Meatloaf is a familiar dish in many family meals. Because the processing is quite complicated, families often prefer to process it ahead and store it in the refrigerator so that it can be used often and does not take much time to prepare.
Many people wonder if freezing meatloaf is good or not, how long can it be stored in the refrigerator and how to do it properly. In this article, we will answer the above questions.
In addition to the in-depth analysis of the shelf life of meatloaf in the refrigerator, we will also provide you with information to identify spoiled meatloaf.
How long can meatloaf be kept in the fridge?
Meatloaf should be stored in the refrigerator after it has cooled. We need to put them in a clean and sealed box to preserve them longer. Pay special attention not to leave the meatloaf outside at room temperature for too long, this will create conditions for bacteria to grow and cause the meatloaf to be seriously damaged.
Normally, cooked meatloaf can be stored for 3-4 days in the refrigerator if stored properly and do not allow bacteria to penetrate. You can use an airtight container or a zip bag to store the meatloaf. Keep them in the fridge at 40 degrees F or less.
The ideal temperature to store meatloaf in the fridge
Temperature is an important factor when you store meatloaf in the refrigerator. The ideal temperature range is between 40 degrees F and below. According to studies, this heat will inhibit the growth of bacteria and help protect your food better.
You need to be especially aware that a temperature between 40 and 140 degrees F is a favorable temperature range for bacteria growth. Therefore, after using the meatloaf, you need to immediately put it in the refrigerator to preserve it before bacteria can grow. This will help keep the meatloaf fresh for a long time and ensure the flavor.
Further reading: Best Top-Freezer Refrigerator without Ice Maker
The difference between meatloaf at room temperature and in fridge
For the meatloaf that is left out at room temperature
In case you have forgotten and left the meatloaf outside at room temperature for too long (from 3 hours or more), you should not regret it, throw it away immediately. Because the bacteria in the meatloaf at this time have grown a lot and are strong. Normal room temperature will be between 40 and 140 degrees F, which is not ideal for storing food for a long time. If your meatloaf is in this situation, it is definitely contaminated and very easy to cause poisoning.
For meatloaf that is kept in the refrigerator
This meatloaf will keep its flavor and not spoil for up to 5 days. Eating bad meatloaf can be dangerous to your health, especially your stomach. You may have symptoms like nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, fever or diarrhea.
You should put the meatloaf in clean, airtight items to store in the refrigerator. Low temperatures will prevent bacteria from growing, preserving the freshness and deliciousness of your meatloaf.
Can you freeze meatloaf?
Yes. You can freeze both cooked and uncooked meatloaf for future uses after it is prepared and shaped.
The cooked meatloaf can stay safe in freezer for about 3 to 4 months once you freeze it properly and place it in a freezer-safe container. Even though it is safe to eat much longer, you should consume it within 3 months for best taste and flavor.
With the uncooked meatloaf, you need to mix all ingredients together and shape the loaf. Use the plastic wrap to cover it carefully and put it in an airtight freezer bag. Your uncooked meatloaf can last in freezer for about 6 months.
It is better to freeze the meatloaf uncooked. With this option, your meatloaf has less changes in texture, then you will have a better taste and flavor of the meatloaf.
Freezing cooked and uncooked meatloaf at a steady 0°F (minus 17°C) will also make it last longer in freezer.
You may also like: The 7 Best Small Freezers 2021
How to defrost meatloaf?
We recommend that you defrost the meatloaf in the freezer by placing it in the refrigerator overnight and allowing them to slowly increase in temperature over time. Meatloaf that has been thawed and refrigerated can be used immediately or stored for another 3-4 days before cooking or reheating.
If you need to use it soon, put the frozen meatloaf in the water. For this way you have to use and heat it up right away.
In addition, you can also use the microwave or oven to reheat frozen meatloaf instantly without wasting time.
Tips to recognize bad meatloaf
There are 3 characteristics for you to know if your meatloaf are spoiled or not:
If your meatloaf is discolored compared to the original, or there are mold stains or tiny black dots on its crust, your meatloaf has spoiled and formed harmful fungi and mold. Throw it in the trash immediately.
The appearance of foreign substances, slimy, viscous feeling when touched is also a sign of damaged meatloaf. If, on the contrary, the meatloaf still has a solid texture, it is still good and edible.
The sour and foul smell is characteristic of a loaf of meat that has gone bad. These unpleasant odors will easily be picked up by the nose, so throw it away immediately.
Notes to store meatloaf for a long time
- You should set your refrigerator temperature to less than or equal to 40 degrees F. It is best to use airtight containers or wrap it carefully with plastic wrap.
- If you need to store meatloaf for a longer time, just freeze it. Avoid storing meatloaf near the refrigerator door because the temperature here will be unstable. You should put it in covered airtight containers, freezer bags. You can also wrap it tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer wrap.
- If you defrost it, try to use it all, do not refreeze it.
Further reading: How Long is Mac and Cheese Good for in the Fridge?
Is meatloaf healthy?
In fact, the frozen store-bought meatloaf is usually high in sodium level and saturated fat, so it is not healthy. Therefore, eating meatloaf too often is not good for your health in the long run.
It is better to make meatloaf at home because you can change some ingredients for a better nutritious choice and have healthier dish such as:
- Using fat-free milk instead of whole milk to lower the fat
- Using seasonings, egg, diced vegetables, and the milk to cut down the calories
- Replace salt by a salt substitute, or add herbs and spices to taste
- Reduce the sugar by using green or red pepper, beets, carrots or some raisins
After being frozen and thawed, how long does the cooked meatloaf last?
The cooked meatloaf can last rather long in freezer, about 4 months. However, after taking out of freezer and being thawed, it can be kept for an additional 3 to 4 days in the fridge before cooking.
If the meatloaf is thawed by the microwave or cold water, it should be cooked or eaten as soon as possible because it will be spoiled quickly.
A quick recap
Hopefully, the above article has helped you find the answer for yourself. Pay attention to the above notes to be able to store meatloaf longer in the refrigerator and freezer.
1. What happens if you eat spoiled meat, Kristina D, Dec. 20, 2020
2. Food Storage – How long can you keep, stilltasty.com, Retrieved on Nov. 29, 2021
3. Meatloaf stay in the fridge for how long, Mahnoor Asghar, Jul. 15, 2021