Italian Meatloaf is like making one giant meatball! It has all the similar flavors of your favorite Italian beef meatball, but is made like a traditional meatloaf recipe.
Ground beef is mixed with a packet of Italian dressing mix for flavor and then panko bread crumbs and milk are mixed as a panade to keep your meatloaf tender and moist. It is all topped with a jar of marinara sauce and ooey gooey mozzarella cheese.
If you are looking for a traditional meatloaf recipe these Easy Meatloaf Muffin Cups are amazing!!
I recommend using an 85/15 ground beef for this recipe. It has enough fat to give you flavor and great texture. However it isn’t so fatty that you will end up with a greasy mess!
I also HIGHLY recommend using ground beef that has been freshly ground or is packaged in “ribbons” see the photo above. This is not the time to use the tube of ground beef or even the cube of ground beef which is usually compressed too tightly and will not yield tender texture.
How to Make Italian Meatloaf
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Also grab out a 9×13 glass baking dish.
In a mixing bowl combine the ground beef, minced garlic, Italian Dressing Mix, panko bread crumbs, milk, eggs and parm cheese. With clean hands lightly mix the meatloaf mixture just until it comes together. Using a light hand will ensure you get a tender meatloaf.
Pour about 1/2 cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of the glass baking dish. Dump the meatloaf mixture into the pan. Form into a meatloaf, about 2 1/2 inches tall, 6 inches wide and about 11 inches long.
Pour the remaining marinara over the top. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Uncover the pan and sprinkle on the 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
When the meatloaf is done it should read 165 degrees in the center with an instant read thermometer.
Slice and serve with pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes and a green veggie!
You can cook, cool and then freeze the meatloaf so you have it for another time or so that you can take it as a meal train dinner!
If you plan to freeze the whole Italian Meatloaf, leave the mozzarella off until you thaw for reheating:
Cook the meatloaf so that it is done to 165 degrees at the center. Cool completely and then store in the freezer, in a freezer safe container, for up to 3 months.
To reheat and serve let the frozen meatloaf thaw in the fridge overnight. Cook in a 350 degree oven until it is heated through, then top with mozzarella and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Italian Meatloaf Recipe
- 2 lbs 85/15 ground beef recommend using fresh ground or "ribbon" style packaged ground beef for the best texture. See notes.
- 2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
- .7 oz packet of Italian Dressing Mix I use Good Seasonings brand
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- 24 oz jarred marinara
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Preheat the oven to 400°
- In a large bowl, with clean hands, lightly mix together the 2 lbs ground beef, 2 minced garlic cloves, .7 oz packet of Italian Dressing Mix, 1 cup panko bread crumbs, 1/3 cup milk, 2 lightly beaten eggs, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Do not overmix the meatloaf mixture or it will have a tough texture.
- In a 9×13 glass casserole pan pour about 1/2 cup marinara sauce onto the bottom of the pan. Dump the Italian meatloaf mixture out into the pan and shape into a meatloaf, about 2 1/2 inch tall, 6 inches wide and about 11 inches long (roughly)
- Pour the rest of the jarred marinara over the meatloaf. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
- Remove the foil and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, bake uncovered for another 10 minutes. The center of the meatloaf should read 165 degrees with an instant thermometer.
- Let cool for about 5 minutes and then slice and serve!