This is my mom’s recipe for the most flavorful juicy air fryer meatloaf. It only takes about 40 minutes to make, from start to finish. Here, diced pickles, egg, and barbeque sauce all lend moisture and flavor, while parmesan, garlic, paprika, and oregano add to the seasoning. This recipe is very adaptable: you can swap in or add any seasonings you love and the barbeque sauce is totally optional. You can easily make this dairy and gluten-free by omitting parmesan and using almond flour in place of bread crumbs. If you don’t have an air fryer, you can absolutely bake this in the oven (see the notes at the end of the recipe).
Juicy Air Fryer Meatloaf
- Air Fryer
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- ¼ bell pepper, finely diced (optional)
- 1 pickle, finely diced (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 500 grams (about 1 pound) ground meat, such as pork or beef
- 1 small egg, whisked
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan (optional)
- 2-3 tablespoons bread crumbs or almond flour
- your favorite barbeque sauce, for glaze (optional)
- Warm the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and bell pepper, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns translucent. Add the pickle, if using, and the salt, paprika, and oregano and stir to combine. Take the pan off the heat and set it aside to cool a bit.
- Add the ground meat to a large bowl with the slightly cooled seasoned vegetable mixture. Add the egg, parmesan, if using, and bread crumbs. Using clean hands or a spoon, mix really well.
- Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and place the meat mixture in the center. Wrap the plastic around the mixture and shape it into a loaf that will fit in the basket of your air fryer.
- Remove the meatloaf from the plastic wrap, place in the air fryer basket, and brush with barbeque sauce, if using.
- Cook at 380F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, open the air fryer and brush with more barbecue sauce, if using. Bake for another 8 minutes, checking the loaf twice to make sure it's not getting burnt.
- Let the meat loaf cool a bit and enjoy.