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 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?
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.
More Satisfying Family Dinner Recipes
- Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
- Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole
- Homemade Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet
- Tex-Mex Doritos Taco Salad
- Best Ground Beef Taco Meat
- Navajo Tacos (Indian Fry Bread)
- The BEST Homemade Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
- Skillet Lemon Chicken & Rice
- Meatloaf with Brown Gravy
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Meatloaf Hamburger 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
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ 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 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.
Reader questions and reviews
Love the idea of having little individual meatloaf patties! These look super comforting and easy to whip up! A must try for sure 🙂
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!
Awe I just love these adorable little patties! My kids would probably actually eat meatloaf if I made these!
What a clever idea! I love meatloaf and these look delicious. 🙂
My nana used to make us something very similar for dinner when I was growing up. Pinned to enjoy the nostalgia for dinner sometime.
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.
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.
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.
I put a cube of cheddar cheese in the middle. It oozes out when you cut into it. It is so good.
That's a genius idea! I'm going to have to try it!
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!
I love that it isn't just my family that loves meatloaf patties!
These are the best! They are on the quarantine hit list!
Yay! I love to hear that! I'm also all about the easy comfort foods right now and meatloaf definitely sounds good!
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
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.
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
On point no.4, you say, redisurse. I believe you mean, redispurse?
Yes, sorry for that typo! Fixed in the post now!
Loved this recipe! My oven broke, but we love meatloaf and this substituted perfectly for traditional meatloaf. The only complaint my husband had was that it had too much ketchup inside the meat.
Tradition in our house for generations is including chopped celery and quick oats instead of crackers and garlic/oregano.
My family loves these meatloaf patties; thank you so much for sharing the recipe with us! We all enjoy meatloaf, but these patties are even more flavorful, plus quicker and easier. What a treat!