do you cover meatloaf with foil when baking

Do you cover meatloaf with foil when baking? Is it necessary to do it to get better results? Or, is it something you can usually skip and do without?

Many families like a hearty meatloaf on a daily basis. 

And if this is the case in your home, you may want to learn how to make the best meatloaf you have ever made.

Have you ever considered covering your meatloaf with foil as it bakes? 

Or, how can you ensure that your meatloaf does not dry out during the cooking process?

We have looked into these concerns, and will help you answer, “Should you cover meatloaf or not?”

Generally, it is a good idea to cover your meatloaf with foil because it ensures that your meatloaf does not dry out when exposed to the high temperature in the oven. 

Do You Cover Meatloaf with Foil When Baking?

why cover meatloaf with foil when baking

Yes, it is a good idea to cover your meatloaf using aluminum foil.

You can definitely skip the step and still hope to get a perfectly baked cake, but covering it will certainly make things easier.

The meatloaf will not dry out quickly in the oven if you cover it. 

In addition to keeping the oven clean, you can prevent grease splatters and an offensive odor by covering.   

What is the Difference between Uncovered and Covered Meatloaf Baking?

what is the difference of covered and uncovered meatloaf

Interestingly, experts are divided on whether or not you should cover your meatloaf, and it can make things confusing for an average Joe.

Some experts believe that covering will lead to a drier, harder-end product, but others believe doing so will keep the loaf moist. 

Ultimately, the choice of technique is entirely up to the cook and their chosen recipe.

Different recipes may call for nothing more than a light layer of foil, while others may ask for nothing at all. 

When baking a meatloaf, some recipes require the entire loaf to be wrapped in foil to prevent it from drying out.

Use caution and stick to the recipe’s directions if you plan on making something from scratch. 

When Does Covering Your Meatloaf Make Great Sense?

covering meatloaf with foil

When in doubt, covering your meatloaf is usually a better option. 

But, you may really want to follow this step if you have fattier ground beef. 

It necessitates covering the meatloaf using foil to prevent the dripping fat from causing smoke in the oven.

Similarly, it needs to be covered with foil if it is going to be in the oven for a long time. 

The meatloaf can get dry if baked for too long, but covering it with foil before putting it in the oven will prevent this. 


There are those who argue that baking a covered meatloaf leads to a mushier end result because of the excess moisture. 

So, it is okay to experiment with this method to see if it works for you.

Tip: No matter if you decide to cover or not, you should always keep an eye on your meatloaf to ensure you do not end up overcooking it. 

When Can You Avoid Covering Your Meatloaf?

avoid covering meatloaf

In most cases, there is nothing wrong with using aluminum foil to cover your meatloaf to get things done perfectly.

When covering meatloaf, keep in mind that you do not have to do it if you have already wrapped it in bacon.  

No further topics or layers are needed in this situation.

Many experts believe it is better to keep the meatloaf uncovered so that the bacon fat may drain. 

Similarly, you do not really need to cover it if you use lean ground beef. 

What is the Right Way to Cover Meatloaf?

way to cover meatloaf

Do you cover meatloaf with aluminum foil when baking? 

You already know the answer, and you might be interested in giving it a shot. 

If that is the case, here is how you can handle the process.

  • Take your meatloaf and place it into the pan.
  • Grab a single sheet of aluminum foil to cover the pan.
  • Be sure to crimp the ends around your pan to keep the foil in place.
  • Do not stretch the sheet across the pan.
  • Try a loose tin tent because it protects the meatloaf while circulating the heat.
  • Cook your meatloaf for the intended time, but stop for the last 15 minutes.
  • Now, remove the foil and cook it for at least 15 minutes uncovered. 

What is the Right Temperature to Bake Meatloaf in Oven?

the right temperature when cooking meatloaf

Not maintaining the right temperature throughout baking could result in imperfect and uneven cooking.  

Therefore, it makes sense to invest in a high-quality thermometer to keep an eye on the internet temperature.

The ideal internal temperature for meatloaf is between 155F and 160F.  

Because the ideal temperature range is quite stiff, it is essential to keep an eye on the cooking process to avoid overcooking.

Tip: Your meatloaf will always be perfectly moist if you let the internal temperature rise after removing it from the oven. 

How Long Should You Bake Meatloaf to Avoid Overcooking?

how long should you bake meatloaf

Cooking your meatloaf for the right amount of time is crucial if you want it to turn out well so you can serve it to your loved ones.

It usually depends on the recipe you follow. 

They all come with different guidelines, but in most cases, the weight of your meatloaf has a role to play.

For instance:

  • It takes about 45 min to bake 1lbs of meatloaf.
  • It takes about 55 min to bake 2lbs of meatloaf.
  • It takes about 80 min to bake 3lbs of meat.

As you can see, the cooking time increases as you use more meat. 

But, keep in mind that these are estimated times for a conventional oven. 

You need to considerably reduce the baking time when opting for a convection oven.

Tip: Expect the baking time to go down by 25% if you are baking in a convection oven instead of a conventional oven, and if the temperature remains the same. 

How Do You Confirm Your Meatloaf is Ready?

In most cases, your meatloaf is ready within the time you find in your recipe. 

But as mentioned already, the cooking time changes considerably with a change in the size of your meatloaf.

how long is the cooking time

Always plan on cooking a 2-pound meatloaf for about an hour. 

Be careful though because overcooking will make the meat hard and crumbly.

Taking the meatloaf’s interior temperature is the best way to determine when it is done cooking. 

When the internal temperature of your meatloaf reaches 155F, it is usually time to remove it from the oven.

Tip: Be sure to mix the ingredients properly or else there will be large chunks of veggies or meat that can make your meatloaf fall apart while baking.

What Besides Covering Keeps Your Meatloaf Moist?

As you may have gathered, most people use aluminum foil to keep the meatloaf moist. 

But you do not always have to stick to it, as there are other ways to achieve the same results. 

For instance: 

Add Some Veggies

Let us say you are planning on adding a wide variety of vegetables to your dishes, such as onions, carrots, and mushrooms.

Make sure the meatloaf mixture has uniform chunks of this by cutting it into uniform sizes. 

The same shapes of the chopped vegetables will also help to keep the loaf together.

add chopped vegetables

It is a good idea to combine your wet and dry ingredients first and then add the ground beef. 

Doing so will greatly reduce the amount of time spent mixing and will also be easier on your hands and wrists. 

Avoid Air Pockets in the Loaf

To ensure your meatloaf retains moisture properly, you should shape it into a firm loaf without any air spaces.

To form the loaf, use cool water to wet your hands, as the meat will not stick to your hands as much when it is wet. 

And it will also make it a lot easier to make your loaf, which stays moist for long.

Tip: Do not cram your meatloaf into the pan, as if it becomes too dense, some of the meat may remain raw and uncooked. 


Do you cover meatloaf with foil when baking? 

Although you do not always have to, it is better if you do. 

Covering the meatloaf with a lid or aluminum foil will keep the moisture in and provide the best texture. 

By doing so, you can ensure a juicy and tender meatloaf. 

In addition, it prevents the exterior from browning too quickly before the interior is done cooking.