How A Muffin Tin Can Help Make Meatloaf In Half The Time

If you're the type of person who loves to cook, there's a good chance you've collected quite a few pieces of kitchen gear over the years, from specialty devices with just one use (hello, cherry pitter) to staples like your well-worn baking sheets. And, if you like to bake in particular, you've probably amassed a few more kitchen items, including loaf pans and muffin tins.

Unless you make muffins every week, you likely don't reach for your muffin tin quite as often as you do items such as baking sheets, which can be used for everything from cookies to roasting vegetables and proteins for a sheet pan dinner, per Food Network. However, if you're a comfort food lover who regularly makes homemade meatloaf, you may be overlooking one of the best uses of those muffin tins buried in your kitchen drawer. They can be a great tool for your savory bakes, as well as your sweet ones.

And, they help solve one of the common frustrations faced when making meatloaf. Now, meatloaf isn't particularly complicated to make; usually, you're just creating a mixture of whatever ground meat you prefer, a variety of spices, and a few ingredients, such as eggs and bread crumbs, to round it all out. A meatloaf the size of a loaf pan — or even larger, in some cases — needs serious time in the oven, often an hour or more. And that's why you should be reaching for your muffin tin.

Whip up meatloaf in no time

You may already have a tried-and-true meatloaf recipe that you swear by — that's completely fine. The good thing about this muffin tin tip is that it applies to whatever recipe you're already making. As Cooking Light explains, all you need to do is take your meatloaf mixture and fill the cavities of a muffin tin, rather than placing the entire batch in a larger pan. Then, rather than waiting until the huge slab of meatloaf cooks all the way through, you pop the mini meatloaves in for just 15 minutes or so at a high temperature — Cooking Light recommends 450 F.

You can even keep your favorite sauces or glazes if you have a meatloaf recipe that calls for one of those. For example, television personality and cookbook author Rachael Ray shared a meatloaf muffin recipe with Food Network that calls for spooning barbecue sauce onto each meatloaf muffin, which adds both flavor and moisture as they bake.

Though a muffin tin will help speed up the meatloaf cooking process and may even yield some nice crisped edges, you still need to avoid common meatloaf missteps. For example, as The Kitchn warns, you want to ensure you have enough fat in your ground meat blend. To keep your meatloaf moist, you also may want to soak your bread or breadcrumbs before incorporating them into your meat mixture, per Eat This, Not That.