Beef/ Popular/ Sheet Pan

Italian-Style Meatloaf

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

Italian-Style Meatloaf

This Italian-style meatloaf is a spin on the classic for those who don’t like a traditional meatloaf but love the taste of meatballs. It takes its inspiration and flavor cues from my Parmesan meatballs with the marinara sauce heavily influenced by my sweet roasted red pepper marinara sauce.

We’ll be making a tender meatloaf out of ground beef, fresh onions, garlic and red bell peppers mixed with Italian seasoning, Italian breadcrumbs, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Then we’re coating the meatloaf with homemade marinara sauce and more mozzarella cheese sprinkled generously for a cheesy top layer.

This hearty, cheesy meatloaf will feed a crowd at 12 servings. Try a side of warm garlic bread or garlic knots and enjoy! Let’s start cooking.

Italian-Style Meatloaf


Ground beef – Try to go for lean ground beef so there’s less grease and fat in your meatloaf. You can also do a 50-50 mix of mild Italian ground sausage for even more Italian flavors.

Garlic – I used fresh garlic but you can substitute it with some garlic powder. If using fresh garlic, I find the fastest way to mince it is with a garlic press or mini grater.

Tomatoes – I used Roma tomatoes for the meatloaf because of their low water content but you should be able to get away with other kinds since we are cooking them down anyway.

Italian-Style Meatloaf

Parmesan cheese – We’re using the finely grated Parmesan cheese because it mixes well with the ground beef. You can grate it yourself, buy it freshly grated or use the Kraft green shaker Parmesan cheese.

Mozarella cheese – You can also substitute mozzarella cheese with an Italian cheese blend.

Marinara sauce – I made the marinara sauce from scratch but you can substitute it with your favorite brand of store-bought marinara sauce instead. One 15 oz. jar should be more than enough. I only made about a cup of homemade marinara sauce but you might like the option to double the sauce.

And that’s about it. Enjoy your twist on the classic meatloaf and happy eating!


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Italian-Style Meatloaf

Italian-Style Meatloaf

  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • 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!


Units Scale
  • 2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 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, saute onions and garlic until fragrant.
  2. Add red bell pepper, tomatoes 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 sauteing garlic until fragrant then add in tomato sauce. Crumble in the beef bouillon cube and mix well.
  4. Season the sauce 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 mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, cooked vegetables, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. 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 the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake uncovered on a baking sheet at 350°F for 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F in the middle of the meatloaf. Let it stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
  8. Dish and serve hot.
  9. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins

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  • Reply
    August 24, 2021 at 9:28 PM

    How big of a can of Tomato sauce should be used ?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      August 25, 2021 at 9:13 AM

      An 8 oz. can of tomato sauce should be fine. Happy cooking!

  • 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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