Ok, so technically, meatloaf cupcakes probably aren’t real cupcakes, but the idea is a cute one and it’s such a quick and adaptable base recipe.

Just mix ground beef with whatever ingredients or leftovers you have in your fridge, add your favorite flavors to make these easy meatloaf cupcakes.

Mini meatloaf served with asparagus

Is meatloaf keto?

Yes, meatloaf is keto as long as there are no added starches, breadcrumbs, or wheat flour. Meatloaf is low in carbs high protein so perfect for the low-carb diet, keto diet, or carnivore diet.

Nutrition values per meatloaf cupcake: 0.6 g net carbs, 15.2 g protein, 17.2g fat, 221 calories.

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What is meatloaf made of?

Meatloaf is traditionally made with ground beef or ground pork or a mixture of both.

Meatloaf is often made with breadcrumbs and served with ketchup which makes a meal high carb. Most commonly meatloaf is served with mashed potato. None of these can be eaten on a keto or low-carb diet.

But don’t worry, you can still enjoy meatloaf. The recipe below doesn’t use any wheat flour or breadcrumbs and is served with sugar-free ketchup or tangy sugar-free BBQ sauce.


Collage of how to make mini meatloaf cupcakes
Meatloaf cupcakes (mini meatloaves)
  1. Mix all the meatloaf ingredeints in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Press into oiled muffin cases.
  3. Cover with shredded cheese.
  4. Bake and enjoy.

Anything smothered with cheese is always an instant hit with my children. And if you have been following my recipes for a while, you know I love adding hidden veggies wherever I can, and these are no exception. You can even hide organ meat in here (just don’t tell my kids).

A delicious way to get even more low carb vegetables is to top the meatloaves with creamy mashed cauliflower.

Serve 2 or 3 mini meatloaves for dinner, or they are a brilliant idea for breakfast or lunch the next day. They are sturdy and portable, high in protein and extremely low in carbs.

Air fryer meatloaf

Using an air fryer to cook mini meatloaves is quick and easy.

  1. Preheat to 180C/350F.
  2. Spray the wire basket with cooking oil.
  3. Gently place each meatloaf into the oiled basket. Ensure there is plenty of space between them.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes, open the drawer and check each meatloaf.
  5. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of meatloaves.

If you love using your air fryer, I have 101 keto air fryer recipes for you to choose from (chicken, pork, ground beef, salmon, vegetables, and even desserts). Discover how to use your air fryer plus FREE printable air fryer cooking cheat sheets.

You can also cook a meatloaf in the slow-cooker. It becomes juicy, tender, and this meatloaf is wrapped in bacon so it’s an extra tasty way to use ground beef.


  • Italian meatloaf – add garlic, oregano, Italian seasoning, rosemary, basil,
  • Mexican meatloaf – add coriander (cilantro), cumin, chills, capsicums, peppers, serve with avocado and salsa
  • Cheeseburger meatloaf – add mustard, hide cheese inside which will melt when cooked, serve with homemade ketchup
  • Toppings – grated cheese, bacon pieces or slices, parmesan, mozzarella, sliced tomato covered in cheese
  • Hidden ingredients – organ meat, grated carrot, finely diced mushrooms, celery, grated zucchini, chopped spinach,


Cooked mini meatloaves can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To defrost, leave on the countertop for a few hours then reheat in the oven, microwave, or air fryer.

Best keto side dishes to serve with beef

Traditionally meatloaf is served with mashed potato and ketchup. But when you are restricting your carbs and monitoring your blood sugars, both are off the menu.

The best side dishes for beef are mashed cauliflower, sugar-free ketchup or tangy sugar-free BBQ sauce.

collage of the best side dishes for pork
The best low-carb side dishes to serve with beef

There are so many delicious low-carb and keto side dishes to serve with beef. Beef is a family-friendly dinner and so you need to choose easy healthy side dishes that the whole family will love.

Here are some of my favorite keto beef side dishes.

Keto Meatloaf Cupcakes Recipe

Versatile and easy meatloaf cupcakes are great for dinner, lunch or the school lunch box. Make extra as they freeze really well in an airtight container. They can even be used when you need a protein hit.
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Course: Dinner, Lunch, Lunch boxes, Snacks
Cuisine: Gluten Free, Grain free, Keto, LCHF, Low Carb, No Sugars, Wheat Free
Keyword: Keto meatloaf cupcakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 221kcal
Author: Thinlicious.com
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Base Recipe

  • 1 onion diced finely
  • 700 g ground/minced beef
  • 2 eggs – medium lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 100 g shredded/grated cheese

Examples Of Flavourings

  • 2 slices bacon diced
  • handful fresh basil
  • handful fresh parsley
  • 4 tbsp sundried tomatoes diced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano


Base Recipe

  • Mix the diced onion, meat, eggs and salt and pepper together.
  • Add your choice of seasonings and flavourings. I have given one example, but take a look below for a huge range of ideas.
  • Mix all the ingredients together with your hands and place a small handful of the meatloaf mixture into muffin trays. Press gently, not too hard, otherwise they will turn into meatballs.
  • Cover with the grated cheese, and sprinkle with grated parmesan if desired.
  • Cook at 180C/350F


  • Mince/ground meat can be beef, pork, turkey or meat of your choice.
  • Nutrition values will vary according to which meat you choose and how lean it is.
  • Try to choose the medium-fat meat. Otherwise too much fat will render out.


Serving: 1mini meatloafCalories: 221kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 15.2gFat: 17.2gFiber: 0.4gSugar: 0.7g
Mini meatloaf cupcakes with melted cheese and garnished with herbs

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  1. What a great idea! One spot of proofreading…”They are study and portable, ” I think you meant “sturdy”?

    1. Ha ha, lucky I have eagle eyed readers like to you. Thanks Jessica, I can read my recipes time and time again and still miss something. 🙂

  2. I love your recipes. I just started on Keto about 12 weeks ago, and I’m excited and disappointed at the same time. I followed the low carb eating exactly, and some weeks I lose weight and some I don’t. Sadly, I gained… I believe this is a great way to eat to prevent diabetes or to better manage it, so I want to stay the course.
    But, it’s so disheartening to gain 4.8 lbs in one week. I just added blended tea with butter (2 tbsp), heavy whipping cream (2 tbsp), liquid stevia (3 drops) & cinnamon. It was delicious and filling. I didn’t eat until that evening.
    Oh, I went to the farmer’s market after your suggestion about cracklings, which I love. They not only had the pork skins; they also had the meat attached to the rind. It was so delicious, and eating it cut my appetite completely. But, when I weighed on Sunday, instead of losing, I had gained. OMG!!! So I wonder, “Can you have too much fat on Keto?” Or, I may be sensitive to dairy. I have been eating more cheese, whipping cream, cream cheese, and butter (within the recommended amounts). I never ate them until now. Now, I’m not so sure of what to do. Any suggestions??? I really want to stay Keto, but I also want to lose over 150 lbs and prevent diabetes (which runs in my family).I usually eat less than 20 grams of carbs. I record my food daily, but I don’t calculate the macronutrients. I focus on the carb count. I try to get most of my carbs from the vegetables. I eat a lot of broccoli. Just started kettlebell lifting. Love it!
    Thanks again for your great recipes. They are easy which I love since I’m not a cook. 🙂

    1. Hi Wanda, first of all don’t give up. Even if the scales aren’t moving in the right direction for now, your health will be. That is the greatest thing with low carb, once you discover how damaging sugar, carbs and seed oils are, there’s no going back. You will not go back to your old ways, you won’t want to. Have you measured yourself? If you have started kettle bell lifting, could you have been putting on muscle last week? Some say that low carb is muscle sparing and even helps promote muscle growth, especially if you have increased your protein intake. Yes dairy can stall some peoples weight loss. Maybe cut back on that for a while. I know if I have too many milky lattes, it isn’t good, so I go back to my creamy coffees (less carbs in a small amount of cream). Keep going and just change one thing at a time to see what works for you. It may be cutting back on fat (so your body utilises your fat not dietary fat), cut back on dairy and measure yourself. I use MyFitnessPal to track my macros at the beginning, which may be helpful to see if there are any hidden carbs you’re unaware of. And Wanda, I’m so glad you found my website and like my recipes xxx

      1. You are the best! Thanks for the encouragement! I love what you suggest about changing one thing at a time. I will and persevere…and not give up.

  3. moonicamusing says:

    These look yummy, I’m sure my 3-year old will approve too! One question though, don’t they turn out a bit dense without a substitute for the breadcrumbs or oats that usually go in meatloaf? I made meatballs with no … filler? … a few days ago and was disappointed with the dense texture. Any recommendations on that front?

    1. Yes they are a bit heavy compared to a regular meatloaf, but bump them up with more veggies, grated carrots, spring onions, bacon pieces, cheese etc and it make them a bit lighter and even more packed with nutrition.

  4. I love these! All those flavors sound great, but we like Italian. I make them without eggs and they hold together fine, although using egg sure would be nice. We never have any for leftovers because I eat them all for breakfast! LOL! (I’d love Jessica to come proofread my posts!) It’s the weekend, almost! Have a good one! ~~Terri

  5. Sandy Hazlewood says:

    Wanda, hang in there! I never really ate much dairy because of the fat until I started eating more keto. I was using a whey protein after my workouts, and some slices of cheese before dinner. I gained weight as well, (8 lbs) and I wasn’t overweight to begin with! It was extremely frustrating because I couldn’t do anything to get it off!I went to my doctor and she had me tested for food allergies. Turns out I was a 3 (the highest) on many dairy products, even those that I hadn’t eaten in years. Never gave me digestive issues as it typically does, it just makes me blow up like a balloon. I just just coconut milk in smoothies, and a plant based protein powder now, and I’m good. And I can now tolerate a little dairy, or a whey protein bar as long as it’s not every day, say maybe twice a week or so. Not sure if that’s what is going on for you or not, but it’s worth a shot! Best of luck~

  6. How long do you bake them?

      1. So I made 11 of them and cooking them for 30 minutes isn’t enough. They were still pink in the middle (I only used 1 lb (454 geams) of ground beef) so they were the size of regular cupcakes (1.5 ounces each)

  7. So yummy and a perfect little lunch. Loving your recipes. They have been a lifesaver!

  8. Thank you so much for adding metric in your recipe. Makes life so much easier for us Australians 🙂

    1. Yay, a metric supporter!!! I am a kiwi so work in grams and weights. I am on a mission to show everyone how easy and accurate cooking by weight is. Place your mixing bowl on the scale add and ingredient, zero, then add the next, zero…… Sooooo so easy 🙂 I add lb and oz for my American followers, and are now converting many to cups also so eventually I will show all 3.

      1. Thank you for adding oz & lb for us Americans! I so enjoy your website and make a lot of your recipes. I also appreciate the education you have provided on LCHF. It’s very helpful.

      2. I’m in the USA and I so appreciate the button to press for US measurements at the bottom of your ingredients lists, as most all my recipes are from your site and it saves me from repeatedly figuring.

        1. YAY – I am so glad you are finding that tool helpful. You don’t want to know how many hours it took me to manually update all the old recipes – yikes!!!

      3. 5 stars
        Although I’m in Canada and we went metric in the mid 70’s, most middle aged people like myself still cook in Imperial as for some reason that has been slow to be adopted (perhaps our proximity to the US who never switched). However, that said, as I have been cooking/baking a lot more in the last few years since retiring, I am finding that using grams and weighing everything works best and easiest. (as you say add something, then zero out to add next thing etc etc)
        Thanks for another great recipe. Love the idea of individual meatloaf portions instead of a big loaf pan full.

  9. Hi Libby have been making lots of your recipes and love your website. It’s my favourite and look forward to your posts on FB. I made the meatloaf cupcakes last night and added bacon and cheese for the kids, and they came out partly pink partly cooked, so I put them in for a bit longer and they were still that way. Does bacon change the colour of the meat around it? Scared to taste them in case they’re not cooked properly. I cooked them at the recommended setting for 30 mins then upped it a bit for another 10. Cheers Tiff

    1. They should cook all the way through. I would look at your bacon in case there is colouring in it. Some manufacturers add a special salt to stop the meat from browning as it is stored so maybe that’s it? If the meatloaf was firm and piping hot throughout, it should be cooked. Do you have a meat thermometer, just to be sure?

      1. Thank you! No I don’t have a thermometer but I think I’ll grab one today. Just shared your Salmon Cream Cheese Bites recipe with my sister. That’s next on the list. 🙂

  10. So good I had to stop myself from eating a bunch right then and there, since I’m planning to freeze them for easy snacks with my son. Definitely a winner!

  11. Mandy Heinz says:

    Do you cook the bacon first or put the bacon in the recipe uncooked? Also, what type of cheese do you recommend?

    1. I add the bacon raw and it cooks inside with the mince/ground beef. Any cheese will work, I personally use Edam, Colby or Mild. Everyone will have their favourite. Even parmesan sprinkled on the top would be lovely.

      1. Mandy Heinz says:

        Thanks! Also, is this recipe for 12 cupcakes?

  12. Domenica Geraghty says:

    Hello i just made these and there was alot of liquid in each tin! Is it supposed to be this way?

    1. Me too! In fact, the tins were dripping onto the bottom of my oven! Just took them out of the oven and can’t wait to try them but messy YES!

  13. Is the nutrition information for 1 mini meatloaf or the full recipe?

  14. meatloaf without breadcrumbs/crackers is just a hamburger tbf. Maybe call them Baby Hamburger steaks or something like that would be more appropriate. Either way, the reason people are getting all the grease overflowing into their oven is because you are literally cooking hamburger meat (likely standard 80%/20% fat kind), bacon, and cheese, which all have big pools of grease or oil when heated. I have no problem with fat, but this recipe probably wasn’t really thought out properly.

    1. If there is too much fat rendering out, try to buy lower fat meat. I tend to choose the medium fat (not lean and not full-fat). Otherwise yes, it’s pretty logical that the fat will render out into a pool at the bottom of the muffin tray.

      OK, now some meatloaf history. “Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat mixed with other ingredients and formed into a loaf shape, then baked or smoked”.

      Only the American “version” of a meatloaf contains such hideous ingredients such as crackers. “During the Great Depression, cooking meatloaf was a way to stretch the food budget for families in the US by using an inexpensive type of meat and other ingredients as leftovers. It was popular to add cereal grains, bread or saltines to the meatloaf to stretch the meat. This tradition of additions lives on with the goal of producing a lower-fat dish.
      American meatloaf is typically eaten with some kind of sauce or relish. Many recipes call for a pasta sauce or tomato sauce to be poured over the loaf to form a crust during baking. The tomato-based sauce may be replaced with simple brown gravy or onion gravy, or a can of cream of mushroom soup may be substituted, but the meatloaf is prepared in a similar manner. Barbecue sauce, tomato ketchup, or a mixture of tomato ketchup and mustard may also be used. American meatloaf may be topped with plain ketchup or a “meatloaf sauce” consisting of ketchup and brown sugar mixed. Another variety of meatloaf is prepared by “frosting” it with mashed potatoes, drizzling it with a small amount of butter, and browning in the oven.”

      Can you see why my poor US friends are doomed from the start? Make an amazing, simple, meatloaf dish. Add carbs (crackers and breadcrumbs), serve with a high carb sauce (tomato or BBQ), glaze with sugar (more BQ sauce) then top with even more carbs (mashed potato) = SAD. Ooh, and don’t forget to drown it in more tomato or BBQ sauce, just in case 😉

      1. Thanks for the history. Meatloaf is my hands down favorite meal served w scalloped potatoes and creamed corn. And yes, I’m in the US. So now I will be skipping the potatoes and corn (oh my) and experimenting w my add ins to my meatloaf. My family uses a mix of beef, pork and veal and the market even calls it meatloaf mix. So not too much grease so I think I won’t have the overflow. Love the idea of making it in muffin tins. I have mini loaf pans that are 1-2 servings so I might use them too. Went looking for meatloaf recipes today after you posted the pizza video on Facebook. Thank you!!!

    2. I added in a couple tablespoons of hemp hearts to absorb some of the liquid (egg initially and then the rendered fat). I also did not use cheese (keeping it paleo keto), but I did add in some nutritional yeast along with 1/2 onion diced and about 2 tbsp of diced green pepper (I also only used 454 grams (1lb) ground beef and 1 egg) . I also had to cook them some more because they were pink in the middle. I made 11 muffins (1.5 ounces each . They sure smell good, but because I’m waiting for something to come out of the oven before I can put them back in for 5 – 10 minutes, I cant taste them yet.

  15. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness, I made this tonight and it was delicious! My husband loved it too. I did as you suggested and added shredded cauliflower and zucchini and a few of my own touches as well. I also just made a meat loaf out of it. I have seen several comments about the grease in the pan, I just removed it with a turkey baster, easy peasy. Thank you so much Libby for all your wonderful recipes and your education. I thought I would never be able to go low carb/keto as my husband has been off and on for several years. All he ate before I found you was meat and eggs, yuck, I just can’t eat that much meat, I need my veggies too! I’m looking forward to tomorrow night when I try the Low Carb Spaghetti Bolognese with zoodles and the chocolate lava cake.

  16. Lana R Hatley says:

    I was reading the comments and so many are complaining of the grease. By the way, hamburger is greasy. I purchased the following a very long time ago and I use this pan for my meatloaf. With the insert, it keeps the meatloaf just off the bottom of the pan and when done, you can pull it up to drain the grease and get it out of the pan. I highly recommend it!

    It is the Curtis Stone Dura-Bake Loaf Pan with Insert.

    1. How long are they 2 be cooked for? Thanks.

  17. Marie Ann Mann says:

    Would these be OK cooked in a mini pie maker?

    1. 5 stars
      It would depend on the pie maker. The pie maker I have makes quite large single-serve pies (the size of a fist would be the best way to describe it) so the “cupcakes” might be too large and risk falling apart? But if you do try to cook them this way, please come back and let me know how it worked.

  18. 5 stars
    These were easy to make and fun to eat. I’m American and used 80/20 ground beef which means the beef is 20%fat. I had no issue with my muffin pan overflowing with grease. I spayed each cup with coconut oil spray and it cleaned pretty easy.
    I love that the number of servings can be changed and the recipe re-calculates. Thank you!

  19. Grace Lim says:

    5 stars
    Thanks Libby for this wonderful recipe. I made it many, many times, and it is really handy for a quick meal, snack, lunch box, breakfast, etc, etc. It is great for all ages, from weaners to octogenarians!!

  20. Carl Greenfield says:

    5 stars
    This was a wonderful way to use ground meat. I used lean ground turkey instead of beef. I baked these in silicone muffin cups and did not need to add any oil. I made two batches. The meat mixture had the grated Parmesan cheese and eggs, then I split that in half. Inspired by your list of variations, I came up with these….The first with minced shallots, grated carrots, minced celery, and parsley. The second batch had minced sun dried tomato, spinach, and feta.
    I found this recipe (and your website) searching for things to do with ground meat. I haven’t had a chance to look through the rest of your recipes yet, but I’m looking forward to more delicious meals and ideas.

    1. 5 stars
      Hey there carl, I’m so glad you love these easy meatloaf cupcakes and I love your variations. I have so many recipes that use ground meat because it’s so cheap and affordable and children seem to love ground beef over a simple steak any day. You might want to try my slow-cooker meatloaf, ABC burger (with ground chicken), and my lamb kebabs (using ground lamb).