When it comes to American gold standards of home cooking, one of the first things that spring to people’s minds is meatloaf.
This simple dish of smoked ground beef often complemented with cheese and vegetables is popular throughout North America, mainly because of its delicious taste and the ease of which it is prepared.
Loaves, bread and cakes are often very thick foods, so the length of the cooking as well as the temperature is very important to ensure that they are properly cooked through to the center.
Meatloaf pans conventionally come at 9-inches in length, 5-inches in width and 2.5-inches deep, although these dimensions can vary slightly depending on the brand. They are usually manufactured from glass, steel and aluminum, although you will often need to consider the depth and consistency of the loaf you’re baking before investing in a tin.
But what are the best types of meatloaf receptacles currently available on the market?
What are the features on a meatloaf tin that are particularly important for maintaining that consistency in your loaf?
How much can a premium-quality meatloaf tin be looking to set you back in terms of price?
Well, don’t panic meatloaf bakers, because help is at hand! We’ve drummed up a list of some of the best quality meatloaf tins currently available on the market, along with a buyer’s guide that should help you to navigate the sometimes overwhelming universe of meatloaf tins as well as some frequently asked questions by meatloaf enthusiasts.
Best Meatloaf Pans
OUR TOP PICK
When it comes to a top quality meatloaf tin, our first item is non-stick and will ensure that your meatloaf is cooked consistently right the way into the center, made of corrugated steel which will discharge your cooked contents with the minimum of fuss - introducing the USA Pan Bakeware Meatloaf Pan.
The most standout feature of this pan is the corrugated rivulets running through the inside. The aluminized steel body ensures a good heat transfer into your beef, whilst the grooves give the meat less surface area to stick to, allowing the meatloaf to be dislodged easily once cooking is complete.
This pan will ensure a solid shape at the end of your cooking time, coming as it does with Americoat covering around the inside, which is an eco-friendly silicone coating that has premium non-stick properties.
This brand of pan comes in 3 sizes: the 1-pound, 1 and 1 quarter-pound and 1 and a half pound models, each with increasing dimensions to suit the size of the finished meatloaf. This model also comes with a limited lifetime warranty that gives you that added assurance against damages if you are a frequent baker.
- This is a premium-level meatloaf tin, perfectly adapted to eliminate things such as burning and sticking that could easily ruin the quality of your final meatloaf.
- The different sizes are perfect for those who want to try varying levels of baking, the bigger size more suited to a larger family dinner, while the small size is more suitable for solo baking.
- The ridges on the inside will prevent your meatloaf from breaking upon removal, which will be essential if you’re cooking for other people and presentation is paramount.
- This model comes without handles, which will certainly make it trickier to remove from the oven when it is finished. We would recommend using oven gloves to handle.
Our next meatloaf pan offers a uniquely different solution to the problem of sticking, coming as it does with an emptying grill that allows you to easily pry the beef away from the metal housing, giving you top quality results not only for your meatloaf, but for your banana bread or small traditional loaf too - introducing the Elbee Home Premium 9-Inch Meatloaf Pan.
The versatility of this pan will certainly appeal to more experienced home bakers who want a tin they can use with not just meatloaf, but numerous other styles of small cake and bread. This would also be a perfect gift for someone you know that cooks regularly and likes to experiment.
The non-stick emptying tray will allow you to ease your meatloaf from the dish without even touching the hot pan, which is ideal if you’re in a rush yet you still want that dense and solid shape to your meatloaf.
Made from carbon steel, you can be sure that this tin will roast your contents faster and more evenly than a lot of other meatloaf tins. The surface of the tin is very easy to clean too.
- The non-stick emptying tray makes dislodging your final meatloaf or cake extremely easy, meaning you won’t have to worry about the inevitable breaking or cracking that can occur, especially if slightly overcooked.
- Carbon steel is a fantastic material for cooking a wide variety of foodstuffs - including meats, bread and dough-based dishes.
- The material of this meatloaf dish will ensure that your meatloaf is warmed faster right through to the core. The material will also ensure that the insides aren’t too dry or burnt.
- The smaller dimensions of this meatloaf pan mean that it might not give you the volume of meatloaf that you need if preparing a meal for a large party of people.
Our next meatloaf pan is one that will give you a business-level professional finish when it comes to baking your meatloaf, manufactured from a solid aluminum body that makes for good heat transfer and fast, constant warming throughout the meal - introducing Nordic Ware Naturals Meatloaf Plan.
The edges of this particular pan are made from thicker steel to ensure that you will be protected when taking it out of the oven. It also comes with handles that will help facilitate easy transfer to and from the oven, with reinforced whirled steel to prevent distortion from large amounts of heat.
With a punctured bottom to allow fat to run off, you can guarantee that this tin will result in a lot leaner meatloaf, which is perfect if you want something as low in calories as possible. You can also remove the grill by the handles and flip it upside down for an easy, crack-free transfer from the tin to the plate.
- The construction and design of this tin ensure a very safe and professional standard of baking. With a removable inner tray, you won’t have to worry about ruining your dish upon transfer.
- The stolid steel and aluminum body will distribute the heat from your oven evenly across your meatloaf, preventing burning at the edges. The handles also make it easy to transfer to your plate, which will be important to anyone who values presentation.
- The drip tray at the bottom will ensure that your meatloaf doesn’t come out too stodgy or dripping with fat.
- Like our last model, this pan might not have the capacity to prepare large quantities of meatloaf, which might put off someone who wants to prepare this dish for a bigger family.
Next up we have another very versatile meatloaf maker that comes in two individual compartments, the first punctured to allow fat-runoff and easing the final loaf out of your tin and onto the plate with the minimum of damage.
However, you can also adapt this tin for cakes, bread and other sweet treats - introducing the Wilton Perfect Results Non-Stick Meatloaf Pan.
The basic inner container can be used to rustle up your favorite meatloaf or regular bread dishes, with a non-stick coating that makes cooking and cleaning this product very simple and quick.
With the steel wings on either side, you can whip this in and out of the oven in no time at all, which will be very useful for those people who are preparing a large meal in a hurry and can rest easy in the knowledge that they can leave their meatloaf in the oven without having to check on it repeatedly.
- The tenacious steel housing is resistant to warping and twisting when exposed to intense pressure - this is a product that you’ll be able to cook with day after day, week after week, year after year.
- The non-stick element of this pan makes cooking and cleaning an absolute breeze, with a few minutes of scrubbing, your pan will be spick and span to use the following day. Each component of this meatloaf pan is also dishwasher friendly.
- The canal underneath the inner tray allows any fat from your meatloaf to easily escape, meaning that you’ll have a lean, fat-reduced meal, which is perfect for those health-conscious cooks.
- Some users have complained of rust and the non-stick coating coming off within the first few months.
Our next meatloaf tin is one for the more advantageous meat-based dish, with a separate heating shelf that will siphon off the grease and oil and make for a much healthier, calorie-reduced meal.
The lifting plate has no sides, which means a nice, clean separation from the main body, hopefully resulting in a solid and healthy meatloaf at the end - introducing the Chicago Metallic Non-Stick 2-Piece Healthy Meatloaf Set.
The fact that this meatloaf tin separates is what makes it so handy to have in your kitchen. The holes in the base of the inner compartment allow the grease to drain off easily, resulting in a much healthier product at the end. Without any inner sides for it to become stuck to, the final meatloaf will look competition-ready!
The aluminized steel of the tin results in quality conduction of heat, with a non-stick silicone coating that simplifies presentation as well as the hassle of cleaning after a long period of cooking.
This tin will have no problem heating a wide range of ingredients including beef, dough and cake, with a capacious inner compartment that will allow you to cook larger batches.
- With a sideless lifting tray on the inside, you can avoid the fiddly process of separating your meatloaf from the main body of the tin with knives, spatulas and spoons. The final presentation of the meatloaf will be top-notch, giving this homely dish a sophisticated presentation.
- Each part of this meatloaf tin is dishwasher friendly, which will cut down on cleaning time, the most arduous part of an already time-consuming cooking process.
- The build quality of this meatloaf tin is simple and reliable, with a solid steel base, you can be sure that your recipe will be cooked to within the degree every single time. With the meat run-off grills, you can also be certain that it will deliver a much healthier product at the end.
- Some users have complained that they could have benefitted from additional utensils to help them ease the meatloaf from its housing.
Best Meatloaf Pan Buying Guide
There are many features that you have to consider when buying a new meatloaf tin, some of which are more essential than others.
It all depends on what you want from your meatloaf, factoring in things like size, dimensions, healthiness, handles, durability and non-stick attributes.
What Are The Dimensions?
As we have seen, some meatloaf dishes come in a wide range of sizes.
Who will you be cooking for?
If it’s for you alone, then you’ll probably want a smaller sized pan, however, if you have a large family to feed, you’ll probably want a pan that can accommodate about 1 and a half pounds of beef.
What Is It Made Out Of?
The material of your meatloaf pan is very important, as it will determine the speed at which it cooks, as well as whether it warms through to the very center.
You can get all sorts of materials for meatloaf pans, ranging from stoneware to glass. However, generally speaking, steel and aluminum are the best for optimum heat transfer and equal distribution of heat.
Is It Non-Stick?
Meat, bread or cake sticking to the sides of the pan can be one of the most irritating things to deal with, especially if you feel like the baking has gone well up until this point. It can really be devastating for your meatloaf to fall apart at the final hurdle.
A non-stick pan really can make all the difference between a solid meatloaf shape and just a pile of steaming ground beef mulch. A non-stick coating should ideally be covering both the inside and outside of the pan to ease cleaning.
How Versatile Is It?
More often than not, you’ll be using your meatloaf tin solely for meatloaf, however, if you’re on a budget, you might want to buy something that can also cook cake, bread and other baked goods.
Versatility will give you that feeling that you’ve got value for money with your tin.
Does It Have A Perforated Base?
Meatloaf was not made famous for its health properties, containing lots of bad fat, it was more of a quick fix for poorer families at dinnertime. However, after the health revolution, manufacturers have included many new features that will keep the calorie count of your meatloaf very low.
Perforated holes in the bottom of the inner tin will allow excess fat to drain off, meaning that your meatloaf will be leaner overall. Make sure the draining receptacle is also non-stick so that you can clean it afterward.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Better For Meatloaf: Glass Or Steel Pans?
Generally, we’d recommend steel for your meatloaf pan, as it conducts heat a lot better and is very durable.
Glass can be washed very easily and also conducts heat fairly well, it also has the bonus of being transparent, allowing you to see how well your meatloaf is browning. However, glass pans are traditionally much thicker and heavier than steel to withstand the excessive pressure and heat.
Remember: glass can shatter. When taking your glass pan out of the oven, make sure you leave it to cool before putting it straight into a sink full of water, otherwise, it will shatter.
What Other Materials Do Meatloaf Dishes Come In?
As well as glass and steel, you can also get silicone, ceramic and cast iron loaf tins, each one offering their own peculiar set of cooking properties and results.
Silicone pans can be put in the microwave and the freezer as well as the oven, which makes it a very flexible material to use. However, silicone isn’t great at conducting heat and your meatloaf might not be as brown as it would be in a glass or steel pan.
If you like a thick crust on your meatloaf, your best bet would be a cast-iron loaf tin, although this will be the heaviest option.
Ceramic meatloaf containers also conduct heat excellently and are probably the best option for cleaning.