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Can You Freeze Cooked Meatloaf?

Diane Westphal
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by Diane Westphal

If you’re thinking about freezing meatloaf, you have come to the right place; this guide will show you everything you need to know about freezing meatloaf. Let’s dive in!

Can You Freeze Meatloaf?

Meatloaf
Meatloaf

If you find yourself asking, “Can you freeze meatloaf?” The short answer is yes, you can! There are plenty of reasons why you might need to freeze meatloaf.

Having a ton of leftovers is one thing, but you can also choose to freeze meatloaf proactively so that you have a readily available meal you can whip up at any time!

Although meatloaf isn’t the most challenging dish in the world to make, heating frozen meatloaf is even easier! The key is knowing how to freeze meatloaf properly, which we are about to show you.

How To Freeze Meatloaf

Meatloaf in plastic bag
Meatloaf in plastic bag ready for freezing

The first thing that you should know about freezing meatloaf is that, like any meat, you can freeze meatloaf that is cooked or meatloaf that is prepped but uncooked.

When it comes to freeing meatloaf, whether cooked or raw, you have two options to choose from. You can choose between storing it in a plastic container like Tupperware or a resealable plastic bag.

If you choose to use a plastic bag to store the meatloaf in, you will need to get all of the air out of it before placing it in the freezer. If there is an excessive amount of air still in the bag when you put it in the freezer, it will not keep as long.

Once you have placed the meatloaf into either a Tupperware or a plastic bag, make sure that you label it clearly. When marking the container, you should list the date that the meatloaf was made and when it was frozen.

How Long Will Meatloaf Last in the Fridge/Freezer?

If you store cooked meatloaf properly by placing it in a resealable plastic bag or a Tupperware container, you can keep it in the fridge for a while. You should know that, even when it is in a plastic bag or container, meatloaf will only last for a period of three to four days before it goes bad.

Of course, you can extend that period considerably by placing it in the freezer instead. Meatloaf stored in the freezer will last longer than meatloaf stored in the fridge.

So, just how long will cooked meatloaf last when stored in the freezer? You can store meatloaf in a freezer for a period of three to four months. It tends to taste best and retain more flavor when taken out by the third or fourth month. However, it will remain safe to eat for much longer.

Meatloaf with sauce tends to freeze better than meatloaf that doesn’t have any sauce. That’s because the sauce will help the meatloaf retain its texture by the time you take it out of the freezer. If you store dry meatloaf in the freezer, it is more liable to become mushy when thawed.

It doesn’t do you any good to store meatloaf in the freezer just to have it go all mushy on you when you take it out to serve it! With that in mind, if you plan on freezing meatloaf to serve it later on, make sure that it has a sauce to preserve the texture. 

How to Tell If Your Frozen Meatloaf Is Bad

Now that you know more about freezing meatloaf, it’s time to teach you how to tell if your frozen meatloaf has gone bad. While frozen meatloaf can be perfectly safe to eat well after three to four months, you should still inspect it to see if it went bad.

Keep in mind; meatloaf can go bad if the plastic has a puncture. This can happen quickly if you have been moving things in and out of the freezer a lot. All it takes is one little knick from the corner of a box or a poke from something sharp, and your frozen meatloaf is compromised.

If the bag is punctured, the meatloaf won’t go bad right away, but it won’t last as long as it should. Alternatively, if you stored it in a Tupperware container, be careful when moving things in and out of the freezer. If a box gets caught on the edge of the lid, it can pull it up enough to leave it partially open, giving you the same problem.

There are several ways to tell if meatloaf has gone bad in the freezer. First, if you see mold on it, it went bad, which means it has to go. Throw it away and remove the trash bag from the inside of your home to avoid spreading an unpleasant odor.

Meatloaf that has gone bad will smell odd, and the flavor will be off. Ideally, you should determine whether the meatloaf has gone bad or not before eating it. Tasting meatloaf to see if it has gone bad or not should be a last resort.  

What to Do with Frozen Meatloaf

Frozen Meatloaf
Frozen Meatloaf

Once you take your meatloaf out of the freezer and check it to see if it’s still good, it’s time to cook it. The whole idea of freezing meatloaf revolves around the premise of doing something with it later. Here’s how to reheat frozen meatloaf and make it into something tasty!

If you can’t think of anything to do with it or forgot your original intention when you first placed it in the freezer, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered; here’s a little inspiration!

First of all, if you already have a fully-formed meatloaf, you’re golden! All you need is a shallow pan, a pastry brush, some oven mitts, and a cooking thermometer.

Start preparing the meal by wrapping the meatloaf in foil and placing it into a shallow baking pan. Preheat your oven to 325 F. Once the oven is fully preheated, you can leave the meatloaf on the center rack for an hour.

After one hour has elapsed, use your oven mitts to remove the meatloaf from the oven. Uncover it and apply a nice glaze with your pastry brush. Finally, pop it back in the oven uncovered for around 35-40 minutes. It will be delicious and ready to eat when the timer goes off or when the meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. whichever happens first!

Once you have taken it out of the oven, all you need to do is place some generous slices onto your plates, and it’s ready to serve. Of course, you can always add some side dishes to complete the meal—meatloaf pairs well with green beans, mashed potatoes, and asparagus. 

Another idea of reheating frozen meatloaf and making it into a delicious meal is to take it out early in the morning and cook it in a pan with a fried egg. Crumbled meatloaf and fried eggs taste just as fantastic as corned beef hash and eggs, if not better!

The Big Conclusion

At this point, you have plenty of guidance on how to freeze meatloaf properly and turn it into a delicious meal. Meatloaf is an extraordinarily versatile and tragically underappreciated food. It’s cheap to make and to store. If you have a busy lifestyle, you can make it easier on yourself by preparing, freezing, and serving meatloaf.

The next time you are running late at work and worry about serving for dinner, try whipping out some frozen meatloaf. Your family will be happy, and you will finally be able to relax!

If you are feeling particularly adventurous, try experimenting with vegan meatloaf. You can freeze vegan meatloaf as well. Just make sure to label it and watch what kinds of ingredients you use!

One final tip, try adding ketchup to your meatloaf. Not only does ketchup and meatloaf taste delicious, but it also helps it freeze better! Remember that part where we said that meatloaf with sauce in it freezes better because it retains more of its natural texture? Using ketchup will have the same effect!

Now that you have learned how to freeze meatloaf, it’s time to start freezing it and enjoying it! Don’t be afraid to try out different recipes. Meatloaf is surprisingly versatile so if you find a new meatloaf recipe, just go for it!

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About Diane Westphal
Diane Westphal
Diane lives with her husband and 2 children on a small ranch in Southern California, where she's able to grow a good portion of the food that she prepares for her family in a variety of kitchen creations.Diane has been formally trained and has spent stints in multiple noted restaurants in her region and currently consults with commercial catering businesses. She enjoys writing about food as much as she engages in making her creations.
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