Italian meatloaf is full of delicious flavors including tomatoes, dried herbs, and mozzarella cheese. This recipe takes a classic meatloaf taste and adds simple ingredients for a delicious Italian theme. You’ll love how easy this recipe is to make. It’s the perfect family-friendly weeknight meal. Overall, making Italian meatloaf is a simple and delicious way to enjoy a classic comfort food with a little bit of Italian flair.
Italian Meatloaf Recipe
Italian meatloaf is a classic comfort food that is easy to make and perfect for a hearty family dinner. This recipe is a delicious twist on the traditional meatloaf recipe, with Italian flavors and ingredients that will make your taste buds dance with joy. With a few simple ingredients and a little bit of time, you can create a flavorful and satisfying meal that your family will love.
Versatile – One of the things I love about this recipe is its versatility. You can adjust the ingredients and spices to your liking, and even add in some vegetables or cheese to make it even more flavorful. Additionally, it is a great way to use up any leftover ground beef you may have in your fridge.
Convenient – Another great thing about this recipe is that it is a one-pan meal, which means less cleanup and more time to enjoy your meal. Plus, it is a great option for meal prep, as it can be easily reheated for a quick and satisfying lunch or dinner.
To make this Italian meatloaf recipe, you will need ground beef, Italian sausage, breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, onion, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and a blend of Italian herbs and spices. The meatloaf is baked in the oven until it is golden brown and cooked through, and then served with a rich tomato sauce that is bursting with flavor. This recipe is perfect for busy weeknights when you want to make something delicious and satisfying without spending hours in the kitchen.
To make this meatloaf, you will need to use a combination of ground beef and ground pork. The bread crumbs and milk will help keep the meatloaf moist, while the egg will act as a binding agent. The Parmesan cheese will add a rich, savory flavor to the meatloaf, while the onion, garlic, and basil will add a touch of sweetness and freshness.
Here’s an overview of the ingredients you’ll need. The full recipe details are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post:
GROUND BEEF – This recipe uses 1 1/2 lbs of lean ground beef or beef/pork blend. I recommend lean beef (not extra lean beef) because a bit of fat content helps to hold the meatloaf together.
BREAD CRUMBS – Bread crumbs are needed in meatloaf because they act as a binder and fillers. They help to keep the fat from the meat in the loaf so that it won’t run out while cooking. You’ll need ¾ cup of Italian-style bread crumbs or panko crumbs.
CHOPPED ONION – 1 cup of finely chopped onion. A key tip to success is to dice the onion into small pieces. If you leave the chunks bigger, they will create larger spaces which can cause the meatloaf to fall apart.
EGGS – Two eggs are an important ingredient in meatloaf recipes. They add moisture and act like glue to hold the meat together.
SPICES – This Italian meatloaf recipe uses 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning and 1 tsp garlic powder to add flavor.
MILK – ⅓ cup of Milk is also important because the bread crumbs soak up the milk for needed moisture. This results in the perfect meatloaf texture. If you don’t want to use meatloaf you can swap with beef broth, plant-based milk, or even water.
SPAGHETTI SAUCE – 1 cup of spaghetti sauce gets drizzled on top of the meatloaf instead of the classic ketchup sauce used in traditional recipes.
MOZZARELLA CHEESE – 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese is sprinkled on top of the spaghetti sauce in the last 10 minutes of baking the meatloaf.
Helpful Tip: Want to save money on ground beef? Divide the ground beef in half with a can of drained lentils. They are cheap and a smaller bean which is perfect to mix in with ground meat. I do this all the time when I’m looking to cut grocery costs with my budget-friendly meatballs.
- Bread Crumb Substitutions – Bread crumbs are an essential ingredient for holding meatloaf together properly. They absorb fat from the ground beef and help to create a moist texture. But you can easily swap them out for rolled oats, crushed Ritz crackers, soda crackers, crushed tortilla chips, gluten-free bread, or even cooked quinoa. If you want your meatloaf to be entirely without breadcrumbs, see my recipe here.
- Milk Substitutions – Swap out milk for beef broth, water, tomato sauce or ketchup.
- Ground Beef Substitutions – I used a ground pork/beef mixture for this recipe because it’s cheaper and tastes just as amazing. But you can also swap with just ground pork, ground chicken, or ground turkey.
- Cheese – Adding cheese to the meatloaf mixture will give it a creamy and cheesy flavor. You can use parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar, or any other cheese of your choice. You can also add cheese on top of the meatloaf while baking.
- Add More Vegetables – 1 cup of sauteed veggies (chopped small) or frozen veggies can be added to the ground beef mixture.
- Toppings – You can add toppings and sauces to the meatloaf to enhance its flavor. You can add bacon, sliced tomatoes, or mushrooms on top of the meatloaf before baking. You can also serve the meatloaf with marinara sauce, gravy, or ketchup.
How To Make Italian Meatloaf
The meatloaf is baked in the oven until it is golden brown and cooked through, and then served with a rich tomato sauce that is bursting with flavor.
An overview of how to make Italian meatloaf, with full detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom.
- PREP – Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- MIX – Mix the lean ground beef, finely chopped onion, bread crumbs, milk, parmesan cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in a large bowl. Be sure to mix together everything thoroughly so that the ground beef is evenly covered with all other ingredients.
- FORM – Create a loaf shape by forming it with your hands or by placing the beef mixture into a greased loaf pan and then flipping the pan over onto the baking sheet. Remove the pan and it will create the perfect loaf shape.
- BAKE – Bake the meatloaf uncovered and without the sauce topping for 40 minutes.
- SAUCE – After 40 minutes, remove the meatloaf from the oven, and pour on the sauce over the top and spread it around the sides. Bake uncovered for another 10 minutes or until fully cooked inside.
- SERVE – Once cooked, Let the meatloaf sit for 10 minutes to allow the juices to evenly distribute. Use a large wooden spatula to scoop under the entire cooked meatloaf. This will help you transfer it to a serving dish. Slice it with a sharp knife and serve.
Helpful Tip: Make two meatloaves at the same time on one baking sheet. Save one in the freezer for a future meal!
Leftovers taste just as good as freshly baked meatloaf! Here’s how to store leftovers for the best results:
- REFRIGERATE – Leftovers need to be completely cooled, then place in an airtight container or plastic wrap. You can keep this in your fridge for about 4-5 days.
- MICROWAVE – Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until warmed through.
- FREEZE – Leftover meatloaf can be added to an airtight container or a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Frozen meatloaf can be stored for up to 6 months for the best freshness.
- REHEAT FROM FROZEN – Add the frozen meatloaf wrapped in foil to the oven at 350°F for 30-40 minutes, or until it’s heated through. Spread fresh spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese in the last 10 minutes of reheating.
Important Tip: The sauce topping will stick to the foil. Instead, wrap the meatloaf without sauce in foil and freeze. Once you’re ready to eat, bake in the foil and add spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese in the last 10 minutes of heating through.
- Use a baking sheet – You’ll get crispy edges that make meatloaf oh-so-good!
- Dice Onion Small – Chop that onion small. Otherwise, the meatloaf won’t stick together properly.
- Use lean ground beef – Lean ground beef has the perfect amount of fat to create a moist texture.
- Mix Evenly – The ground beef needs to be coated evenly with egg, bread crumbs and milk.
- Use a meat thermometer – If you’re not sure how to tell when the meatloaf is done, poke the inside with a meat thermometer. Look for a temperature of 160°F.
- Add sauce and toppings at the end – Add pizza sauce and cheese in the last 10 minutes for the best results. If you add it too soon it may burn.
- Let meatloaf rest – Let the meatloaf sit for 10 minutes for internal juices to distribute evenly.
What To Serve With
When it comes to serving Italian meatloaf, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of my favorite sides to serve with this delicious dish:
An Italian salad is a perfect complement to Italian meatloaf. The salad can be made with fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and a variety of other vegetables. You can also add some Italian dressing to give it a little extra flavor.
Mashed potatoes are a classic side dish that pairs well with meatloaf. You can add some butter, milk, and seasonings to make them extra creamy and flavorful.
Pasta is another great option to serve with Italian meatloaf. You can choose from a variety of pasta shapes and sauces, such as spaghetti with marinara sauce or penne with alfredo sauce.
If you’re looking for something a little different, there are plenty of other sides that can work well with Italian meatloaf. Some options include roasted vegetables, garlic bread, or a side of sautéed mushrooms.
No matter what you choose to serve with your Italian meatloaf, make sure to consider the number of servings you’ll need. This will help you determine how much of each side dish you should make.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can use a different type of cheese if you prefer. Mozzarella or provolone would work well in this recipe. However, keep in mind that the recipe already includes Parmesan cheese, which adds a distinct flavor to the meatloaf.
Be sure to use the right amount of bread crumbs, eggs and milk. Mix these with the ground beef evenly so that all of the meat is coated. This will act like glue to hold the meatloaf together.
Letting the meatloaf rest is an important step. This will allow the juices to distribute evenly. I recommend letting it sit for 10 minutes before slicing.
Yes, you can use ground turkey instead of ground beef. However, keep in mind that ground turkey is leaner than ground beef and may result in a drier meatloaf. To prevent this, you can add some olive oil or breadcrumbs to the mixture.
Italian meatloaf is a classic comfort food that is easy to make and perfect for a hearty family dinner. This recipe is a delicious twist on the traditional meatloaf recipe, with Italian flavors and ingredients that provide incredible flavor. With a few simple ingredients and a little bit of time, you can create a flavorful and satisfying meal that your family will love.
More Ground Beef Recipes
- Beef Cabbage Roll Casserole
- One Pot Spaghetti
- Hamburger Casserole
- Homemade Cheap Chili
- Pizza Sloppy Joes
- Crockpot Hamburger Soup
- Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray (to prevent sticking).
- Add the lean ground beef, finely chopped onion, bread crumbs, milk, grated parmesan cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder to a large bowl. Mix ingredients together so that the ground beef is evenly coated.
- Lightly spray a loaf pan with non stick spray and pack in the ground beef mixture. Flip the loaf pan and place it on to the baking sheet. Alternatively, you can add the mixture straight to the pan and form it into a loaf shape with your hands.
- Bake uncovered and without the sauce for 40 minutes.
- Once the meatloaf has cooked for 40 mins, remove from oven and spread spaghetti sauce along the top and sides. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Place back in oven and bake another 10 minutes, or until fully cooked and beef is no longer pink inside.
- Remove from the oven and let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
The nutritional information provided is an estimate and is per serving.