Crockpot French Onion Meatloaf

Crockpot French Onion Meatloaf with Melted Swiss Cheese


  • 3-4 large sweet onions, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup Italian herb bread crumbs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 oz. package French onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup cooking sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 oz. Swiss, Gruyère, or provolone cheese slices
  • Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish


  1. Prepare the Onions:
    • Slice the onions and place them in the bottom of a 6 Qt. slow cooker.
    • Sprinkle with sea salt, coarse black pepper, and granulated sugar.
    • Dot with 4 tablespoons of butter.
    • Set the slow cooker to cook on LOW for 9 hours.
  2. Prepare the Meatloaf:
    • In a bowl, mix the ground beef, Italian herb bread crumbs, milk, egg, and French onion soup mix.
    • Shape the mixture into a loaf.
  3. Add Cooking Liquids:
    • Pour the cooking sherry and Worcestershire sauce over the onions in the slow cooker.
  4. Cook the Meatloaf:
    • Place the prepared meatloaf on top of the onions in the slow cooker.
    • Cook on HIGH for 3 hours, or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf reaches 160°F (71°C).
  5. Add Cheese:
    • Top the meatloaf with slices of Swiss, Gruyère, or provolone cheese.
    • Continue cooking for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
  6. Serve:
    • Slice the meatloaf and serve with the caramelized onions and juices from the slow cooker.
    • Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.


  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 12 hours (including low and high settings)
  • Total Time: 12 hours 20 minutes


  • Makes: 4-6 serving

Achieving the Perfect Crockpot French Onion Meatloaf Recipe: 30 Secrets to Mastery

Preparation and Ingredients

  1. High-Quality Meat: Use fresh, high-quality ground beef for the best flavor and texture.
  2. Consistent Onion Slices: Slice the onions evenly to ensure they cook uniformly in the slow cooker.
  3. Butter Quality: Use high-quality salted butter for a richer flavor.
  4. Fresh Garlic: Mince fresh garlic cloves for a more pronounced and aromatic flavor.
  5. Accurate Measurements: Measure ingredients precisely, especially liquids, to maintain the balance of flavors.

Seasoning and Flavoring

  1. Season Onions Properly: Season the onions with sea salt, coarse black pepper, and granulated sugar to enhance their natural sweetness.
  2. Use Fresh Thyme: Fresh thyme sprigs add a bright, herbaceous note. If using dried thyme, use sparingly.
  3. Flavorful Sherry: Use good-quality cooking sherry for depth of flavor.
  4. Correct Soup Mix: Use a quality French onion soup mix for consistent seasoning.
  5. Balanced Worcestershire: Just a half teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce can add a subtle umami flavor.

Meatloaf Mixture

  1. Proper Mixing: Mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, milk, egg, and soup mix thoroughly but do not overmix to avoid a dense meatloaf.
  2. Right Bread Crumbs: Italian herb bread crumbs add an extra layer of flavor.
  3. Milk Ratio: Ensure the milk-to-bread crumb ratio is correct to maintain moisture in the meatloaf.
  4. Egg Binder: One egg helps to bind the mixture together effectively.
  5. Shape the Loaf: Shape the meatloaf evenly to ensure it cooks uniformly.

Cooking Techniques

  1. Preheat Slow Cooker: Preheat the slow cooker on low while preparing the ingredients to ensure an even start to cooking.
  2. Layer Onions Evenly: Lay the onions evenly at the bottom of the slow cooker to create a bed for the meatloaf.
  3. Melt Butter Evenly: Dot the onions with butter evenly to ensure all slices caramelize properly.
  4. Distribute Liquids Evenly: Pour cooking sherry and Worcestershire sauce over the onions uniformly.
  5. Position Meatloaf Correctly: Place the meatloaf on top of the onions gently to keep its shape intact.

Monitoring and Adjustments

  1. Check Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the meatloaf reaches 160°F (71°C).
  2. Adjust Cooking Time: If using a different slow cooker size or doubling the recipe, adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  3. Avoid Overcooking: Do not exceed the recommended cooking time to prevent the meatloaf from becoming dry.
  4. Cheese Addition: Add cheese slices only in the last 20-30 minutes of cooking to ensure it melts perfectly.
  5. Monitor Melted Cheese: Keep an eye on the cheese to avoid overcooking and burning.

Serving and Presentation

  1. Rest Meatloaf: Let the meatloaf rest for a few minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute.
  2. Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs for a fresh and visually appealing presentation.
  3. Serve with Caramelized Onions: Serve the meatloaf with the caramelized onions from the slow cooker for added flavor.
  4. Juice Drizzle: Drizzle the juices from the slow cooker over the meatloaf slices for added moisture and flavor.
  5. Pair with Sides: Pair with complementary sides like mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a fresh salad for a complete meal.

By following these detailed steps and techniques, you will achieve the perfect Crockpot French Onion Meatloaf, ensuring it’s flavorful, juicy, and beautifully presented every time.

Most Popular Questions and Their Answers Related to Crockpot French Onion Meatloaf with Melted Swiss Cheese

  1. Can I use a different type of ground meat?
    • Yes, you can use ground turkey, chicken, or a mix of beef and pork.
  2. What can I substitute for cooking sherry?
    • You can use beef broth, white wine, or a non-alcoholic cooking wine.
  3. Can I make this without a slow cooker?
    • Yes, you can bake it in an oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  4. How do I know when the meatloaf is done?
    • Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C).
  5. Can I prepare the onions in advance?
    • Yes, you can caramelize the onions on the stove and refrigerate them until ready to use.
  6. What can I use instead of French onion soup mix?
    • You can use a homemade mix of onion powder, beef bouillon granules, and dried onion flakes.
  7. Can I add vegetables to the meatloaf mixture?
    • Yes, finely chopped vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, or celery can be added.
  8. Is it okay to use pre-shredded cheese?
    • Yes, but freshly sliced cheese from a block will melt better and taste fresher.
  9. Can I freeze the meatloaf?
    • Yes, you can freeze the uncooked meatloaf mixture or cooked meatloaf slices.
  10. What sides pair well with this dish?
    • Mashed potatoes, green beans, or a fresh salad are great side options.
  11. Can I use dried thyme instead of fresh?
    • Yes, but use about a third of the amount since dried herbs are more concentrated.
  12. How should I store leftovers?
    • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  13. Can I use gluten-free bread crumbs?
    • Yes, gluten-free bread crumbs can be substituted.
  14. Do I need to sauté the onions before adding to the slow cooker?
    • It’s not necessary, as they will caramelize in the slow cooker.
  15. Can I use another type of cheese?
    • Yes, cheddar or Monterey Jack can also be used.
  16. How do I prevent the meatloaf from becoming dry?
    • Ensure you have enough liquid and don’t overcook it.
  17. Can I add more spices to the meatloaf mixture?
    • Yes, spices like garlic powder, onion powder, or Italian seasoning can be added.
  18. Should I cover the slow cooker while cooking?
    • Yes, always cook with the lid on to retain moisture.
  19. Can I double the recipe?
    • Yes, but make sure your slow cooker is large enough to accommodate the extra quantity.
  20. Can I use unsalted butter?
    • Yes, but you may need to adjust the seasoning to taste.

By following these detailed steps and tips, you will be able to master the Crockpot French Onion Meatloaf with Melted Swiss Cheese recipe, creating a delicious and comforting meal for any occasion.