Why You Should Make Meatloaf In Your Air Fryer

Meatloaf is one of those dishes that is exactly what it sounds like — a hamburger patty carefully molded into the form of a loaf of bread. American comfort food at its finest, meatloaf, actually has roots going back to ancient Roman cookbooks (via Cook's Illustrated). It wasn't until the Great Depression in the 1930s that meatloaf became the popular American food it is today, considering that it was inexpensive and simple to make at a time when meat wasn't exactly all that affordable (via Life At The Table). Today, there are several easy meatloaf recipes out there. And whether you serve it soaked in brown gravy or a ketchup glaze, meatloaf will always be on our list of hearty dinner ideas.

But how do you usually bake your meatloaf? Chances are that you, your mother, or anyone else who's made meatloaf have used the oven. While baking meatloaf is a time-tested method that works perfectly fine, it doesn't mean that the oven is the only way you can make it. You could, for instance, follow Betty Crocker's advice and use a slow cooker to make a pretty tender meatloaf. Alternatively, you can also use an Instant Pot pressure cooker to make a well-cooked, moist meatloaf.

But if you have never used your air fryer — the kitchen tool you use to make French fries or reheat leftovers — to make a loaf of meat yet, you are missing out on some serious deliciousness.

Air fryers can give you a crisp exterior

Your air fryer is good for making a lot of appetizing everyday meals, but does that include meatloaf as well? Well, yes. Because when it comes to a perfectly cooked meatloaf, you want something that is tender and moist and not a leathery dried-out slab of ground beef, and using an air fryer is the perfect way to achieve that. 

According to Everyday Family Cooking, one of the main benefits of cooking your meatloaf in the air fryer is that it helps give the meat that crisp, firm exterior while keeping the interior moist and juicy. Unlike an oven, where you may get uneven heat distribution, the air fryer ensures that all of the surface areas of the meatloaf is evenly exposed to circulating heat while the grease drips into the collection tray beneath the basket. 

Preparing your meatloaf for the air fryer is actually very similar, if not the same, as making meatloaf the usual way. It is suggested, however, that you separate your meat mixture into smaller loaves before putting them into the basket. This is because if you try to bake an entire meatloaf in the air fryer, air circulation wouldn't be even, leading to some parts of the loaf overcooking while the interior remains cold and undercooked. Using an air fryer is also a healthier option because the grease collects in the bottom of the basket, and the meatloaf doesn't cook in the fat.