Do you know how long should you cook meatloaf at 425 degrees Fahrenheit? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.
Meatloaf is excellent comfort food, so you’ll want to know how to make it! You combine ground meat with veggies, herbs, and spices, giving you a flavorful meal that goes excellent with any side. However, knowing how long to cook your loaves can be difficult.
On average a 2 pound meatloaf will take an hour for the loaf to bake if you’re cooking your meatloaf at 425ºF (about 218ºC). Several factors can change the cooking time depending on your oven and how thick you make the loaves.
Make sure to continue reading if you want to learn how to make the perfect meatloaf every time.
How To Know When Meatloaf is Done
You’ll want to use an instant-read food thermometer to check your meatloaf. That way, you know it is cooked and ready to eat.
Insert the food thermometer into the center of your meatloaf. It should read at least 160°F (about 111°C).
It’s best to use some kind of thermometer when preparing meatloaf. Since the meat combines with many other ingredients, you can’t tell if it’s done by cutting it open and looking at it.
Instead, you’ll want to use a thermometer for a more accurate reading.
If it’s not done cooking, you’ll want to put it back in the oven for a few minutes. However, you’ll need to watch the meatloaf so it doesn’t burn or dry out.
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Meatloaf Nutrition Facts
In the average serving of meatloaf, you can expect at least 300 calories in a slice of homemade meatloaf.
However, this amount changes greatly depending on what ingredients you use and what brands they come from. Plus, you can save a few calories if you don’t use sauce.
This recipe makes four servings of meatloaf. The entire loaf has 1680 calories, with each serving having about 420 calories. Here’s the rest of the nutrition information that you’ll want to know:
- 20.7 g protein
- 14 g carbs
- 0.7 g dietary fiber
- 4.3 g sugar
- 30.8 g fat
- Calories from fat: 277.6
- 12.4 g saturated fat
- 96.5 mg cholesterol
- 0.3 mg Vitamin B6
- 2.5 mg Vitamin C
- 47 mg Calcium
- 3 mg Iron
- 27 mg Magnesium
- 348 mg Potassium
- 443mg Sodium
Remember that this information is an estimate- the soup powder, bread, and ground meat you use can greatly impact the nutritional content.
However, this nutrition list should give you a rough idea of what’s in your meatloaf!
How To Serve Meatloaf
First, you’ll want to know exactly how to serve your perfect meatloaf.
The presentation can make it much more enjoyable while you eat. Here’s what you need to do:
- Allow the meatloaf to rest before cutting it
- Cut the meatloaf into thin slabs, like how you cut bread
- Spread the slabs out on the plate
- Serve with your favorite toppings and sides
Next, you’ll want to know what to eat with your meatloaf, and you have plenty of options! Many people enjoy vegetables with their meal. Here are a few easy sides that you can serve with your meatloaf:
- Mashed potatoes
- Dinner rolls
- Roasted asparagus
- Chopped carrots
- Mac and cheese
As a topping, using ketchup to create a sauce is a delicious method that many home cooks use. You can use ketchup from the bottle to increase the comfort this meal offers.
Or, if you have more cooking time, you can prepare a special topping for your meatloaf.
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You can easily adjust the ingredients you use in your meatloaf to create different flavors and textures. This basic ingredient list should cover what you need in a simple recipe:
- One pound of ground beef
- Three pieces of leftover bread (end pieces are great!)
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ½ package of dry onion soup powder
- One teaspoon of Italian seasoning
- One tablespoon of water
If you don’t like the taste of standard ketchup, you don’t have to use it in this recipe. You can swap it out for barbecue sauce or tomato paste.
With the tomato paste, your meatloaf won’t turn out nearly as sweet as it would with ketchup from a bottle.
The onion soup powder is great for adding a boost of flavor to the loaf! It also helps your loaves hold their shape, making them easier to eat. That way, the meatloaf isn’t too crumbly but isn’t too dry.
Required Cooking Items
You also need to have these items ready to make this meatloaf recipe:
- Large bowl
- 9×13 inch baking dish OR a pie pan also works
- Basting brush
You can also use gloves to wear while you combine the meat, although you don’t have to. Just ensure to wash your hands right after- and don’t touch anything until you do.
How To Make Meatloaf
Once you have all the above ingredients and cooking tools ready, it’s time to start making your meatloaf!
Making this recipe is a lot of fun, and the results are delicious. You will want to set aside a good amount of time, though, since it does take a while to cook.
Here’s how to make the perfect meatloaf:
- Preheat your conventional oven to 425ºF (218ºC).
- Combine ground beef, powdered soup mix, ketchup, Italian seasoning, and water in a large bowl.
- Lightly wet your hands with cool water.
- Use your bare hands to combine the ingredients well.
- Shape the meat into a loaf and put it in your pan.
- Baste the top of the meatloaf with additional ketchup.
- Bake the meatloaf for one hour. You want it to have a crispy outer layer.
- Allow the meatloaf to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Cut and serve the meatloaf.
Letting the meatloaf cool down after it comes out of the oven is an essential step. If you cut into the meatloaf too early, the juices from the ground meat can leak out, leaving you with a dry slab!
Instead, give the juice time to soak into the break and other ingredients. You’ll have a very moist meatloaf if you do.
Overall, making meatloaf is pretty simple. This recipe does take at least an hour to cook, but the results will be very worth it. Plus, your kitchen will smell wonderful!
5 Best Meatloaf Tips
Want to make a better meatloaf? If you follow these meatloaf cooking tips, you will notice a difference in texture and taste.
Making a few other quick changes to how you prepare this recipe can hugely impact how your food turns out.
Here’s what you need to know!
1. Add Moisture-Rich Ingredients
You won’t want to skip out on including moisture-rich ingredients. Ketchup adds more water content to the loaf, which makes it turn out moist and helps the loaf keep a comfortable texture.
If you want juicy meatloaf, you’ll need to replace the ketchup if you don’t want it instead of just dropping it completely.
Some great options include eggs or barbecue sauce, but you can get creative. Some people even use cranberry sauce or mustard in their meatloaf to add moisture and flavor.
2. Use High-Fat Ground Beef
You’ll want to choose ground beef with a lot of fat. While it doesn’t sound healthy, high-fat ground meat is much better for this recipe.
You should use a cut of ground beef with at least 15% fat. If you don’t, your meatloaf will turn out very dry and have a chunky texture.
Using lean beef or turkey, you can also mix in ground pork, veal, or bacon to help the meat. These other meats add more fat to the recipe, so the meatloaf turns out well.
So, you don’t always have to use high-fat beef- you can make adjustments easily.
3. Don’t Over Mix the Meat
Next, you don’t want to over-mix the meat. Just stir it together until the ingredients are just combined. Over mixing the meat will cause the loaf to turn out heavy and dry.
To combine the meat, turn it over loosely until everything mixes- then stop right away.
Generally, it’s good to sop mixing the mat a bit sooner than you think you need to.
That way, you always avoid handling the mixture too much.
4. Check the Texture
For the next tip, you need to check the texture of the raw meat before cooking it. You don’t need to eat meat to do this! Instead, try heating a small amount of your meat in a frying pan.
Once it cooks through, you can give it a taste. This method also helps you know if you’ve used enough seasons in your meat mixture.
It’s much easier to change the seasonings at this stage before you put the entire loaf into the oven.
5. Don’t Crowd the Meat
While it’s very tempting to press the meat into the sides of your pan, you’ll want to make sure that you give it some space. If you press it against the walls of the pan, it will turn out like a solid brick.
Instead, give the meatloaf some room. You can also use a baking sheet or pie pan to form the loaf shape with your hands. No matter what you use, you want to ensure you don’t crowd your meatloaf!
If you don’t have the room, you can always prepare several smaller meatloaves instead of one large one. Mini meatloaves also get that rich, crunchy texture on the outside that we all love.
How Long To Cook Meatloaf FAQs
There’s a lot to know about making the perfect meatloaf, but it gets so much easier once you make it the first time.
You’ll want to check out these frequently asked questions to help make the learning process smoother for you.
Why Do We Put Ketchup on Meatloaf?
Ketchup goes great with a lot of comfort foods, including meatloaf! It acts as a sauce to protect the top of the loaf from burning or drying out.
Plus, it adds moisture back into the loaf as it cooks and has a great flavor.
If you don’t like how standard ketchup tastes, you’ll still want to include another sauce on top. If you don’t, your loaf could very easily dry out.
Do I Need To Cover Meatloaf?
Using the above recipe, you shouldn’t have to cover your meatloaf while it bakes. You’ll get a crispier loaf that way.
However, you can cover your meatloaf with aluminum foil if you want to.
Make sure to remove the aluminum foil during the last 20 minutes of cooking so it can form a crispy outer layer on its surface. Adding a covering can help to keep it moist.
How Do I Add More Flavor to Meatloaf?
Meatloaf can be a bland food if you don’t add many ingredients. If you’re looking for more flavor, try adding scallion whites, parsley, thyme, or minced garlic to the meat mixture.
You can also replace the ketchup with Dijon mustard or Worcestershire sauce for a new take on meatloaf’s traditional flavors.
Overall, don’t hesitate to experiment with this recipe and make changes where you want. You might discover new flavors to love in this classic dish.
Why Does My Meatloaf Come Out Dry?
There are a few main causes why your meatloaves always come out dry. The most common cause is due to you overmixing the meat. Make sure you only stir the mixture until it’s just combined.
You also want to include some ingredients that add moisture to the loaf as it cooks.
Great ingredients to use in meatloaf include ketchup or eggs, although there’s a wide selection for you to pick from.
If your meatloaf still comes out dry, you can try covering it with aluminum foil for most of its cooking time the next time you make it.
To summarize, you must cook meatloaf for about an hour at 425ºF (about 218ºC).
This delicious comfort meal is easy to make, and there’s plenty of room to experiment with ingredients.
You’ll want to give it a try as soon as you can! Your family is sure to love it too.
Make sure you use the above tips to make the perfect meatloaf. You’ll be surprised at what difference they make in this dish.
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