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. It will definitely become your new family favorite.

Closeup of sliced meatloaf on white serving plate.

Slow Cooker Meatloaf

Dinner time always feels so rush rush, 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. 

Slow Cooker Meatloaf dinner plated with wine.

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. And 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!

Closeup of forkful of moist italian meatloaf

What came out was a meat 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, delizioso!

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.

How to Make Crockpot Italian Meatloaf

Steps to make Italian meatloaf from ingredients to mixing.

  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 1 minute. (photo 2)
  3. Add sauteed 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.

  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 into crockpot so it sits on top of onion. (photo 7)
  4. Spread your favorite marinara over meatloaf. Cover and cook for 4 hours on low. (photo 8)Italian meatloaf covered with marinara and sliced on white serving plate.

I served my crockpot Italian 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

The Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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5 from 2 votes
Foolproof Crockpot Italian Meatloaf
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 15 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keywords: crockpot italian meatloaf, crockpot meatloaf with italian sausage, slow cooker meatloaf
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 491 kcal
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
Directions
  1. 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.
  2. In a large bowl, combine onion-garlic mixture with beef, sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, bread crumbs, cheese, egg and seasonings.
  3. Mix with hands and shape into a loaf that will fit into your crockpot.
  4. Slice a large onion with enough slices to cover bottom of crockpot. Lay in bottom then pour 1/2 cup water on top.
  5. 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.
  6. Lower meatloaf into crockpot. Spread with marinara.
  7. Cover and cook on low for four hours.
  8. 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.
  9. Place on platter and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Recipe 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 Facts
Foolproof Crockpot Italian Meatloaf
Amount Per Serving
Calories 491 Calories from Fat 315
% Daily Value*
Fat 35g54%
Saturated Fat 12g60%
Cholesterol 109mg36%
Sodium 1016mg42%
Potassium 854mg24%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 26g52%
Vitamin A 572IU11%
Vitamin C 32mg39%
Calcium 179mg18%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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. It will definitely become your new family favorite. #crockpotmeatloaf #crockpotmeatloafrecipe #crockpotmeatloafslowcooker #italianmeatloafincrockpot #crock...

3 Comments

  • Reply
    Shadi Hasanzadenemati
    02/12/2020 at 5:40 pm

    5 stars
    Love how easy and delicious this recipe is. It’s perfect for a gathering or a party.

  • Reply
    Sophie Heth
    02/12/2020 at 2:56 pm

    5 stars
    This was a fun new recipe to try! I hadn’t had Italian meatloaf before, so this was a nice twist on dinner! Super easy and SUPER delicious!

    • Reply
      Linda Warren
      02/12/2020 at 4:24 pm

      So glad you liked it. I was also pleasantly surprised the first time I made it by how delicious and easy it was. Yay for easy!

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