Meatloaf is one of those foods that is a staple of the family mealtime. When done well, it can help with a bad day at work or school, it fills stomachs after a long day working hard, and it provides ample nutrition, so everyone is well fed. Of course, when it’s not done well, it can lead to some downturned faces and grumpy kids! So, if you’re looking for a way to make the best meatloaf, check out our guide to the best meatloaf pans on the market, today – and be ready for some good grub.
The Best Meatloaf Pan
This meatloaf pan with insert comes up as our Top Pick for offering exceptional value for money and a delicious final product. The insert can be used as a grease trap, allowing fat and juices to fall to the base of the pan, so your meatloaf remains succulent, yet healthy. It can also be used to easily lift out your cooked meatloaf, so you don’t need to worry about everything getting stuck to the sides and base.
Made from a heavy-gauge steel, the pan provides excellent conductivity, ensuring there are no hot spots during cooking. It’s also coated with a non-stick layer, to make it easier to both remove your loaf and clean up, when you’re finished. Even better, it’s dishwasher safe, so even easier to clean up, once finished.
Grease trap included
- BrandChicago Metallic
- Weight1.84 pounds
A superb choice in providing consistent cooking and baking quality, this ceramic loaf pan can be used for a range of baked goods but truly shines when used as a meatloaf pan. Coated with silicone for a nonstick finish, the clay for this stoneware is heat safe up to 450 degrees and has been crafted from clay mined in Tennessee.
Heat safe to 450 degrees
Made with Tennessee clay
- BrandUSA Pan
- Weight3 pounds
Pyrex is a brand that is synonymous with high quality cookware, and this glass loaf pan is no different. Complete with BPA-free lid for storing your leftovers, this easy to use option can be used for a wide range of cooking requirements. Large ergonomic handles make it easy to lift and place your meatloaf, without burning yourself, and the loaf dish even comes with a 2-year warranty, for added peace of mind.
Large ergonomic handles
Made with non-porous glass
2-year warranty included
- Weight3 pounds
Silicone has become increasingly popular with bakers and cooks, thanks to it’s added durability and ease of use. This silicone loaf pan encapsulates the best of this BPA-free plastic-style cookware and offers one of the best meatloaf pans on the market. Oven safe up to 500 degrees and able to hold it’s shape, for easier carrying and fetching, this option is easy to use and easy to clean.
Oven safe up to 500 degrees
- BrandMrs. Anderson’s Baking
- Weight6.4 ounces
For those who want the benefits of aluminized steel without the price tag, a good aluminum bread loaf pan can be a great option. Minimal clean-up is one of the biggest factors, in choosing loaf pans and this option provides the ultimate lazy way to create your meat loaf. Superior conductivity is maintained and the thicker walls hold their shape during cooking, too.
Thick aluminum holds well
- Weight1.6 pounds
Offering excellent value for money, while looking great, this non-stick loaf pan is a great choice for any home. Quality materials allow for consistent, even heating and the reinforced walls and lip resist warping, up to 500 degrees. The grippy handles allow the chef to maintain a good grip during use and, best of all, the meatloaf pan is even suitable for use in a dishwasher.
- BrandRachael Ray
- Weight1 pounds
A great option that works together or as standalone pans, this pair of bakeware from Wilton is a great choice for any household. Use the insert tray as a grease trap, for a healthier meatloaf, or use the loaf pan on its own for any other baked goods. Both options are made with a high quality steel that resists warping and the non-stick coating makes clean-up times even easier.
Grease trap tray included
Made with heavy gauge steel
- Weight1.55 pounds
For those who want the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of aluminized steel, this meatloaf pan is made up of new and recycled steel, making it the ideal choice for your needs. A corrugated surface allows for air to flow freely around your meatloaf, giving you an even heating and quicker cooking time. And, being coated with a patented non-stick layer, this option is free of both PTFE and PFOA and BPA, making it one of the healthiest choices.
Nonstick with Americoat
Made with new and recycled steel
- BrandUSA Pan
- Weight2 pounds
Best Meatloaf Pan Buying Guide & FAQ
What is a Meatloaf Pan?
Meatloaf pans are specially designed to fit with the ideal cooking measurements of meatloaf. Longer than other pans on the market, this allows for heat to circulate at optimal levels, ensuring your meal is cooked thoroughly but efficiently. Many even come with an inset, which allows for grease to run from the meat into the tray, making your meal healthier.
What to Look For When Buying a Loaf Pan
The size of your pan is important for one main reason: the cooking time. If you need to serve a lot of people at once, then opt for a longer and deeper pan for your kitchen, rather than a wider option. They can be a little harder to store when not in use, but they will ensure your finished meal remains delectable, each and every time. Buying a pan that is too wide will often lead to undercooked areas, which nobody wants!
The standard size is around 8-10 inches long, 5 inches wide and around 3 or 4 inches tall – measurements that do not fall into this ratio are more likely to provide you with an uneven meatloaf. However, this will usually fit in around 4 servings, so is usually enough to feed a small family.
The material for any cookware will always be one of the most important factors when purchasing new equipment for your kitchen. Reading up on the different information each material offers is key to finding the right choice for you. For example, glass is non-porous, allowing you to cook all manner of foods without absorbing the smell or taste of any stronger meals. Meanwhile, stoneware will need to be coated, in order to achieve the same effect.
Metal options are one of the most versatile, as they heat and cool very quickly, making cooking time more precise. Options such as stainless steel are inert, and therefore won’t react with your food, and they are often thinner, lighter and cheaper than stoneware or glass options. That said, they often have a shorter lifespan than other choices, as their coating will wear off more quickly and some are not suitable for use in a dishwasher.
- Design and Features
As well as providing excellent cooking times, the design and features of your new purchase can make cooking your meatloaf all the more convenient or even improve on the taste of the final product. Opting for a pan that uses ergonomic handles will help you gain a good grip, when using your pan, ensuring you don’t spill anything or burn yourself when removing the dish from the oven.
Meanwhile, added insets with a perforated base can improve the overall nutrition of the loaf. These work by draining away excess fat during cooking, leaving you with a healthier alternative. Finally, added benefits such as easy cleaning and durability can make it easier to clean and store your pan, too.
Types of Meatloaf Pans
Loaf pans are the traditional meatloaf pan, which come as a long, deep pan that offers excellent cooking times.You can find these in a variety of materials, allowing you to bypass any risk of exposure to PTFE, PFOA or BPA, all of which might be found in plastic or those pans with a nonstick element.
However, the best meatloaf pans are those which come with an inset– and these can only be found in metal options, at the moment. This allows for fat to drain off the meat and keeps your loaf delightfully crispy on the outer side, without any sogginess or added grease in your meal.
Benefits of Using a Loaf Pan
The biggest benefit to using a loaf pan is that your food is cooked evenly, each and every time. While using a normal pan can sometimes result in hot spots or raw areas in your meatloaf (which is both a health hazard and not at all appetizing), a good quality loaf pan will do neither. Instead, it provides you with a thoroughly cooked, crispy yet moist meatloaf that tastes great, every time.
They can also come with the added benefit of an additional tray or pan, which is perforated, to allow for grease and moisture to fall to the bottom of the tray. This keeps your meals healthier, allowing you to partake is an otherwise relatively unhealthy meal, and enjoy the benefits of your dinner instead.
Best Meatloaf Pan FAQ:
Q: Is it better to bake in a glass or metal pan?
A: The answer to this comes down to your personal preference, as both metal and glass cookware options will work brilliantly for this meal. Glass has the added benefit of being naturally nonstick, and you can easily see how well-cooked the meal is, without opening up your oven. Metal, on the other hand, tends to hold heat better and cook a little faster and often comes with some nice features, such as the perforated tray.
Q: Should I grease the pan for meatloaf?
A: Many options come with an additional coating, to make it easy when it comes to removing the loaf and cleaning the pan, but this isn’t essential. One of the great things about this meal is that the fat provided from the meat itself will naturally grease the pan.
That said, it can be handy to grease a pan if you’re worried about cleaning up afterwards. Bits of meat and leftovers can often burn onto the sides, if they are left for a little too long, and using a little grease can help add a nonstick element to the pan. This will also make the pan easy to clean, after you’ve used it.
Q: What can I use if I don't have a meatloaf pan?
A: If you don’t have a pan, you can always opt to use an easy recipe that allows the loaf to hold its shape, without a pan. You just need to shape the ingredients until it forms the correct shape (this is more important for cooking times than any aesthetics), then you can simply place this on top of a baking sheet or tray and cook as normal.
Do be aware that using this method may mean that your loaf might lose its shape – but it may also require a lower cooking heat, and a longer cooking time. This is to ensure the meal is thoroughly cooked, without burning the outside of the loaf itself.
Our Top Pick
The meatloaf pan from Chicago Metallic is a great choice for loaf veterans and rookies alike, as it provides consistently high quality, no matter what your skill level. Incredibly easy to use, it comes with an insert to keep your loaf as healthy as possible.
At the same time, it is incredibly easy to clean due to the non-stick coating and suitability for use in a dishwasher. If you’re after using your pans for other baked goods, you’ll be pleased to know you can simply remove the tray and utilize this pan as standalone cookware, too.