Italian-Style Meatloaf

Italian-style meatloaf is a spin on the classic dish with Italian seasonings, sweet marinara sauce and lots of cheese!

Italian-Style Meatloaf

This twist on the classic meatloaf is a great main dish that can stretch well with accompaniment of sides. It takes its flavor cues from my Parmesan Meatballs and then some. I’ve added some vegetables for fillers and seasoned it with classic Italian seasonings. The binding agents in this are egg and Italian-style bread crumbs and as usual I’ll be accompanying it with a variation of my sweet roasted marinara sauce. As Mr. Cooking Jar succinctly put it: “It’s basically your meatballs, in meatloaf form’.

Italian-Style Meatloaf

This should yield 12 servings which translates to perhaps six servings for my household, what with us being the greedy food beasts we are. Serve with a side of vegetables like green beans, broccoli or asparagus sautéed in butter and mashed potatoes to bring a well rounded meal to the table.

Italian-Style Meatloaf

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Italian-Style Meatloaf

Italian-Style Meatloaf

  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


Italian-style meatloaf is a spin on the classic dish with Italian seasonings, sweet marinara sauce and lots of cheese!


  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups dry Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Marinara Sauce

  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Over medium high heat, sauté onions and garlic until fragrant.
  2. Add red bell pepper, tomato and Italian seasoning, sweating the vegetables until liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a separate pan over medium high heat, start the sauce by sautéing garlic until fragrant then add in tomato sauce. Crumble in the beef bouillon cube and mix well.
  4. Season with Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Combine ground beef, eggs, Italian breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, cooked vegetables, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Form into a loaf using your hands, mixing all the ingredients thoroughly.
  6. Coat the top of the loaf with the remaining marinara sauce and spread evenly using the back of a spoon. Finish by topping with remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F in the middle of the meatloaf. Let it stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
  8. Dish and serve hot.
A no fuss recipe for slow cooker BBQ pulled chicken. It's literally set and forget until it's time to eat. Serve with coleslaw, pickles and chips!



Shredded Mississippi pot roast in a bowl with pepperoncini peppers.



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  • Reply
    February 6, 2021 at 7:27 AM

    What is the nutritional information on this recipe??

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      February 7, 2021 at 10:14 AM

      I’ve gone ahead and added an guesstimate nutritional label. That should point you in the general direction for calories per slice. Have fun cooking, Melissa!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2020 at 6:41 PM

    I’ve made this several times with ground turkey or ground chicken. Turns out great every time. I double the sauce because we like a lot of sauce on top

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      December 16, 2020 at 10:33 AM

      I’m glad to know it works out well with turkey and chicken too! This review might help others who want to experiment with different types of meats as well 🙂

  • Reply
    August 18, 2020 at 3:42 PM

    Can I use 1 tsp beef better than bouillon for the bouillon cube?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      August 18, 2020 at 3:46 PM

      Absolutely! That is my current favorite beef bouillon cube substitute as well. I use it very generously in my shepherd’s pie!

  • Reply
    February 6, 2020 at 2:44 AM

    I want to try this tonight Looking for a recipe that don’t taste like “ soft mushy meat loaf” does yours have a unique taste. Thank you

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      February 7, 2021 at 10:12 AM

      I hope this worked out well for you, Bianca. A little late on the reply but I seem to have missed notifications on a ton of comments here.

  • Reply
    Tom Allmond
    February 24, 2019 at 10:30 AM

    Did not care for this meatloaf. I. Do have to admit I am not a meatloaf lover. I tried this recipe for the different take on meatloaf. The topping was great but the meatloaf itself did not taste very good. My personal opinion is that a bread crumb overload. I will try again but with a lot less bread crumbs. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      February 7, 2021 at 10:11 AM

      You’re welcome, Tom. Thank you for taking the time and ingredients to try it out, even though it didn’t work out for you. I hope you manage to tweak it to your tastes if there is ever a next time!

  • Reply
    February 4, 2019 at 4:08 PM

    I triple your recipe and make 6 loaf pans all at once. I have 8 kids, but we usually have enough for lunch the next day. This is the best meatloaf recipe we have ever used. I hated meatloaf until I made this. I’ve been using your recipe for 2 years. Thank you so much!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      February 7, 2021 at 10:10 AM

      Thank you so much for letting me know it’s a staple, Kym 🙂 Tripling it sounds like a lot of work but I’m happy to hear it scales well!

  • Reply
    December 7, 2018 at 9:21 PM

    This is the best ML I have ever made. Hubby says throw away all other recipes! LOL

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      December 18, 2018 at 3:18 PM

      That’s one heck of a compliment! Thank you 🙂

  • Reply
    Heather C.
    March 18, 2018 at 9:09 PM

    I have tried so many meatloaf recipes over the years, and could not find a single one that I would consider “a keeper.” (No flavor, bland, some ingredients were not items I’d usually keep on hand, etc.)

    I absolutely love this meatloaf recipe. (Boyfriend does, too.) The ingredients are items I always have in my pantry, so it will be part of our main entree rotation.
    I also served it with mashed potatoes and roasted okra.

    Thank you so much for sharing. I’m going to start calling it “The Holy Grail of Meatloaf.” ?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      April 27, 2018 at 4:26 PM

      I’ve tried many meatloves out there in the wild (restaurants) and have been underwhelmed with those that use ketchup/tomato sauce. Maybe it’s just not for me. The only one I’ve loved out there was a mushroom meatloaf. So I totally get you. I’m glad you found a keeper for your kitchen. All hail the Holy Grail of Meatloaf haha 😉

  • Reply
    January 23, 2018 at 6:53 PM

    I’m about to try this recipe. I only have 1 and a half lbs of ground beef so I’m going to try and adjust everything to suit.
    I hope it works out.
    Lots of great reviews.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2017 at 2:20 PM

    This meatloaf is totally delicious. Have made it for two separate groups of friends and everyone loved it. I was dubious about the tomato ketchup in it but the end result is … really tasty

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      April 4, 2017 at 6:26 PM

      Thank you for trying it out anyway, despite the skepticism! 🙂

  • Reply
    August 8, 2016 at 3:52 PM

    I can’t wait to try this Italian style meatloaf, although, I am going to use half ground beef and half Italian sausage, as I do when I make meatballs!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      August 9, 2016 at 6:07 PM

      That’ll work just fine 🙂 It reminded me of my own Italian meatballs recipe I made in the slow cooker. I did half and half there too. Feel free to mix and match your meat!

  • Reply
    August 3, 2016 at 3:40 PM

    This is the best meatloaf recipe hands down. I make it for my Italian hubby frequently. He can’t get enough of it! Even our picky toddler will eat it. Thanks for sharing this delicious dish. 🙂

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      August 9, 2016 at 5:21 PM

      You’re very much welcome, Heather! I’m glad it got a stamp of approval from an Italian, even if it’s just ‘Italian-style’. And I’m always happy to help the picky eaters 🙂

  • Reply
    July 30, 2016 at 9:11 PM

    Is that a hair on the meatloaf in the second picture?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      July 30, 2016 at 10:37 PM

      Nah, that’s a fiber from the textured cloth under the plate. I have black hair! Funny how I never noticed that before. This is one of my older recipes before I did any post-processing on photos and took them all with an iPhone 4s. Less attention to detail then!

      • Reply
        August 1, 2016 at 8:02 AM

        Ha! Good to know. I am paranoid about my own hair in or even near food. Love reading your food blog.

        • Reply
          The Cooking Jar
          August 9, 2016 at 5:18 PM

          Say no more. I’m a bit of a clean freak in the kitchen myself so I totally understand! Separate cutting boards for meats and produce to avoid cross contamination and separate knives. I wipe the counters down before and after cooking. If I could sterilize things, I would! 😉 Food prep and cooking must be clean!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2016 at 7:45 PM

    In an accurate oven it was only 120 degrees at the 45 min mark. The cheese was already beginning to burn a tad. Covered it with foil and let it go longer. I don’t know what I did wrong. Maybe I formed it too thick? Oh well. Live and learn!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      April 13, 2016 at 4:03 PM

      Good idea to cover with foil to stop the cheese burning! Sometimes some brands of meat thermometers aren’t very accurate and sometimes oven temperatures and times vary. It makes things very confusing! Kinda like some brands of slow cookers run hotter than others. It could also be you formed it too thick too. I’m glad you managed to adjust accordinglyI hope it was still a good meal to you all said and done though!

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