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How Long Does Meatloaf Last In The Fridge? (Explained)

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Cold temperatures in household cooling equipment like refrigerators and freezers allow homeowners to store food safely for exceptional periods.

However, as a food highly perishable and rich in protein, it is not possible to store cooked meatloaf at room temperatures for long.

Therefore, there is a limit to the number of days meatloaf can last in a fridge in uncooked and cooked conditions.

When suitably stored, meatloaf will last for three to four days in the fridge. During this time, it will maintain its peak quality. Nevertheless, the quality of the meatloaf would start to deteriorate once it has been kept in the fridge for more than four days. At this point, it is unsuitable for consumption.

How Long Will Meatloaf Last In The Refrigerator?

Either raw or cooked, Meatloaf can not last more than four days in the refrigerator without losing its freshness and unavoidably getting spoiled.

In refrigerators, meatloaf, like any other food, cools to temperatures low enough to slow down the growth of bacteria in them considerably.

However, this does not kill bacteria or keep the food from eventually going bad.

After four days, the danger of food poisoning becomes higher with the amount of time that passes. Finally, in seven days, the spoiled state of the meatloaf will become glaringly obvious.

At this point, it must be thrown away, which the FDA food code strongly recommends.

How Long Does Cooked Meatloaf Last In The Fridge?

Cooked meatloaf lasts for a maximum of four days in the fridge.

To properly store meatloaf in the refrigerator and increase how long the quality of cooked meatloaf lasts, you should place it in shallow, airtight containers.

You can also wrap it in foil to avoid contamination. This way, its shelf life is increased to the highest limit.

According to The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), you should eat perishable or cooked foods like meatloaf between two to four days of refrigeration.

The same goes for meatloaf leftovers. Also, it is advised that freshly cooked meatloaf should not be left to sit out at room temperature for more than two hours.

Instead, you should place it in the refrigerator.

How Long Will Uncooked Meatloaf Last In The Fridge?

Uncooked meatloaf will last for one to two days in the refrigerator. The refrigerator should run at a temperature of 40°F or lower to ensure that the meatloaf stays for as long as possible.

In temperatures ranging from 40°F to 140°F, bacteria rapidly grow and multiply.

This is called the Danger Zone, and the fridge must run at temperatures below 40°F to properly preserve uncooked and cooked meatloaf.

You might not need to use the meatloaf for two days, but keeping an uncooked meatloaf in the fridge is not the healthiest option for more than this period.

Instead, move the meatloaf from the fridge to a freezer within two days to be on the safer side.

This way, the meatloaf will be sure to last longer and retain its quality until it is used. 

Meatloaf should be placed deep within the food compartment in the fridge but never by the refrigerator door.

The reason for this is that there are many temperature fluctuations near the refrigerator door due to it being opened and exposed to warm air several times.

In addition, placing uncooked meatloaf in this part of the fridge could reduce its shelf life.

How Long Does Uncooked Meatloaf Last In The Freezer?

Uncooked meatloaf can last from four months to as long as 12 months. Freezing does not kill bacteria, and it only halts the progress of the bacteria.

This bacterial progress can continue from where it stopped as soon as the meatloaf has completely thawed.

However, freezing meatloaf with a constant temperature of 0°F can keep it safe indefinitely.

The only downside of this is its reduction in quality.

Freezing uncooked meatloaf is a very efficient way of preserving it. However, thawing the frozen meatloaf should not take place on the kitchen counter.

This leaves the meatloaf open to contamination. A safer alternative is to thaw it in the microwave, or better still, the refrigerator.

After thawing in the fridge, the meatloaf can last for an additional two or three days.

Before storing uncooked meatloaf in a freezer, it should be prepared and properly shaped. Fit a plastic wrap tightly into the baking pan, after which you put the meat mixture in.

Freeze this for about 30 minutes, then pull the partly frozen meatloaf out. Then, wrap it in a heavy-duty freezer bag or aluminum foil.

How To Tell If Meatloaf Is Bad?

Meatloaf that has gone bad is easily given away by its putrid smell. In addition, the rich red color of the meatloaf starts to turn grayish.

The natural red color of meat results from a protein called oxymyoglobin. 

This protein is highly abundant in meat and gives it its color. It is essential to know that once there are doubts about the freshness of meatloaf, do not eat it.

Neither should you taste it, to be specific. There are three significant signs to look out for in identifying spoilt meatloaf.

#1. Discoloration

If a meatloaf has gone bad, mold will begin to snowball. This makes the meatloaf go off-color.

Mold is the tiny fungi that spread all over the meatloaf in whitish, greenish or even bluish patches.

Once this appears on meatloaf, discard it immediately. Rinsing or reheating does not make the meatloaf healthier.

#2. Texture

Fresh meatloaf is firm to the touch, but it becomes sticky when it has gone bad. Slimy, even.

This slimy texture indicates that bacteria has begun to grow on it, and it is unsuitable for consumption.

You should immediately throw out meatloaf like this. Cooking and eating spoiled meatloaf could lead to food poisoning.

#3. Smell

The smell is the easiest way to tell if a meatloaf has gone bad. Any fresh meatloaf has a barely noticeable smell, just like any other meat product, but the smell changes once a meatloaf has gone bad.

The spoilage bacteria growing on it makes the meatloaf take on a strong rancid smell. Any meatloaf with a funky smell has gone bad and must be thrown into the trash.

Do not feed it to pets.

The method of identifying spoilt foods, not just meatloaf, through smell is old and well-known.

Therefore, it is easy to trust the sense of smell, as it is essential in pinpointing spoiled food.

Furthermore, the putrid odor that characterizes spoilt food is quite unmistakable.

Is It Safe To Prepare Meatloaf Ahead Of Time?

Yes, it is safe to prepare meatloaf ahead of time. However, one or two days ahead of time is optimal when preparing meatloaf.

Meatloaf is a simple dish made from ground beef, breadcrumbs, and eggs.

Premade meatloaf is assembled, then wrapped in foil. This prepared meatloaf is stored in the refrigerator overnight to be baked in one or two days.

At the same time, the premade meatloaf can be stored in the freezer for use later in the future.

When it is time to use, the frozen premade meatloaf is thawed and cooked.

It is also safe to make the meatloaf sauce a couple of days ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.

Can You Freeze Uncooked Meatloaf with Raw Egg In It?

Yes. It is possible to freeze uncooked meatloaf with raw eggs in it.

Many people prepare and freeze cooked meatloaf with eggs. Similarly, people freeze uncooked meatloaf with raw eggs in it.

Raw eggs can serve as an ingredient when preparing meatloaf. To prevent bacterial infections in uncooked meatloaf, use very fresh eggs without cracks for the mixture.

Keeping clean hands before and after handling the raw eggs is essential.

However, using raw eggs in meatloaf might not be suitable for certain people whose immunity might have been altered by treatment or disease.

For example, it isn’t ideal for children, pregnant women, the elderly, and HIV patients. In such cases, it is advisable to use pasteurized eggs instead of raw eggs. 

Uncooked meatloaf with raw eggs can last two to six months in the freezer. However, this does not hold if you do not maintain ideal conditions in the freezer.

Is It Better To Freeze Meatloaf Raw Or Cooked?

It is better to freeze meatloaf raw as its shelf life is far longer than cooked meatloaf stored in the freezer.

Frozen raw meatloaf can be thawed and cooked after a very long period.

Frozen cooked meatloaf might not last as long as that. Frozen cooked meatloaf will dry out when it is reheated after being thawed.

During the thawing process, cooked meatloaf might become too soft and mushy.

To prevent this occurrence, cook it with the sauce till it reaches a temperature of 160°F, then freeze the cooked meatloaf.

Cooked meatloaf freezes better this way. When it is reheated, it will not dry out. Cooked meatloaf thawed in cold water should be reheated and eaten immediately. 

The Food Standards Agency advises that you reheat food only once for ideal quality.

However, this might not always be practical, so you can adequately reheat your meatloaf a few more times, but this might slightly reduce its overall quality.

Conclusion

There are limits to how long it is to store cooked safely or uncooked meatloaf in the refrigerator or freezer.

Therefore, it is not advisable to refreeze meatloaf; this causes it to lose its quality.

On the other hand, this loss of quality results from the moisture lost by the meatloaf when previously thawing. Therefore, refreezing either raw or cooked meatloaf does not bring any benefits.

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