LEARN HOW TO REHEAT A MEATLOAF THE SAFE WAY
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The other day, a friend of mine called me asking how to warm up a meatloaf. She is new to reheating meatloaf and didn’t have a clue how to reheat it.
My friend told me she looked online and several websites said the best way to avoid drying out a meatloaf when reheating was to undercook it so it wouldn’t be overcooked when reheated. This didn’t sit well with her so she asked me.
WHAAAAT? I was floored so I investigated it myself. Sure enough, she was correct. So I proceeded to tell her the safe way to reheat meatloaf without drying it out and decided to write a post about it to dispel the bad information out there.
First of all, never, ever undercook your meatloaf. It could make you or your family very ill. Always cook your meatloaf to the minimum temperature recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
According to the USDA’s Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart, ground meat should always be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160° F (71.1° C).
So, before we talk about reheating meatloaf, let’s talk about how to cook it.
First, cook it to a minimum internal temperature of 160° F. If you like to err on the side of caution like I do when it comes to food safety, cook your meatloaf to an internal temperature of 165° F.
To ensure your meatloaf doesn’t dry out when cooking, you must make sure it is very moist before you even cook it. I make sure to add enough moisture in my meatloaf that it barely holds together.
Now you know you should originally cook your meatloaf to at least an internal temperature of 160°F, but what about reheating it?
What is the safe internal temperature when reheating meatloaf?
According to the USDA, leftovers should be reheated to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
So regardless of the reheating method you use, make sure to reheat your food to 165°F.
Remember, when inserting the thermometer probe, make sure you insert the probe horizontally from the side into the center.
Inserting the probe from the top could give you an inaccurate reading.
Now, let’s talk about the various ways you can reheat meatloaf.
How To Reheat Meatloaf In An Oven or Toaster Oven
Step One: Make sure your oven rack is in the center and then preheat your oven to 250° F unless it happens to cook fast then preheat to 225° F.
Step Two: Place your leftover meatloaf in a shallow baking dish with a tablespoon or two of water or beef broth. You want a little liquid but don’t overdo it. You don’t want soggy meat.
Step Three: Insert a thermometer into the center of the meatloaf and then cover with aluminum foil. Set your thermometer to 165°F.
Step Four: Carefully remove from the oven once the internal temperature reaches 165° F.
Because all ovens cook differently and meatloaves vary in thickness, it is important that you use a thermometer to determine when your meatloaf is warmed up and don’t just reheat for 20 or 25 minutes.
How To Reheat A Meatloaf In A Skillet (Frying Pan)
If you have a slice or two of meatloaf, it isn’t cost-effective to reheat your meatloaf in an oven. Instead, you should try reheating sliced meatloaf in a skillet.
Now, if you like your meatloaf to have a crusty exterior, you can reheat it in a skillet at a higher temperature. If not, reheat the meatloaf slowly, turning often.
As with reheating your meatloaf in the oven, you want to ensure your meatloaf slices are reheated to the proper internal temperature of 165°F.
Step One: Preheat your skillet with a little oil, butter, or bacon grease. If you want a crusty exterior and your slices are fairly thin, go for a medium setting. If you don’t want a crusty exterior or you have thick slices of meatloaf, preheat your skillet on a medium-low setting.
Step Two: Once you see your pan is warmed up, toss in your meatloaf.
Step Three: Reheat on both sides until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Tip: The less you flip it, the crustier it will be on the outside. So if you want to avoid the crust, reheat it slowly and flip often. Also, if your pan starts to get dry and you are trying to avoid crust, add a tablespoon or two of water or beef broth. 🙂
Now, if you have tried reheating sliced meatloaf in the skillet and don’t like the results, you could also try steaming the leftover meatloaf slices.
How To Reheat Meatloaf In A Steamer Basket
If you are worried about your meatloaf being dried out or if you avoid meatloaf leftovers because they tend to be dry, you should try reheating meatloaf in a steamer basket.
Reheating in a steamer basket tends to work much better for slices of meatloaf rather than a large chunk of it so please keep this in mind.
Step One: Add an inch or two of water to your pot and bring it to a simmer.
Step Two: Once it has started simmering, place the meatloaf slices in your steamer basket over the simmering pot of water and cover.
Step Three: Simmer until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
It is more difficult to temp with this method because you are warming up your meatloaf in a pot with a lid. So be sure to temp a few times along the way.
I know some people who swear by reheating meatloaf this way. Personally, I do not like it. It is much easier for me to use the oven, skillet, or my favorite way, the microwave.
How To Reheat Meatloaf In A Microwave
Reheating meatloaf is often easier if you are reheating enough for one person or if you are reheating it with other leftovers such as mashed potatoes and green beans.
First of all, do not try to reheat a whole chunk of meatloaf in the microwave. You will end up with a dry outside and a cold center. Just don’t do it.
Step One: If you are reheating meatloaf by itself, place the slices in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate.
For reheating meatloaf along with other things, I recommend cubing it into at least 1” cubes. You know enough for maybe two bites of meatloaf. Place ingredients to be reheated with the meatloaf on a microwave-safe place.
Step Two: Cover the plate with a clean, damp paper towel.
Step Three: Reheat until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Please note, I would love to tell you how long to microwave your meatloaf for but I can’t.
Microwaves vary in power and everyone’s meatloaf will be a different size and contain different ingredients.
The best thing I can tell you is to use your experience with your own microwave. Maybe start with a minute or two then temp your meat.
If it hasn’t reached the proper internal temperature, stir the meatloaf and reheat in 30-second increments until it reaches 165°F.
Remember, microwaves tend to cook from the outside in, meaning the food on the outside will be hotter than the food in the middle of your plate. Keep this in mind when stirring your leftovers.
Tip: When reheating foods in the microwave, they always will reheat better if you use your microwave on a lower setting rather than on high at full-power. I know this but still reheat mine on high because the microwave makes me impatient. 🙂
Another Tip: If you are like me a love a sauce on your meatloaf, you can heat the sauce up separately or just put in on your meatloaf then cover with a clean, damp paper towel.
Final Thoughts from Cost-Effective Kitchen
Personally, when I cook meatloaf, I always try to ensure I have enough leftovers for a few lunches or another meal. So, we reheat a lot of meatloaves.
Usually, we don’t eat leftover meatloaf as a family. It is saved for those busy nights when everyone is getting home and eating at different times.
We usually reheat meatloaf in the microwave but sometimes will use the skillet if we are having meatloaf sandwiches.
For us, reheating the meatloaf in the oven takes too long and it is too much trouble to use a steamer.
When deciding on your methods of reheating meatloaf, do what is best for your family. Don’t be afraid to use different methods as your family’s needs change.
Should you have difficulty finding a way that works for you, snap a picture of your meatloaf and pop me an email explaining your situation.
I’d be glad to try and help you find a way of reheating meatloaf that works for your family because meatloaf is an excellent meal for a cost-effective kitchen!
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I hope this article answered your questions about about how to reheat meatloaf the safe way.
Until next time..