Foolproof Crockpot Italian Meatloaf

This Crockpot Italian Meatloaf is comfort food at it’s best! Not only is it full of the flavors of basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese but has a nice kick from Italian sausage. It’s a moist, full-flavored dinner that takes only 15 minutes of prep then set it and forget it. This dinner is foolproof and the perfect answer to busy weeknights. This Italian meatloaf recipe will definitely become your new family favorite.

Meatloaf on white serving plate with one piece sliced.

Dinner time always feels so rushed, so starting a meal in my slow cooker is a no-brainer! This slow cooker meatloaf recipe is not only easy to throw together but brings plenty of flavor to the table.

From the sun-dried tomatoes to the basil and Parmesan cheese, it’s Italian at it’s best. And I didn’t stop there. To aid in keeping all that lovely moistness in the loaf, I added another layer of flavor by covering it, not with the traditional ketchup, but with a delicious marinara. It’s a wonderful crockpot meatloaf recipe with loads of Italian flavor!

Overhead of meatload garnished with basil on white plate.

I first found this recipe on Southern Living and adapted it to our family’s tastes. I kept the wonderful combination of ground beef and Italian sausage but opted for more garlic, added all the sun-dried tomatoes into the meatloaf mixture, and smothered it with marinara.

Being able to get it ready right after lunch and set it and forget it, gave me an afternoon of uninterrupted work. Now that’s a blessing!

Bite of meatloaf on fork over dinner plate.

What came out was meatloaf so tender and moist, reminiscent of Grandma’s meatballs, that my mouth was watering just slicing it. It’s full of the flavors of basil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese with just a hint of spice from the hot sausage. In other words, out of this world delicious!

Crockpot Meatloaf Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my meatloaf fall apart?

Usually, the loaf will fall apart if there are not enough binding agents, such as eggs and bread crumbs, to hold the meat together. It could also be that it wasn’t cool enough when cut. Allow it a resting period of about 10-15 minutes before slicing.

What is the benefit of cooking meatloaf in the crockpot versus the oven?

I found this method to be the most foolproof way of ensuring the meatloaf comes out tender. The closed environment with the circulation of moisture prevents the meatloaf from drying out.

Can I cook this meatloaf in the air fryer?

Absolutely! This method is probably my second favorite. Using half the recipe works the best. Just preheat the air fryer to 390 degrees and lay a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the basket. Set meatloaf into the fryer and cook for 25 minutes. Let the air fryer meatloaf sit for 10 minutes prior to slicing.

Pro-Tip: Adding sausage to the beef mixture ensures that the meat to fat ratio is perfect making this one of the moistest and most tender meatloaves you’ve ever had.

How to Make Italian Meatloaf in a Crockpot

Steps to make Italian meatloaf.

  1. Gather ingredients. (photo 1)
  2. Sauté onion in hot oil in a medium skillet over medium-high 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté for 1 minute. (photo 2)
  3. Add sautéed onion and garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, beef, sausage, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, and seasonings. (photo 3)
  4. Combine gently with hands. (photo 4)

How to place meatloaf in crockpot or Instant Pot.

  1. Place a sliced onion and 1/2 cup water into the bottom of your crockpot. (photo 5)
  2. Shape the beef-sausage mixture into a loaf shape that will fit into your cooker. (photo 6)
  3. Place the meatloaf on a rectangular piece of parchment paper and lower it into the crockpot so it sits on top of the onion. (photo 7)
  4. Spread your favorite marinara over meatloaf. Cover and cook for 4 hours on low. (photo 8)

Plated dinner with meatloaf in background and glass on wine.

I served my crock pot meatloaf with fluffy mashed potatoes and some seasoned broccoli for a well-rounded meal. Believe me, this is so good that I know it’s bound to become your new family favorite, just like it is ours.

Side Dishes That Work Great with Meatloaf

Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes are creamy and perfect for family dinners.

Creamy Four Cheese Mac and Cheese is sure to be a favorite!

Keto Butternut Squash Casserole loaded with cheddar and Gruyere cheese.

For a fun kids meal, try my Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting.

Find even more easy main dish recipes here on 2CM!

Love quick & easy recipes? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for all the latest recipe inspiration! Plus join my email list here and receive a free e-book.

Meatloaf on serving plate with one slice and basil garnish.

Foolproof Crockpot Italian Meatloaf

Crockpot Italian Meatloaf is the answer to busy weeknights. Ground beef, sausage, & cheese, 15 minutes prep, then set it and forget it! Easy & delicious!
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 491kcal
Author: Linda Warren

Ingredients

  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic about 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1/2 pound ground mild or hot Italian sausage
  • 7.5- oz jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained and chopped
  • 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 large onion sliced
  • 1/2-3/4 cup your favorite marinara

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Place chopped onion in oil and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned. In the last minute, add garlic.
  • In a large bowl, combine onion-garlic mixture with beef, sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, bread crumbs, cheese, egg and seasonings.
  • Mix with hands and shape into a loaf that will fit into your crockpot.
  • Slice a large onion with enough slices to cover bottom of crockpot. Lay in bottom then pour 1/2 cup water on top.
  • Cut a piece of parchment paper larger than the meatloaf and place underneath. It should be large enough to aid in lifting the meatloaf out of the crockpot when it is done.
  • Lower meatloaf into crockpot. Spread with marinara.
  • Cover and cook on low for four hours.
  • When ready to serve, lift out of crockpot holding the ends of the parchment sling. Tilt slightly over sink and drain any liquid that has accumulated underneath.
  • Place on platter and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Notes

Frequently Asked Question on Crockpot Meatloaf

Why does my meatloaf fall apart?

Usually the loaf will fall apart if there is not enough binding agents, such as eggs and bread crumbs, to hold the meat together. It could also be that it wasn't cool enough when cut. Allow it a resting period of about 10-15 minutes before slicing.

What is the benefit of cooking a meatloaf in the crockpot versus the oven?

I found this method to be the most foolproof way of ensuring the meatloaf comes out tender. The closed environment with the circulation of moisture prevents the meatloaf from drying out.

Can I cook this meatloaf in the air fryer?

Absolutely! This method is probably my second favorite. Using half the recipe works the best. Just preheat the air fryer to 390 degrees and lay a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the basket. Set meatloaf into the fryer and cook for 25 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes prior to slicing.
Pro-Tip: Adding sausage to the beef mixture ensures that the meat to fat ratio is perfect making this one of the moistest and most tender meatloaves you've ever had.

Nutrition

Calories: 491kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1016mg | Potassium: 854mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 572IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 179mg | Iron: 4mg

This post has been updated and was first published on February 12, 2020.

Foolproof Crockpot Italian Meatloaf
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