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.
Meatloaf Hamburger Patties
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?
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.
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:
- casseroles (this cheesy baked spaghetti casserole is a personal fave)
- BBQ (considered a popular “new” urban trend during that decade after WWII)
- Chex mix
- chiffon cakes
- pies (you can see my pie archives for all my favorite pies that I have shared but I’m gonna go ahead and say you have to try the peach pie, the blackberry pie, and the banana cream pie – probably the three that get made most often around here)
- Jell-O (I’m a sucker for a good Jell-O)
- creamed vegetables
- cake mix (Duncan Hines introduced them in 1951)
- pot roasts
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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 cup onion, diced (about 1/2 a small onion)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup saltine cracker crumbs (about 12 crackers)*
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 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 1/3 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 redisurse. Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans, or on hamburger buns for a meatloaf sandwich.
*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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 431 Saturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 121mg Sodium: 1129mg Carbohydrates: 28g Sugar: 18g Protein: 22g