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Italian Meatloaf is an easy meatloaf recipe made with Italian sausage and ground beef and topped with marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese. This is basically one giant meatball!

Italian meatloaf with marinara and Parmesan cheese on platter with basil.

My family requested Italian food, so I made this flavorful meatloaf using the same ingredients from my grandma’s Italian meatball recipe.

Unlike classic meatloaf, I used a combination of ground beef and sausage and swapped marinara sauce for the ketchup or tomato sauce. I also used milk-soaked bread instead of the usual breadcrumbs.

The result is a delicious, tender meatloaf that really does taste like Italian meatballs, only without all of the work! It’s a great recipe for weeknights or Sunday dinner and definitely comfort food!

meat mixture, marinara sauce, bread, Parmesan cheese, eggs, milk and seasonings.

Ingredients Needed

You should be able to find these simple ingredients in your local grocery store.

  • Lean ground beef — A mix of 80/20 ground beef is best for meatloaf.
  • Italian sausage — casings removed. You can use ground pork if you can’t get sausage.
  • Eggs — large eggs to help bind the meat mixture
  • White bread — Sandwich bread soaked in milk keeps the meat tender.
  • Milk — to mix with the bread
  • Grated Parmesan cheese — adds wonderful flavor
  • Seasonings — sea salt, black pepper, dried minced onions, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. You can use chopped onion if you prefer.

How to Make Italian Meatloaf

First, preheat oven and line a baking pan with aluminum foil. You can add cooking spray or olive oil to the bottom of the pan as well, as this is a messy meatloaf!

Tear the sliced bread into smaller pieces, and place in a small bowl. Pour milk over the bread, and allow it to soak while you prepare the meat.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Then, add the beef and sausage, and remaining ingredients. Squeeze the milk from the breadcrumbs, and add to the bowl.

ingredients for meatloaf in mixing bowl

Using clean hands, gently mix the meatloaf mixture together until it starts to come together.

You don’t want to over mix the meat. When you can form it into a ball, it is mixed enough!

hands mixing meatloaf mixture in bowl.

Place the meat mixture into the prepared baking pan, and form into a loaf shape. You want the loaf to be about 1 1/2-2 inches tall.

When the loaf is formed, brush marinara sauce on top of the meatloaf. You can add more sauce before serving.

meatloaf topped with marinara sauce in baking pan.

Cooking Time

Bake the meatloaf for 1 hour or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees f, according to a meat thermometer.

About 15 minutes before it is done, brush a little more marinara sauce on top.

Always bake meatloaf uncovered, unless the top starts to get too brown. You can tent it lightly with foil if needed.

What to Serve with Italian Meatloaf

My favorite sides for Italian style meatloaf are mashed potatoes and green beans and crusty Italian bread. You can also serve your favorite pasta instead of potatoes.

I like to add more shredded Parm or mozzarella cheese on top of the meatloaf along with fresh basil or parsley.

Check out more of the best sides for meatloaf for more inspiration.

Italian meatloaf on platter with mashed potatoes and green beans.

How to Store Leftovers

Refrigerate leftover meatloaf in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat individual slices in the microwave. Meatloaf tastes better the next day!

Or, use the sliced meat to make the best leftover meatloaf sandwich!

Meatloaf freezes well for up to 3 months. Just store in freezer bags or a freezer safe container.

Expert Tips

Beat the eggs first to cut down on mixing time.

Gently mix the meat — don’t over mix it. This will ensure tender meatloaf that isn’t tough.

You can sub 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs or Italian breadcrumbs for the sliced bread and tomato sauce for the marinara sauce.

Allow the meatloaf to rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing. You will get cleaner slices this way.

More Meatloaf Recipes

If you love meatloaf as much as we do, try my meatloaf with stuffing recipe or my mom’s Lipton onion soup meatloaf. My meatloaf with tomato sauce is a traditional meatloaf recipe. Cheesy BBQ meatloaf is a kid favorite and you can make mini meatloaf muffins or Italian meatloaf muffins in a muffin tin. Have a pressure cooker? Make this Instant Pot meatloaf recipe.

4.96 from 24 votes

Italian Meatloaf Recipe

By: Dee
Italian Meatloaf is an easy meatloaf recipe made with Italian sausage and ground beef and topped with marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese. This is basically one giant meatball!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 3 slices white bread sandwich bread
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage casings removed
  • ¾ cup marinara sauce divided
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onions
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder optional
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
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  • Preheat oven to 350℉ and line a baking dish with foil or spray with non stick spray
  • Tear bread into smaller pieces, and place in a small bowl. Pour milk over bread and allow to soak
  • Add the eggs to a large mixing bowl, and mix slightly
  • Add the ground beef, sausage, ¼ cup marinara sauce and remaining ingredients.
  • Squeeze milk from breadcrumbs and add to the bowl
  • Mix all ingredients together with your hands just until mixture starts to stick together
  • Place meat in prepared baking pan, form into loaf shape about 2 inches thick, spread another ¼ cup marinara sauce in a thin layer on top,
  • Bake uncovered for 1 hour or until internal temperature is 160 degrees, according to meat thermometer. Add remaining marinara sauce on top of the meatloaf right before done
  • Top with additional shredded Parmesan cheese and chopped basil or parsley, if desired. Allow meatloaf to rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before slicing


80/20 lean ground beef works best for meatloaf. If you can’t find Italian sausage, you can use ground pork or another pound of ground beef.
Servings depend upon how thick the slices are.
Sub 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs for the bread slices, tomato sauce for the marinara sauce and chopped onion for the minced onion if desired.


Calories: 343kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 122mg, Sodium: 970mg, Potassium: 474mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 205IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 94mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main
Cuisine: American, Italian American
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Recipe Rating


  1. DONNA HODGES says:

    Absolutely delicious 😋 I used my own herbs I grow and dry, and used my own sause also the sea salt was perfect and I used my homemade sourdough .. make this again and again ,and I also made a little sause around the meatloaf for the juices to mix with added diced potatoes and with Italian green beans amazing 👏 thank you for sharing ,

    1. Dee says:

      That sounds so good! Thanks for sharing your version!

  2. Cynthia ODonnell says:

    This is a delicious recipe, I followed per recipe. I would probably reduce the salt slightly as it was on the verge of being too salty. Other than that, yummy!

  3. Rhonda says:

    Wanted to try something different for Meatloaf Monday! This was a big hit with thee family! No leftovers this time around!5 stars

  4. Jeff says:

    Good, easy recipe – Came out of the oven looking perfect, and the texture when sliced was just right.

    I will make again, but will cut the sea salt in half (just my taste preference). Also – will swap either sweet, or hot Italian sausage, instead of the mild Italian sausage, for a more pronounced flavor.4 stars

  5. Ginny says:

    Best meat loaf I’ve ever made but next time I will leave out the salt.5 stars

  6. William says:

    Wow! Love the flavors in this recipe! So much easier to make than meatballs! Going to make this often!5 stars