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French Onion Mini Meatloaves

French Onion Mini Meatloaves 3-2-2French Onion Soup is a classic for a very good reason – it’s just plain delicious and comforting. The caramelized onions give so much flavor to the rich beef broth and the melted, bubbly cheese on top just seals the deal, doesn’t it?

You know what else is comforting and delicious? Meatloaf. What could be cuter than mini meatloaves? Plus, it’s very practical to make mini meatloaves, since everybody has their own individual little meatloaf and you don’t have to cut it, and it cooks faster too. Topping the meatloaves with caramelized onions not only packs some super flavor into them, but also make the already juicy meatloaves even juicier. Melted, gooey and golden cheese on top not only looks great, but adds to all the great flavors already going on. 
Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

2 lbs onions

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (plus a little bit extra for the onions)

3 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons sherry, optional

6-8 oz grated cheese (Gruyere, Mozzarella, cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc.)

Instructions:

French Onion Mini Meatloaves-3I usually start by prepping the onions first. Finely mince one of the onions and place it into a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, place the breadcrumbs and pour the milk over the breadcrumbs. Set aside for about 5 minutes, just until the milk soaks into the breadcrumbs.

Meanwhile, slice the rest of the onions into 1/3 inch slices, pole to pole.

French Onion Mini Meatloaves-2Slicing the onions pole to pole instead of across the grain will help the onions to hold up their shape much better while they are cooking. Otherwise, they will disintegrate because they will be cooked for so long.

French Onion Mini Meatloaves-1-25Add the soaked breadcrumbs to the large bowl with the minced onion, along with the ground beef, egg, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2-3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. French Onion Mini Meatloaves-4Mix all of these ingredients together until evenly combined.

French Onion Mini Meatloaves-7Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a 10 inch skillet, melt the butter on medium heat and then pile in all the onions. It will be really full. French Onion Mini Meatloaves-5Season with salt and ground black pepper. Start cooking the onions on medium heat, uncovered, until the onions become slightly softened. At this point, the onions will shrink a bit and you will be able to cover the skillet. French Onion Mini Meatloaves-6Reduce the heat to low. Every 3-5 minutes, stir the onions in the skillet.

At first, the onions will exude a lot of liquid. After a little while, the onions will start to turn slightly golden on the bottom. French Onion Mini Meatloaves-8Every time you stir them, the onions will become more golden. Since you are cooking such a large amount of onions, there should be a lot of liquid at the bottom of the skillet, since cooking the onions will draw out a lot of moisture out of them. The salt also draws moisture out of the onions. The liquid exuding out of the onions should be enough to sort of “deglaze the bottom of the skillet”, but if your onions aren’t very juicy, add about 1/4 cup of water to deglaze the bottom of the skillet, scraping the brown parts off the bottom, until the skillet it pretty clean. In this case, it’s pretty important to use a skillet that has a thick and heavy bottom, otherwise the onions will burn and cook unevenly.

French Onion Mini Meatloaves-9Keep cooking the onions on low heat, mixing the onions every few minutes, until they are really dark brown and caramelized, about 35-45 minutes overall. At the very end, deglaze the bottom of the skillet with the sherry, if you’re using it. It adds great flavor to the caramelized onions. It gives them a bit of a tangy acidity as well as a bit of sweetness. If you would rather not use alcohol, just use water.

French Onion Mini Meatloaves-11Cool the onions slightly while you are shaping the meatloaves.

Shape the meatloaf mixture into 8 – 10 rectangular shapes, about 3 1/2 inches x 2 inches each. Place the mini meatloaves onto a large rimmed baking sheet. French Onion Mini Meatloaves-13Top each of the meatloaves with the caramelized onions and then with the grated cheese. French Onion Mini Meatloaves-15

French Onion Mini Meatloaves-16Bake the mini meatloaves in the preheated 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is slightly golden.

French Onion Mini Meatloaves-17Serve immediately. French Onion Mini Meatloaves 3-1-2
To reheat leftovers, place the mini meatloaves into a skillet. Pour in just enough water to cover the bottom of the skillet. Cover the skillet, and cook on medium low heat,until the meatloaves are heated through. As the water simmers on low heat, the steam will heat the meatloaves through, without drying them out. Isn’t that a neat trick?
French Onion Mini Meatloaves 3-2-2

French Onion Mini Meatloaves
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 8-10 small meatloaves
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 lbs onions
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ - ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper (plus a little bit extra for the onions)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons sherry, optional
  • 6-8 oz grated cheese (Gruyere, Mozzarella, cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc.)
Instructions
  1. I usually start by prepping the onions first. Finely mince one of the onions and place it into a large bowl.
  2. In a medium bowl, place the breadcrumbs and pour the milk over the breadcrumbs. Set aside for about 5 minutes, just until the milk soaks into the breadcrumbs.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the rest of the onions into ⅓ inch slices, pole to pole.
  4. Slicing the onions pole to pole instead of across the grain will help the onions to hold up their shape much better while they are cooking. Otherwise, they will disintegrate because they will be cooked for so long.
  5. Add the soaked breadcrumbs to the large bowl with the minced onion, along with the ground beef, egg, 1 teaspoon of salt, ½-3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Mix all of these ingredients together until evenly combined.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. In a 10 inch skillet, melt the butter on medium heat and then pile in all the onions. It will be really full. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Start cooking the onions on medium heat, uncovered, until the onions become slightly softened. At this point, the onions will shrink a bit and you will be able to cover the skillet. Reduce the heat to low. Every 3-5 minutes, stir the onions in the skillet.
  8. At first, the onions will exude a lot of liquid. After a little while, the onions will start to turn slightly golden on the bottom. Every time you stir them, the onions will become more golden. Since you are cooking such a large amount of onions, there should be a lot of liquid at the bottom of the skillet, since cooking the onions will draw out a lot of moisture out of them. The salt also draws moisture out of the onions. The liquid exuding out of the onions should be enough to sort of "deglaze the bottom of the skillet", but if your onions aren't very juicy, add about ¼ cup of water to deglaze the bottom of the skillet, scraping the brown parts off the bottom, until the skillet it pretty clean. In this case, it's pretty important to use a skillet that has a thick and heavy bottom, otherwise the onions will burn and cook unevenly.
  9. Keep cooking the onions on low heat, mixing the onions every few minutes, until they are really dark brown and caramelized, about 35-45 minutes overall. At the very end, deglaze the bottom of the skillet with the sherry, if you're using it. It adds great flavor to the caramelized onions. It gives them a bit of a tangy acidity as well as a bit of sweetness. If you would rather not use alcohol, just use water.
  10. Cool the onions slightly while you are shaping the meatloaves.
  11. Shape the meatloaf mixture into 8 - 10 rectangular shapes, about 3½ inches x 2 inches each. Place the mini meatloaves onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Top each of the meatloaves with the caramelized onions and then with the grated cheese. Bake the mini meatloaves in the preheated 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is slightly golden.
  12. Serve immediately.
Notes
To reheat leftovers, place the mini meatloaves into a skillet. Pour in just enough water to cover the bottom of the skillet. Cover the skillet, and cook on medium low heat, until the meatloaves are heated through. As the water simmers on low heat, the steam will heat the meatloaves through, without drying them out.

17 Comments

  • Dawn Borgman

    Made these for dinner tonight. They were delicious!!! Mashed golden potatoes with skins on and candied butternut squash……….it was perfect. Thanks Olga.

  • Inna

    I made it for dinner today and it’s absolutely delicious!!! Recipe is easy to follow and meatloafs are moist and tender!!!! Thank you Olga for yummy recipe!!!! 🙂

  • Malou@maloupen

    Super delicious recipe! I made this last night and it was a big hit. My children loved it. They suggested that it will be a perfect gift to close friends and family this Christmas. And why not! It will something not ordinary. Thank you for this, Olga. Much love from the Philippines. God Bless you and your family always.

    • olgak7

      Thanks so much for taking a time to comment, Malou! So happy to hear from another part of the world. I’m really happy that you and your family enjoyed the meatloaves.

  • Ruslana

    Looks so delicious Olga. I was wondering if I could make these with chicken thighs? Thank you for your recipes they are delicious and easy to follow.

    • olgak7

      I assume you’re asking if you can use ground chicken thighs meat, in which case you definitely can, Ruslana. You can use any ground meat that you like.

  • Natalia

    I made these tonight – so delicious.

    I got impatient of how long it was taking to caramelize the onions so I started to bake the meat loaves while the onions were still cooking. About halfway through, the onions were ready and I put them on top of the mini meatloves and continued to bake them. I saved about 10 minutes by doing so (I have a toddler so time is extra precious 🙂 ) and I don’t think I lost any of the flavor!

    Thank you, Olga, for this awesome recipe!

  • Natalia

    This is my new favorite dish! I’m fairly new to cooking and had no idea that it takes 45 minutes to caramelize onions (whaaaattt?))) but these mini meatloves are so mouth watering delicious, that even if it took 3 hours to caramelize onions, I’d still find time for this dish.

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