Instant Pot versus Oven–experiments in meatloaf

I’ve tried meatloaf in the magic pot before–and loved it!  You can read all about that here: Tastefully Simple BBQ Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf in the Instant Pot.  But that was a different recipe than I normally make.  My husband wanted me to try our family favorite meatloaf recipe in the Instant Pot.  I thought I would take that a step further and do a little taste test between my traditional method and a few different methods in the magic pot.  I’ll share the recipe at the bottom along with my standard instructions.  If you have ever gotten a meal from me after surgery or the birth of a baby, chances are very good that you have tried these!

  1.  After I mixed the meat mixture, I filled this cute little 3 cup bundt pan to about an inch under the rim with it.  Then I did the same with my 7″ springform pan.  I added a cup of water to the inner pot and placed the trivet in.  Then I stacked the pans on top of the trivet.  I selected MANUAL and then used the +/- buttons to adjust the cook time to 20 minutes.  I secured the lid and made sure the steam vent was on SEALING.wp-1475250458204.jpgwp-1475250428093.jpgwp-1475250482621.jpgwp-1475250428094.jpg
  2. Meanwhile, with the rest of the meat mixture, I shaped mini loaves and placed them on a foil-lined baking sheet.  I covered them with the sauce and put them in a 350 degree oven.wp-1475250976601.jpg
  3. When the pressure cycle had ended, I allowed the magic pot to naturally release pressure.  When the pin dropped, I opened the lid and removed the pans and checked the internal temperature of each pan.  They were done so I took them out and covered the top with sauce.  (This was a bad plan with the bundt pan!  I should have turned it out on a pan and THEN covered it with the sauce.  That crazy 20/20 hindsight!)
  4. I placed the pans under the broiler for a few minutes to carmalize the sauce a little.
  5. After I got a little smarter,  and realized I should have turned the bundt loaf out, I poured the sauce back off of it and turned it onto a plate and poured the sauce back over it.  Unfortunately, the load didn’t hold it’s shape very well, so it was a hot mess on the plate!wp-1475250428410.jpgwp-1475250428196.jpg
  6. The proof is in the tasting, right?  Well, all 3 of us tried at least a bite of each pressure cooked pan and the oven-baked version.  We all thought they each tasted great.  2 of us preferred the oven baked mini-loaves slightly because the sauce was more caramelized and the loaf was more solid.
  7. When I cook these in the magic pot again–and I definitely will–I will lighten up the milk.  Because it is cooked in a moist environment, it doesn’t need so much moisture in the loaf.  I think this will help it hold together better.  Also, I will turn the loaf out on a pan and cover it with the sauce and bake it for 10 minutes or so at the end.  This will cut down on the amount of time it saves making it in the Instant Pot versus the oven, however.
  8. My conclusion?  I feel like it is a tie.  There is an edge to the Instant Pot in the time department and not heating up the kitchen.  There is an edge to the oven method for the sauce caramelizing during the baking.  I would NOT use the Instant Pot if I were using ground beef with a high fat content.  There is nowhere for the melted fat to go.

Lil Cheddar Meatloaves

2 Cups Milk
3 Eggs
3 Cups Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
1 1/2 Cups Quick cooking oats
1 1/2 Cups Onion (chopped)
3 tea Tastefully Simple Seasoned Salt
3 lb. Ground beef
2 Cups Ketchup
1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar
4 tea Mustard

In a bowl, beat the egg and milk. Stir in cheese, oats, onion and salt. Add beef and mix well. Shape into loaves; place in a greased baking dish. Combine ketchup, brown sugar and mustard; spoon over loaves. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160.

These freeze wonderfully. If freezing, place loaves on waxed or freezer paper on cookie sheet and freeze, then stack them in a freezer container or in freezer bags.

Suggestion: Cover baking pan with heavy duty foil before baking—these make a big mess in the pan!


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