Slow Cooker Italian Meatloaf tastes exactly like a giant meatball served on spaghetti. This easy weeknight recipe combines ground beef, parmesan, seasonings, and bread crumbs, all smothered in marinara sauce, and cooked in the crock pot.
Italian Meatloaf is one of the many recipes passed to me from my mom in her unconventional manner – photocopied from an overdue library book.
During my mom’s 30 years working at the public library, our kitchen counter continually housed stacks of checked out cookbooks.
If a library cookbook recipe was a home run, I would be provided with a xeroxed page. Her neat, cursive writing would adorn “good!” on my copy, underlined a couple times for emphasis.
That’s Linda-speak for, “It is your duty to make this recipe, and do not miss this opportunity I’m handing you.”
Since librarians are exempt from overdue fees, mom took full advantage. Library books would sit for months on our counter, until she cooked through them all.
Thanks to Mom’s racketeering, now I can provide all of you with one of the best Italian Meatloaf recipes out there.
(Full disclosure since the statute of limitations has been exceeded, my mom is still harboring unreturned items. 🤫)
I’ll be honest, when I first laid eyes on this Italian Meatloaf recipe I wasn’t moved by it. It seemed like a pretty uninspiring list of ingredients.
But after making it the first time (and about 100 times to follow) I understand why it got the “good!” stamp of approval from my mom.
The slow cooker makes the meat super moist and tender, plus using a smaller amount of bread crumbs makes it less dense and overly bonded. If you don’t use a homemade marinara, make sure to use a high quality, great tasting jarred one.
I wish I could give credit where credit is due for this great recipe, but I have no idea where it came from. Let’s just leave it at Adapted from Some-Random-Library-Cookbook-My-Mom-Had-On-Her-Counter-10-Years-Ago.
Making Gluten Free Breadcrumbs – Easy and Cheap!
Don’t spend extra money on pricey gluten free breadcrumbs. I always have a supply in my freezer for recipes such as meatloaf, breading for chicken, or gratins.
Use leftover bread heels, stale bread, or even homemade gluten free bread failures in a freezer bag. When you are ready to make a batch, follow this easy gluten free bread crumbs recipe and you will have a supply in minutes, to use for recipes like this or gluten-free meatloaf.
My freezer always has a bag of gluten free bread heels and homemade gluten free bread crumbs. I hate to waste to waste anything from that expensive gluten free bread!
How to Make Italian Meatloaf
- In a large bowl combine eggs, garlic, parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, and pepper.
- Add ground beef and mix well.
- Make a sling out of aluminum foil and place in slow cooker. Shape meatloaf and place on top of foil.
- Pour marinara sauce over the top and cook on HIGH for 3 hours.
- Serve with mashed potatoes, pasta, rice, or find many more sides dishes to go with meatloaf right here!
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step-by-step web story instructions for this recipe!
SAVE THIS ITALIAN MEATLOAF TO YOUR PINTEREST BOARD!
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs, regular or gluten free*
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 cups homemade or good quality jarred marinara sauce (can use additional for serving)
- spaghetti, regular or gluten free, for serving
- Fold a 2-foot length of aluminum foil in half lengthwise. Place the foil in the slow cooker in the lengthwise direction, pressing along bottom and sides. Roll over the excess foil to make "handles" for lifting when the meatloaf is done. (See picture in "How to Make Italian Meatloaf")
- In a large bowl place eggs, garlic, Parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add ground chuck and mix throughly with spoon or hands until mixture is evenly incorporated.
- Shape it into a loaf and carefully place in the slow cooker on top of foil. Pour 2 cups of marinara over the top.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or until thermometer reads 165-170ºF.
- Carefully lift meatloaf out of slow cooker with handles and place on platter to serve with extra marinara. Cut into slices and serve with pasta, if desired.
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Making Gluten Free Breadcrumbs - Easy and Cheap!Use leftover bread heels, stale bread, or even homemade gluten free bread failures in a freezer bag. When you are ready to make a batch, follow this easy gluten free bread crumbs recipe and you will have a supply in minutes! My freezer always has a bag of gluten free bread heels and homemade gluten free bread crumbs. I hate to waste to waste anything from that expensive gluten free bread!