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Make this easy Italian Meatloaf recipe!

My moms delicious Italian Meatloaf recipe is a twist on the your classic meatloaf. It is a dinner time favorite! A few simple ingredients are all you need to turn your traditional meatloaf recipe into a new family favorite!

sliced italian meatloaf on a white platter that is sitting on a cooling wrack with parsley

I can’t claim this as traditional Italian food, but the addition of marinara sauce and Italian seasonings make this Italian-style meatloaf one of the best meatloaf recipes you will ever make!

  • 2 pounds lean Ground Beef
  • 24 ounce jar Marinara Sauce, or homemade marinara sauce recipe
  • Italian Seasoning
  • fresh Parsley
  • Bread Crumbs
  • grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • grated/shredded Mozzerella Cheese
  • salt and black pepper
  • plastic wrap
  • 2 loaf pans or meatloaf pans, nonstick work best
  • large mixing bowl
  • measuring spoons, cups, cutting board, and knife for chopping herbs
  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Combine ground beef with 1 cup of marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, bread crumbs, salt, black pepper, egg, Parmesan cheese, and parsley to a large bowl.

glass bowl on a white surface with raw ground beef meatloaf mixture in the bowl

3. The best way to mix this up is to get your hands in there. Hike up those sleeves and squish. (But don’t forget to clean hands well after working with raw meat!) If you prefer not to use your hands a fork or a wooden spoon work best for combining raw meat with ingredients.

4. Divide meat mixture into two equal portions. Lay plastic wrap out on counter top, place portions of meat on to each piece of plastic wrap and spread into a 10×12 inch rectangle. Spread 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese on to each rectangle.

5. Using the plastic wrap to roll up the meat, take one end and pull it toward you, rolling and tucking as you go, until the rectangle of meat is in a neat roll with the cheese swirled in the middle. Pinch the ends and the seam together, this will help to keep the cheese on the inside of the meatloaf.

6. Place each meatloaf into an 8×4 inch loaf pan seam down. Spoon 1/2 – 1 cup marinara sauce over each loaf and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Place in preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 1 hour. If you have an oven safe thermometer the internal temperature of the meatloaf should be 160 degrees to be considered done.

Baked meatloaf in a loaf pan on a cooling wrack

As a kid I thought of this as “fancy” meatloaf. What kid actually gets excited about meatloaf and for that matter thinks of it as fancy?  I’m telling you my foodieness goes way back. My kids love this meatloaf as well.  My kiddos are not huge fans of the traditional meatloaf recipe topped with ketchup.  They are also not huge fans of mashed potatoes.  What is this about?  Are they of my flesh?  Were they birthed from my loins?  Sometimes I wonder.

  • Allow your meat to completely thaw, come to room temperature this will make it much easier to work with.
  • Use your favorite marinara brand sauce, or your favorite homemade marinara sauce recipe you just want to make sure you have 24 ounces or 3 cups. Use meatless sauce only.
  • Two suggestion for people who do not like to touch raw meat. 1. Invest in some food grade disposable plastic gloves, when I was doing catering out of my home and working with lots of meat and frankly other peoples health I used these all the time! 2. Use a fork, or a wooden spoon it might take a little bit more effort and time, but it will get the job done.
  • When rolling up the meatloaves, remember it does not need to be perfect. It may seem like a lot of messing around for dinner, but don’t stress. It’s easy! You can roll meat and cheese I know it!
  • This is a great recipe to double or even triple. You can purchase the disposable pans and make a bunch as long as you’re doing one recipe you might as well do three! Its a great recipe to share, but I’ll talk more about that later.
  • FREEZING this recipe its very easy to freeze. Use a freezer safe pan. I prefer to use disposable aluminum pans for freezing. First cover tightly with plastic wrap, second use the lid that comes with the pan or heavy duty aluminum foil over top. Label: Italian Meatloaf, 4 servings (per loaf), thaw completely, remove plastic and aluminum foil, bake at 350 for 1 hour. Enjoy!
  • Don’t have bread crumbs on hand: My mom would also take 2 pieces of stale day old white bread break them up and drizzle milk over them just enough to make a mush. Milk-soaked bread is probably more traditional. Italian bread crumbs or seasoned bread crumbs will work as well!

The skies the limit get creative!

  • Serve with a side of spaghetti that is tossed in the remaining sauce left over from making the meatloaf. Just enough to coat and I sprinkle a little parmesan cheese over it.
  • Noodles of any shape tossed with pesto and a squeeze of lemon to give an added freshness and zing! (also some fresh ground pepper is always helpful)
  • Roasted potatoes. this post will walk you through roasting vegetables.
  • Mashed potatoes, just because my people are not fans there is no shame in serving them. I’d eat them with you!
  • Healthy Option: green beans / broccoli, a green salad, and a crusty Italian bread. Voila!
  • LEFTOVERS in case you have any leftovers, this tender flavorful meatloaf is amazing sliced up the next day and served on toasted baguettes or hoagie buns for sandwiches.
Italian Meatloaf
  1. What if I only want to make one Italian Meatloaf? No problem! this recipe is very easy to divide in half. Use 1 pound of beef, and purchase a 12 or 16 ounce jar of marinara sauce. **If you prefer to make one loaf out of whole recipe then I would suggest free forming it and baking the larger meatloaf in a 9×13 baking dish. Make sure that the internal temperature of the meatloaf is 160 for it to be safe for consumption.
  2. I don’t eat red meat, can I use ground turkey or chicken? YES! these both work perfectly and without having to make any other changes, just swap out the beef for the turkey or chicken.
  3. Can I use Italian sausage? Yes, You could use a combination of ground beef with Italian sausage; you want to make sure the ground beef is very lean to combat the extra fat in the sausage.
  4. How long do leftover last? 3 days in an airtight container in your refrigerator.
  5. How long will Italian Meatloaf last in the freezer? You should use your Italian Meatloafs within 3 months of freezing them. I use 3 months as a general amount of time 1. because if you haven’t eaten it within that time period it’s probably going to get pushed to the back of your freezer and forgotten. ALWAYS date the food you’re freezing. 2. It seems in my experience much longer than 3 months and things start to get freezer burned and the flavor is not going to be at its peak.
sliced meatloaf on a white platter with greens on the side

So there you have it another family favorite.  Thanks Lynn.  That’s my mom.  Sharing my family recipes is something I’m passionate about! Hopefully, inspiring families to stay home, eat together. Gathering around the dinner table, saving some cash-o-la, and creating some good solid family bonds, and food memories.

Nothing better than that! Print off the Recipe Card below! Share on Instagram and tag Eat2gather! Pin!

Thank You! Sheila

sliced meatloaf on a white platter with a fork piercing the first slice of meatloaf

Italian Meatloaf

Swirled with cheese and sauce this recipe is sure to make a meatloaf lover out anyone. I guarantee it to be a new family favorite!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course dinner, easy dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 24 ounces jarred marinara sauce, meatless 1 cup used in meatloaf remainder used to top or for pasta on the side
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • In a medium sized bowl add ground beef, 1 cup of the marinara sauce, add Italian seasoning, salt, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, and egg to the bowl. Get your hands in there and make sure all ingredients are combined really well by squishing the ingredients through your fingers. This is when I like to use food grade plastic gloves! Forks or a wooden spoon can be used as well, but nothing works better than your hands.
  • Divide meat in to two equal portions. Lay 2 sheets of plastic wrap on counter top, place one half of the meatloaf mixture on each piece of plastic wrap and spread into a 10×12 rectangle. Take 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese and spread evenly in the middle of meat rectangles.
  • Using the plastic wrap to roll up the meat loaf, take one end and pull it toward you rolling and tucking as you go until the rectangle of meat is in a neat roll with the cheese swirled in the middle.  Pinch in the ends of the meat roll so the cheese doesn’t ooze out the ends. Place in 8 x 4 inch loaf pans with seam side down.  Spoon more sauce (1/2-1 cup) over top of each  meat loaf and sprinkle 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese over the top.
  • At this point you can place in preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 1 hour.
    You can also cover tightly with plastic wrap, pushing plastic wrap down on to top of meatloaf leaving no room for air, then follow up with a tight layer of aluminum foil, label with a marker (Italian Meatloaf =thaw, remove cover, bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour), place in freezer for up to 3 months.
    Or place in refrigerator to bake up later if you are meal prepping for the week.


Serve with roasted potatoes, pasta tossed with remaining marinara sauce, a side of green vegetable such as broccoli, a nice green salad, or any combination of these.
Keyword beef, cheese, dinner, easy meal, freezer meal, italian, meatloaf
Tried this recipe?Mention @eat2gather or tag #eat2gather!

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  1. I added an extra TBSP of bread crumbs, and it turned out perfectly! It tasted like our favorite meatball recipe, only so much simpler to make. Thanks so much for responding, Sheila. Definitely making this again. xo

  2. I’m making this tonight and will be halving the recipe since I only have a pound of ground beef. Will one egg be too much in half of the recipe or do you think it will be OK? I’m embarrassed to say that although I love meatloaf, I can count on one finger how many times I’ve made it! Thanks again fro another great recipe.

    1. Kim,
      So sorry, was offline for a few day! Just saw this. One egg will work for half, hope you went ahead and made it despite my lack of getting back to you! Hope you love it as much as we do!
      XO Sheila

  3. Wow – we love meatloaf and this will send it over the top! Congratulations on 7 years of blogging! I am so glad I found you – love your stories, your recipes, and that you live in the Midwest. Thanks to your mom, Lynn, too!