How long will your leftover meatloaf last in the refrigerator? The best way to ensure that your meatloaf stays good for as long as possible is to keep it in the fridge.
The safety guidelines for food safety state that you should keep food at a temperature of at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two hours after being thoroughly cooked.
If it’s been more than two hours since you last used it, it’s best to leave it in the fridge to dissuade the growth of harmful bacteria. However, if the temperature gets too hot, you should not let it sit out for more than a day.
How Long Does Cooked Meatloaf Keep in the Fridge?
The shelf life of meatloaf depends on how well it’s cooked and stored. It can keep up to three days in an air-tight container or a plastic bag while stored in the fridge.
Store your meatloaf in shallow containers to prevent it from getting too hot in the refrigerator. Also, store it on a shelf instead of the door to keep its temperature stable.
It would be best to always keep your meatloaf at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below to prevent bacteria growth. It ensures that they will remain fresh for a long time.
Do I Need to Cool Meatloaf First Before Placing in the Fridge?
You need to cool the meatloaf first before placing it in the fridge. Although a humble dish, preparing a meatloaf can take time. If you have time today but don’t plan on eating it until tomorrow, you can prepare it in the refrigerator.
However, if you’re not ready to eat it yet, you can still enjoy it by placing it in the refrigerator overnight. To prevent it from cooling down, wrap the meat in and cover it tightly.
If you’re going to make the meatloaf ahead of time, let it cool completely before placing it in the fridge. You should eat it within a day or two after you make it.
How to Store Meatloaf in the Fridge?
To lengthen the shelf life of your cooked meatloaf, keep it in shallow containers or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. You should maintain it in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Depending on the method used, meatloaf can be frozen or raw. To prevent contamination, wrap each portion tightly and keep it in the refrigerator until it’s ready to be used.
If a container or pot of food is hot, you should not place it inside the refrigerator or the freezer. Doing so can raise the temperature of the food inside the fridge and threaten the safety of other appliances.
Different Ways to Spot Bad Meatloaf
Below are two surefire ways to spot lousy meatloaf from the fridge for a few days.
Looking or Appearance of the Meatloaf
When you suspect that your meatloaf has gone wrong, the first thing you can do is to check its appearance. If it has mold or does not look appetizing anymore, you might need to discard it.
The Smell of the Meatloaf
You can inspect your meatloaf by smelling it. Fresh meatloaf smells delicious and will let you know its flavors. On the other hand, when meatloaf is at room temperature for more than two hours, you will notice that the smell is rancid and pungent.
Can You Freeze Leftover Meatloaf?
You can freeze leftover meatloaf. If you have leftover meatloaf, you can use it as a sandwich filling or as a filling for various types of food, such as pasta or rice. You can also prepare it in advance, and you can freeze it once the craving hits.
The most suitable way to stretch the shelf life of your meatloaf is to refrigerate it for 3 to 4 days. When properly stored, both unbaked and baked versions will keep in the freezer for a long time.