This easy keto meatloaf recipe is a low-carb version of a classic, homestyle meatloaf- but made without the breadcrumbs or bread or sugar-y ketchup- and you'd never even know. It's a juicy, tender, low-carb meatloaf that is full of flavor and is super easy to prep. The baking method gives it a beautiful, toasted crust- no sad, soggy meatloaf, here.
I've recently been enlightened when it comes to all things meatloaf.
I've been making it wrong my entire life.
Actually, it's more like I've been baking it wrong.
Did you know that meatloaf is best when it is NOT baked in a loaf pan? Because I didn't. Truthfully, I've been working on this keto meatloaf recipe for some time to get the perfect, not-dry-but-not-crumbly, flavorful and EASY low-carb meatloaf. But I was never really happy with how it baked.
Until I baked it without a loaf pan. Thanks to Savor the Best and Food 52 and all my other light meatloaf reading, I've finally tried this baking method: shaping the meatloaf into a loaf, then baking on a sheet pan or larger casserole dish.
Why? The breathing room allows the meat to bake and caramelize nicely on the top and edges rather than steam, which is exactly what it does when packed into a tight loaf pan. It results in a beautiful glazed crust, without that cooked ground beef goo that always seems to pool at the top when it's baked in a tighter pan (if you've made meatloaf before, you know). Still hungry? 😉
Here's why you'll love this keto meatloaf recipe:
- it is flavorful and protein-packed
- the taste and texture very closely resembles a true, traditional meatloaf made with breadcrumbs
- it's great for all kinds of eaters including kids and your low-carb, gluten-free, dairy free and paleo people
For this low-carb meatloaf recipe, I typically use grass-fed ground beef with a higher fat ratio for the most flavor. You can definitely swap in other ground meats of choice: bison, ground Italian sausage, ground pork, etc.
Most meatloaf recipes call for breadcrumbs or some sort of bread which- along with the egg- acts as a binder. For a low-carb take, my keto meatloaf recipe uses a special breadcrumb substitute. The secret ingredient? It's actually three: a mix of crushed pork rinds, nutritional yeast, and a small amount of coconut flour (similar to the Panko-style "breadcrumbs" used in my air fryer cauliflower recipe).
The combination holds the meatloaf together perfectly and there's such a small amount of coconut flour that it doesn't make the meatloaf dense.
Here's what you will need to make keto meatloaf with pork rinds:
- avocado oil or olive oil
- onion, any variety
- ground beef (grass-fed when possible)
- pork rinds
- nutritional yeast
- coconut flour
- tomato paste
- eggs (pasture-raised when possible)
- coconut aminos or gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
- Dijon mustard, stone-ground or brown mustard
- dried oregano
- dried thyme
- chopped parsley (optional)
And for the glaze:
- tomato paste
- white vinegar
- onion powder
- coconut aminos (or Worcestershire sauce)
Low-carb meatloaf is pretty easy to prepare, but there is some chopping involved along with the step of crushing the pork rinds. I do this using a high-speed blender but you can certainly use a food processor or place them in a sealable bag and crush with a meat mallet.
My keto meatloaf recipe:
- Cook the onions and garlic. In a medium skillet, heat the oil and cook the choppped onions for a few minutes to soften. Stir in the garlic, them remove from heat.
- Make the keto breadcrumbs. In a blender or food processor, pulse the pork rinds until they are crumbs, adding more pork rinds as needed (you should have 1 full cup of crushed rinds altogether). Add the coconut flour and nutritional yeast, pulsing a few times to mix.
- Mix the meat. Crumble the ground beef into a large mixing bowl. Add the pork rind mixture and the cooked onion/garlic. In a separate bowl, combine the tomato paste, eggs, coconut aminos or Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper and dried herbs. Pour it into the ground beef mixture, then use your hands to mix just until everything is well combined (don't over-mix!).
- Shape and bake the keto meatloaf. Transfer the meat to a parchment-lined baking sheet or wide casserole dish. Shape and pat it into a loaf- about 9 x 5" in size. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour, adding the glaze after it has baked for 30 minutes.
- Make the glaze. Whisk together all the glaze ingredients in a small dish. Spoon it on top of the meatloaf after 30 minutes of baking. Return the meatloaf to the oven and bake for the remaining 30 minutes.
low-carb meatloaf tips
- Re-emphasizing this: use a baking sheet or large casserole dish instead of a loaf pan! Trust me, you'll be so glad you did. The grease and juices will drain onto the baking sheet instead of pooling on top.
- Mixing the meat with your hands is the easiest way to make sure sure everything gets combined well.
- The Worcestershire sauce and coconut aminos are interchangeable. Use whichever one you have for the meatloaf and glaze.
- Cooking the onions allows them to soften and prevents crunchy onion bits in the meatloaf.
- The meatloaf is done when the internal temperature registers 155°F. If it's close, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes- it will continue cooking as it cools.
- About the glaze: For a sweeter glaze, stir in a few drops of liquid monk fruit sweetener or stevia (to taste). If you have a keto-friendly ketchup (without added sugars like this one), you can stir ¼ cup ketchup with the Worcestershire or coconut aminos instead.
- Optional add-ins: You can replace the dried herbs with the same amount of Italian seasoning. And feel free to modify if desired- horseradish, blue cheese crumbles, or parmesan are all delicious, keto-friendly add-ins.
frequently asked questions
- What can I use instead of breadcrumbs for keto meatloaf? There are many keto meatloaf recipes out there and some call for almond flour, flax seed meal, pork rinds (like mine), etc. All of these will work as a breadcrumb replacement, but I like this keto meatloaf with pork rinds, nutritional yeast and coconut flour because it gives the meatloaf a really nice texture and adds to the flavor of the meat.
- What can you use as a binder in meatloaf? Don't skip the eggs! They act as a binder and lighten up the meat.
- Is tomato paste keto friendly? Tomato paste is a keto-friendly ingredient as long as you're careful about the brand you're using (some include added sugars). Choose a tomato paste that has zero grams of added sugar (it will include natural sugars). I've made this keto meatloaf with regular tomato paste and Cento double concentrated tomato paste (in a tube) and both work well using the same amount. It's such a small amount and when divided into each portion, the carb and sugar count remains very low.
This is the best keto meatloaf recipe and an easy one to work into your dinner rotation! If you're lucky, you'll have leftovers for even easier meal prep the next day. Serve this with cauliflower risotto, sautéed veggies or cauliflower mash for a yummy, low-carb and keto-friendly meal!
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- 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 pounds ground beef, grass-fed when possible* (choose ground beef with higher fat content)
- 2-3 cups whole pork rinds (to make 1 cup crushed pork rinds)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce (or coconut aminos)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon or stone-ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped small (optional)
for the meatloaf glaze
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce or coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet or 13x9 baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a frying pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until it glistens. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes to let it soften. Stir in the minced garlic and cook another 30 seconds, then remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.
- To crush the pork rinds, add about 2 cups of whole pork rinds to a blender or food processor, then pulse until they are crumbs. You will need 1 cup total of crushed pork rinds.
- Add the nutritional yeast and coconut flour, pulsing a few more times to mix.
- Crumble the ground beef into a large mixing bowl, breaking it apart with a spoon or your hands. Add the pork rind mixture and the cooked onion/garlic.
- In a small bowl, stir together the 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, eggs, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (or coconut aminos), mustard, spices and salt and pepper. Pour it into the ground beef mixture and add the chopped parsley (optional).
- Use your hands to mix the meat, just until everything is well combined (be careful to not over-mix).
- Transfer the meat to the baking sheet or casserole dish. Shape it into a loaf- about 9 x 5". Bake for 1 hour, pouring the glaze over the top after the first 30 minutes of baking.
- To make the glaze: whisk together all of the glaze ingredients in a small dish. After the meatloaf has baked for 30 minutes, spoon the glaze over the top of the meatloaf and return it to the oven to continue baking for the remaining 30 minutes. It is done when the internal temperature reaches 155°F.
- Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
You can substitute ½ pound- 1 pound of the ground beef for ground pork, ground bison, or ground Italian sausage.
Since this keto meatloaf contains pork rinds and nutritional yeast which both add saltiness to the meat, you will only need ½ teaspoon of extra salt.
Cooking the onions allows them to soften and prevents crunchy onion bits in the meatloaf.
About the glaze: For a sweeter glaze, stir in a few drops of liquid monk fruit sweetener or stevia (to taste). If you have a keto-friendly ketchup (without added sugars like this one), you can make a glaze with ¼ cup ketchup + Worcestershire or coconut aminos instead.
Using a baking sheet or large casserole dish instead of a loaf pan allows the meatloaf to get a nice, golden crust on the outer edges and makes the glaze more caramelized and "sticky."
The meatloaf is done when the internal temperature registers 155°F. If you check it and it's close, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes- it will continue cooking as it cools.
Optional add-ins: You can replace the dried herbs with the same amount of Italian seasoning. And feel free to modify if desired- horseradish, blue cheese crumbles, or parmesan are all delicious, keto-friendly add-ins.
Leftovers will keep well in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 387Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 943mgCarbohydrates: 7gNet Carbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 42g
This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.