Choosing the best meatloaf pan will depend on the list of features that you want. For instance, many people like the convenience of a two-part pan that allows them to serve meatloaf easily, while others might prioritize ease of cleaning when comparing pans. Meatloaf pans can be made from a variety of materials, and the most common types include glass, metal, silicone, and ceramic. Each material has unique characteristics that can either help or hinder the process of making meatloaf, which is why some types of pans are actually better suited for baking breads and cakes. Furthermore, pans come in different shapes and sizes, from mini loaf pans to large flat trays, allowing you to customize your meatloaf.
Metal is a common choice for a meatloaf pan, which can be made of either aluminum or steel. Aluminum usually costs less but may not be as durable as steel. If you are considering a metal meatloaf pan, remember that darker pans might cause burning or uneven baking; therefore, you could opt for glass or stoneware, neither of which would become scratched if you cut the meatloaf in the pan.
You might prefer a meatloaf pan that releases the meatloaf easily, or that transports it easily from the oven to the table. Your selection could also depend on the pan's other characteristics, such as being dishwasher-safe or having a nonstick coating. Certain types are recommended as safe for cooking meatloaf under a broiler or reheating it in the microwave.
One type of meatloaf pan, sometimes called a lo-fat pan, is designed to trap juices and lower the meatloaf's fat content. This type of pan normally has a tray with small holes in the bottom, allowing grease to drain into a base pan. The tray also has side handles for removing and serving the meatloaf, while you can leave the main loaf pan behind.
If budget is a factor when selecting a meatloaf pan, then consider a glass pan, which is usually cheaper than a ceramic or stoneware pan, for instance. On the other hand, glass is often heavier and more fragile than other materials. Other features that might influence the price of the meatloaf pan include its size and design. For example, some of them include larger handles for ease of carrying.
A variety of additional factors, such as the size of your meatloaf, might also influence your decision when choosing the best meatloaf pan. Instead of using a standard rectangular pan, some people prefer a mini loaf pan that makes several small loaves. Other people don't use a traditional pan at all; instead, they place the meatloaf in the center of a large baking sheet or tray, sometimes after shaping it with a loaf pan first, and it comes out more like a mound than a rectangular loaf.