Can You Freeze Meatloaf?
Can you freeze meatloaf? The short answer is yes! In fact, meatloaf is one of the most freezer-friendly foods there are. Regardless if you have baked or unbaked meat loaf, you can freeze this dish for future uses.
You can use leftover meatloaf as a sandwich filling; serve it over rice, pasta or noodles too. You can also use meatloaf as a filler for casseroles. If you love meatloaf, we are happy to report that you can prep this dish in advance, freeze it, and serve it whenever the craving hits!
Image used under Creative Commons from waferboard
Keeping the meatloaf in the fridge, it will only last for 3 to 4 days. When stored properly, baked and unbaked meatloaf will keep fresh in the freezer indefinitely. The key to a longer shelf life is to keep the meatloaf at a steady 0°F. That said, it’s best to consume frozen meatloaf before the 4-month mark. If you’re wondering how can you freeze meatloaf, continue reading below:
Are you freezing baked or unbaked meat loaf? If say, you are freezing baked leftover meatloaf, you need to wait until the dish has been cooled completely prior to packing it for freezing. There are two ways to pack the meatloaf for freezing: you can use a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid or a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag.
If you’re using a rigid plastic container, simply place the cooled leftover meatloaf inside and close the lid. Label the container with the storage date and stick it in the freezer. If you’re using resealable plastic container, place the dish inside the bag and squeeze out as much air as you can prior to sealing. Once sealed, label with the storage date and stick in the freezer.
Now if you’re freezing uncooked or unbaked meat loaf mix, you have to flash-freeze the dish first prior to packing to prevent contamination. Also, you need to pack the dish in manageable portions before you flash freeze it.
Image used under Creative Commons from randychiu
Taking the meatloaf out of the freezer and thawing it increases the risk of contamination if it’s not consumed as soon as possible. It only takes 2 hours of defrosting before bacterial growth starts. By packing the meatloaf in appropriate servings, you don’t have to defrost the whole slab of meatloaf.
To flash freeze, start by placing the uncooked meatloaf (in single serving portions) on a metal cookie sheet or muffin tray, making sure none of the servings are touching each other. Pop the metal sheet in the freezer, leveling the pan so the meatloaf won’t slide. Leave the meatloaf to freeze for 3 to 4 hours.
Once the meatloaf portions are frozen stiff, transfer them carefully to a storage container. To pack the uncooked meatloaf for freezing, we recommend shallow rigid containers with an airtight lid. Do note that you can also flash freeze cooked or baked meatloaf leftovers if you’d like to extend its shelf life even more.
Image used under Creative Commons from Harmony
Defrosting frozen meatloaf is easy! One way to thaw meatloaf is to dunk the entire container in a bowl of water. Leave the container to thaw for an hour or until the meatloaf is soft enough to be sliced. Then, place the meatloaf on a microwave-safe plate, reheat it in the microwave and it’s ready to serve! You can also use the oven or even a toaster to reheat the meatloaf.
Another way to defrost frozen meatloaf is to let it thaw slowly in the fridge for several hours to overnight. Once the meatloaf is soft enough to be sliced, you can reheat it in the microwave or over the stove in a skillet.
It’s so convenient stocking up on meatloaf especially when you have surprise guests. Now that you know how can you freeze meatloaf, why not make this dish in advance so you’re always ready to whip up a quick meal?