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Your favorite pan for meatloaf

What is your favorite baking pan for meatloaf. I have always used some kind of loaf pan with my cast iron being my favorite. But, loaf pans are hard to get the meat loaf out of, without tearing it up. Especially if it sticks. I see the chefs on TV form a loaf and just put it on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. I have never really thought of that, but would definately be easier to get it out of while leaving the grease behind.

So what do you all like to use? Metal, ceramic, glass, enameled cast iron......

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  1. While we typically use a loaf pan, a broiler pan is good for avoiding th fat. All the fat drips through the holes to the bottom.

    1. Hi, dixiegal:

      For small loaves, I like the LC pate terrine.


      1. We usually use a square pyrex pan. If I'm making a larger meatloaf then I use a ceramic dish I have that holds more.

        1. I form it in a baking pan that leaves at least at inch or so on each side. A loaf pan holds in the fat, which I want to have drain off during the cooking process.

          1. When we make our annual meat loaf it's in a pan kinda sorta like one of these.....A two piece one.....


            1. Generally use a loaf pan. I'll cook about half way and turn out (upside down) into a larger baking dish. Then several strips of bacon and back into oven till most of fat renders out. Then generous amount of ketchup and back in till it's "done".

              Sometimes go freeform. Sahpe or container doesn't make any difference in taste or how good the left-overs are for sandwiches!

              1. I never make the meatloaf in our cooking. That's DWs perview. (an ancient family recipe). She always uses a 9 X 12 oven-safe, glass dish.

                1. I form a loaf shape in the middle of my 12" cast iron frying pan. Don't know why except that's what mom always did....

                  1. You're supposed to cook meatloaf in a pan? My mother - and my dad's mother - always shaped meatloaf on a cookie sheet. I'm lazier than they were, so i always line the sheet with foil and spray it. More recently, though, I've been shaping the meatloaf into large meatballs so that i can freeze them individually.

                    Gotta confess, I never thought of using a loaf pan!

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: jiffypop

                      I like using a jelly roll pan rather than a loaf pan....a loaf pan results in a more 'steamed' meatloaf, and the jellyroll pan results in more of that wonderful meatloaf 'crust' and a firmer texture.
                      I can't abide a meatloaf that falls apart and has a spongy/meal-y texture :)
                      Just my .02

                      1. re: jnky

                        This is how I do it, too. Jelly roll pan. And try Paul Prudhomme's Cajun meatloaf recipe:)

                        1. re: KrumTx

                          Thanks, Krum. I am so going to try the Cajun meatloaf. Sounds good.

                          1. re: dixiegal

                            Well, I tried the Cajun meatloaf and it is good. Even when I left out a couple ingredients, that I did not have. (I also managed to make it gluten free, which was great for me.)I also did the free form thing on my SS sheet pan. And it was south easier to work with. So easy to lift off the pan and the grease was able to drain away. Thanks for the advice. Knew I could count on ya.

                            Now onto my next project. Making my own condensed cream of chicken/mushroom soup for casseroles. I need to avoid the gluten and lessen the salt. Salt content I those soups is over the top.

                            1. re: dixiegal

                              The last time I got a can of Campbell's Tomato soup I thought it was bad until I read the label and realized how much salt was in it. The amount of salt was obscene. It even makes stew too salty.

                              1. re: Sid Post

                                >The amount of salt was obscene. It even makes stew too salty.<

                                I agree. I think Cambells soup has more salt than country ham. Probably would not even need a preservative.

                              2. re: dixiegal

                                Glad you liked it. When making any of Prudhomme's recipes, I turn my head when adding the butter and pretend it never happened:)

                        2. re: jiffypop

                          >My mother - and my dad's mother - always shaped meatloaf on a cookie sheet<
                          >You're supposed to cook meatloaf in a pan?<

                          LOL. I just always used the loaf pan, because I thought that was what it was for. To hold the meatloaf in shape.

                          I am going to try the baking pan/cookie sheet thing. I think it would be so much easier to handle and help to drain the grease away. I can also make what ever size loafs I want too. I could make several small ones, or just a couple of big ones. I too, always make extra for the freezer.

                          1. re: jiffypop

                            I do it on a half-sheet pan, on a half-sheet of parchment. No more than 2.5-3" high. Nice and crusty.

                            I wonder if people who hate meat loaf have only had the steamed kind you get when you use a loaf pan.

                          2. I little different than most..

                            I form in a loaf pan but then turn over onto parchment paper.

                            The meatloaf then get wrapped like a tootsie roll in the paper and baked on a sheet pan.

                            When cooked remove the paper and slice away .. the paper keeps it's shape pretty well and the fat drains much more than if using a loaf pan.

                            1. I form the meatloaf on a half sheet pan on a silpat and in case it in bacon with a catchup/maggi/bacon dripping/brown sugar glaze. never had a complaint.

                              1. A think the idea of more crunchy outside that occurs when you cook it freeform rather than in a loaf pan is probably the best reason for that method.

                                1. I form a loaf, put it in an oval LeCreuset, surround it with cut up vegetables, cover and cook 30 minutes, then remove cover for remainder of cooking. Result is an entire dinner with little hands-on time required.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: eliz553

                                    Nice.... I have got to try that one.

                                  2. I use an oval porcelain shallow roasting pan, about 1 1/4" deep, freeforming the meatloaf into a dome with about an inch to spare around all sides. There's plenty of room around the edges to use a baster to suck the grease out, and get crispy edges all round.
                                    I use the same pan for roasting chicken. It's such a habit with both, I can't bring myself to use anything else - it's been this pan for over 30 years! It was part of a set of cheap Italian cookware from A & P years ago..yellow with orange flowers, and this is the only pan I kept over the years from that set.

                                    1. A 8" ovenproof pan holds a 1 lb 'mound' of meat, and has enough of a rim to catch the juices. I happen to have a Spanish enameled steel 'casuela' (sort of like a small paella pan) that works fine. I don't think the material matters too much, though I'd probably prefer a cast iron skillet over a light cake pan.

                                      With a mound you have more surface area that gets dry and crusty and browned. With a loaf more of the meat is in contact with the pan and immersed in expelled juices. It's more important to watch time and temperature with the mound.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: paulj

                                        I make mine in a large muffin tin, little meatloaf muffins. It's great for portioning when you're on Weight Watchers (like my hubby and I are). You can even slice it to put on bread for a sandwich pretty easily. Not a lot of fat since we use lean local beef and quite a lot of veggies mixed in.

                                      2. I always mold my meat loaf in the center of a much larger ceramic casserole dish. Leaving the sides exposed allows for more surface area, meaning more of that tasty crust.