Here's the Internal Temperature That Means Meatloaf Is Done

It can be difficult to tell if meat loaf is done because of its color and texture. Follow our Test Kitchen's tips so you'll never have to worry about serving overcooked or undercooked meat loaf again.

So you've decided to recreate Mom's famous meat loaf. After filling your kitchen with that amazing comfort food smell, you might be wondering how to tell if meat loaf is done. Because the ground beef mixture is covered in sauce, it's hard to see in the pan, so its important to know the proper meat loaf internal temp. Overcooked meat loaf can result in dry texture, leaving you constantly reaching for water. And undercooked meat loaf is downright unsafe. Our Test Kitchen's advice helps prevent either outcome for ideal doneness. Once you know the temperature meat loaf is done, you'll be making juicy homemade loaves and serving cozy dinners to the family in no time.

The Best Meatloaf on white plate
Blaine Moats

How to Tell When Meat Loaf Is Done

Choose your favorite meat loaf recipe and set the oven for the meat loaf cooking temperature specified. Toward the end of the cooking time (our standard 2-pound meat loaf takes about 1 hour), follow this simple method to always know when meat loaf is done.

  • To tell when meat loaf is done, use an instant-read thermometer ($13, Walmart). The meat loaf's internal temperature should register 160°F when inserted into the center of the loaf.
  • Alternatively, use an oven-safe thermometer that can be placed in the meatloaf before it goes into the oven. Insert the stem of the thermometer into the thickest part of the meatloaf and make sure that the tip of the thermometer is not touching the pan.

Because the color of cooked ground meat mixtures won't always indicate doneness, our Test Kitchen (and the USDA) recommends always using a meat thermometer. Now that you know how to tell when meat loaf is done, discover some new meat loaf recipes to serve for easy weeknight dinners. Move on from the classic and give your meat loaf some Southwestern flair, make it taste like pizza, or add cheese and wrap it in bacon.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles