top with ½ cup ketchup the last 5 minutes of air frying.
  • Check the center of the meatloaf with a kitchen thermometer. The internal temperature should read 160°F. The meatloaf can be baked an extra 15 minutes if it's not done cooking in the center.

Nutrition

Calories: 346kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 739mg | Potassium: 351mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 121IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 3mg

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