Italian meatloaf with mushrooms is simple, comforting, saucy, and full of flavor. All the things a good meatloaf should be. Our version uses homemade breadcrumbs, ground beef, garlic, red wine, plum tomatoes, and mushrooms for the perfect combination of flavors and texture. Since this can be made in about an hour it's perfect for weeknights during the cooler months.
Many people think of meatloaf as a typical American dish. But Italians and Italian-Americans do have their own version of meatloaf.
Known as polpettone in Italian, this dish is basically a giant meatball and I've never met a meatball I didn't like!
There are many variations of Italian meatloaf - some are stuffed with mozzarella or provolone and spinach, some are baked with potatoes or hard-boiled eggs.
My recipe is for the version I grew up eating and is influenced by my grandmother's southern Italian roots.
I use an easy red sauce and mushrooms and will usually serve Italian meatloaf with a simple side, such as Italian green beans, sauteed spinach, or a green salad.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Preheat the oven to 400f and set the rack to the middle level. In a large bowl, gently mix the ground meat, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, eggs, parmesan, salt, pepper, and milk.
- Once the ingredients are combined, form a 9 by 5" loaf and place it in a baking dish. Note: 9x5 measurement is approximate. No need to bust out your ruler for this! 😉
- Add a ½ cup of dry red wine directly to the meatloaf and baking dish.
- Add the crushed plum tomatoes directly to the baking dish and add ½ teaspoon to the sauce giving it a gentle stir. Place the meatloaf in the preheated oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the meatloaf reaches 160f with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the loaf.
- While your meatloaf is in the oven, heat a large preferably stainless steel pan to medium heat. Once hot (should take about 3 minutes), add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and begin to saute the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until well browned. Once brown, season them with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and move to a plate.
- Using the same pan, lower the heat to medium-low, add the remaining olive oil and begin to saute the onions. Cook the onions for 5-7 minutes until soft and translucent. Season with a touch of salt if needed.
- As soon as the onions are done cooking, remove the meatloaf from the oven and add the mushrooms and onions to the meatloaf. Return the pan to the oven and continue cooking until you've reached the 160f internal temperature.
- Once the meatloaf has reached 160f, remove it from the oven and wait approximately 15 minutes before slicing so the meatloaf stays intact. Serve the sliced meatloaf with the mushroom and onion sauce and plenty of grated cheese. Enjoy!
Note: If you do not have day-old bread, you can use 1 cup of store-bought breadcrumbs instead. If you want to make your own breadcrumbs but don't own a food processer, you can use a ziploc bag and a rolling pin to achieve the same effect.
Why I love Italian meatloaf with mushrooms
There are many things to love about this dish!
It is simpler to make than meatballs. Since this is literally a giant meatball, it has the same fantastic flavor and texture as a meatball but is so much easier because instead of rolling a bunch of smaller meatballs you're just forming one giant loaf. Easy!
It freezes well. Meatloaf can stay for up to 3 months in the freezer. Be sure to cook it first and allow them to cool before freezing. Sometimes I will make several meatloaves at once and freeze a few so I can use them in a pinch. Making a big batch of our easy marinara sauce and gently heating the meatloaf in the sauce is a great way to prepare it for a quick meal.
Meatloaf sandwiches. Meatloaf makes a really fantastic sandwich. I love to slice a fresh loaf of Italian bread, scoop some bread out, layer some sliced meatloaf, sauce, and sliced mozzarella, then warm in the oven. Very similar to a meatball parm hero!
And as good as this Italian meatloaf is as a sandwich, our meatloaf with brown gravy is equally delicious!
More Italian-American comfort food
To me, all Italian food is comfort food since it elicits feelings of home and memories of the people I've loved. Here are a few of my absolute favorites:
- Italian meatballs and Sunday sauce - The classic meal that graces Italian-American tabletops on Sunday afternoons.
- Baked manicotti - Four kinds of cheese stuffed into large tubes of pasta and baked until bubbly.
- Sausage and peppers - NY-style Italian feast food at its finest!
- Italian-American lasagna - Thanksgiving, Easter, or any time of year, this is the way my grandma made it.
- Beef braciole - Thinly sliced beef rolled with raisins, pine nuts, parsley, and parmesan cheese.
- Short rib ragu - Beef short ribs braised in tomato and red wine and tossed with pappardelle and Parmigiano Reggiano.
If you’ve enjoyed this Italian meatloaf with mushrooms recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and leave a review.
Some people learn by watching. If you're that type of person, you can find most of our recipes on YouTube and our Facebook Page.
- 2 pounds ground chuck
- 4-5 slices stale white bread turned into breadcrumbs, see notes
- ¼ cup parsley minced
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup milk
Remaining ingredients for sauce and topping
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 28 ounce can plum tomatoes hand crushed or blender pulsed
- 1 pound mushrooms sliced
- 1 large onion sliced
- ¼ cup olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- Preheat oven to 400f and set the rack to the middle level.
- Gently mix all of the meatloaf ingredients together in a large bowl. Form an approximately 9 inch long by 5 inch wide loaf and place in a baking dish.
- Pour the dry red wine over the meatloaf and add the plum tomatoes to the baking dish. Season the tomatoes with a ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and mix together to distribute. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until meatloaf reaches 160f with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the loaf.
- After placing the meatloaf in the oven, heat a large pan to medium heat. Once hot add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until well browned, season with salt, then move to a plate.
- Using the same pan, turn the heat down to medium-low, add the remaining olive oil and onions to the pan. Cook the onions for 5-7 minutes until soft and translucent and season with a touch of salt. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and add the mushrooms and onions to the sauce. Return the meatloaf to the oven to finish cooking.
- Once the meatloaf has achieved the 160f internal temp, remove it from the oven and wait 15 minutes before cutting so that the meatloaf stays together. Serve with the mushroom and onion sauce and grated cheese on the side. Enjoy!
- Pulse stale bread in a food processer to make breadcrumbs or crush in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin. Store-bought breadcrumbs (1 cup) can also be used.
- If the meatloaf mix is too wet, just add a bit more breadcrumbs to the mix.
- Make sure to let the meatloaf sit for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it so that it stays together.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. Reheat in the oven at 350f until warm or in the microwave.
I made this last night for my wife and kids. It was AMAZING! Tonight I’m going to try my first Pizza dough (been sitting in fridge for 48hrs) then tomorrow the Short Ribs Ragu! Who needs Turkey when we’ve got sipandfeast.com
Hi Terry. I'm really glad you enjoyed it. Hope you enjoy both the pizza and short rib ragu as well. Thanks for making the recipes and leaving feedback!
Hi Jim, just made the Italian meatloaf and it is awesome. Thank you!
Hi Antoine. Glad it was a hit and thanks for the comment!
Fantastic simple recipe! ! Made this tonight. Best meatloaf ever! So much flavor! Thank you!
Really glad you enjoyed the recipe, Gretchen!
Hi Jim, I have made this meatloaf recipe numerous times. It bakes perfectly each and every time and is a family favorite. You hit all the notes correctly with my Italian heritage. The wine, onions and mushrooms combine well with the tomatoes to perfectly compliment the beef. This would make a beautiful sandwich but the problem is, there's NEVER EVER leftovers in my house. when I make this recipe. Thanks again for an outstanding recipe.
Hi Marian. Glad it's always a hit. You'll have to make two next time because a meatloaf sandwich sounds great!
Yummy in the tummy. So so good and easy to make
Glad you enjoyed it, Micheline.
I made this dish on my pellet grill tonight. It was very good. Love the sauce although mine wasn’t as condensed as yours.
Hi Renee. If you want it more condensed next time you could remove the meatloaf once it's cooked to temp. Then, just cook the sauce in the same pan (if burner safe) or transfer to a pot and reduce over medium heat to thicken it up. Glad you enjoyed the flavors!
Thanks for the great recipe. As there are only 2 of us, I used half the recipe to make meatballs, baked and froze them for later use and still had meatloaf for sandwiches the next day. At 84 yrs old I still enjoy trying a new twist to a favorite recipe. Thanks again.
Hi Jacky, thanks for your comment! I'm so happy you enjoyed the recipe. Leftover meatloaf sandwiches are a favorite here!
Loved this recipe. Last time, I added a bunch more tomatoes and wine, so I could eat the meatloaf like it was meatballs and spaghetti with sauce.
Made a mess in the oven, but it was still delicious. Thanks, Jim.
Hi James, so happy you liked this recipe despite the oven mess!
Hi Jim: Just wanted to pass along that instead of making a full-blown meatloaf, I opted to make meatballs using the same formula and served them on hero loaves with shredded, melted mozzarella as a topper. They were delicious!
Hi Bob, great idea to turn this into meatballs1 So happy you liked it!
Jim, is it possible to substitute the wine and still have it taste good? Love your recipes!
Hi Marge, thanks so much! Yes, you can substitute the wine and it will still be good. You can use low sodium beef broth as a substitute.
Great meatloaf recipe!!!!
Delicious! We enjoyed it.
Thank you, Tina! So happy you liked it!
Jim, I had seen this recipe before and had planned on making it but had too many other ones of yours in the queue. I made this today and it was a hit! It turned out perfect. You are so right about it tasting like Italian meatballs. It was so juicy and flavorful I will definitely be making sub sandwiches with leftovers tomorrow. I already got all my ingredients ready for that. Thank you thank you for all of your wonderful recipes. I love watching you and your son together.
Hey Frances. Really glad you enjoyed it and I bet the subs will be great too! Thanks for watching my videos and making the recipes!
My husband made this the other night and it was absolutely delicious! Best meatloaf ever.
Hi Linda, thanks for the comment and I'm happy you enjoyed the meatloaf!
I have made this dish innumerable times since I found Jim and his Sip and Feast content and this is my go to meatloaf recipe and everyone loves it! In fact, I’m making it tonight. Jim’s recipes never fail to impress. Thanks, Jim for another winner!
Hi Steve, I appreciate the comment and so happy you like the meatloaf and other recipes!
I make my meatloaf the same way, just like meatballs. We usually have ours with brown gravy and mashed potatoes but I think I have to do the sauce with mushrooms and onions.
So many of your recipes are similar to the way I I cook, simple and delicious! Thank you for keeping the traditions alive!
Hi Geri, thank you for the comment! I also love it with brown gravy too and will probably put a recipe up for that one soon.
I absolutely despise meatloaf, I'm pretty sure I haven't had meatloaf in 15+ years. After watching the video and looking at the ingredients, I decided to give the whole meatloaf thing a whirl. After all, it reminded me of a giant meatball and who doesn't love meatballs?! Hands down, this is the BEST meatloaf recipe EVER! Thank you for introducing me to this dish, I can't wait to make it for the whole family!
Hi Kyla, thanks for the comment! I'm so happy you liked the meatloaf!
I made this recipe a few days ago. Everyone loved it. There really is a great
"depth of flavor" as you mentioned. I think it was due to the red wine, so glad I used
it. The grated Parmigiano Reggiano sprinkled on top before serving took it to a whole other level for me. I will say I used red onions and Italian Bread crumbs as it
what was on hand otherwise followed recipe as written. Thanks again for the great recipes!
Hi Charles, thanks for the comment. I'm so happy you all enjoyed the meatloaf and love the addition of Parmigiano Reggiano!
Just made it!!! Yummo !!!! And it looked like yours!!!! Miracles!!
Hi Barbara, so happy you liked it! Thanks for the comment!
Have made this a while ago and it was a grand hit. I awoke this morning with a real hankering for meatloaf. I know, weird right? Running out now to buy ingredients. It's the perfect dinner when there's a light covering of snow on this cold New England day. Adding sautéed green beans and mashed butternut squash on the side.
Hi Debbie, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed it enough to make it again! Stay warm and enjoy!
Since there's just two of us I made the full recipe of the meatloaf and then divided it and froze half for use later. Both were delicious, moist and flavorfull. Definitely one of my favorites. So far all your recipes are really good and the videos very helpful.
Hi Ann, so happy you enjoyed and appreciate the comment!
First day of spring, feast of St Joseph, cold and snowy Montana day. This was the perfect dish today! Not only does my kitchen smell amazing but that is the best meatloaf I've ever made. Used our homemade red wine with the recipe and served garlic roasted potatoes with it. Used an In-Oven Programmable Meat Thermometer because of high altitude. Once again, thank you Jim. Buona festa!
Hi Nancy, this comment makes me so happy! Thanks for the review and so happy to hear you enjoyed the meatloaf. I'm sure it was extra wonderful because of your homemade wine!
Help! Plenty of wine...no milk! Could I use beef broth or tomato juice instead? Thank you.
Hi Tess, you can just omit the milk. If you're using 80/20 chuck you should be fine.