Simple and Traditional Italian Meatloaf

If you like meatballs, you’ll love this recipe!  This Italian meatloaf recipe is easy to prepare and bake, and as I always say, “If I can make it, so can you!”  It’s the truth.  Meatloaf is impressive, and yet so simple to make it’s unreal.

This recipe is a fairly basic meatloaf with some Italian herbs, and which I tend to enjoy the most. But of course, you can modify it by adding spinach, basil, diced tomatoes, etc.

It’s my favorite type of meatloaf.  A basic Italian meatloaf is like eating a big tasty meatball!

Well, that’s how I think of it. 🙂 

Getting Creative with Your Meatloaf

I like meatloaf because you can make so many variations. My Aunt Gloria makes an amazing meatloaf using different combinations of meat, various cheeses and other ingredients like spinach. She spreads it out on the meat and rolls it into a rolled meatloaf.

On the other side of my family, my mother in law likes to add in peas.  

Then there’s my husband who tries hard to turn everything into something super healthy, so he likes to add rolled oatmeal into the mixture to bulk it up.  He also likes to add rice, but I don’t like it that way and I refuse to eat it that way.

Feel free to use this as a base for your own version or leave it just like it is!    You can add to it, adjust quantities or whatever.

How is an Italian Meatloaf Different than a Regular Meatloaf?

A regular American-style typical meatloaf uses ketchup, A-1 sauce, some Worcestershire sauce, along with some salt and pepper.  However for an Italian version, you will omit those and use a can of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce on top. 

Italian Meatloaf 

Instead of just salt and pepper, we use Romano (or other flavorful Italian cheese), Italian herbs such as basil, oregano and parsley.  For mine I don’t use oregano because it can be a bit over powering if over used.    

This really comes down to personal preference.   If you only have a generic “italian herbs” spice jar with all the spices mixed together, then feel free to use that. 

Notice that I use garlic powder and onion powder.   What?!  Yes, because I want the flavor to be spread throughout evenly and since meatloaf doesn’t have to cook long, a chopped onion will not cook enough to get super soft. 

I don’t use garlic or onion powder much, but in cases like this I do.   I actually make this recipe sometimes without the garlic and onion powder and it still states AMAZING!  

Like I said earlier, it tastes like a big meatball!   

There is no wrong or right in my book (well, most of the time…)

Let me know below in the comments section how you like the recipe -I’d love to hear how it turns out for you!  

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to get more of my favorite simple Italian recipes!  

But this recipe is a basic traditional one which is fantastic!  I hope you like it!

Italian Traditional Meatloaf Recipe

A simple basic Italian meatloaf
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Main Dish
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 – 1/3 lb ground beef or bison
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Romano grated cheese
  • 2 -3 tbsp crushed Italian herbs (basil, parsley, oregano) to taste
  • dash garlic and onion powder
  • Drained diced tomatoes or tomato sauce


  • Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
  • Meanwhile mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Form into a loaf and place into an oven proof dish.
  • Cover loosely with foil and bake in oven at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour.
  • Remove the foil the last 10 to 15 minutes and top with the tomatoes or sauce.
  • Let rest for 20 minutes before serving. (Internal temp. should be 170 degrees F.)


TIP #1: Try adding in some chopped herbs, onions or thawed and drained spinach, or even a can of drained diced tomatoes to the meat mixture. You can also adjust the quantities such as adding more cheese, or a mix of cheeses.
TIP #2: Depending on the size of your meatloaf, if it is thick and short or long and thin, the cooking time can vary. So always check to make sure there is no pink in the meatloaf and the juices run clear.
TIP #3: Serve with roasted potatoes, salad, and fresh artisan bread.


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Simple and Traditional Italian Meatloaf

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