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This cheesy Italian Meatloaf is such a fun twist on the classic comfort food! It’s packed with Italian flavors and topped with a layer of red sauce and mozzarella cheese!

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Sliced Italian meatloaf sprinkled with basil on top.

I’ve always LOVED meatloaf….and my mom‘s recipe is definitely the BEST meatloaf. Ok, I suppose I’m a bit bias, but give it a try and let me know what you think! 🙂

Have you ever tried different flavors of meatloaf? As much as I love the classic meatloaf with a sweet ketchup glaze, sometimes it’s fun to mix it up a bit! Italian-style meatloaf does just that and always hits the spot! 

Why This is The Best Italian Meatloaf Recipe

  • The pockets of mozzarella cheese are such a fun touch!  Not only does it add an element of surprise, but also adds flavor and texture.
  • It’s easy!! Tastes like Italian meatballs without having to scoop and roll the meat.
  • It’s versatile!  Want to use all ground beef?  Go for it.  Half hot Italian sausage for some spice?  Sure!  Make it your own!
Ingredients needed to make an Italian meatloaf on a white background.

Ingredients Needed (amounts in recipe card below)

  • Ground Meat – I like to use 1 pound of lean ground beef and 1 pound of ground pork. However, you could certainly use all beef or all pork!
  • Bread Crumbs – You can use plain or Italian breadcrumbs 
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Seasonings – Garlic powder, Italian seasoning and salt
  • Eggs – I always use large eggs
  • Marinara Sauce – You could also use pizza sauce 
  • Mozzarella Cheese – I like to use a block of cheese so I can have big pockets of mozzarella. However, if you’ve got shredded cheese on hand, that would work great, too!

How to Make Italian Meatloaf

Start by preheating the oven and grabbing the pan that you’ll use.  I like to use a large loaf pan, but if you don’t have one, you can also make this on a rimmed baking sheet or square baking dish (see notes in the recipe card below).

The ingredients needed to make an Italian meatloaf in a large bowl.

Then in a large bowl, you’ll combine the ground beef, ground pork, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, seasonings, eggs, one cup of the marinara sauce and cubed mozzarella cheese.

​Though you can stir with a wooden spoon, I find it much easier to incorporate all ingredients using clean hands.

Raw meatloaf in a loaf pan.

Then you’ll spoon the mixture into the loaf pan and bake!!

When the meatloaf has reached about 150F, you’ll spread the remaining marinara sauce on top of the meatloaf and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese!  

​Continue to bake until the cheese is melted and an instant-read thermometer pressed into the center of the loaf says at least 160F.

Let the meatloaf cool a bit, garnish with fresh basil (optional) then slice and serve!

View of the inside of italian meatloaf.

What is the Secret to Moist Meatloaf?

  • Choose ground meat that isn’t too lean. I like to use 80-85% lean ground meat for this recipe as the fat helps keep it moist! 
  • Don’t overmix the meatloaf. Of course, you want everything to be incorporated, but stop as soon as it’s combined.
  • Use a meat thermometer that works. I LOVE my Thermoworks thermometer – it’s quick and reliable, so I’ll know as soon as the meat is done it take it out of the oven.
  • Add veggies to the meatloaf.  Try adding 1/4 cup diced red ​bell peppers or diced green bell pepper for extra moisture and a bit more flavor.
  • Let the meatloaf rest.  Once the meatloaf comes out of the oven, let it rest for 5-10 minutes so the moisture is locked in before slicing.
Overhead view of an Italian Meatloaf.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I serve with Italian Meatloaf?

I love serving this flavorful meatloaf with cooked spaghetti (think of it as a giant meatball!), extra warmed-up marinara sauce and a green salad with Italian or balsamic dressing on the side. Another option would be to serve it with garlic bread or parmesan-crusted potatoes, fresh green beans and fruit!

Can I freeze raw meatloaf?

Instead of baking it, place aluminum foil overtop and place in a freezer bag and into the freezer. You can even measure the topping ingredients in little freezer bags, so they’re ready to go, too! When you’re ready to enjoy it, let it thaw in the fridge before cooking.

Can I freeze cooked meatloaf?

If you have already cooked it and want to freeze the leftovers, that works too! Make sure the meatloaf is completely cool, then place slices in a freezer bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible and freeze!

An Italian meatloaf on a parchment paper-lined wooden cutting board.

Other Easy Recipes for Busy Weeknights

  • One Pot Spaghetti turns the classic into a weeknight favorite, thanks to fewer dishes, less time and more flavor!!
  • Sheet Pan Pork Loin has juicy pork loin, crispy brussels sprouts and roasted sweet potatoes all in one, proving that healthy really can be quick and delicious!
  • Pizza Braid starts with refrigerated pizza dough, making for a quick and easy meal, customizable to best suit your family’s tastes!
Italian Meatloaf sliced

Italian Meatloaf

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
8
This cheesy, flavorful Italian Meatloaf is such a fun twist on the classic comfort food!

Equipment

  • One Large Loaf Pan

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2/3 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups marinara sauce divided
  • One 8 ounce block mozzarella cheese divided

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and coat a large loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, bread crumbs, parmesan, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, eggs and 1 cup of the marinara sauce.
    1 pound ground beef, 1 pound ground pork, 2/3 cup plain bread crumbs, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 eggs, 1 1/3 cups marinara sauce
  • Cut off about 1/4 of the block of cheese and refrigerate until later. Cut the remaining piece into 1/2 inch cubes.
    One 8 ounce block mozzarella cheese
  • Add the cubed cheese to the meat mixture and combine.
  • Add the mixture to a large loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf is at least 150°F.
  • Then, spread the remaining 1/3 cup marinara sauce over the meatloaf and shred the remaining cheese over the top.
    1 1/3 cups marinara sauce, One 8 ounce block mozzarella cheese
  • Bake an additional 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf is at least 160°F.
  • Remove from the oven, let it rest for 5-10 minutes then enjoy warm!

Notes

You can also use all ground pork or all ground beef. 
Feel free to use Italian Bread Crumbs in place of the plain bread crumbs.
If not using a loaf pan, you can also bake this on a rimmed baking sheet.  Form a rectangle about 9 x 6 inches and go from there.  This may take a little less time to bake, so be sure to watch it closely toward the end of the bake time.
Want it to bake even faster?  Press the meatloaf mixture into a square baking dish instead of a loaf pan!

Nutrition

Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.2g | Protein: 31.7g | Fat: 30.6g | Saturated Fat: 12.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11.8g | Trans Fat: 0.7g | Cholesterol: 147.3mg | Sodium: 745mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 1.2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 174IU | Vitamin C: 0.9mg | Calcium: 270mg | Iron: 2.8mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the recipe.