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Meatloaf Meatballs are bite sized appetizers that have all the flavor you love in a classic meatloaf recipe.

Our family loves meatballs and they make such a great party appetizer. You can also try Easy Teriyaki Meatballs, Porcupine Meatballs, or make these Swedish Meatballs for dinner!

Meatloaf meatballs with toothpicks in them in rows.

Everyone loves meatloaf. It’s a favorite dinner recipe across many American homes. That’s why I wanted to transform my super delicious meatloaf recipe into bite sized appetizer portions! Why should meatloaf only be enjoyed at dinner? It should most definitely be a party appetizer too.

In addition to wanting an appetizer that I knew everyone would love, I had one more motivation for turning my classic meatloaf recipe into a bite sized tasty treat. The sauce. I can never seem to get enough sauce with my meatloaf and I always want an end piece because the outside is more crispy. The meatball tackles both those issues! They’re so good, in fact, that next time I plan to make meatloaf for dinner, I’ll be making these meatballs instead!

How to make Meatloaf Meatballs:

  • One of the reasons these meatloaf meatballs taste so good is because the first step is to saute up some diced onions. Raw onions pack too much of a punch but you still want the flavor, so sauteeing them is the answer! Once those cool you mix them together with the rest of the ingredients.
  • To bake the meatballs, you’ll want to line a baking dish with parchment paper. It makes for easy clean up and prevents sticking.
  • I actually like to use a cookie dough scoop to measure my meatballs before I roll them. That way they all stay the same consistent size. Do your best to roll a nice round shape without overworking the meat. Then, just pop them into the oven!
  • When the plain meatballs are cooking, you’ll want to mix up the sauce. This takes like two minutes, so don’t stress.
  • Now here’s the secret to a tasty sticky coating. About two thirds of the way through the cooking process, you’ll take the meatballs out of the oven and coat them in the sauce. Then, back into the oven they go! This makes the sauce set and really stick to the meatballs.

Meatloaf meatballs in rows in a baking pan.

Can you make meatloaf meatballs ahead of time?

Yes! I prefer how they look set out on a platter with toothpicks for easy eating, but we all know that sometimes party food just needs to be easy.

To make these meatloaf meatballs ahead of time, just follow all the cooking instructions and then keep them warm in a slow cooker.

Trust me. Next time you go to a potluck, bring a batch (or two or three) of these meatloaf meatballs and watch them disappear. The only competition they might have would be against the deviled eggs!

Love meatballs? Then you’ll have to try these recipes:

Picking up a meatball out of a row of meatballs

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Meatloaf Meatballs

Meatloaf Meatballs are bite sized appetizers that have all the flavor you love in a classic meatloaf recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 28 meatballs




  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard


  • Preheat oven or grill to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up.
  • Melt butter in saute pan over medium heat. Cook onions until fragrant and slightly brown while stirring occasionally, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add garlic, cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • In large bowl, combine ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt and cooked onions and garlic. Use hands to mix well, but try not to over work the meat. Shape into 1-2 inch sized balls on parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 20 minutes. While meatballs are cooking, combine ketchup with mustard and brown sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
  • After 20 minutes of cooking, dip each meatball in ketchup mixture, return to baking sheet, and continue baking for about 10 additional minutes. Serve warm with toothpicks for easy eating. Can be kept warm in slow cooker, if needed.


Calories: 79kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 4gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 188mgPotassium: 101mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 64IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Krissy Allori

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