Halloween Mini Meatloaves

By Ann Fulton

This is no ordinary Halloween recipe, but this special meatloaf is sure to bring smiles (or shrieks!) to those who eat it!
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This is no ordinary Halloween recipe, but this special meatloaf is sure to bring smiles (or screams) to those who eat it!


Emily told me she thought she was forever done with subway rats when she moved out of New York City. Little did she know I had an idea up my sleeve for her and her kids.

This idea traces back five or so Halloweens, when I shared it with my sister-in-law, Melissa (mom of Evie and Grace), who does Halloween better than anyone I know. Several days later, she texted photos of their eye-popping dinner.

With a simple package of meatloaf mix and odds and ends from her crisper drawer, she had crafted the most impressive mini meatloaves that looked undeniably like rats. They were too fun to be gross, and were equally loved by a gathering of kids and adults. 

The Halloween-themed meal has become a seasonal staple in their house, and I mentioned it to Emily because I thought her kids might enjoy it too. 

She wasn’t quite sure, but she brought it up one day, and her kids were excited to decorate them–once she convinced them they wouldn’t actually be eating rat! 

With our mutual love of holiday fun, and knowing that our readers often appreciate a visit to the silly side, we decided these tasty little rats (who would have thought I’d ever type that?) deserved a spot on the blog.

Though they will taste delicious regardless, the decorations are what turn these meatloaves into a work of art. The key parts are ears (carrots, potatoes, or almond slices all work well), eyes (peas or olives are nice), and whiskers (broken up spaghetti noodles are perfect).

Of course, a rat wouldn’t be complete without a squiggly tail, and red pepper, roasted or regular, does the job quite nicely. Finally, you can decorate as gory as you like, with extra red sauce such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, or even marinara.

This is no ordinary Halloween recipe, but this special meatloaf is sure to bring smiles (or shrieks!) to those who eat it!

While the recipe below provides a good framework, you may absolutely use your favorite meatloaf recipe – or my Family Favorite Glazed Meatloaf.

This is no ordinary Halloween recipe, but this special meatloaf is sure to bring smiles (or shrieks!) to those who eat it!

Baby potatoes make great ears. If you curl them slightly before pressing into the meat, the shape will be even more impressive!

This is no ordinary Halloween recipe, but this special meatloaf is sure to bring smiles (or shrieks!) to those who eat it!

This is one of the plates Emily served to her family. She didn’t have potatoes for the ears, but carrots worked just as well. Similarly, for the eyes she used peas instead of olives. 

I hope these bring a little bit of Halloween fun to your dinner table, and if you make them, we of course would love to know…and see pictures! 🐀

Halloween Mini Meatloaves
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 6-8 mini meatloaves
A few key decorations turn a simple meatloaf recipe into something extra spooky for Halloween. Gory additions are totally up to the you!
Ingredients for the Meatloaves:
  • 1-1¼ pounds meatloaf mix
  • ¼ cup (60ml) milk
  • ½ cup (60g) bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons minced or grated onion
  • ½ tablespoon (8ml) soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Ingredients for the Glaze:
  • ¼ cup (60g) ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) Dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon (7g) lightly packed brown sugar
Ingredients for the Decorations:
  • 24 uncooked spaghetti noodles (16 of the noodles broken into thirds), for the whiskers and tail*
  • 1 carrot or small potato, thinly sliced, for the ears (could use sliced almonds)
  • 12-16 frozen peas, for the eyes
  • 3-4 black olives, sliced in half, for the nose
  • *Optional for tail: Long strips of roasted red pepper or regular red bell pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet or baking dish with foil (lightly spray the foil so loaves don’t stick) or parchment paper.
  2. Mix the glaze ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the milk and eggs. Stir in the onions, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Add the meatloaf mix. Thoroughly combine the ingredients, but avoid over mixing. (I find this easiest to do with my clean hands.)
  4. At this point, divide the mix into 6-8 balls, and then shape into rats! Make one side a tip (the nose) and flatten out the back side. Place on the baking sheet.
  5. Brush the glaze mixture over the top and sides of the uncooked meatloaf. (We don’t put it where the face will be.)
  6. Place a whole spaghetti noodle or strip of red pepper into the backside for the tail. If using potatoes for the ears, cut thin round slices and stick into the “head” where the ears would be, curving them slightly as in the photo.
  7. Bake the meatloaf until the internal temperature reaches 160℉, about 30-35 minutes.
  8. As the loaves are finishing in the oven, place the peas and carrots, if using, in a small bowl with a tablespoon of water. Microwave until heated through and slightly softened, about 30-60 seconds.
  9. Decorate using carrots (as an option to the potatoes) for ears, peas or olives for eyes, olives or a dot of ketchup for the nose, and 3 broken spaghetti noodles on each side of the face for whiskers. (Refer to photos for various looks.)
  10. Serve with extra ketchup, barbecue sauce, glaze, or even marinara sauce, as desired, over rice, pasta, or with a side of potatoes and/or vegetable of choice.
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