Learn how to reheat meatloaf like a pro!
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The other day, a friend of mine called me asking how to warm up leftover meatloaf. She is new to the whole reheating meat process and didn’t have a clue how to reheat meatloaf properly.
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 leftover meatloaf without drying it out and decided to write a post about how to reheat meatloaf to dispel the bad information out there.
First of all, NEVER 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 government’s Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart, ground meat should always be cooked to a minimum temperature of 160° F (71.1° C). So be sure to use a good quality instant-read food thermometer or an oven-safe meat thermometer.
So, before we talk about reheating leftover meatloaf, let’s talk about how to cook it. Oh, and don’t forget to check out this post…what to serve with meatloaf!
First, cook meatloaf to an 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 to my meatloaf that it barely holds together. I do this by adding enough wet ingredients like eggs and milk and sometimes I up the flavor by adding a little beef broth!
Now you know you should first cook your meatloaf to at least an internal temp of 160°F, but what about reheating it?
What Is The Safe Internal Temperature When Reheating Meatloaf?
According to the government’s Food Safety website, all 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 meat 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 an oven-safe 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 temperature reaches 165° F.
Because all ovens cook differently and meatloaves vary in thickness, it is important that you use a meat 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’re only reheating a few meatloaf slices, it isn’t cost-effective to reheat your meat in an oven. Instead, you should try reheating the meatloaf slices in a skillet (frying pan).
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 temp of 165°F.
Step One: Preheat your skillet with a little oil, butter, bacon grease, or beef broth. If you want a crusty exterior and your meatloaf 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 your meatloaf on both sides until the 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 your meatloaf slowly and flip it 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 your meatloaf in a steamer basket.
Reheating in a steamer basket tends to work much better for meatloaf slices 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. Make sure the water does not touch your meatloaf.
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 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 reheating meatloaf in a steamer basket. 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 in the microwave is often easier if you are only reheating enough for one person or if you reheat your leftover meatloaf 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 plate.
Step Two: Cover the plate with a clean, damp paper towel or a microwave splatter cover. Note: If your meatloaf was on the drier side to begin with, covering or wrapping it in a damp paper towel will help retain any moisture when reheating.
Step Three: Reheat until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
How Long Do You Reheat Meatloaf In The Microwave?
I would love to tell you exactly how long to microwave your meatloaf 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.
Another Tip: If you are like me a love a sauce on your meatloaf, you can heat the sauce up separately or just put it on your meatloaf before reheating.
How To Reheat Meatloaf In The Air Fryer
In recent years, air fryers have become more prevalent in homes everywhere. They are versatile, easy to use, and quicker than an oven. And if you like crispy meatloaf, it’s a great option. Otherwise, choose the microwave.
Just remember, the air fryer will do a better job at reheating a few slices of meat rather than a huge chunk of it.
Step One: Grab some disposable air fryer parchment paper liners (they are so worth it) and line your air fryer.
Step Two: Cut your meatloaf into slices and lightly spray both sides of your meat with cooking spray.
Step Three: Put your meatloaf slices onto the parchment paper and reheat at 350°F for up to 10 minutes or until your leftover meatloaf temps at 165°F.
Note: The length of time it takes to reheat your meatloaf in the air fryer will vary. It depends on how thick your slices are as well as the ingredients in your meatloaf. My best advice is to temp your meatloaf when it gets crispy looking or after about 4 or 5 minutes until you get a feel for what works for you.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Reheat A Meatloaf Without Drying Out?
As we’ve discussed previously, make sure your meatloaf is moist when it is first cooked by ensuring there are enough “wet” ingredients such as eggs, milk, or broth. You want your meatloaf to barely hold together. Then, be sure to cook it to an internal temp of 160°F.
When reheating meatloaf in the microwave, cover with sauce, a damp paper towel, or even leftovers such as veggies or mashed potatoes. Each will help add moisture to the meatloaf. Be sure to heat only to an internal temp of 165°F (the recommended temp for ALL leftovers).
How Long Does Meatloaf Last In The Fridge?
When properly stored in an airtight container at or below the recommended 40°F, the experts say meatloaf will last 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
However, our household routinely eats meatloaf for up to 5 days but always ensure it is reheated to 165°F.
But for food safety purposes, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and stick to the recommended 3 to 4 days.
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. Yes, we reheat meatloaf often.
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. You know, those fend for yourself nights!
In our house, meatloaf is usually reheated in the microwave but sometimes we’ll 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. We like to cook and reheat as simply as possible!
When deciding on your methods of reheating meat, do what is best for you. Don’t be afraid to use different ways of reheating. There’s a time and place for each.
But, as I said before, if you don’t own any food thermometers, please consider investing in two of them. At a minimum, you need an instant-read food thermometer and an oven-safe meat thermometer. They will help keep your family safe and help ensure all your meats are cooked to the proper internal temperature.
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 various ways to reheat meatloaf that work for your family because meatloaf paired with an inexpensive side dish or two makes for an excellent cost-effective meal!
Please don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for a variety of recipes and kitchen tips!
I hope this article answered your questions about how to reheat meatloaf the safe way.
Until next time…