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Meatloaf is a delicious meal that is not too difficult to cook, and tastes really nice without being ridiculously expensive. The only issue is that it can be really filling and you always seem to cook too much. Thankfully, you can safely store leftover meatloaf to save for later. It is best to eat leftovers as it means you don’t have to cook again and you can enjoy the same meal twice!
Table of Contents
- What Is Meatloaf?
- How To Store Meatloaf
- How To Tell If Your Meatloaf Has Gone Bad
- FAQs On Meatloaf
What Is Meatloaf?
Meatloaf is a dish made up of ground meat which is typically beef, although lamb and pork are also sometimes used. The dish gets its name as it is normally cooked in the shape of a loaf which is either hand-formed or formed by the pan that would normally be used to cook a loaf of bread in. The meatloaf is cooked by either being baked or smoked. Cooked meatloaf normally has other ingredients in it such as seasonings and spices to help flavor the dish. Some people decide to make a sauce for the meatloaf and drizzle it over the top towards the end of cooking. This adds flavor and a different texture. Alternatively, other people make the sauce but decide to drizzle it over the pieces of meatloaf once they are on a serving dish as this improves the overall presentation. Meatloaf can be difficult to cook as it is so dense and thick, so it is never a bad idea to learn some new tricks on how to make sure your meatloaf is done.
How To Store Meatloaf
If you are trying to store raw meatloaf, then you will want to wrap it in plastic wrap to avoid cross-contamination as per the FDA food code. This is important as if it comes into contact with any other meat or raw goods then there will be enough of the food poisoning bacteria present to make you ill.
Storing Meatloaf In The Fridge
The easiest way to store meatloaf is in the fridge as it stays fresh for 5 days and can be used whenever. If your meatloaf is cooked then you can store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh. If you are trying to store raw meatloaf that you intend on cooking in the next few days then you will want to ensure you wrap it carefully so that there is no cross-contamination and touching of raw meat with other products.
The cooked meatloaf should remain fresh and tasty for about 5 days when stored in the fridge and the raw meatloaf should stay fresh and ready to cook for 3 days. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to perishable foods like this that also risk poisoning you.
Storing Meatloaf In The Freezer
To store raw meatloaf in the freezer you will want to wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. If you use a heavy-duty freezer bag instead, push all of the air out first as this will help prevent freezer burn. Storing cooked meatloaf in the freezer is just as simple and the same steps must be followed. Storing either of these in the freezer will allow them to stay fresh for 3 months before they start to lower in quality.
How To Thaw Meatloaf
If you have frozen your meatloaf, you will need to thaw it before you can eat it or cook it. Both cooked and raw meatloaf should be left in the fridge overnight or for 24 hours to fully thaw out. Once thawed, you can cook your meatloaf like normal if it is raw. If your meatloaf was cooked, you can heat it up in the oven by wrapping it in aluminum foil and baking it at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Once you have thawed the cooked meatloaf, you cannot freeze it again. You should also only reheat meatloaf once. Similar to how you cannot eat cooked chicken that has been frozen twice or other perishable foods like uneaten leftover rice. The FDA food code warns against reheating food too many times or refreezing it more than once.
How To Tell If Your Meatloaf Has Gone Bad
A lot of the harmful bacteria that would make you ill are able to rapidly grow at temperatures of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F. This means that if your cooked meatloaf sits at room temperature for more than two hours, your chances of food poisoning increases as this allows enough time for the bacteria to grow to a concerning amount. The best way to avoid this is to either not let it sit out at room temperature for this long, or to inspect it to see if there is an off odor, appearance, flavor, or an appearance of mold. If you of these are present, discard the meatloaf immediately. If your meatloaf is raw and left at room temperature for this amount of time, it is not as much of an issue as the bacteria will be neutralized by the heat. If any mold appears, or the smell is pungent and bad, it is still best to discard your meatloaf. All of this is applicable to cooked meat in general. Cooked beef is slightly different as you can eat it raw. but it is best to still sear the sides before you eat cooked meat even if you want the inside to be raw. This is so that it can kill all of the harmful bacteria on the outside.
FAQs On Meatloaf
Is meatloaf good after a week?
Meatloaf should not be eaten after a week unless it has been frozen. Even if you have stored your meatloaf in the fridge, you should not eat it after about 5 days.
Can you eat cooked meat after 5 days?
Cooked meat lasts for about 5 days in the fridge. After this, you can still eat it but the risk of food poisoning increases and it is advised against.
Is it safe to eat week-old meatloaf?
The safety of this is not decided. It may be entirely safe, or it might end up making you feel ill. The FDA recommends against eating meat that is more than 5 days old. The risk is yours to take, but it is advised against heavily.
Can I eat a 7-day-old meatloaf?
You can eat it, but if it is safe or not is another question. The FDA says not to eat meat that has been stored for over 5 days. Your meatloaf may be completely fine, however, the risk is still there that it might make you ill.