Here's the Internal Temperature That Means Your Meatloaf Is Done

Follow these Test Kitchen tips and you'll never have to worry about serving overcooked or undercooked meatloaf again.

So you've decided to recreate Mom's famous meat loaf. After filling your kitchen with that amazing comfort food aroma, you might be wondering how to tell when it's done. Because the ground beef mixture is covered in sauce, it's hard to check for doneness, so it's important to know the proper meatloaf internal temperature. Overcooked meat loaf can result in dryness, and undercooked is downright unsafe. Our Test Kitchen's advice will guide you to ideal doneness. Once you know the correct internal temperature, you'll be making juicy homemade loaves and serving 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 cooking temperature specified. Toward the end of the cooking time (our standard two-pound meat loaf takes about one hour), follow this simple method to know when it's done.

  • Use an instant-read thermometer ($10, Walmart). The meat loaf's internal temperature should register 160°F when the thermometer is inserted into the center.
  • 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 its tip is not touching the pan.

Because checking the color of a cooked ground meat mixture won't always indicate doneness, our Test Kitchen (and the USDA) recommends always using a meat thermometer to check the meatloaf internal temperature. Now that you know how to tell when your meat loaf is done, discover some new recipes 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