For people who aren’t against eating meat, meatloaf is one of the popular comfort meals that can serve a large number of people. Meatloaf is sort of like a burger patty – just a lot bigger.
There are many different recipes used to make meatloaf, but they all share the same base ingredients. A typical meatloaf will normally contain some pounds of ground beef, cracker or bread panade with milk, some eggs, and veggies.
Although preparing meatloaf doesn’t take too much time, you may want to make some and keep till a later date. If that is the case, you’ll need an effective way to preserve the meatloaf so that it doesn’t go bad. Preservation is also needed when you have leftover meatloaf from a meal.
Since freezing works for so many food items, can you freeze meatloaf? Yes, you can freeze meatloaf. If done correctly, freezing can preserve meatloaf for up to 6 months. The meatloaf will need to be packaged properly before it is placed in the freezer. Layers of plastic wrap and aluminum foil are used to cover the meatloaf so that it doesn’t come in contact with cold freezer air.
Failure to pack meatloaf properly before freezing will cause loss of taste and original texture. The meatloaf could also get covered in the smell of other food items inside the freezer.
To avoid making mistakes when freezing meatloaf, we have put this guide together for you. Follow the given steps correctly so that you can enjoy your meatloaf’s original qualities after some months of freezing.
After cooking meatloaf, you can freeze it as a whole or cut it into smaller slices for the freezer – regardless of which you’d prefer, the meatloaf must be properly packaged before it goes into the freezer. If you don’t want to risk wasting the meatloaf, you should freeze it in smaller slices. Doing so will ensure that you only thaw the portion of meatloaf that you can finish at once.
It is also best to eat your meatloaf within the first 3 months of freezing for the best taste. Anyone that only needs the meatloaf preserved for a few days can make use of the fridge. Refrigeration can keep meatloaf preserved for up to 4 days.
According to USDA guidelines, you shouldn’t leave the meatloaf exposed to room temperature for more than 2 hours. At room temperature, bacteria growth will increase and the meatloaf will need to be disposed of.
How to Freeze Meatloaf
Freezing meatloaf is quite simple. These are the steps you should follow:
1. Let the Meatloaf Cool Totally
Before putting meatloaf in the freezer, you’ll need to let it cool. Touch the meatloaf to see if it’s still hot and leave it on the countertop for a few minutes if it still is. If the meatloaf is placed in the freezer while it’s still hot, it will likely get freezer burn.
Hot meatloaf in the freezer produces steam, which becomes ice and makes the meatloaf dry. It also increases the freezer’s temperature and ruins the taste and texture of other food items in the freezer.
2. Slice the Meatloaf into Smaller Sizes
Instead of freezing the meatloaf as a whole, cut it into smaller portions that will be wrapped individually before freezing. The smaller meatloaf slices will be easier to thaw and reheat than a single large meatloaf. If already have the intention to freeze the meatloaf before preparing it, you can bake it in small portions that will be frozen individually.
The smaller meatloaf portions would have better taste and texture after being reheated. Although large single meatloaf will also taste good after reheating, there’s a bigger chance that it could get dry during the reheating process.
3. Wrap Individual Meatloaf Slice in Plastic Wrap
To avoid the meatloaf coming in direct contact with cold freezer air, you’ll need to wrap each individual slice in plastic wrap. You can wrap the slices in a single layer or two layers of plastic wrap. After that, wrap the meatloaf slices in an extra layer of aluminum foil. Both layers are used to protect the meatloaf from the smell of items in the freezer.
4. Transfer into a Freezer-Safe Bag and Label
Transfer all the individually wrapped meatloaf slices into a freezer-safe bag. Try to remove as much air as possible from the freezer-safe bag – an airtight packaging reduces contact with cold freezer air. Use a marker to write the present date on the freezer safe bag so that you’ll always remember how long the meatloaf has been frozen for.
How to Thaw and Reheat Frozen Meatloaf
Thawing and reheating frozen meatloaf should be done correctly if you want the best taste. You can either thaw frozen meatloaf in the fridge or in a bowl of cold water. If you’d prefer thawing in the fridge, simply take the frozen meatloaf out of the freezer and leave it to sit inside the fridge overnight – thawing in the fridge takes several hours, so it makes sense to do it overnight.
Alternatively, you can thaw frozen meatloaf in a bowl of cold water. This method is faster than thawing inside the fridge. Keep the meatloaf sealed inside the freezer-safe bag and submerge the bag inside cold water for the next couple of hours.
To reheat the frozen meatloaf, preheat your oven to 350⁰F. After that, remove all wrapping (except for the aluminum foil wrapping) and transfer the meatloaf to a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet inside the preheated oven for about 25 minutes and serve it on a dish after it’s completely heated.
Meatloaf is a frequently eaten food in several households, so it makes sense that people would want to make large portions for preservation till a later date. Now that you know how to correctly freeze meatloaf, you don’t have to waste leftovers anymore.
Remember that the packaging needs to be done correctly if you don’t want the meatloaf’s taste and texture to be lost. Also, the meatloaf is best consumed within the first 3 months of freezing.