An old-fashioned Beef Meatloaf is as American to me as apple pie. It’s the easiest meal to put together which is sure to please the whole family. The meatloaf’s origins go back to Europe, centuries ago. The American version, introduced in the 18th century, was modified by housewives in the 1950s and 60s, according to food historians. I grew up in Tarlac, near the Pampanga province and our proximity to American food was something my mom enjoyed. As a child, I went regularly with her, my aunts and cousins, to shop for PX goods near the US Clark Air Force base. The availability of imported American food products was attractive to Filipino housewives, who enjoyed coming up with different meal ideas.
Beef is expensive in the Philippines. Mom taught me how to cook different beef cuts well. We couldn’t waste beef. But making meatloaf was a no-brainer. It was ground meat combined with seasonings. Mom made oven-baked meatloaf, which was a luxury for us. The electric oven, was only for special occasions.
In my American kitchen today, meatloaf is for a weekday dinner. And I add salty, crumbled Ritz crackers to the mix, the way mom did. Even better, I cook meatloaf in my Instant Pot multicooker, so it lessens cooking time. And if it isn’t oven-baked, I don’t have to heat up the entire kitchen during the summer.
We’re celebrating the 4th of July this weekend, an American Independence Day holiday. It’s also my husband’s birthday—so, a heartwarming meal was ideal. Compared to past years when we had the family together, we’re keeping it low key this year due to the pandemic. As I sliced the hefty, beef loaf, the robust aroma reminded me of comfort food mom cooked. It was warm and filling. It was sustenance. I served the meat loaf with sides of buttered corn, carrots and mashed potatoes, and for a while, everything was alright in the world.
Beef Meatloaf with Ritz Crackers - Instant Pot + Oven-baked
- Instant Pot Multicooker - 6 quarts (if using the Instant Pot)
- Loaf pans - 1 large ( 9 x 5 inches) for the oven-baked version; 2 Smaller loaf pans (7 x 4 inches) for Instant Pot
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 whole large eggs
- ½ cup crushed Ritz crackers, about 6 pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 whole medium-sized white or yellow onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon banana ketchup, or use tomato catsup
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 whole Spanish chorizo, chopped fine
- pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper powder
- buttered corn on the cob
- steamed vegetables
- mashed potatoes
- steamed rice
- catsup on the side
For oven-baked meatloaf:
- Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees. Grease loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.In a large bowl, combine the beef with all the ingredients. Place in a large loaf pan. Cover with foil and seal tightly.Bake in the oven for 55 minutes. When meatloaf is done, remove from oven, and uncover foil.*If you'd like a brown, roasted top: Remove foil. Broil in the oven for 5 minutes till top is brown.Loosen the sides with a knife. Turn over on a serving platter. Slice and serve warm with the side dishes.
To make Instant Pot Meatloaf:
- Grease 2 small aluminum loaf pans (around 7-inches length) that will fit in the inside pot of the Instant Pot. Set aside.In a bowl, combine the beef with all the ingredients. Mix well. Place the meat mixture inside the loaf pans. Cover both with aluminum foil.Place a trivet (which comes with the Instant Pot) into the inside pot.Fill the inside pot with enough water to reach the sides of the trivet (about 3 cups).*Cook the loaf pans one at a time. Both will not fit inside a 6-quart Instant Pot.Cover the pans with foil. Place one foil-covered meat loaf pan inside the Instant Pot.Cover and lock the lid. Set the valve to Sealing.Click Manual + High Pressure + 25 minutes.When the Instant Pot beeps to announce cooking is done, do a Quick Release.After the steam stops, unlock and open the lid carefully. Unplug the Instant Pot.Use silicone oven mitts and hold the trivet handles to raise the meat loaf. Set the meat loaf on the counter to cool for about 5 minutes. Remove foil.*If you'd like a brown, roasted top: Remove foil. Broil in the oven for 5 minutes till top is brown. To serve: Loosen sides with a knife and turn over on a serving platter. Slice and serve the meatloaf warm with the suggested sides.
Notes on the Instant Pot:
- It takes about 17 minutes for the Instant Pot to preheat before the High Pressure cooking time begins. For other brands of multicookers, consult the product manual.Quick Release: This is when you release the pressure instantly. Press Cancel and turn the Steam release handle on the lid to a Venting position. Wait for steam to stop hissing before you unlock and open the lid.Safety: Use accessories recommended for the Instant Pot or multicookers, like metals or silicone. Do not use glassware. For more information, read the manual.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. Buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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Disclosure: Instant Pot is the brand name of a multi-cooker that cooks in high and low pressure. I was not paid by the Instant Pot company to mention the product or brand nor endorse it. This is not an ad. My views and opinions are my own.