Meatloaf Hamburger Patties are individually sized mini-meatloaves cooked on the stovetop instead of in the oven! Topped with a tangy, sweet brown sugar ketchup glaze, this may be an old-fashioned recipe but the classic comfort food flavors will never go out of style.

We always have a pound or two of ground beef in the freezer, which makes for easy dinners like this one. Some of our other favorites are Homemade Hamburger Helper, Stuffed Peppers, and Ground Beef Stroganoff.

meatloaf pattie on a white plate with green beans mashed potatoes and a fork

Meatloaf Hamburger Patties

We love meatloaf but even with air fryer meatloaf or instant pot meatloaf sometimes it just takes longer than I have when we need a quick dinner. I grew up on these meatloaf hamburger patties that my mom always used to make. My mom never measured - she just tossed things into the bowl and I was usually the one tasked with mixing it together by hand while she moved on to another element of dinner.

When I think back on it, that's how I really learned to cook - just being in the kitchen with my mom, working through a fairly well established rotation of meals that mostly didn't require recipes.

This is one of the first dishes I made for my husband when we got married and it's still one of his favorites today. In fact, he has been trying to get me to put them on the blog almost since I started blogging just a little over two years ago!

While a classic meatloaf is baked in a loaf pan in the oven, these meatloaf hamburger patties are pan-fried in about 10 minutes, which is a lot less time than it takes to cook a meatloaf.

This obviously is a time-saver, but there is also an added benefit of what I think of as a better flavor and texture ratio with more meatloaf surface area dedicated to the crust from the pan sear and more of the tangy ketchup topping on each serving of meatloaf.

And isn't that everybody's favorite thing about meatloaf anyway?

An image of four meatloaf patties in a skillet, topped with a ketchup meatloaf sauce.

Serve these meatloaf hamburger patties up with basic mashed potatoes with butter and green beans or peas for a very 1950's-themed dinner (it's our favorite way to eat them).

Or skip straight to the meatloaf sandwich that is the traditional and much beloved use of leftover meatloaf by serving these meatloaf hamburgers between a couple pieces bread or on hamburger buns.

An image off an individually-sized meatloaf patty on a plate with mashed potatoes, green beans, and a skillet beside it with more meatloaf patties.

Historically Hungry - What did people eat in the 1950's?

When Jenni (my cohort on these Historically Hungry posts where we share old recipes that we think deserve attention and love in modern kitchens) started talking about what we wanted to make that was inspired by foods of the 1950's, there were so many things to choose from that sounded like fun.

I can tell that this is a decade we are going to have to revisit soon because foods that were popular or popularized in the 1950's include gems (many of which I have already visited on my blog, sometimes more than once) like:

There were so many changes happening in the 1950's, especially around food after the shortages and rationing of the previous decades.

But another interesting influence to the family dinner in the 1950's was the increasing number of households that had a television set, which created new challenges for serving meals between favorite shows, or families opting for "tv dinners" and eating in the living room on tv trays instead of at the dining room table.

Generally, home cooks used what was in season, or when fresh fruits and vegetables weren't available they turned to canned or frozen goods. This blog post about meals in the 1950's from someone who grew up during that period is a fun read if you want to know more.

Instead of doing different recipes for this installment of Historically Hungry, Jenni and I both decided to share our favorite takes on meatloaf.

Be sure to check out Jenni's Meatloaf Meatballs that are baked in the oven and look delicious!

How to make meatloaf hamburger patties

Making meatloaf hamburger patties is quick and easy. Just dump all the ingredients into a bowl and squish it together with your hands.

If you feel squeamish about it, go ahead and use a spatula or spoon to do the mixing, but I honestly just give my hands a good wash before and after and it's super easy to get the mixture ready to be shaped into patties.

An image of the ingredients for meatloaf in a bowl, ready to be mixed by hand and then shaped into meatloaf patties.

I typically use either bread crumbs or crushed saltine crackers in my meatloaf, along with chopped onion.

An egg helps with binding everything together, but these patties are generally not going to hold up as well on a grill as a normal hamburger patty would, which is why I fry them up in a large skillet with just a little bit of oil.

An image of meatloaf mixture ready to be shaped into mini loaves.

Just heat the pan over medium heat, then add a little oil - just a tablespoon or two to prevent the patties from sticking, and lay the patties down on the hot surface. Cook for 5 minutes on one side before flipping and cooking for another five minutes on the other size, just until cooked through and the outside is nicely browned.

An image of four meatloaf patties pan-frying in a skillet on the stove.

I top each patty with the brown sugar ketchup glaze as soon as I flip them so that it has time to heat up and soft of cook into the meatloaf hamburger patties a bit.

An image of four meatloaf patties pan-fried in a skillet and topped with a tangy, tomato ketchup and brown sugar sauce.

Alternatively, you could place the meatloaf patties on a lightly greased baking sheet at bake the in the oven at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes until they are cooked through. It saves the trouble of standing by the stove, watching dinner cook, but it does take a little longer.

Then be sure to sit down as a family, leave your digital devices in another room, and have Alexa turn on some Perry Como for a very 1950's meets 2018 dinnertime experience.

An image of an individually sized mini-meatloaf that is shaped as a hamburger patty and then fried in a pan on the stovetop.

Meatloaf may not be fancy fare, but this classic comfort food can be a quick, easy dinner that brings the whole family to the table.

An image of a meatloaf patty with a bite taken out of it on a white plate with green beans and a pile of mashed potatoes dripping with melted butter.

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Meatloaf Hamburger Patties

4.95 from 20 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Meatloaf Hamburger Patties are individually sized mini-meatloaves cooked on the stovetop instead of in the oven!  Topped with a tangy, sweet brown sugar ketchup glaze, this may be an old-fashioned recipe but the classic comfort food flavors will never go out of style.

Ingredients
  

Meatloaf patties

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ cup onion diced (about ½ a small onion)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup saltine cracker crumbs about 12 crackers*
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Topping

  • cup ketchup
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, combine all of the meatloaf ingredients and mix together by hand.  Shape into 4-5 individual patties.
  • Make the topping by combining ⅓ cup ketchup and the brown sugar in a small bowl and stirring until smooth.  
  • Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat then add a little oil to it.  When the oil is hot, carefully place each hamburger patty into the skillet and cook for about 5-7 minutes until nicely browned on the bottom, then flip to cook the other side.  Immediately top each hamburger patty with some of the brown sugar ketchup topping while the patties cook for another 5 minutes on the other side.  
  • When the meatloaf patties are no longer pink in the center, remove from the skillet and let rest for 5 minutes so the juices can redisperse.  Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans, or on hamburger buns for a meatloaf sandwich.

Notes

*If you don't have saltine crackers on hand, you could substitute an equal amount of bread crumbs or oats (quick or old-fashioned would both work) that have been pulsed in a blender or food processor a few times.
Alternatively, you could bake the meatloaf patties on a lightly greased baking sheet at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Nutrition

Calories: 432kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 1129mg | Potassium: 519mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 274IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Love the idea of having little individual meatloaf patties! These look super comforting and easy to whip up! A must try for sure 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    We LOVE meatloaf in your house and this looks like a great way to help keep the portion sizes right and a great why to have left overs!

  3. 5 stars
    Awe I just love these adorable little patties! My kids would probably actually eat meatloaf if I made these!

  4. My nana used to make us something very similar for dinner when I was growing up. Pinned to enjoy the nostalgia for dinner sometime.

  5. I started making these in the summer so my oven would not heat up the kitchen. I have a hatd time keeping them together. Always put brown sugar and catsup on top, makes it. Way my mom always fixed it.

    1. Summer is when I most often make these too for the same reason! If you have a hard time keeping them together, try cutting back on the onions or chopping them even finer.

  6. These are amazing. I used everything Ritz crackers because that's what I had on hand. I will ne making this repeatedly. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I have made meatloaf patties all of my adult life. I never have had a written recipe but these are almost identical to the ones I make. They are a delicious comfort food! 

    1. Yay! I love to hear that! I'm also all about the easy comfort foods right now and meatloaf definitely sounds good!

  8. Great idea I was wondering about how to do this. I have not had meat loaf in so long but its really hot now days and takes forever to cook. I will give the mini meatloaf's a try using veggie meat crumbles . I like to sauté a little bell pepper and onion as well with mine. my add some sweet corn to my sides . But other than that I will be making it really soon

  9. 5 stars
    I loved these. I added a bit of Worcestershire sauce. Yum! You can also make them in a muffin tin and top with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of you like.

  10. 5 stars
    Well I've never seen you in my house so I'll leave a plate out for you like Santa or the Easter Bunny 🐰. Lol