Super Fast Slow Cooker Paleo Meatloaf

Fast prep, super moist, even better leftovers…

I am all about easy recipes here, and this one fits the bill for easy and cost effective. While shopping I noticed a sale on ground chicken. No offense to ground chicken, but it simply isn’t the most interesting meat to cook with. The good news is that it works great for a meatloaf, which in turn works great for all sorts of easy leftovers. I personally cut mine into spears and eat cold. I like finger foods. You can just as well use ground beef or pork (or a mixture) for your slow cooker meatloaf, yet do use a very lean cut. The extra fat will simply cook off in the slow cooker anyways. This is a good recipe to get the kids in the kitchen to help with, especially for when you need to mix all the ingredients together by hand. Make the children get messy I say! Also “icing” the loaf with the tomato sauce is kind of fun. Yes, I am completely aware that I have an unnatural enthusiasm for my slow cooker.


What you need:

  • 2 pounds of lean ground meat (ground chicken works really well for this, as would lean turkey).
  • 2 eggs, beaten.
  • 4 ounces of bacon, crisped and chopped.
  • 1/2 of a small white onion, small dice.
  • 4 green onions, chopped.
  • 2 stacks of celery, sliced thinly or chopped.
  • 2 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • 2 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp of garlic powder
For the Tomato Sauce:
  • 1 small can of tomato paste (can also use 1/4 cup of tomato sauce).
  • 2 to 3 tbsp of dijon mustard.
  • 2 tsp of smoked paprika.
  • 2 tsp of garlic powder.
  • 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar.

How you assemble your loaf of meat:

  1. Cook your bacon until brown and crispy, then chop it up good.
  2. In a large bowl combine your ground meat, beaten eggs, bacon, veggies and seasonings.
  3. Mix everything together by hand, forming a loaf.
  4. Place your loaf in your slow cooker and press it down so that the top is flat and you have about of inch of space between the loaf and the sides of the slow cooker.
  5. Mix your tomato sauce ingredients together and spoon them over the loaf. Use a spoon or a knife to frost the loaf’s top as evenly as possible.
  6. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.
  7. Post in comments any modifications you make to this recipe or awesome ways you use the leftovers in your lunches!



  1. Nicole says:

    How about a breakfast loaf…ground pork, nutmeg, sage, other sausage seasonings, and diced green apple?

    1. Liz Ginger Bitchin Evans says:

      THAT Sounds incredible Nicole!

      I’m going to try that variation.

  2. Theresa B says:

    Do you think this would work fine with ground beef?

    1. Jason says:

      Yes it would. I would recommend you using a lean cut since the fat will render off in the slow cooker. 90/10 should work best for this application! Remember, moisture is always high in the slow cooker. A moist meatloaf is great, but more fat than you might need and you’ll end up with a sloppy bottom. 90/10 will work much better than say an 80/20 for this reason. Good luck!

  3. Jane says:

    Would I be able to leave this for 8 hours (while I am at work)? Will it burn or become dry?

    1. Jason says:

      I highly doubt it will burn on your low setting. I am assuming that you have an old style slow cooker that only has an on/off control, and that is why you are mentioning the 8 hour timeframe? Let me know what model slow cooker you have and I’ll try my best to help from there.

  4. Jane says:

    It’s actually new – I just have never used it before, haha! If I make it tonight and set it for 6 hours can I just reheat it tomorrow? I’m a rookie at this.

    1. Jason says:

      Yes. It will be fine. If you leave the lid on after cooking the temperature will stay rather high for longer than you would expect. You ideally do not want food to sit at less than 140 degrees for more than 4 hours, yet I would not worry about that in this case. I hope you are going to break in that slow cooker with more of my recipes and then develop a healthy obsession for slow cooking. Wishing you the best in your first slow cooking adventure!

  5. Lan says:

    I don’t have a slow cooker at this point. Would this work somehow in the oven? Thanks!

    1. Jason says:

      Lan, I am all about slow cooking the loaf of meat, yet an oven would work as well. I would recommend preheating your oven to a range between 350 to 400 degrees. bake for about 40 minutes, possibly more depending on the strength of your oven. The catch here is that you need to pay attention to your loaf, where as the slow cooker method os foolproof. Hope it works out for you!

  6. Tiffany says:

    This was a great dinner yesterday. I used ground beef instead of chicken, added bell pepper, no celery. I also added seasoned salt, garlic & wine seasoning and an italian seasoning blend to the spices. And i poured in just a bit of the bacon drippings, it was fabulous. I cooked on high for 3 hours, then into the oven on broil to brown for 7 minutes. Just awesome, thanks so much!

    1. Jason says:

      Sounds awesome! I’ve never broiled it but I have pan seared the leftovers as a way of reheating them and kicking in some added flavor. Glad it came out well for you and thanks for the kind feedback!

  7. Phaedra says:

    Just got a slow cooker & can’t wait to try this recipe! My question is: When you refer to ground chicken, I assume you mean chicken breast. Am I right? (I suspect that dark meat would be too fatty for this.) Thanks.

    1. Jason says:

      Yes, ground white meat chicken. Ground turkey works as well. You have the right idea with understanding that leaner cuts of meat work better! Let me know how it turns out for you!

  8. Julia says:

    Sounds amazing. I have meatloaf mix (pork, beef, veal) on hand. I was going to mix it with lean ground beef but I’m worried about the fat. Do you think I could simply drain it as it cooks?

    1. Jason says:

      I think slow cooker meatloaf works best with leaner mixes. The worst that happens is that fat renders at the bottom of the cooker and leaves the bottom a little bit soft. Let me know how things work out for you.

      1. Tracey says:

        If you use a higher fat meat, could you not put it on a rack in the crock pot so the fat would drain out?

        1. Jason says:

          I wouldn’t recommend it, this recipe is intended for lean cuts of ground meat.

  9. Learning in NY says:

    I tried this tonight for dinner… and it was a HUGE hit. I used 1lb ground turkey and 1lb ground beef. We didnt have any celery so I threw in 1-2tsp of celery seeds and I didn’t even see the oregano so it was left out. For the sauce we used Kosciusko(sp) brand mustard. Seriously… amazing. Husband just wishes there was more. This is the BEST meatloaf I have ever had in my life. I had to add this to the family cook book because this is now going to be worked into our meal rotation regularly! THANK YOU!!

  10. Julia says:

    I’m new to slow cooking, and have a 5 QT manual Crock Pot (High, Low, Warm settings). Interested in Paleo, just found your site today, and saw some awesome meat and soup recipes I’d like to try. What size cooker do you use for your recipes? If I cut a recipe like this in half, do I need to adjust the times lower?

    1. Jason says:

      I use a 6 quart model. I don’t think you’d have to really change anything up. Perhaps shave an hour off the cooking time. If you’re doing things while away from home, you can always purchase a cheap electrical timer to plug your cooker into so that you can program your cooking times. Let me know how it turns out for you!

  11. Julie says:

    Made this yesterday, and it was phenomenal! Thank you!

  12. Pam says:

    I only have ground pork and beef on hand. I was thinking about possibly “propping” this up in the crock pot. Do you have any recommendations on how I would do this as even though they are both pastured they are much fattier than ground turkey and chicken?

    1. Jason says:

      I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I’ve been thinking about finding a grill of sorts (or fabricating one) that fits my slow cooker for this purpose. When cooking a meatloaf with a higher fat content in your slow cooker, you will simply have some of the fat pool at the bottom and it may look unappealing in addition to having a looser texture to the loaf.

      1. Anne says:

        I use foil “lifters” for my crockpot meatloaf which really helps. Take a few long strips of heavy duty foil & fold them up into 1″ strips. I’ll use 2-3 of these. I have also used a cooling rack when I use my round cooker but cannot find oblong ones which fit into my smartpot. You can put down a strip of foil & poke holes in it, place on top of the cooling rack & then place your meat on top. Helps with cleanup… 😉

        1. Jason says:

          Nice, I like your idea. Just that a lot of folks don’t like cooking with aluminum but I’m glad you liked it and it works out for you!

  13. Julie says:

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe! Since the meatloaf was too big for my crock pot, I decided to make half of it in the oven per your instructions in one of the comments, and the other half in the crockpot. Both came out amazing!

  14. Jon says:

    Didn’t seem that fast for me. Took me about 45 mins to get it done. Maybe I’m just slow… The kids were napping and I hand cut / chopped all veggies and did move slower to not wake them.

    Cooking now. 1 hour in. We’ll see how it goes. It’s delicious unless you hear otherwise! 😉 Thanks.

    PS – I sliced the remaining onion into thin layers and cooked them in excess bacon fat until they were ready. I plan to use them as yummy garnish.

  15. Nicole says:

    We cannot eat eggs in our house. Any ideas what we could substitute or if we could leave them out all together? Thanks!!

    1. Jason says:

      Without the eggs I would simply add tablespoon or two of coconut milk along with some extra dried herbs to help things bind.

      1. Nicole says:

        Awesome, thanks!!

      2. Nicole says:

        So I don’t know what the regular version tastes like but it turned out great using coconut milk in place of the eggs! Thanks!! I also added a handful of chopped fresh parsley since I had that on hand. For the topping I only had half a can of tomato paste so I used some organic ketchup for the other half a can. I used 3T dijon but found that a bit strong so prob 1-2T would be better. Will definitely be making again!

        1. Jason says:

          Nice! Thanks for sharing your modifications, that really helps people out too. 🙂

  16. Jen says:

    I am in the process of cooking this for dinner tonight. I put a foil grill on the bottom of the crockpot, kind of bunching it up so plenty of space for the grease to drain. I am new to paleo, but have made previous meatloaves this way with pork/beef with great success. Thanks for the reipe, I plan on making this again tonight and cooking in crockpot overnight to take to my grandma for a ‘picnic’ lunch. It’s too cold to take her out and I can control what we eat and still take her a comfort food that she is familiar with. Thanks! It smells so good!

    1. Sarah says:

      That’s what i did too! Did it work for you? Mine is still cooking, so we’ll see. I only have “organic ground beef” available to me, I don’t get to pick the fat content. And, I didn’t have any ground poultry on hand (and don’t really like it anyway).

  17. Tonya says:

    add mushrooms!

  18. Catherine says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! It was so easy to make and my hubby loved it! I made it with ground italian chicken sausage because that’s what the hubby bought at the grocery store when i asked him to get ground chicken. Haha. It turned out really well! My toddler ate a whole slice and my 11 month old had a fun time making a mess with it but didn’t really eat any of it but maybe next time she will eat some.

  19. Mel says:

    I made this with ground turkey this week and it turned out great. I’m trying to transition my 5 year old daughter to eat more Paleo foods and she devoured this. She asked for seconds and thirds which never happens! She asked to eat it for dinner the next night and asked to take the final bit of leftovers in her lunch today!!! I will be making this again for sure! Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Jason says:

      So glad your little one liked it and you’ll be making it again. Thank you so much!

  20. Cristal says:

    Wow. This is delicious! I used three pounds of deer meat and left out the veggies, bacon and herbs because my son will not eat meatloaf with anything “in it.” I subbed onion powder, garlic powder, etc. and it was still delish!

    1. Jason says:

      Worked out with venison! Nice! Thanks for sharing!

  21. susan says:

    I can not wait to make this recipe! On average, how many servings would you say this made?
    Thank you!

    1. Jason says:

      I’d say 6 to 8 servings sounds about right. Love it for the leftovers.

  22. Tara says:

    In the slow cooker now! Hoping the ground bison I used is not too fatty. I am really looking forward to dinner tonight!

  23. Anne-Marie says:

    I was so looking forward to having this!
    I’ll start off by saying my cooking skills are not something I’m known for…
    I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter using ground turkey and adding 1/2 of a large yellow pepper as an extra ingredient.
    I mixed everything together, assembled it, put it in the slow cooker, turned it on low and headed off to work.
    I was stuck at work longer than I had planned so the meatloaf was in the slow-cooker for 7 hours instead of the recommended 4-6.
    Only a bit worried, my kitchen smelled fantastic when I got home but when I looked in the pot, I saw something that resembled Turkey Meatloaf Soup. Not quite completely dejected I was able to extract the meatloaf from the slow-cooker pretty much intact (the loaf itself was still holding together, there was just a ton of moisture floating around)
    Strangely, it was a bit dry, but I’m thinking that was from being in the cooker too long and all the moisture had “sweat” itself out.
    Despite all that, I did enjoy the dish, though it didn’t turn out like I was expecting it to.
    I will make this again, but maybe try a different protein (like buffalo or venison maybe?) or stick with the recipe and cook it old school in the oven.
    Either way, I was happy to try this and I will attempt it again!

  24. Tracy says:

    I made this tonight and it was delicious!! I omitted the green onion and added green pepper and also a shredded carrot. I used 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 ground turkey. Both were 94% lean so there wasn’t a lot of grease in the crock pot. The sauce on the top was delicious! Tasted almost like a bar-b-q sauce! The meatloaf wasn’t dry or crumbly. It was moist and flavorful. I will have a bunch of left overs and cannot wait to try it reheated! I would highly recommend this and will definitely be making it again!!

  25. Adam says:

    Hey, I just made this and it turned out great (pretty new to cooking so thats a big win over here). I was just wondering if you have the nutritional facts on this recipe (aka protein, carb, fat breakdown) or am I the only dumb one who doesn’t just calculate it for all the ingredients and then just divide it by equal sizes (the most likely being portions based on weight). Thanks in advance! Great Recipe!

  26. Caitlyn says:

    Hi there,

    I was planning on making this tonight but cannot have eggs or mustard (I can’t have commercial condiments because of the wheat-based vinegars); although I do have coconut milk and dried mustard powder. I wanted to see if you recommend canned coconut milk or the “so delicious” refrigerated variety as I have both, and also if I am using pure dried mustard powder instead of a pre-diluted condiment, how much should I use? Thanks, looking forward to trying this!

  27. Minou says:

    I think I’ve found a rack for an oval crockpot. It’s a roasting rack, so it must be safe for cooking on, right?!

    It’s under $3 before shipping. I got three, going to pass them out like candy.

    Thanks for a great recipe. Can’t wait for my rack to get here so I can try it!

  28. Danielle says:

    A household favorite!

  29. Conrad says:

    When I cook some vegetables in the crockpot they often stay more crunchy than I would like, even though they’ve been cooking a long time. This is especially true for onions. To get around this I freeze them first. The freezing breaks their cell structure so they don’t remain crunchy.

  30. Monika says:

    Can I cook on high to cut the time? High for 2-3 instead of low 4-6?

    1. Jason says:

      Sounds about right! Somewhere between 2 and 3 on high.

  31. sally says:

    Was a bit disappointed to be honest. I used turkey and I added salt although there was no mention of it, but the overpowering taste of the smoked paprika was too much. My youngest boy who made it with me wolfed his down, but my elder son who eats practically anything, turned his nose up at it and wouldn’t eat it, saying there was too much garlic. I’ve tasted it, and I think I should have cooked it for less as I cooked it for the full 6 hours and I think it’s a little dry. I can’t taste the oregano at all although I followed the instructions to the letter. I think I’ll leave out the paprika next time and experiment with other flavourings.

  32. Angela L says:

    One quick question! Whenever I make something in the slow cooker, I end up with an inch or two of fatty liquid at the bottom. So in the case of this meatloaf, wouldn’t it be swimming in liquid and end up soggy by the time it’s cooked?

    Should I try to find an oval wire rack to raise it up off the bottom of the crockery?

    1. Jason says:

      You can try a rack. This is also why I advise using a lean cut of ground beef. 90/10 at the fattiest. There will be some pooled liquid yet the meatloaf remains moist, not soggy. If you prefer a crispy meatloaf, then I suggest you use your oven instead. Good luck!

  33. Averil says:

    Do u cover meatloaf with water in slow cooker.

    1. Jason says:

      No, no water. Just follow the instructions above…

  34. Melanie Patridge says:

    did this with chicken and unspiced ground pork….held my breath… everyone ate every bit. threw a small handful of whole roasted garlic cloves in …love

  35. Jenn says:

    Made this last night and it was pretty good! Definitely needed some salt before and after. I cut the recipe in half since I accidentally only had 1lb of beef in the house and didn’t realize it until I was getting ready to make it! Definitely easy to make!

  36. Ashley says:

    So…in am going to make this tonight with lean ground turkey and chopped garlic instead of garlic powder…
    I don’t like celery and I don’t have any either so would black beans or squash or eggplant work instead? Maybe frozen carrots?
    Also I don’t have tomato paste so I was thinking I might use diced tomatoes cooked down instead and either balsamic or red wine vinegar, does this sound like it would work or am I butchering the recipe too much?

    1. Jason says:

      I think you answered your own question at the end, with that many modifications it would be a recipe experiment of your own, good luck!

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