Mar 6, 2017

Rice Cooker Meatloaf

If you're like me, you endured the long, cold winter and now just want a taste of home cooking. Without the convenience of an oven, this can be a challenge. If any of this sounds familiar, this recipe for Rice-Cooker Meatloaf might be just for you.

I'll admit right here and now that I didn't have meatloaf growing up. It wasn't a dish my mom had the time or energy for, but after I moved abroad I found a lot of appeal in the budget-conscious seasoned meat dish. As with most of my cooking expertise, this recipe grew from my extended time abroad and I still make it from time to time.

Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo

First, take out the inner bowl from your rice-cooker and make sure it is nice and clean. You'll have to wash it again after we make this dish, too, so knowing how to remove it is a somewhat important step in the process.


Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo

    Primary ingredients start with menchi. You can use any variation of ground meat available to you. At my neighborhood grocery store, the only options are all pork or a pork-beef mixture, so I tend to get the mix as I would prefer all beef (remember, I'm from Texas) and this is the closest I can get. I used 300 grams of meat for this one and it was a bit excessive. 200 grams to 250 grams should suffice.

    For many of my dishes, frozen meat can be used, but for this one it is best to use fresh, non-frozen meat. Ensuring a complete thaw in ground meat can be tricky, so it's easier just to use fresh raw meat.

Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo

    Next, you need panko, or bread crumbs. You can buy a big bag of them like I have here probably near the flour in your grocery store. You could also grind up bread into crumbs yourself or use smashed crackers. The choice is up to you, but I do recommend using more than I did here. For 250 grams of meat, you probably need around a cup of bread crumbs.

Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo

    Unfortunately, I did not measure this out well as I only had a small amount of crumbs left and not really enough to make up for that much meat. This meant I needed more egg to hold the mixture together and the resulting meatloaf was still a bit crumbly. You will need at least one egg, but if you don't feel the mixture coming together around hamburger-texture, add another. No more than 2 eggs should be necessary unless you have a truly massive rice cooker.

Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo

    Other completely necessary ingredients include one medium onion (chopped), 1-2 cloves of garlic (I chop them too), salt, pepper, and ketchup. I also always add celery (1 stalk, chopped) if I can find/afford it.

Rice Cooker Meatloaf photoRice Cooker Meatloaf photo   Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo

    In addition, I often use mustard, cumin, oregano, basil, barbecue sauce, paprika, and even chili powder. other elements that can be added include hot sauce, thyme, rosemary, diced tomato and other vegetables.

  Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo  Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo  Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo
From left to right: the absolute necessities, the preferred group, and the nice-to-haves. Not pictured here: BBQ sauce

    Now for the official recipe if the above pictures didn't already tell you enough. First, throw the meat into the bowl of the rice-cooker. Add all other ingredients before you start mixing so as not to get bits of meat all over your salt shakers and other ingredient containers.

Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo

    Then mix by hand all of the ingredients in the bowl until thoroughly blended together to form, essentially, a giant hamburger patty inside of your rice-cooker. Pat down the top until it is uniform in depth. Add mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and any other sauce you want to the top of the patty and smear it around, mixing together all of the many flavors while forming a light covering of sauce over the top of the meatloaf.

Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo    Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo

    The next part is the best. Put the bowl into the rice-cooker, turn the rice cooker on, and walk away.

Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo        Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo

Our unit is pretty old and lacks any terribly fancy options, so it usually just stays hot until we shut it off. I leave the meatloaf cooking for 4-5 hours usually, so this isn't a meal to do after a busy day at work unless you have time to put it together at home during your lunch break.

Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo

When you think it might be ready, use a pot holder to take the meatloaf out. You can test it if you are unsure by taking a sample of the middle with a small spoon or knife. If the meat is still red, put the bowl back in and cook it for a bit longer.

When the meat is nice and brown all the way through, dump the loaf out  onto a plate or into a large shallow bowl. 

Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo    Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo

Cut into slices and enjoy with a side of salad. 

Rice Cooker Meatloaf photo



A working mom/writer/teacher, Jessica explores her surroundings in Miyagi-ken and Tohoku, enjoying the fun, quirky, and family friendly options the area has to offer.


  • Tomuu

    on Mar 7

    I am sooo following this! Gonna get prepped for the weekend! Thx

  • JTsuzuki

    on Mar 8

    @Tomuu Let me know how it goes! Enjoy!

  • genkidesu

    on Jun 26

    I love good budget friendly meal ideas! And I definitely need to get into using my rice cooker for more than just rice!

  • JTsuzuki

    on Jul 2

    @genkidesu I'm so happy to be of assistance. I hope this helps your budget and gives you another use for that so-Japanese electronic device.