Italian-Style Meatloaf

4.64 from 11 votes
1 hour 40 minutes
Jump To Recipe

This Italian-style meatloaf recipe is a delicious new spin on classic meatloaf! Perfect for a Sunday family dinner or a casual get-together with friends. Serve with mashed potatoes, mashed turnips or cauliflower puree, a green vegetable and salad for a meal everyone will rave about!

“Absolutely delicious … Loved this recipe!!! A keeper!!! I have my own ‘special’ meatloaf and now I have two. 

Italian Meatloaf on white platter with half of it sliced.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Bad meatloaf memories from childhood? No worries. This Italian-style meatloaf with beef, pork, Italian seasonings, a hint of red wine, marinara sauce and two cheeses is definitely not your mamma’s meatloaf!

This tasty and hearty Italian-style meatloaf with tomato sauce combines the flavors of Italian cuisine with the comfort of a classic meatloaf for a combination that elevates meatloaf to being suitable for guests.

Packed full of flavor, it’s a great way to get dinner on the table in under two hours, reheats beautifully and is freezer-friendly!

This Italian meatloaf recipe is:

  • Easy!
  • Super flavorful with all the flavors you love about Italian cuisine!
  • Convenient! It can be prepped 12 hours ahead of time.
  • Reheats beautifully.
  • Is freezer-friendly.
  • Perfect for repurposing the leftovers into another meal!

Let’s make it!

Italian Meatloaf on white platter garnished with fresh parsley with serving utensils.

How to Make Italian-Style Meatloaf:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this Italian-Style meatloaf recipe along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Italian Meatloaf in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Green Bell Pepper: I like using green bell pepper here, but red or yellow will also work if you don’t enjoy green bell pepper.
  • Marinara Sauce: Use your favorite jarred marinara or tomato sauce.
  • Panko: Panko is also called “Japanese bread crumbs” and are often used for deep-frying. They’re dry and coarse and can be found in the baking aisle or near the seafood department. I like to use panko in meatloaf and meatballs because they tend not to “melt” into the meat as much as fresh breadcrumbs or fine dry breadcrumbs but lend more substance to the texture. You can also use fresh breadcrumbs, but you’ll need 3 cups loosely packed. I don’t recommend fine dry plain or Italian-style breadcrumbs.
  • Dry Red Wine: Use a good red wine you would enjoy drinking. NON-ALCOHOLIC SUBSTITUTE: Use beef broth with two teaspoons of red wine vinegar. (The alcohol level in red wine vinegar is negligible.)
  • Ground Beef: Use ground beef with an 80/20 or 85/15 lean-to-fat ratio for best results.
  • Ground Pork: Pork is an excellent addition to meatloaf because it adds moisture, richness and flavor. The higher fat content helps to bind the ingredients together and keeps the beef and pork meatloaf moist even after cooking.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of nonstick aluminum foil or use heavy-duty aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Sweat the vegetables. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet or saute pan.
  • Add the onion, reduce heat to medium and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onion softens.
  • Add the green bell pepper and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.
Cooked onions and green peppers in nonstick skillet.
  • Add the garlic, dried basil and oregano, stir then take off the heat. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool slightly.
  • Add the parsley, panko, 1 cup marinara sauce, dry red wine, Worcestershire sauce, Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella, salt and black pepper to the bowl with the onions and peppers. Mix well.
  • Add the ground beef and pork and mix well again until the meat is thoroughly incorporated, being careful not to overwork it.
  • Transfer to the prepared double-lined baking sheet and form into a neat loaf shape.
  • MAKE AHEAD: This Italian-style meatloaf recipe can be made up to 12 hours ahead of time to this point and refrigerated. (Ground meats should not be left uncooked for too long as they can become unsafe to consume.)
Meatloaf before being baked on aluminum foil-lined rimmed sheet pan.
  • Place the Italian meatloaf in the oven and bake for 55 to 60 minutes.
  • Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the meatloaf and bake for another 10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees in the center.
  • Let the meatloaf rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with more Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese if desired.
  • Slice the Italian meatloaf and serve!
Italian Meatloaf on white platter garnished with chopped fresh parsley.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • When preparing meatloaf, I combine all the ingredients except for the meat first. This ensures that the ingredients will be more evenly distributed throughout the meatloaf. If you blend everything immediately, you risk overworking the meat to get the ingredients distributed, which can make the meatloaf tough.
  • Use disposable gloves and mix the meatloaf together with your hands.
  • Whether to bake in a pan or not to bake in a pan is often the question. A large 2 lb. meatloaf such as this Italian Meatloaf works better baked on a sheet pan. You may divide the meatloaf mixture and bake it in two loaf pans or divide into smaller loaves and bake them on a double-lined rimmed baking sheet or shallow baking dish such as a 13 x 9-inch pan.
  • Recipes for Italian-style meatloaf and meatloaf recipes, in general, will often use beef, pork, and veal. I’m not a veal fan; however, it’s an ideal combination because beef provides flavor, pork adds tender fat, and veal adds gelatin, which retains moisture. Feel free to use this combination if you like; you’ll need 2/3 of a pound of each ground meat.
Italian Meatloaf on white platter with serving utensils garnished with chopped fresh parsley.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where did meatloaf originate?

Although a similar dish dates back to Roman times, the true origin of American meatloaf is in scrapple, a combination of spiced ground pork and cornmeal created by the Pennsylvania Dutch settlers. Meatloaf in the contemporary sense didn’t appear in cookbooks until the 19th century then became popular in this country around World War II as a thrifty way to use up ingredients before they spoiled.

At which temperature is meatloaf done?

All ground meat dishes should be cooked to 165 degrees in the center. Test with an instant-read meat thermometer. Keep in mind there will be some carryover cooking, so the temperature will rise to 170 degrees or over. I’ve never found that an additional rise in temperature will hurt meatloaf.

Do you have to cook onions before putting them in meatloaf?

I’ve done it both ways–cooking them first and adding them raw. I prefer to sweat the onions and other vegetables first because it ensures they are cooked and tender. I’m a huge onion fan, but undercooked onions in a meatloaf in my opinion is a bit offputting.

What are some ways to use leftover Italian-style meatloaf?

>>A meatloaf sandwich.
>>A meatloaf shepherd’s pie with a mashed potato or polenta topping.
>>Crumble and use as a pizza topping.
>>Crumble and add to a tomato sauce and serve over spaghetti.
>>Crumble and add to a vegetable soup.

Italian Meatloaf on white platter with serving utensils.

Storage:

  • Store all leftovers in the refrigerator. Enjoy within five days. Freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator or microwave and reheat in the oven or microwave.

Serve with:

More great meatloaf recipes you’ll love!

Get all my beef recipes at Beef and Lamb Recipes – From A Chef’s Kitchen

Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email and I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus, get great new recipes from me every week!
Save Recipe
* By submitting this form, you consent to receive emails.
Logo for From A Chef's Kitchen with gray oval border and green knife.
Italian Meatloaf on white platter with half of it sliced.

Italian-Style Meatloaf

4.64 from 11 votes

Click to Rate!

By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Put a delicious new spin on your meatloaf routine with this Italian-inspired twist on classic meatloaf! Perfect for a Sunday family dinner or a casual get-together with friends. Serve with mashed potatoes, a green vegetable and salad for a meal everyone will rave about!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Main Course / Entrees
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 728 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Cooking spray - if needed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper - seeded, membranes removed and chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups panko - (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 cups marinara sauce - (your favorite) divided
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese - plus more for sprinkling over meatloaf
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large eggs - beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with two layers of nonstick aluminum foil or use heavy-duty aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet or saute pan. Add the onion, reduce heat to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the green bell pepper and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, dried basil and oregano, stir then take off the heat. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool slightly.
  • Add the parsley, panko, 1 cup marinara sauce, dry red wine, Worcestershire sauce, Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella, eggs, salt and black pepper. Mix well.
  • Add the ground beef and pork and mix well again until the meat is thoroughly incorporated, being careful not to overwork it.
  • Transfer to the prepared double-lined baking sheet and form into a neat loaf shape.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 55-60 minutes.
  • Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the meatloaf and bake for another 10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees in the center.
  • Let the meatloaf rest for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese if desired. Slice and serve.

Notes

You’ll need 3 cups of loosely packed fresh breadcrumbs if using fresh breadcrumbs in place of panko.
SUBSTITUTIONS:  Ground chicken or turkey may be substituted for the ground beef and pork.
MAKE AHEAD:  Can be made up to 12 hours ahead of time to this point and refrigerated. (Ground meats should not be left uncooked for too long as they can become unsafe to consume.)
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Can be frozen assembled uncooked for 1-2 months IF the ground meats are fresh, NOT frozen.  Can be frozen after being baked in an airtight container for up to three months.  Thaw in the refrigerator or microwave and reheat in the oven or microwave.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 728kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 205mg | Sodium: 1385mg | Potassium: 863mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1061IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 390mg | Iron: 5mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment, star rating or post your photo on Instagram and tag @fromachefskitchen.
4.64 from 11 votes (8 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Excellent. Family favorite. It has great flavor and is super moist. Don’t skimp on the seasoning. I added some red chili flakes for a bit of heat.

    1. Hi, Patty, Thanks so much and so happy everyone in your family enjoys! Appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment and rate.

  2. 5 stars
    My husband LOVED. this recipe!!! I have saved it in my “Do It Again” folder. it made a very large meatloaf. I still have some on the fridge for his lunches, but literally 3/4 is frozen for future meals. Some may become a Bolognese. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    1. Hi, Kristen, Thanks so very much and so happy you love this recipe! Appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment and rate. Love that you plan to repurpose some of the leftovers. It’s hard to scale back because pork and beef is so often sold in 1-pound packages unless you buy it from the bulk section of the meat department. Thank you again!

    1. Hi, Karen, Thanks for your question. I’m not seeing where the Mozzarella should be divided. #4 says: Add the parsley, panko, 1 cup marinara sauce, dry red wine, Worcestershire sauce, Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella, eggs, salt and black pepper. Mix well. You can top it with more Mozzarella and/or Parmesan if you’d like. Let me know if I’m missing something or if I can help further. Thanks again!

    1. Hi, Kelly, Thanks so much and I fixed the recipe. Not sure what happened there as no one else has mentioned it. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. I never buy marinara sauce and with this recipe the two meats will make a wonderful marinara all its own. I just added one large can of tomato sauce and 1 large can of diced tomatoes and the sauce was fantastic. Loved this recipe!!! A keeper!!! I have my own ‘special’ meatloaf and now I’ve got two. Thank you for this one.