Can Meatloaf Be Pink Inside?
After cooking your meatloaf for the time the recipe specifies at the exact temperature it suggests, it can be an unwelcome surprise to slice into it for the first time to see that some of the interior is still pink. For some meats, seeing pink automatically means that it’s undercooked and needs to stay in the oven for longer, but can meatloaf be pink inside and still be consumed safely?
Absolutely! Just make sure your meatloaf is cooked fully before serving. You can determine whether or not it’s fully cooked by sticking an internal thermometer into the center of the loaf. If the meatloaf is over 160°F, or 165°F if you used chicken or turkey, it’s fully cooked and safe to consume even if it’s still pink inside.
The reason your meatloaf may still be pink in the middle when fully cooked is nitrates. Nitrates are natural chemicals that bind proteins in the meat to prevent them from releasing oxygen molecules during cooking. Due to this, the meat’s proteins still contain oxygen which can cause it to retain a pink color inside, even when it is fully cooked.