How To Tell If Meatloaf is Done 

Meatloaf is a great homemade dinner and can be a tasty leftover lunch. Cooking meatloaf takes some care and consideration into adding the ingredients, particularly the binding agents and the spices. After all this care is taken, how do you know when that meatloaf is done? 

Meatloaf is done when it has reached 160° Fahrenheit. The temperature can be determined using a cooking thermometer. For those who don’t have a thermometer handy, meatloaf can be checked using a toothpick or fork. As long as it has cooked for more than forty minutes and the middle of the meatloaf is firm all the way through, the meatloaf is done. 

Like most other meats, meatloaf should be at about 155° F to 160° F to be considered ready to come out of the oven to rest. The meatloaf should also have formed a thick outer crust and will, upon first glance, let you know if it is close to being done. 

What Are Ways to Tell When Meatloaf is Done? 

Meatloaf can be checked throughout the cooking process. The meatloaf has a chance of being done after a reasonable amount of cooking time, or when the meatloaf reaches 160° F. Meatloaf can be checked by keeping track of the time, using a thermometer, or with a fork. 

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How do you Know When Meatloaf is Done if You Use a Thermometer?

If you have a cooking thermometer handy, it is essential to know that the meatloaf is ready once it reaches 160° F. Place the thermometer into the center of the meatloaf after about forty minutes of cooking. If it has reached 160° F, then it is considered done. 

How Do You Know When Meatloaf Is Done Without a Thermometer?

There are a few options if you do not have a thermometer handy to check the meatloaf. You can check the middle of the meatloaf or keep track of the time as the two most valuable methods to know if the meatloaf is done. 

Check the Time

It is excellent to know when you put the meatloaf in so you can start checking it about forty minutes after putting it into the oven. If you don’t have a thermometer,, you can check the outside and inside of the meatloaf to see if it is yet done. 

Check the Middle of the Meatloaf

Check the middle of the meatloaf with a knife, fork, or toothpick. If the meatloaf feels firm through the center and doesn’t leave much residue on the utensil (like an undercooked cake would), it may be ready. If this coincides with the proper amount of time spent in the oven, take it out and cut it open to verify the texture. 

Is It OK if Meatloaf Is a Little Pink?

When dealing with ground beef, you don’t want to see any pink or red while cooking generally. It has been suggested, however, that meatloaf may still be pink inside when it’s done because of the other ingredients that are mixed in. Ketchup and/or tomato paste is one of the key ingredients to meatloaf and will tint the food. As long as the meatloaf has reached 160°F, it should be safe to consume.   

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Approximate Cooking Times for a 2 lb. Meatloaf

It is often helpful to know the cooking times on a simple recipe to know when to check to see if it is done.  

  • 2lb Meatloaf at 350 – one hour cooking time
  • 2lb Meatloaf at 375 – forty-five to fifty minutes cooking time

After this initial time has passed, you can start checking the meatloaf with a thermometer or other methods. Some will crank up the heat for ten to fifteen minutes to give the meatloaf a crunchy, crispy crust. Make sure to put leftover meatloaf away to reheat and enjoy it later. 


If you’re looking to figure out how to tell when the meatloaf you just put in the oven is done, there are a few ways. You can use a thermometer to test the middle of the meatloaf and see if it has reached a minimum of 160° F. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the middle of the meatloaf by poking the center with a fork or a toothpick. As long as the meatloaf is firm throughout and the utensil comes out clean, then the meatloaf is most likely done. Watch the time you’ve put your meatloaf in also to have a better idea of when to start checking if it is done.