How Long Can Uncooked Meatloaf Stay In The Fridge
Uncooked meatloaf can stay safe in the fridge for about 3 days if it is cooked properly. You can refrigerate your meatloaf in shallow airtight containers or wrap it tightly in aluminum foil to increase its shelf life of the meatloaf. Freezing may affect the taste and texture of uncooked meatloaf.
If you have time today to make this, but you are not planning to eat your meatloaf until tomorrow, you can put your uncooked meatloaf in the fridge overnight. If you prefer to bake your meatloaf beforehand, be sure to completely cool it down before wrapping it up and placing it in the refrigerator. If the meat has been previously frozen, and you are unsure of the way that meat will hold up, you might want to play it safe and bake your uncooked meatloaf before freezing.
For any longer than two days, you will want to keep your meatloaf frozen until you are ready to use it. When planning on cooking the raw meatloaf that is frozen, you are best off taking it out of the freezer and placing it in the refrigerator overnight so that it can thaw. Taking the meatloaf out of the freezer and thawing increases the risk of contamination if not consumed soon. It is important to keep in mind that the longer meatloaf is left in the fridge, the tougher it becomes.
Just be sure to immediately put the meatloaf back into the cool fridge once you have assembled it, and to bake at a proper temperature the following day. The flavors and ingredients in a meatloaf combine when it is cooling, so it will always be best the day after you bake it. Whether store-bought or made from scratch, meatloaf is something that you can throw into the freezer, where it will keep its best shape for days. Cooked meatloaf will keep in the freezer for 3-4 months when stored in a sealed plastic freezer bag, though best consumed within 1-2 months for the best quality and flavor.
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Just allow uncooked meatloaf to cool to room temperature before wrapping it in foil, then store it in an airtight plastic bag and keep in the freezer up to six months. Let the meatloaf rest about 10 minutes after coming out of the oven; it will hold together better when you cut into it. Once the meatloaf is tender enough to slice, you can heat it up in the microwave or on the stovetop in a pan. If baking your meatloaf in a loaf pan, which will guarantee a moist loaf, consider removing the fat about 15 minutes before end-of-cooking time so that a crispy top can form.
|Type of Meatloaf||Shelf Life (In refrigerator)|
|Cooked meatloaf||3-4 days|
|Raw uncooked meatloaf||2-3 days|
|Frozen cooked meatloaf||3-4 months|
|Thawed ground meat||1-2 days|
Simply remove your meatloaf from its baggies and roast it in the preheated oven at 350 degrees for approximately 1 1/2 hours. Cover a single large meatloaf with a sheet of foil while baking to help it stay moist, but uncover for the final 15 minutes of cooking. A 2-pound meatloaf will need approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to 160degF at the meatloaf temp.
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Because microorganisms rapidly grow in temperatures from 40degF to 140degF, you are best served to store meatloaf within 2 hours of cooking in an airtight container in order to prolong its shelf life, preserving the quality. Because previously cooked refrigerated/frozen meatloaf will reach temperatures higher than 40degF during heating, and we know bacteria develop quickly at temperatures between 40degF and 140degF. Bacterial development is most rapid between temperatures of 40 to 140 degrees F., so you are better off keeping the meatloaf cooler so that you can keep it fresh for longer.
Uncooked meatloaf will keep for 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator, whereas cooked meatloaf will keep about 3 to 4 days when kept at or below 40 degrees F. Cooked meatloaf that has been chilled in the fridge may keep an extra 3-4 days in the refrigerator before baking, but meatloaf that has been microwaved or in cold water needs to be eaten right away. Fresh or thawed ground meat, or raw meatloaf made with fresh or thawed ground meat, will keep one to two days in the refrigerator. You can safely keep big cuts in the refrigerator for three to five days after you bring it home, before cooking it or freezing it.
You can safely store steaks, roasts, cuts, and other large cuts of meat in the freezer for 4 to 12 months. You can re-freeze cooked meats and fish if they were cool before going to the freezer. Never brown or partially cook meat or poultry in order to store it in a cooler to be finished later, as any bacteria that were there will not be destroyed.
It is safe to partially cook meat and poultry in a microwave oven or oven, but only when the food is moved directly to a hot grill to finish cooking. If you want to roast the meat on the following day, it is best to store the refrigerated food in sealed containers. Whichever method you use, make sure you defrost meatloaf completely in the fridge before baking or heating. Meatloaf is very suitable to freeze either raw to be cooked later, or cooked and frozen for reheating.
Do note, you can also freeze cooked meatloaf scraps in the Instant Pot or Bake it If You Want To Extend Its Shelf Life Even More. To flash freeze, begin by placing uncooked meatloaf (in single-serving portions) onto a metal biscuit or muffin tray, making sure that no portions touch. Another method of thawing frozen meatloaf is to allow it to thaw slowly in the refrigerator, a few hours to overnight.
It is true that eggs can sometimes carry germs that cause illness, but for the most part, it is safe to refrigerate a meatloaf overnight as long as you follow proper procedures. As a result, the bacteria will get into your meatloaf, and refrigerated meatloaf never needs to be refrigerated, instead, you are better off eating the whole thing or else disposing of re-heated leftovers as appropriate.
Like any leftovers, cooked meats last in the fridge for three or four days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Meatloaf can be frozen, sauced or un-sauced, and taken out for quick meals later (then adding fresh vegetables), which is what I would recommend unless you think it is going to be eaten fast. A 2lb meatloaf reliably takes about an hour to prepare — just be careful not to overcook it, otherwise the meat will begin to become stringy and fall apart.
How long can thawed meatloaf stay in the fridge?
Meatloaf can be frozen, sauced, or un-sauced. Meatloaf that has been thawed in the microwave or cold water should be consumed immediately. Cooked meatloaf that has been thawed in the refrigerator can be kept for 3 to 4 days before cooking.
How far ahead can you make meatloaf before cooking?
Prepare the meatloaf and form it into a loaf pan a few days beforehand. When you are ready to bake, cover and keep in the freezer. Before baking, let it to room temperature. The meatloaf sauce may also be prepared in advance and kept in the refrigerator for a few days.
How can you tell if meatloaf is spoiled?
When left out at room temperature for longer than two hours, cooked meatloaf should be thrown away because bacteria may quickly develop at temperatures between 4°C and 60 °C. If a cooked meatloaf starts to taste, look, or smell funny, or if mold starts to grow, it should be thrown out.