Italian Meatloaf

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This Italian meatloaf is basically one big giant meatball, or at least that’s what I tell my kids so that they’ll eat it.

italian meatloaf

This Italian meatloaf is basically one big giant meatball, or at least that’s what I tell my kids so that they’ll eat it. But, seriously, it is similar to meatballs, only it has a lot more flavor and is easier to make. I like to serve it with my Big Italian Salad — a firm family favorite — and Parmesan Smashed Potatoes, but it’s delicious with pasta too. Leftovers are even better the next day, sliced and topped with melted cheese in a warm sandwich.

What you’ll need to make italian meatloaf


As you can see, I use a good quality store-bought marinara sauce. Feel free to make your own, but I don’t think it’s worth it since the recipe only calls for 3/4 cup.

to make italian meatloaf


Begin by chopping the vegetables. I use a food processor, which makes it quick and easy. You want to pulse until the vegetables are finely chopped but not puréed — this makes for a nicely textured meatloaf. (And always rough chop the veggies before putting them in the machine, otherwise they won’t chop evenly.)


Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and add the vegetables.


Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Then let cool.


Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the Worcestershire sauce, basil, salt and pepper.


Add the meat, bread crumbs, cheese, and vegetables.


And mix with your hands until well combined.


Shape the meat into a 9×5-inch loaf on a greased, foil-lined baking sheet. I prefer to “free-form” it rather than cook it in a loaf pan — that way, the fat cooks out and there’s always enough well-browned crust to go around.


Top with marinara sauce, letting a bit drip down the sides.


Bake for 65-70 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board or serving platter. Enjoy!


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Italian Meatloaf

This Italian meatloaf is basically one big giant meatball, or at least that’s what I tell my kids so that they’ll eat it.

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 75 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pounds meatloaf mix (or use 1-1/2 pounds 85% lean ground beef plus 1/2 pound ground pork)
  • 2/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5-7 minutes. Do not brown. Let cool until just warm.
  3. In a bowl large enough to hold all of the ingredients, whisk the eggs with the basil, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Add the meat, bread crumbs, cheese, and cooked vegetables to the egg mixture and mix with your hands until just evenly combined.
  5. Form the meat mixture into a 9x5-inch loaf shape directly on the prepared baking sheet. Spread the marinara sauce evenly over top, letting it drip a bit down the sides.
  6. Bake for 65-70 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F in the middle of the meatloaf. Let the meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes. Scrape any fat away from the edges of the meatloaf (it will ooze out and brown while baking), then use a wide spatula to transfer the meatloaf to a cutting board or serving platter. Slice and serve.
  7. Note: If serving with mashed potatoes, you might warm up some additional marinara sauce for serving.
  8. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cooked meatloaf can be frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, defrost it in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then reheat it in a 300°F oven until hot in the middle.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 585
  • Fat: 42g
  • Saturated fat: 15g
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 35g
  • Sodium: 966mg
  • Cholesterol: 180mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Do you ever put a little marinara in the meat? Can you use Panko? Can you make a day ahead and use for sandwich or is it best to use day that it was cooked.

    • — MJ on October 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi MJ, I’ve never put marinara in the meatloaf mixture. Yes, you can use panko here, and it’s great on the second day. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • The meatloaf was delicious. We ate the meatloaf with your creamy mashed potatoes and your green beans with shallots. The quality of the final product looked like something you would see in a restaurant. Thank you!

    • — Patty on September 21, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’m so glad I did tried this! I’ll definitely make again. What other recipes do you have that use marinara sauce? I tried a search in your search bar but it didn’t pull up any recipes.

    • — Anna on July 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked this! A couple of other recipes that call for marinara sauce: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chicken Parmesan, and Turkey Meatballs. Hope you enjoy if you make any of them!

      • — Jenn on July 20, 2020
      • Reply
      • I’ll try the chicken marinera next. I’m sure it will not disappoint. Love your recipes!

        • — Anna on July 20, 2020
        • Reply
        • 🙂

          • — Jenn on July 21, 2020
          • Reply
  • Can I prep the meat and freeze it uncooked?

    • — Jenine C on July 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jenine, I’ve never done that but I think it should work. 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • Great recipe! The sautéed veggies really helped to keep this super soft and melt-in-your-mouth yummy! Not to mention the hint of fresh basil from the garden!

    My boyfriend hates meatloaf with a passion (I think it’s because he’s never had a good one). I have made many recipes from Once Upon a Chef and knew this would be a recipe that I could trust to win him over. After a few bites he looked over to me and said “… you can make this again.” Success!!

    • — Rosalinde on July 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this last night with one substitution….I used vegetarian meat crumbles instead of pork but did mix it in with grass fed beef. The texture was not as firm as a beef/pork mixture but the loaf sure was delicious. My husband said it was the tastiest meatloaf he’d ever eaten. Thank you for another winner Jen!

    • — KL Gaylin on July 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’ve never been a fan of meatloaf–it was what I made when I had three teenage boys with hollow legs and was running out of cooking steam. Once the boys were on their own, meatloaf was at the bottom of my recipe go-to’s. Not anymore! This recipe totally changed my mind! It was on the back of the March 2020 page from a little calendar I received from a realtor — and being stuck at home meant I was looking for new recipes. My husband raved about it and I thought it was delicious. I have now made it half a dozen times. We have dinner, save a couple of slices for sandwiches the next day and then I slice and freeze the remainder to pull out for quick sandwiches on busy or lazy days. Now meatloaf IS my go-to recipe! Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Suzanne on June 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • Excellent! I made this recipe, following all the steps exactly so, but did leave out the salt. I figured the Parmesan cheese and Worcestershire sauce had plenty. This recipe was delicious and a definite keeper.

    I made it with the Parmesan smashed potatoes and it was a wonderful accompaniment.

    • — Deidrejw on June 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn! So excited to make this and because it sounds so delicious (and likely a family crowd-pleaser) would this work as a double batch to cook as two loaves? I would like to eat one fresh and freeze one, but I would like to save time and measure once.

    Thank you!

    • — Tiffany on June 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Great idea — yes, you can definitely do that. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • Seeing a RAO’s jar in the recipe, It has to be GREAT! (The Only sauce I purchase) I’m going to make this recipe tonight! I looked at quite a few meatloaf recipes till I came across this one-It looks Delicious! Growing up, My mother never used a loaf pan Although, I tried it once, it tasted pretty juicy! Thank you so much!

    • — Lou on May 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is a wonderful recipe. My partner ate way more than usual and didn’t even add any catsup. I used fresh oregano from the garden instead of basil. The smashed parmesan potatoes were super easy and the perfect side dish. Substituting pork for some of the ground beef made for an interesting, and richer, taste.

    • — Steve on May 19, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I made your Italian Meatloaf last night. It was absolutely delicious. My husband is NOT a fan of meatloaf and wasn’t looking forward to dinner.. Well, he loved it! The texture was firm, the melding of ingredients was so flavorful, and it was like eating an Italian meatball. Thank you!!!!

    • — Monica Biegel on April 22, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hoping to make tonight but only have ground turkey and no cheese. Should I adapt the recipe at all? (Especially concerned that it doesn’t turn out too dry.) Have made your delicious BBQ turkey meatloaf many times but the family doesn’t want BBQ tonight.

    • — P on April 6, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi P, Sorry I’m weighing in too late to be helpful! Did you end up making this?

      • — Jenn on April 7, 2020
      • Reply
      • I did. Increased bread crumbs to 3/4 cup and increased veggies (as noted in another review) but it did turn out a little dry. Still quite good but would like to try again with ground turkey and cheese. Thoughts?

        • — P on April 9, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi P, This one really is best with ground beef. If you only have ground turkey on hand, I’d recommend this meatloaf instead. It’s delicious!

          • — Jenn on April 10, 2020
          • Reply
  • This is the BEST meatloaf I have ever tasted! The cooking process was straight forward. We had this as a family dinner and kids and adults enjoyed it. The portion is very generous so we’ll have delicious leftovers.

    • — Sean on March 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever made. I’ve made it several times and everyone thinks it’s the most delicious meatloaf they have ever tasted. Can’t wait to try your other recipes!

    • — Terry on February 13, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 13, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this meatloaf and it is so delicious! It’s different than any other I’ve tried and my Mom plans to make it next. I brought two big pieces to my pregnant boss and she and her husband loved it! There’s plenty to feed a family. I also made cheesecake from the same cookbook and it’s chilling in the fridge but I’m so excited to serve it at an event on Sunday! It smells amazing.

    • — Laura Brown on February 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • Excellent

    • — Annalisa on January 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hey Jen! I’m excited to try this recipe! I was wondering, could I sub the 1/2 lb pork for venison? Would cook time differ at all? Thanks!

    • — Rebecca on December 21, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Rebecca, It will work but I’d probably stick with the pork. Venison is quite lean and won’t add as much flavor. But if you want to give it a try, the cooking time would be the same. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on December 22, 2019
      • Reply
  • Delicious meatloaf! Want to make two small ones instead of one large to give to new mom to freeze. Can you estimate the cooking time? Thank you for all your great work! Love everything you make.

    • — Vivian on December 14, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Vivian, glad you like the meatloaf! If you want to divide this into two loaves, I would guesstimate they would take about 45 minutes in the oven. You could also check them with a meat thermometer to make sure the centers have reached 165 degrees F before taking them out of the oven. Hope the recipient enjoys!

      • — Jenn on December 16, 2019
      • Reply
  • Prepared the recipe and shared with a needy family…um, good!
    Anxious to try a sandwich. Thanks for the recipe.

    • — Merle on December 13, 2019
    • Reply
    • How nice that you prepared it for a needy family — hope they enjoyed it! 💗

      • — Jenn on December 13, 2019
      • Reply
  • Fantastic recipe. My family is not crazy about meatloaf but they loved the flavor on this one. The only problem I encountered was that after greasing the aluminum foil and cooking it for 60 minutes as directed, the bottom was overcooked and stuck to the aluminum foil. I wonder why and if I’m the only one who had this happened. Other than that, excellent recipe. Thank you!

    • — Ruby Hume on November 9, 2019
    • Reply
  • I always thought that I made a pretty tasty meatloaf but this is beyond delicious. It’s the only meatloaf that I make now and the family loves it. My husband was never a meatloaf kind of guy until I made this. Thanks, Jenn, for making me look so good…again!

    • — Jane on October 3, 2019
    • Reply
  • This is a really delicious meatloaf, and I love all of the added vegetables. My only issue, and it is a small one, is that on the second day the leftovers were a little dry. One of the best things about meatloaf is the leftovers, either reheated or cold on a sandwich. I have another, less impressive, meatloaf recipe that has a spicy-sweet tomato sauce that I usually serve as a sauce on the side. It’s just a little canned tomato sauce with worcestershire, dijon mustard, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. It was the perfect, warm accompaniment to our leftover dinner. I served with roasted potato wedges and your brussels sprout, apple and walnut salad.

    • — PaulainVA on September 28, 2019
    • Reply
  • Prepared this recipe exactly as written and was great! Lots of flavor, and made mashed potatoes as a side. It was a tad salty, so I might reduce the salt a bit in the future. I also think this would be great with a fresh salad.

    • — Blake on August 31, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    With the heat of the summer, I am reluctant to turn on the oven. I just purchased an Instant Pot, and would like to know how I can adapt this recipe for the Instant Pot.
    Also, I would like to substitute some spicy Italian sausage instead of the ground pork for some additional flavor.



    • — Christi on July 24, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Christi, I recently purchased a pressure cooker/instant pot and am just starting to play around with it. I don’t have enough experience with it to tell you confidently how to convert the recipe, so you may want to take a peek at these tips. It looks like they could be useful in converting traditional recipes to ones that would work in a pressure cooker. And it’s fine to use sausage in place of the pork; you may just want to cut back on the salt in the recipe a touch. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on July 24, 2019
      • Reply
    • Thanks Jenn,
      The link you sent is very informative. I’ve saved it for reference. Good luck with your new pressure cooker/ instant pot. It’s a whole new way I’m getting dinner on the table quickly, without sacrificing flavor. It’s especially helpful on those hot summer days when you don’t want to turn on the oven, or even the stove top!

      • — Christi on July 24, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is the most requested dish in my house! Follow the recipe with the only addition being extra garlic, celery leaves and fresh thyme in the meat mix for extra flavor. Also, I make my own marinara sauce.

    • — Julie on July 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • How much fresh thyme did you use?

      • — Katie on April 21, 2020
      • Reply
  • Did not disappoint. 💜but you never do. Used all organic beef, mashed potatoes and your delicious asparagus/lemon/feta salad.

    • — Gail on April 15, 2019
    • Reply
  • I’ve tried lots of meatloaf recipes over the years, and they all have been either dull or greasy or both. This recipe is absolutely delicious. Although it calls for fresh basil, I find that dried basil tastes just as good.

    • — Kaylee on April 15, 2019
    • Reply
    • How much dried basil do you use?

      • — Barbara Dowtin on July 12, 2019
      • Reply
      • I’d suggest a generous tablespoon of dried basil. Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on July 12, 2019
        • Reply
  • Absolutely terrific!

    • — Margie Pinch on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • Delicious meatloaf, turned out perfectly. Easily serves 8 – it was huge! Looking forward to leftovers tomorrow:)

    • — Ainsley Spencer on February 1, 2019
    • Reply
  • My whole family loved this recipe! Delicious and easy to make even on a weeknight!

    • — Elizabeth Grau on January 23, 2019
    • Reply
  • Terrific meal enjoyed by all of us. Used all ground beef (don’t love pork). We enjoyed leftovers with melted cheese on top and extra sauce. Another winner added to the dinner rotation!!

    • — LisaR on November 27, 2018
    • Reply
  • Amazing meatloaf & so easy! Making this one again soon

  • I made this meatloaf tonight and it is INCREDIBLE!!!! My roommates all claimed to hate meatloaf….until they tried this one! Followed the recipe exactly and it is truly the best I have ever had. Thank you!!!

  • This is the best meatloaf I have ever made! It’s like a delicious juicy meatball with sauce. My 3 and 6 year old request this often. I have made it at least a dozen times exactly as written and wouldn’t change a thing!

  • Easy, healthy and tasty. Thanks for another great recipe. Whenever I make any of your recipes to take to a party, I’m always asked for the recipe. That’s the best compliment I can give you. If making meatballs with this recipe, how long would you leave them in the oven?

    • So glad you like the recipes, Niki! For meatballs, I have an actual meatball recipe that’s pretty similar to the flavors in this meatloaf – I’d suggest that you use this instead. Hope you enjoy!

      • Try cooking meatloaf with a strip two of bacon on top…….you can use pieces scattered over the top….TERRIFIC basting!

        • — Mary McKeaney on August 6, 2019
        • Reply
  • This recipe will make a very good meatloaf. Unfortunately, I did not have celery and made a couple of other substitutions because I did not have the exact ingredients. It was still good, but I believe that using all of the ingredients listed in the recipe would have resulted in an overall better meatloaf. Next time I will use the correct ingredients, with perhaps the addition of a teaspoon of herbes de provence.

  • Delicious! Made this meatloaf tonight for dinner & loved it. Very easy to put together & flavourful. Followed the recipe except I couldn’t find Italian breadcrumbs so added plain breadcrumbs with a heaping 1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning & the flavours were awesome! Absolutely added the marinara on top & served with some on the side. Ate with your big Italian salad & smashed potatoes. All around delicious meal. Very comforting!!!

    • Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup flax seeds – it Will NOT be dry, its a wonderful addition. I followed this recipe added flax seed because I do in a lot of my baking. It was the best meatloaf I’ve had.

      • — Stephanie on October 19, 2019
      • Reply
  • Made this last night for dinner. We haven’t had meatloaf in…..forever! Two big thumbs up from everyone all the way around. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Hi Jenn, I made the Italian meatloaf this evening and it was a huge hit. I have a recipe for an Italian meatloaf that I always considered to be the best. Yours beat mine, hands down. Never would have believed it. I did use Italian sausage and ground beef. Everything else was per your specifications.Still 100% with every one of your recipes being a home run. Thanks again for super recipes.

    • Hi Jenn,
      I’m just wondering what you might suggest as best substitute in place of pork/pork sausage in your recipes, as we do not eat it.
      Just thought you might have another tip up your sleeve?? 🙂

      Thank you so much for all your beautiful recipes. They all sound so amazing and have given me new inspiration! ❤️

      • — Kathryn on March 31, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Kathryn, for this recipe, I’d just use all ground beef. It may not be quite as moist as with the pork, but it will still be delicious. Because there’s not really a one-size-fits-all answser in terms of substitutes, let me know if you have questions about any other recipes. Hope you enjoy the meatloaf if you make it! 🙂

        • — Jenn on March 31, 2020
        • Reply
  • Love this meatloaf and so does my husband! I make it with ground turkey, and sometimes add a few extra veggies, like roasted red peppers finely chopped. It’s a lot for 2 of us so I slice the extra and freeze it for sandwiches later. Great with chipotle mayo! Another great Jen recipe!!

  • What temperature do I bake it at? Didn’t find it anywhere 🙂 Thank you!!!!!

    • Hi Veronica, it gets baked at 350°F/175°C. Hope you enjoy!

    • Never mind :))) i found it! Sorry about this 🙂

  • Any idea how much mirepaux total ? As a time saver I chop extra and freeze/refrigerate. Making tonite!

    • Hi, these are all just estimates based on the exact sizes of the vegetables and how finely you dice them, but 1 small finely chopped onion should be about 1/2 cup, the finely chopped carrot will be approximately 1/3 cup and the same for the celery. Mincing the 3 garlic cloves should render about 1.5 tsp. Hope that helps!

  • OMG!! This is amazing!
    Made as directed but since I didn’t have the Marinara sauce, I made your recipe Tomato Balsamic Glaze to cover the meatloaf instead. So delicious.
    Thanks for making me look like I can cook! Love your site!

  • I’ve made this Italian Meatloaf twice. The first time I did it exactly as the recipe with beef and pork. The meatloaf was delicious and a hit. The second time I did it with Turkey and it was just as good. A perfect meal served with couscous. Thank you Once Upon a Chef.

    • — Cynthia Gutierrez
    • Reply
  • This recipe was absolutely delicious … only change was that we did 50/50 pork/beef. Served with homemade chips.

  • Can I say how much I love this meatloaf? It is super easy, super tasty, and it even freezes well! I love all the veggies in it and have found if in a hurry I can add them to the meat without sauteeing first, and it has made no difference in the final meatloaf. To freeze for individual meals, I make 1″ slices, wrap in foil and then stash in a freezer pouch for later. Since I’m a household of one now, that’s important to me!

  • Every one of your recipes I have tried is delicious! My husband and kids always ask what we’re having for dinner, and I simply say “something from once upon a chef,” and everyone is always happy to hear that reply! It has always been like pulling teeth to try to get my eight year old to eat meatloaf, but not with this recipe. She raved over it! I couldn’t believe it! Thanks again for another wonderful recipe!!!

    • Looks delicious! I have everything on hand except for the pork sausage. I do have sweet Italian sausage. Would that work or not work? Thanks!

      • — Angela on March 31, 2020
      • Reply
      • Sure, Angela, just cut back on the added salt a bit as the sausage will already have some incorporated. Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on March 31, 2020
        • Reply
  • I adore the flavor of this recipe!!! However, I have a need to make it gluten free. I tried twice with store-bought gluten free Panko breadcrumbs, and the texture is just….crumbly, mushy, won’t hold together. Any suggestions? More egg? A different binder? Oats, cornmeal….? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Vanessa, a couple suggestions come to mind — you could try a different brand of gluten-free bread crumbs as that may solve the problem. You could also try using ground oats instead of the bread crumbs. Because they will change the flavor of the meatloaf a bit, I’d suggest using just enough to bind everything together. Hope that helps!

  • As usual with your recipes, this was amazing. The only change I made was using the grease of the morning’s bacon with ground beef. The highlight for me was the basil. I will never again make meatloaf without it.

  • Just made this meatloaf recipe and we loved it! It was delicious. I added a small amount of red pepper flakes and used dried oregano and dried basil since I don’t have fresh basil, but it was delicious nevertheless.

  • Hi,

    I baked this meatloaf Tuesday, then put it in the freezer. We plan on eating it Christmas Day. I never froze cooked meatloaf before. Will it still be moist? By the way, took a nibble and it was amazing and made my home smell fantastic!

    • Hi Rose, Meatloaf freezes beautifully so no worries – it will be fine! Happy Holidays!

  • My family LOVES this meatloaf. In fact, it is a FAVORITE of my 8 month old daughter (we are doing baby-led weaning with her). Do you have any recommendations for loading it up with other veggies – like cauliflower, zucchini, spinach, etc to make it even more nutritious? About how much more veggies do you think the loaf could handle before it falls apart? Thanks!

  • This is the best meatloaf ever! My family is always requesting it! If there is any leftover, we like to place it on a toasted hogie roll with extra tomato sauce and cheese.

  • Hi…I am trying to go gluten free, any recommendations for something to use other than bread crumbs? Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Gluten-free bread crumbs would work well here. Hope you enjoy!

      • Thanks Jenn, I ended up using crushed rice crackers and they worked perfectly!
        I really liked the addition of the veggies, it was both Yummy and Gluten free – bonus!

  • We really enjoyed this meatloaf tonight! I paired it with cauliflower/mashed potatoes and a tossed salad and we were very satisfied! Both my husband and I added a sprinkle of salt (we rarely do this), but otherwise every bite was tasty! I did bake mine is a 2-piece meatloaf pan that has a drainer so the fats can be pulled away from the loaf. Probably because of that, it needed an extra 15 minutes in the oven. I will make this again!

  • The most flavourful meatloaf hands down,followed the recipe exactly,served with mashed potatoes and salad and we made sandwiches with left over the next day, soooooo good!
    Julie from Halifax, Canada

  • This is by far the best meatloaf recipe we have ever eaten. It is so moist and flavorful. With his first bite, my husband proclaimed that this recipe is definitely one to keep and I concur. Simply delicious!!!!

    Thank you for your hard work and sharing your undeniable talent with all of us.

  • This is the best meatloaf I ever made! I used one pound 85 lean and one pound of 90 lean grass fed beef – amazing!

  • Once again, another great recipe. The Italian Meatloaf was absolutely delicious and my husband loved it.
    I’m not a fan of Meatloaf and I have to say this recipe is a really good one. Will definitely be making it again and again.

  • I previously read that this recipe freezes well. Do you freeze it before or after cooking? And if it’s after then how do you reheat?

    • You really can freeze it cooked or uncooked, but I usually freeze meatloaf after cooking it. I’d recommend wrapping it in foil before putting it in a freezer bag and then reheating it at 300 degrees until hot in the middle.

  • Finally a meatloaf recipe that even my teenage son loves! Made exactly as written and it didn’t disappoint. Thanks for another great recipe.

  • Great meatloaf. My critics didn’t like finding “bits of orange” and immediately questioned if I was trying to slip something past them. Sigh, and they even like carrots! Next time, I would try adding mushrooms instead of the grated carrots and serve the carrots as a side dish.

    This is a very moist tasty meatloaf. I doubled the recipe because of the amounts of meat I had. It was a real time saver as I had one for tonight and one for later.

  • I made this tonight as we celebrated the first day of spring as Jenn suggested. The only change I made was I added an extra clove of garlic cause we really like garlic. It tasted great. Usually I put a sweet glaze on top of my meatloaf, but this was a really nice change for something different. I will be making this one again for sure!

  • Could I use this recipe for meatballs?

    • Hi Lynne, I think you could. I do have an actual meatball recipe that’s pretty similar to the flavors in this meatloaf.

  • Excellent results every time & everyone loved this meatloaf! Made it 3 times. Here’s what I did: no pork, no cheese. Marinara sauce is the better choice (tried a tomato basil sauce-just ok). Sprinkled the bread crumbs over the sauteed vegetables and combined.

  • Hi Jenn,
    My willingness to even try a meatloaf recipe is a testament to the wonderful success I’ve enjoyed with all of your recipes. Just wondering, can I sub Italian-flavored panko for the breadcrumbs?

    • So glad you’re going to give it a try! Yes, panko would work here. Hope you enjoy it.

  • Is it possible to freeze this recipe?

    • sure, it freezes nicely!

  • I hate meatloaf.
    Okay, let me rephrase that, I hated meatloaf.

    Never being a lover of meatloaf, one random day, I had a craving for it. I don’t know why, but I did. So, of course, I turned nowhere else but to Jenns recipes because if I was going to love a meatloaf, it was going to be on onceuponachef.

    Once again, not disappointed.

    Use high quality ground beef and ingredients. I feel like a lot of people don’t use the right parm-reggiano cheese, which even though can seem pricey, is so worth the cost. So hunt for that cheese! You won’t regret it!

    The only thing in this recipe I substitute is the pork. I just buy 85% lean beef and use that for the whole loaf. We like pork but try to avoid it if we can. Using all beef has worked out for me and it tastes amazing. I’m sure the pork gives it a softer/juicier consistency but if you can’t have pork, all beef still tastes great.

    My sister, an avid hater of meatloaf (she pretty much dislikes anything meaty) had two slices, something I never thought I’d ever see in my life.

    Leftovers taste amazing!

    I usually make it with homemade biscuits, mashed potatoes and green beans with olive oil and a little sea salt.

    Also, a note on my picky eater- he still picked some of the carrots out but said that he loved the meatloaf overall and he had a nice big piece. I guess I’ll have to get those carrots even smaller next time!

    • Thank you, Celeste for your review. I do not eat pork, so I was glad to see that it works well as an all beef meatloaf. Thanks for sharing your comments. Looking forward to trying this.

  • I needed a recipe that I could use to make a meatloaf that had a different flavor profile than the ordinary run of the mill meatloaf. I found this recipe on Jenn’s website & decided to give it a try. I’m not sure why I chose to do this for a family gathering for the very first time I made it, but I did! Everyone loved it, coming back for seconds, asking for the recipe. It has the perfect proportions of ingredients & chopping things finely in the food processor helped distribute the veggies well throughout the meat loaf. What very little that was left over was fought over for the privilege of taking home for leftovers! I’ve since made it with ground chicken, adding shredded mozzarella & parmesan cheese to it. Wonderful as well!

    • — Aletha Karen Bass
    • Reply
  • Great flavorful meatloaf. We skipped the marinara and instead dip in ketchup.

  • Wow Jenn! Another keeper recipe. I’ve made a lot of meatloaves over the years, but this was one of the best. Adding it into the rotation. Thank you!

  • This is my new go to meatloaf! Turns out perfectly every time:)

  • I have now turned my youngest daughter on to the OUAC website as her go-to for recipes (besides mom!) She tried this meatloaf recipe a few days ago for her and her boyfriend and LOVED it! She followed the recipe to the letter and said it turned out great, was nice and moist and flavorful.

  • Yesterday was a chilly Sunday evening and I was looking to make a great old fashion comfort food dish for a chill Sunday dinner. Look no further. I found this wonderful meatloaf recipe to make and thought it would be ideal to pair it with your potatoes au gratin recipe. …..This meatloaf recipe was simply amazing and so easy to make, it is a classic! Once again thank you Jenn for all your incredible dishes.

  • We were craving meatloaf last night so what do I do – is always my first stop and this recipe did not disappoint!! Thank you so much Jenn!

  • Could you mix all of the meatloaf ingredients together the nite before, place it in a bowl in the fridge but then not cook it until the next day?

    • Yes, that should work Marny. Enjoy!

  • This meatloaf was delicious and eaten enthusiastically by my two young-ish kiddos, who are good eaters generally but tend to resist new recipes. I couldn’t find meatball mix and used one pound each 85% lean organic beef and pork. The fat baked off nicely, and the loaf was flavorful and moist. My only note is that it was quite dense and filling….one slice goes a long way.
    P.s. I am 5 for 5 with your recipes and coming back for more! Thanks for a great site!

  • Hi. I’ve just stumbled across this recipe and thought I would give it a try. Meatloaf isn’t something we’re big on here in England but it looks scrummy so thought I would give it a try. We don’t have Marinara sauce here – but we do have various jars of pasta sauces – do you know a good substitute or what is in a Marinara sauce so I can look for something similar? Many thanks.

    • Hi Jacqueline, Marinara sauce is a red sauce usually made with tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs, so if you can find a pasta sauce resembling that, it should work well. Hope you enjoy!

  • pork shank receipe please

    • — dororthy mcelduff
    • Reply
    • Hi Dorothy, I will add a pork shank recipe to my list of recipes to potentially develop. Thanks for the suggestion as I am always looking for new inspiration!

  • This recipe was easy to follow and the results were moist and delicious! I did not have anything but 80% lean ground beef and decided to give it a try. I am looking forward to trying it again following it with the exacts meats called for. A definite keeper. Thank you for another terrific recipe!

  • Made this last night for dinner. It was the best meatloaf ever . Thank you for another amazing recipe.

  • I don’t know why I haven’t came across Once Upon a Chef until now. For the first time I find recipes that I love making and taste GREAT!

    • I also just came across this site which is amazing that I haven’t before since I am always on the internet looking for recipes. I have already printed out 4 that I am going to try. Can’t wait.

  • Amazing, as usual. Hands down the best meatloaf I’ve ever had. I don’t eat pork so used all ground beef and it was still outstanding. The Rao’s marinara totally makes it! Thanks for the great recipe!

  • In a word, OUTSTANDING!!! A home run. Thanks for the loved by all recipe.

  • Hi Jen, just need some substitution advice:
    What is another cheese I can use other than Parmigiano-Reggiano ?

    Substitution for Italian breadcrumbs?

    Substitution for Worcester sauce can I use steak sauce?

    I am also trying to cut down on the amount of sodium, love meatloaf but family member has sodium restriction.
    Thanks a bunch.

    • Hi Shell, If you can’t find Parmigiano-Reggiano, other options are Romano, Asiago or Grana Padano. Also, you could omit the cheese and increase the breadcrumbs to 3/4 cup. You could use plain breadcrumbs instead of Italian and just add a pinch of dried Italian seasonings like basil and oregano to taste. And Lea and Perrins makes a reduced-sodium version of Worcestershire sauce if you’d prefer to go that route.

  • This was delicious and super moist. Rave reviews from all family members! It crumbled slightly as I cut which I think is because i was lazy when chopping veggies and didn’t do fine enough. Will use food processor next time.

  • I made this meatloaf along with the big Italian salad and the Parmesan smashed potatoes for dinner on Sunday. My husband and teenagers said it was one of the best meals I’ve ever made! Life is busy and with school and sports and part time jobs, it’s hard to get us all together at meal time. I think if I keep cooking your recipes, family meal time will happen more often!! Thank you!

  • Thanks Jenn for this delicious recipe, made this for my family yesterday and they Loved it.

  • Made this meatloaf last night and it was fantastic. My kids don’t usually like meatloaf so I followed what you said and told them it was a meatball recipe but it was quicker to make it in a loaf. They actually ate it and enjoyed it. I had to make a last minute substitution because I was out of celery. I kept staring at the zucchini I had in the drawer and decided to throw it in the food processor as well. It was a great substitution. The loaf was very moist.

    • I’m making this now and was considering the same thing; no celery, hmmm what about that zucchini..glad to hear it worked!

  • Great meatloaf! The best tasting I’ve ever made. Thank you so much. One comment, and I believe it is my fault… When the meatloaf is mixed by hand, is it possible to make it dense or tough if it is handled to much?

    • Hi Colleen, Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, it is possible to overmix — you want to mash it until just combined. It’s also possible that you overcooked it (your oven might run a little hot), so maybe reduce the cook time by 5 minutes next time. If that doesn’t fix it, increase the bread crumbs to 3/4 cup and/or add a bit more veggies.

  • This was the most flavorful meatloaf I have ever had! Thank you so much!

  • I just made the meatloaf, turned out wonderful! Never really knew what ‘meatloaf’ was until I moved to Canada, and even then I thought it would be boring and bland..I mean who would just bake a hunk of ground meat like that…but I really love this recipe!!!! It was flavorful and not dry at all. Definitely a keeper and will be making it again, was very easy to do after you mix the ingredients and shape the loaf the oven does the rest, and loved how it made the house smell. I didn’t have marinara sauce but used rosee pasta sauce instead and I also did not have celery but just used more carrot and some green onions.

  • Do you have an Italian meatball recipe already on the site, or should I just make meatballs out of your meatloaf recipe? Do you think it would work? I need some meatballs! Thanks, Jenn.

  • My family has an aversion to meatloaf…not this one! I have made several recipes but this is the one! It’s a keeper!!! I just fed 4 boys your meatloaf and they are HAPPY!!!

  • i love to read and analyze recipes before ever i try them out. this one is a keeper. i don’t like too much tomato in my loaf, and this has just a bit on top; fine, i can deal. it’s missing my fave bacon latticework, but it IS a giant meatball, so no bacon — pancetta, maybe?

    • Hollis, You could absolutely add pancetta along with the veggies. I’m sure it’d be delicious. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out.

  • Hi there Jen,
    I have been looking for a good recipe for meatloaf for a long time. It’s difficult as in Australia Meatloaf isn’t a popular dish. When I saw you added one I knew it would be amazing and tried it straight away. It was excellent, really delicious and easy to make. My Husband also loved it.
    Just a note, when you change to metric measurements on this recipe, not all the pound measurements change to g/ kg. Just a minor note. Also on metric perhaps you could also change the degrees F to degrees Celsius. Just a thought to make it easier for people cooking metric.
    Thanks so much for all your amazing recipes, Your website is absolutely amazing.

    • So glad you and your husband enjoyed it, Talia! Thanks for letting me know about the conversions — that was an oversight and it has been corrected 🙂

  • Hello. New subscriber here, really enjoying your website. Can I make this same meatloaf using ground turkey? I’ve tried making turkey meatloaf previously the texture & taste was always a litte off.

    • Justine, I think it’d work, although it’s not likely to be quite as juicy. If you really want to use turkey, you may want to try this recipe.

  • QUESTION: The recipe looks wonderful, especially adding finely chopped vegetables. Again, the question of adding onion, as they cause us gastric distress.

    • Hi Milla, If you’re concerned about the onions causing stomach distress, you could substitute an equal amount of carrots instead. Hope you enjoy!

  • Have you tried making this meatloaf with turkey instead of beef/pork?

    • Marcia, I think it’d work, although it’s not likely to be quite as juicy. If you really want to use turkey, you may want to try this recipe.

  • Hi Jenn,

    How can I substitute the Parmesan cheese to make this recipe kosher?

    • Jenny, you can just omit the cheese. I’d increase the breadcrumbs to 3/4 cup too. Hope you enjoy!

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