How to make the best meatloaf

Meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food, enjoyed hot with vegetables, or cold with salads, bread and relish it's a classic that never goes out of style. Use these tips to make the most of your favourite meatloaf recipe.

Which dish?

  • Cooking the meatloaf in a ceramic loaf dish or loaf tin, gives a soft-sided result and a well-coloured crusty top. It also makes for easy handling and it gives the meatloaf a good shape.
  • Cooking a meatloaf mixture in non-stick muffin tins or mini loaf tins is a great way to make individual serves.
  • Baking in a free form or perforated tin keeps it from stewing in its own juices.
  • Lightly grease the tin before adding the meatloaf to prevent sticking.

Preparation perfection

  • Use a wet hand to push the mixture firmly and evenly into the tin. This will ensure that the meatloaf will not have any holes and it will cut easily.
  • To keep the meatloaf moist, cover the dish with a sheet of baking paper and then a sheet of foil. Together they trap the heat and the moisture in. Tuck the foil and paper tightly around the dish.
  • You’ll need to pull the foil and paper back a couple of times during cooking and drain away the liquid, this will stop the meatloaf stewing in the liquid rather than baking.
  • In the last 15 minutes of the cooking time remove the foil and paper, drain away any remaining liquid and then pour a mix/glaze over the meatloaf.
  • For a slightly tenderer result with a milder flavour, you could substitute beef mince for veal mince.

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    Glaze it

    • An easy store cupboard glaze is made from equal quantities of brown sugar and tomato sauce (about 2-3 tablespoons of each). This mix will give the meatloaf a great colour and a sweet, sticky top.


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      Serving

      • To serve hot, slice the meatloaf in thickish slices straight from the dish.
      • When it’s cold, the slices can be cut thinner and served with salad or even on a sandwich.
      • Hot or cold, try serving with a simple salsa of finely diced red onion, chopped red pimento (heart-shaped chilli pepper sold in jars) and torn basil leaves.

      How do I know if my meatloaf is cooked?

      Meatloaf can still appear pink on the inside even though it is cooked to well done. This is due to the naturally occurring nitrates present in ingredients often used in the meatloaf mix, like onions, celery and red capsicum.

      Test with a skewer, if it's ready the juices will run clear. If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be around 75˚C.

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