Meatloaf Cupcakes


Meatloaf Cupcakes are a playful take on the classic dish of meatloaf and mashed potatoes and gravy.  


We’re aliiiive!

Tailgating in Iowa City for Hawkeye football games is known for being uber-exciting, lively, crowded and just plain CRAZY. Yesterday was no exception. Ben and I got up at the crack of dawn to make the two hour drive and were rocking our party pants with our friends in a freezing cold parking lot by 8:30am.

This is a reality that only exists on Saturday mornings during football season. Am I right?!

None of us had tickets to the game, so when kick off came around at 11am, we left the food, fun and frigid temps behind and headed to a bar to watch on TV.

Thankfully our boys pulled off a righteous win and after a full afternoon of fun, Ben and I were home and in bed by 10pm. I love me some tailgating, but waking up in Iowa City (unless you go to school there) is something nobody likes to see. Native peeps know what I’m talking about!

Since I got all my house chores done on Friday, all I had to do today was make a quick trip to the grocery store to stock up for the week then relax. Several episodes of Pan Am and a quick cat nap later, I decided to make a fun and filling dinner of Meatloaf Cupcakes. I know. Meat + cupcakes? Trust me, it works!

I grew up eating classic meatloaf on the regular, but for whatever reason I haven’t had much of a taste for it for like, the last decade or so. It kind of creeps me out, to be honest!


Ben’s been requesting a good hearty loaf of it recently though, so I decided to push past my own weird feelings, whimsy the idea up a little, and make these fun, individual-sized meatloaf cupcakes instead.


The ingredients are pretty much the same as a full-sized loaf – ground beef, egg, onion, breadcrumbs and ketchup,


but instead of shaping the mixture into one big loaf, you press it into a muffin tin to create cupcake shaped meatloaves. So cute!


Each one gets a dollop of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce on top, which gets sweet and crusty as they bake.




To go on top and act as the “frosting” for the meatloaf cupcakes, I made home-style, red-skinned mashed potatoes.


Red-skinned potatoes are Ben’s favorite, plus he loves the peel, so I left ’em on and mashed everything together in a creamy-yet-textured, buttery mash.


Assembled, topped with a drizzle of warm gravy, and devoured!


Meatloaf Cupcakes

Makes 12 meatloaf cupcakes


Meatloaf Cupcakes are a playful take on the classic dish of meatloaf and mashed potatoes and gravy.  


  • Turkey gravy (or any other variety of gravy)
  • For meatloaf cupcakes:
    • 1lb 93/7 lean ground beef
    • 1 cup grated zucchini, excess moisture squeezed out
    • 2 Tablespoon onion, minced
    • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
    • 1/8 teaspoon each parsley flakes, garlic powder, onion powder
    • pinch of oregano and pepper
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 egg
    • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce + more for topping
    • 1/4 cup ketchup + more for topping
  • For mashed potatoes:
    • 1lb red skinned potatoes
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped in half
    • 3 Tablespoons light sour cream
    • 3 Tablespoons chicken broth
    • 2 Tablespoons skim milk
    • 1 Tablespoon butter
    • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with foil-lined cupcake wrappers. Combine all meatloaf ingredients together in a large bowl, and spoon into muffin tins equally, smoothing out the tops.
  2. Squirt a dallop of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce on the top of each meatloaf cupcake and smooth with the back of a spoon. Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, cut red skinned potatoes into 1" pieces, place into a large pot with the garlic, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then cook until potatoes are tender. Drain and return the potatoes to the hot pot.
  4. Add remaining mashed potato ingredients and mash until smooth. Top each meatloaf cupcake with mashed potatoes, and spoon on warm gravy.


Adapted from Skinny Taste

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


These were awesome! Since the meat cooks in the cupcake liners, it stays really moist, and the creamy mashed potatoes and gravy on top just sealed the super-cute deal.


Plus they’ll make for some great leftovers tomorrow. Win, win!




Is there anything you grew up eating all the time, but can’t eat anymore?

I cannot eat Little Debbie cakes. I had either a Zebra Cake, Tree/Heart/Pumpkin Cake, Star Crunch and/or Swiss Roll in my lunchbox every single day all through elementary school. I can’t even stand the sight of ’em now!

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  1. Lori 10.23.2011

    I had such a huge sweet tooth my whole life and that hasn’t changed. I am more selective in the sweets I eat though. What has changed (thankfully) is that I love a lot of foods I wouldn’t eat as a kid….healthy foods!

    The meatloaf cupcakes look like a perfect fall meal. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Looks awesome! I’ve seen them served like this and always thought it was odd, but you make it appealing! I actually LOVE meatload- turkey and vegetable with balsamic glaze… it’s a Bobby Flay (I think!?) recipe from food network… packed with veggies! My fav!

  3. I am not a meatloaf fan, but these little cupcakes make me want to try it again! These would be a hit at my house!

  4. Jenna 10.23.2011

    Man, I always forget about meatloaf! Thanks for the reminder. :)

  5. Meredith 10.23.2011

    Just gotta say I LOVE your blog…It’s a perfect mix of funny commentary, great recipes (which I have tried out here in Massachusetts), fitness, etc. I love checking in every day to hear about your latest adventures. I was so happy to see your news clip…you totally deserve the recognition. Keep up the great work!

  6. These meatloaf cupcakes are definitely crazy, but fun! I get in the mood for meatloaf on a very rare occassion, and when I do it’s something that just has to be done haha.

    I can’t even think about eating oatmeal creme pies everrrr again in my life. I ate so many of those growing up that the thought of them makes me nauseous :P

  7. this is how i make meatloaf too! my mom used to do it because my sister wouldn’t eat a regular meatloaf. but i’ve never tried mashed potato frosting. sound delicious!!

  8. Meagan 10.23.2011

    I made sweet, not savory, cupcakes for my engagement party last night and I’m pretty proud of ’em! :)

  9. Alexis 10.23.2011

    I looove tailgating.. in college (okay, that was last year and we definitely still do it) we did Kegs n’ Eggs every Saturday morning for Husker home games. Getting up at 7 AM on Saturday was true dedication! There’s something about football tailgating.. you just never get too old for it. :)

  10. Lindsey 10.23.2011

    I’ve seen some “meatloaf cupcakes” on pinterest… but they look fake and gross… these actually look good and easily edible!! Can’t wait to try!

  11. Noreen 10.23.2011

    Can the meatloaf cupcakes be frozen?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.24.2011

      I’m not sure! I would assume, but I’m thinking they’d take a bit longer to bake…

    • Melody 10.20.2014

      Did you try freezing the meatloaf cupcakes? This would work well for our family since we have a smaller family. Thanks.

      • Kristin 10.20.2014

        I haven’t but I’m sure it’d work just fine!

  12. Kerryne 10.23.2011

    Brilliant idea. I love the potato frosting. Awesome. I also love meatloaf and think I will have to give these a whirl and really freak my husband out. He is always scared of my “healthy baking”. This one should throw him for a loop! Thanks!

  13. jad18 10.23.2011

    We had meatloaf toda too, but just the regular kind. My mom used to make stuffed peppers when I was younger and I have not have them in probably 18 years and do not miss them at all.

  14. Wendy 10.23.2011

    When I was at the store today, I passed by the Little Debbie area, and thought back to how I had one in my lunch every day. I loved zebra cakes and swiss cake rolls. I do not miss those days.

    This was a great recipe!

  15. I would eat oatmeal creme pies all the time growing up. I seriously cannot even think about eating one of these today. Makes my stomach churn!

  16. Imwaytoobusy 10.23.2011

    Seriously, you come up with the cutest creations! I never would have thought of that. They sound delicious…different, but delicious!

  17. Rachel 10.23.2011

    I made meatloaf this evening, although it was the Pioneer Woman’s meatloaf, so definitely NOT as healthy as your version! We ate a LOT of fish sticks when I was a kid…Once every couple years, I give them another try and realize I still can’t stand them!

  18. Jane 10.23.2011

    Urghh, I cannot eat Little Debbies at all! I did eat the swiss rolls when I was a kid, but cannot stand them now either, they’re so fakey and gross….My husband loves those things and will put additional frosting on top of them if we have it!! D: I have made mini-meatloaves in muffin tins, but mainly just to cut down on cooking time, didn’t do “frosting”, we just have mashed potatoes and corn on the side…. :) One thing I cannot stand is those “pies” in the wrap-Hostess I think, ick! Read the words “beef tallow” on one generic brand (for husband, I know he likes gross things, right?) and I cannot even look at them!

  19. Lindsay 10.23.2011

    I literally had a pb&j sandwich everyday from Kindergarden through High School! I am not a fan of pb&j anymore! I also used to eat tons of gushers and sour snacks, I dont eat them any more but they were fun when I was little! :D

  20. I went to Penn State (oooh Big Ten rival!) and I miss tailgating SO much! I need to get up there, I wish it wasn’t a 3 hour plus drive!

    I LOVE Pan Am!

  21. Angie 10.23.2011

    Love meatloaf – and these look delish! What a fun and creative way to spice it up. I grew up hating beef roast by the time I hit my teenage years…my mom loved it and I swear she made it at least once a week. And sometimes leftovers on top of that (hot roast beef sandwiches, etc.). Funny thing is, now when I go home to visit, I love mom’s pot roast because it’s so nostalgic. And, I’ve even found my own recipe to love :)

  22. This is an AWESOME idea! Love it! I might have to make it for our Halloween supper. I was wanting a fun idea for my girls – they will love this. By the way – I love Pan Am and totally forgot it was on tonight until you mentioned it. Dang it!

  23. These look AWESOME! We are going to make them for dinner on Tuesday, thank you!

    As for things I can’t eat anymore:
    – Boboli Pizza {very specific to the brand}
    – Nutty Buddies snack cakes {same reason as you, got one everyday!}
    – Tuna Helper {obvious reasons}
    These were all staples of my childhood, and it’s amazing how our tastes change as we grow up!

  24. What a great weekend in Iowa City. I am a little jealous! I’m just glad DC has a great I-Club!

    Those meatloaf muffin are awesome– a great way to get kids to eat unique dinners.

  25. Wendi 10.23.2011

    LOVE this idea girl! So creative and fun! I am not a fan of the whole meatloaf thang but when made to look like a scrumptious cupcake, I might give it a second chance. Hope you had a great weekend hun!

  26. Lisa 10.24.2011

    Those meatloaf cupcakes looks awesome!
    There is an entire bakery in Chicago dedicated to meatloaf style cupcakes. I totally want to try it next time I visit there.

  27. chris 10.24.2011

    fried bolgna

    • Machelle 10.24.2011

      oh no! i dearly LOVE fried bologna sandwiches!

  28. Hope 10.24.2011

    This is a cute idea! I think it would make meatloaf more appealing, especially to kids.

  29. .. Sorry to say, but I still enjoy the Lil Debbie Cakes! Haha.
    But what a fun filled football weekend. Those meatloaf cupcakes are adorable! I love Skinny Taste recipes too.

  30. VeggieGirl 10.24.2011

    cute idea!! Too bad Im a vegetarian ;)

  31. Kristin from MN 10.24.2011

    Dark meat chicken. I used to love the legs and thighs, not anymore! My son’s favorite food is meatloaf. He has been begging me to buy the “perfect meatloaf” pan! LOL!

  32. Michelle 10.24.2011

    I also cannot stand the Little Debbies anymore! I would have one in my lunch and then for an after school snack. There were always a nutter butter or one of the cake snacks around, but the one that stands out the most was the cosmic brownie. I loved picking off all the candy pieces before eating the brownie!

  33. Candace 10.24.2011

    The meatloaf cupcakes are a cute idea and great for portion control. I had bologna sandwiches for lunch so often as a kid, I can’t eat bologna in any form or fashion as an adult.

  34. Krista 10.24.2011

    Peanut butter and jelly (or fluff, ugh) sandwiches– I’m actually allergic to peanut butter now! Also those store chocolate chip cookies in lunches and shrimp at parties– just give me a cheese plate now and I’m happy :P

  35. Tia 10.24.2011

    These cupcakes are such a good idea! I am going to go home tonight and make them with my mother.

  36. Melissa 10.24.2011

    I always make meatloaf muffins–the crusty end pieces are the best part of the meatloaf, IMO, so this makes every piece the best part! I’ve never done them with mashed potatoes on top, though. That takes it from muffin to cupcake–loves it!

  37. Machelle 10.24.2011

    i whisk together a bowl full of ketchup, brown sugar, lil worchestershire sauce, and a lil garlic powder, and pour it over the loaf when it’s done cooking…..just leave it in the oven long enough to get hot & bubbly. any longer than that and the sugar burns. my Aunt Sissy taught me this and it’s delish! it’s also good on ham balls.

  38. jen 10.24.2011

    I’ve been wanting to make these! {saw something similar on pinterest.} But, I’m the one trying to convince my husband to give meatloaf a go. Something about not wanting meat that is topped with catchup. Whatevs.

  39. Laurie 10.24.2011

    Oh my goodness! I made meatloaf last week and it was a big FAIL. Just didn’t taste right. When I was making it I thought about putting it in a muffin tin and how that would be a great idea to serve kids. But I didn’t. Now, seeing this, I’ll try again soon. Thanks for the great idea.

  40. Great Idea! Can’t wait to make these for my husband when we get back from our cruise…he will LOVE them. Do you think I could freeze some? Thanks!
    xoxo from Trinidad

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.24.2011

      I would maybe put the mixture into the muffin tin then freeze them and pop them out. Not sure how well the muffin tin liner would hold up in the freezer –> oven!

  41. Whoa…I was definitely not expecting that! Very creative!!

  42. Sarah 10.24.2011

    Um, balogna and ketchup sandwiches…they were my go-to lunch growing up and I can’t even stand the smell of balogna anymore!

  43. I love (and miss) tailgating too, but at Iowa State we start tailgating at 5:00 am for an 11:00 am kick-off. ;-)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.24.2011

      Try as I might, I just couldn’t convince Ben to get going at 3:30am! ;)

  44. Susan 10.24.2011

    Those meatloaf cupcakes look so good (and cute!). I will def have to try out that idea. Thanks.

  45. Love the cupcake idea! My boyfriend isn’t the biggest fan of meatloaf, but he loves mashed potatoes…so this just might work!

    Glad ya’ll had fun at the football game…there is nothing like a Saturday morning tailgate in the cold!!!

    Happy Monday!

  46. colleen 10.24.2011

    Awesome idea! I must try these – I’ll do anything to get one of my favorite comforts back onto the table. I have build on your Little Debbie list and add their granola bars. I definitely ate my share of them growing up and can’t even look at them now.

  47. stacy 10.24.2011

    honey nut cheerios. when i was 8, my 10 year old sister puked them up all over me and ever since i cant even stand the smell of them …. yuck!!!!

  48. Maggie 10.24.2011

    Hi, Kristin! I have followed your blog for quite some time now, but I haven’t had much time lately to catch up on your posts. As I was clicking through them, I came upon this post and what do I see on the very first Iowa picture you posted? My aunt and uncle on the far left hand side of the picture!! It’s such a small world! Go Hawks! :)

  49. Kelly 10.25.2011

    Um, do you know all of the people in that picture above that you took at the bar after tailgating? What I mean, is are they friends of friends that you had only met that day? I ask because one of them looks *a lot* like my college roommate, Cory. Small world if it is!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.25.2011

      I do! Some of them are friends, one is Ben’s brother and CORY is my friend’s cousin! Small world!!

  50. Brandi 10.25.2011

    I went to school in Iowa City and loved those wonderful fall weekend mornings – all was extremely festive! It was nice to see pictures of it again!

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