You’ve probably heard of meatloaf– ground meat made into the shape of a loaf, either baked or smoked. Meatloaf is a relatively easy dish to prepare and easy to mess up when undercooked and overcooked.
Meatloaf traces its origins back to Ancient Rome, where chopped meat is combined with spices, bread soaked in wine, and pine nuts to form a patty-like form, while Medieval Europe made meatloaf with diced fine meat, seasonings, fruits, and nuts and made to form a pie-shape.
Quite close and similar in execution with the typical American meatloaf made out of ground meat, sauces, and seasonings.
Cooking meatloaf to perfection will give you a sumptuous dinner that’s perfect for the family, so if you haven’t tried making meatloaf before, you’re at the right place. Read on as we give you our secrets in creating the perfect meatloaf.
How to Cook Meatloaf
Prepare ingredients as follows: 1 ½ ground beef, one egg, one chopped onion, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup dried breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, two tablespoons brown sugar, two tablespoons of mustard, ⅓ cup of ketchup.
You can also add garlic, thyme, or other herbs and seasonings according to your taste. These ingredients are easily found at home or in the supermarket, so you’re not having a hard time finding them.
There are two ways to cook meatloaf as follows:
To bake a meatloaf, preheat the oven at 350°F or 175°C. Combine the ingredients in a large bowl (adding salt and pepper to your taste), form into a loaf shape on a lightly greased loaf pan, and place into a lightly greased baking dish.
In a separate bowl, combine ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar that will serve as a sauce. Pour this mixture over your meatloaf and bake the meatloaf for one hour at 350°F.
Another method of cooking meatloaf is by smoking. If available, after mixing all ingredients and forming them into a loaf shape, place it onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet or smoker racks.
Start your smoker at 250°F and smoke for an hour. Use a meat thermometer to check if your meatloaf is thoroughly cooked, especially for larger and heavier cooking. Cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 155°, remove it from the smoker, and rest for 10 minutes.
How Long to Cook Meatloaf
How long to bake a meatloaf, you say? Generally, a two-pound meatloaf with all its seasonings and extras will take about one hour at a temperature of 350°F. When glazing the sauce for the meatloaf, glaze a portion before putting it in the oven and the rest at the 45-minute point.
After an hour, take the meatloaf out of the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing, and serve! If you’re still iffy on how long does meatloaf takes to cook, set it for one hour and you’re good to go.
What Temperature Do You Cook Meatloaf?
It is recommended to bake meatloaf at 350°F to make sure it cooks thoroughly. Cooking the meatloaf below that temperature won’t give you that nice crispy crust, and a significantly higher temperature will result in the outsides being burned before the insides even cook. What about 375°F? How long does it take to cook meatloaf at 375°F? This temperature is still a good temperature to keep the meatloaf cooking without burning for an hour.
To ensure that you have a temperature of 350°F even when you open the oven door to pop in your meatloaf, try preheating the oven at a higher temperature, then twist to 350°F just before you pop in your meatloaf and immediately close. This way, the drop in temperature won’t be as drastic since you started strong, maintaining that 350°F all the way.
It is also essential to use an internal meat thermometer to assess if the inside meat of your meatloaf is perfectly cooked. Your internal temperature should read at 160°F to ensure your meatloaf is cooked thoroughly and safe to eat.
How to Store Meatloaf
If you are looking to prepare meatloaf the night before, you can freeze the raw meatloaf before cooking and baking; just make sure to thaw it in the fridge. If you are storing cooked meatloaf, we recommend slicing them and packing them individually, then placing them in the refrigerator. This makes it easier to cook and reheat them by batch or separately.
Meatloaf is an easy and flexible dish that can be made in many variations according to your taste. Here are some examples:
The Classic Meatloaf
The classic meatloaf is made of lean ground beef with milk, eggs, ketchup, and diced onion to keep it moist. This is because the milk soaks into the breadcrumbs, preventing the meatloaf from drying out. Add Worcestershire sauce, dried parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste the classic meatloaf recipe.
Mashed Potato Stuffed Meatloaf
Who doesn’t like potatoes? If you are a potato-lover, then the combination of meatloaf and mashed potato is just for you. Simply create a hollow space between your meatloaf and stuff with mashed potatoes. To make it even tastier, place cheddar cheese on top. Cover the mashed potatoes with the remaining meat mixture to ensure the mashed potatoes are completely sealed in—Bake and cook as usual.
Who says you have to cook meatloaf in large sizes? You can create meatloaf in cute, muffin-sized batches perfect for kids! They make an attractive addition to the meal that’s not too heavy, and what’s more, they cook faster than regular-sized meatloaf.
Yes, you can cook meatloaf in an air fryer. With your usual meatloaf recipe, shape your meatloaf. Then, line your air fryer with foil and place the mixture onto the center of the basket. Preheat the air fryer at approximately 375°F, place the basket, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the basket, glaze your sauce onto the meatloaf, and cook for another 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Overall, Meatloaf is a classic dinner recipe that we are so used to cooking and making. Since they are straightforward and flexible to cook, you can come up with many variations of this dish that would suit the family’s palette.