What’s cooking today: Air fryer meatloaf

What’s cooking today: Air fryer meatloaf
Tony Jackman’s air fryer meatloaf. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

A good old-fashioned meatloaf cooks easily in an air fryer in just half an hour.

Let’s go back to the Sixties and Seventies for a proper old-fashioned family staple: a meatloaf finished with a ketchup glaze. This aspect suggests that it is an American dish, and while today it is often thought of as such, its origins are really in Germany (as well as Belgium and Scandinavian countries). German immigrants took it to Pennsylvania, and there are many variations of it elsewhere in the world from Cuba and Denmark to Bangladesh and Bulgaria.

Though today we might think of a meatloaf as a product of the Sixties and Seventies, when it was widely popular, its origins are much older. It first appeared in cookbooks in America in the late 19th century.

A small amount of cooking needs to be done on the stovetop before assembling your meatloaf. Other than cooking the onions with the garlic, the air fryer takes care of all the rest. Bear in mind that this would need to be done on the stovetop if you were making it in a conventional oven too.

Though it has a tomato sauce glaze, it needs oil in it too for sheen and body.

(Serves 4)


600 g lean beef mince (though lamb or pork can be used too)

2 Tbsp butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 large eggs, beaten

1 cup fine breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup tomato sauce (ketchup)

A dash of Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp prepared mustard

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

Olive oil spray

For the glaze:

⅓ cup tomato sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil


Sauté the onion and garlic in melted butter until softened, then leave to cool to room temperature.

Put the beef mince in a bowl and add the breadcrumbs (just whizz 2 slices of day-old bread in a food processor), thyme leaves, tomato sauce (ketchup), Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper and mix well with clean hands. Add the (cooled) onion and mix it in well.

Beat the eggs and mix them in well. Best to use your hands.

Mix together the tomato sauce and olive oil and brush this on top.

Preheat the air fryer at 200℃ for five minutes.

Spray a loaf tin with olive oil spray (make sure it is a tin that will fit into your air fryer basket).

Pack the mixture into the tin, evening it out on top with your palm.

Roast the meatloaf in the preheated air fryer at 200℃ until nicely browned on top, about 30 minutes. Insert a skewer and press the top of the meatloaf down slightly where you have inserted it. If juices run clear it is done, if pink let it cook for three to five minutes more. Serve with creamy mashed potato. DM

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed on a platter by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


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