There’s no question that meat loaf is a classic dish, but it can also be a bit tricky to make. After all, it’s not as simple as just tossing some meat in a pan and then eating it when it’s done. The good news is that there are plenty of recipes out there that will help you get started on your next batch of meat loaf (and if you’re looking for something even easier than making your own recipe, check out the boxed variety). But first things first: How long should I cook my meatloaf? Here’s how to get the best results from this tasty dish — whether you’re using an existing recipe or starting from scratch:
Get a recipe.
The first step is to get a recipe. There are plenty of meatloaf recipes online and in books, but not every one of them is going to be perfect for you. If you’re looking for something simple and straightforward, try Googling “basic meatloaf recipe” or “classic American meatloaf.” You can also check out this recipe from Food Network:
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, use your hands to test the temperature of the meat loaf: if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to eat.
Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, pork, onion, garlic and eggs. Add the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray (don’t use butter or oil). Transfer meatloaf mixture into prepared baking pan; shape into loaf shape by pressing down firmly on top with your hands until even throughout its length.
Place the meatloaf on its side in the center of the pan and spread ketchup on top.
This step is pretty straightforward. You want to make sure that ketchup covers the entire surface of your meat loaf, so spread it evenly across its top and sides.
Ketchup is a good choice for meatloaf because it adds flavor and moisture to your dish, but don’t worry if you don’t have any on hand–there are other condiments you can use instead!
Bake for 50 minutes, then check with a thermometer by inserting it into the center of the meat loaf until it registers 165 degrees F.
Bake for 50 minutes, then check with a thermometer by inserting it into the center of the meat loaf until it registers 165 degrees F. If your oven has hot spots, you might want to rotate the pan halfway through baking to ensure even cooking on all sides. Be sure to use an instant-read thermometer so you don’t have to open up your oven and lose heat!
If your meat loaf is not done after 50 minutes, bake for an additional 10 minutes at 400 degrees F (or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F).
Meat loaf should be cooked for about an hour — 50 minutes if you’re using a recipe from scratch, or 25 minutes if you’re using a prepared one.
Meat loaves should be cooked for about an hour — 50 minutes if you’re using a recipe from scratch, or 25 minutes if you’re using a prepared one. If you’re making a meat loaf with ground beef, pork and/or veal (a classic combination), the best way to measure its doneness is by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the center of the loaf until it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius).
I hope this article has helped you understand how long it takes to cook a meat loaf. If you’re making one from scratch, keep in mind that the cooking time will vary depending on the recipe and size of the loaf. However, if all else fails–and let’s be honest: sometimes it does–you can always just throw some ground beef into an oven-safe dish with some spices and veggies!