Italian Chicken Meatloaf
This Chicken Meatloaf recipe first appeared on Savory Experiments, where I am a contributor.
Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf is an Italian twist on a classic comfort food. This chicken meatloaf recipe includes tomato sauce, onion, garlic, parmesan cheese and more. It bakes up in an hour, so this recipe makes an easy weeknight meal. Makes 4 servings.
Looking for a recipe to pair with this meatloaf? Try Baked Sweet Potato Cubes with Butter and Bourbon or Italian Brussels Sprouts!
Homemade meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food, and this Italian Chicken Meatloaf is a fun twist on the classic.
Instead of a using the traditional ketchup-brown sugar sauce, we’re calling on our favorite store-bought tomato sauce. (Rao’s is my go-to, but honestly, whatever you have or see at the store works. Just make it easy on yourself.)
The meatloaf itself features grated parmesan cheese, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning and more.
In other words, this meatloaf recipe is totally delicious and something that people young and old enjoy! I should know—this is a recipe my girls now request.
Other meatloaf recipes our whole family loves: Instant Pot French Onion Meatloaf | Slow Cooker Italian Meatloaf | Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf
Need more meal inspiration? Check out my Dinner Recipe Index for ideas.
What you need to make this recipe:
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- Large mixing bowl
- Box grater
- Sharp knife and cutting board
- Casserole dish or any baking pan with sides, like a loaf pan
- Instant read meat thermometer
This ground chicken meatloaf recipe is an easy recipe to make for a weeknight—or a special weekend dinner, too.
It requires a few ingredients, and you probably have most in your kitchen already. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Ground chicken—this meat is lean and easy to flavor with various seasonings and additions.
- Egg—this is the binder to hold our meatloaf together. There is no substitute.Make sure that you’re using a large one.
- Parmesan cheese—purchase the real deal stuff, not a shelf stable bottle, OK? Our grocery store has pre-grated fresh parmesan in the cheese section. Save some extra to put on top of the meatloaf before baking.
- Panko breadcrumbs—I love panko because it’s extra crispy and light. These breadcrumbs help bind this meatloaf together without weighing it down.
- Onion—a small white or yellow onion is perfect. We don’t need a ton, but it will add a lot of flavor and texture. If you don’t like onion, you can add half an onion.
- Garlic cloves—I used the biggest ones I had, but if you don’t love garlic as much as I do, use three small cloves. This adds to the overall flavor. Be sure to chop it small! Alternately, you could through the garlic and onion into the food processor and chop them super small.
- Fresh parsley—not only does this add color, but it adds brightness and flavor to the meatloaf, too! If you don’t have fresh parsley, use dried parsley and measure in half of what the recipe calls for. Save a little of this for a garnish, if desired.
- Italian seasoning—this seasoning blend lives in my spice cabinet, but you can make your own if you don’t have it. It’s a combination of marjoram, basil, rosemary, thyme, savory and sage.
- Kosher salt—I like to use a medium grain salt for this one. You could also use a similarly sized sea salt. If you have a fine salt, use ¾ teaspoon instead to ensure the meatloaf is not too salty.
- Black pepper—to add just a little bit of heat.
- Tomato sauce—while I love homemade tomato or marinara sauce, if it’s easier to grab a can at the store, do that. It’s equally delicious and makes dinner even simpler on you!
Acceptable substitutions for this recipe:
- Bread crumbs: If you don’t have (or can’t find) panko, replace those with regular breadcrumbs or even Italian breadcrumbs.
- Swap out the cheese: If you don’t like parmesan, feel free to use pecorino romano. The flavor profile will be a little different, but equally delicious!
- Add some heat. Red pepper flakes will add a pop of heat, if you’re into that kind of thing.
- Meat. Obviously, this is aground chicken meatloaf recipe, but you can substitute the same amount of ground beef, ground turkey or ground pork and use the same seasonings to make an Italian meatloaf out of those meats.
How to make Italian Chicken Meatloaf
First and foremost, preheat the oven. Use nonstick baking spray to spritz your high-sided baking dish so that the meatloaf doesn’t stick to the bottom. You can also use a meatloaf dish if you have one.
Prep your ingredients. Grate the parmesan cheese. Chop the onion. Mince the garlic. Chop the parsley.
Looking to save time? Purchase pre-chopped veggies at the grocery store.
If you don’t want large pieces of onion and garlic in your meatloaf, throw them into a food processor to make their chop extra fine. You could also grate your onion on the box grater, too.
Measure the ingredients. Place the ground chicken in a large bowl. Add the egg, parmesan, onion and garlic on top of the meat. Season with parsley, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
Mix the ingredients. Scoop your fingers beneath the meat and pull it up, combining it with the other ingredients, until the chicken mixture is combined. We want to make sure that every bite includes every ingredient—so get your hands messy.
Be careful to not overmix the meatloaf, though, because that will lead to a denser loaf.
Form the meatloaf. Transfer the meat to the prepared baking dish, and form it into a loaf. Mine was 6 ½” (L) x 3 ¾” (W) x 1 ¼” (H).
The taller and thicker your meatloaf is, the longer it will take to cook through.
Finish the meatloaf. Drizzle on the tomato sauce. It’s OK if some spills into the baking dish—this will soak up flavors. Sprinkle with additional cheese, too.
Bake the meatloaf in the preheated oven for 55-60 minutes, or until the meatloaf is cooked through. Cook time will vary depending on how thick your meatloaf is, as well as how hot your oven runs.
Use an instant read digital thermometer to check your meatloaf’s internal temperature to ensure it’s cooked through!
To do this, insert the tip into the thickest spot of the meatloaf, careful not to poke all the way through. If the temperature reads 165°F, you’re good to go!
Let the meatloaf rest for 5-10 minutes after you’ve removed it from the oven, then slice and serve with your favorite side dishes.
Storage, make ahead and freezing options
If you’ve got leftover meatloaf, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
We like to scrape the tomato sauce from the bottom of the baking dish and store that with the meatloaf, as well, since it offers a ton of flavor.
Make ahead instructions: Mix and form the ground chicken meatloaf in the morning OR the night before. Once shaped, place the meatloaf on the prepared baking dish and wrap tightly with plastic wrap before refrigerating.
When it’s time to bake, top with the tomato sauce and parmesan, then bake for the specified time.
How to freeze: Shape the meatloaf and gently place the raw parmesan meatloaf on a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap it tightly and transfer to the freezer.
When ready to bake it, defrost the meatloaf in the fridge on a plate while still wrapped.
Once defrosted, bake according to the recipe. Do not bake while frozen.
Frequently Asked Questions
The internal temperature needs to reach165°F. Use an instant read digital thermometer to check this.
We cook this ground chicken meatloaf uncovered. If the tomato sauce on top begins to brown or starts to burn, you can place some foil on top of it as it finishes baking, but this has not happened in testing.
We have a few ingredients that are known as “binders” to keep this meatloaf together. The egg and the breadcrumbs help hold it together!
What to serve with this ground chicken meatloaf recipe:
Italian Chicken Meatloaf
Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf is an Italian twist on a classic comfort food. This chicken meatloaf recipe includes tomato sauce, onion, garlic, parmesan cheese and more. It bakes up in an hour, so this recipe makes an easy weeknight meal.
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 15 oz. tomato sauce (store-bought or homemade)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spritz a baking dish with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
- Gently place the ground chicken in a large bowl.
- Add the egg, parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumbs, onion and garlic on top of the meat. Season with parsley, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
- Use your hands to mix the ingredients together until combined. This might take a few minutes and effort since you want to make sure that the ingredients are well-dispersed in the meat.
- Place the meat mixture into the prepared baking dish and form into a loaf. Mine was 6 ½” (L) x 3 3/4 “ (W) x 1 ¼” (H). The taller your meatloaf is, the longer it will take to bake.
- Drizzle the tomato sauce on top of the meatloaf, and sprinkle additional cheese on it.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the meatloaf is cooked through. The meatloaf’s internal temperature should reach 165°F at the thickest spot.
- Once out of the oven, let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving with your favorite sides.
How to know when the meatloaf is done: Use an instant read digital kitchen thermometer to check your meatloaf’s internal temperature. Insert the tip of the thermometer into the thickest spot of the meatloaf, careful not to poke all the way through. If the temperature reads 165°F, you’re good to go!
How to store leftovers: Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days tops. We like to scrape the tomato sauce from the bottom of the baking dish and store that with the meatloaf, as well, since it offers a ton of flavor.
Make ahead instructions: If you want to make this meatloaf even easier, mix it and form it the morning of OR the night before. Place on the prepared baking dish and wrap tightly in plastic wrap before refrigerating. When it’s time to bake, top with the tomato sauce and parmesan, then bake for the specified time.
How to freeze: You can freeze this meatloaf after forming it! To do this, form the meatloaf and gently place the raw meatloaf on a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap it tightly before transferring it to the freezer. Defrost the meatloaf in the fridge on a plate while still wrapped. Once defrosted, bake according to the recipe.
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Serving Size:1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 432Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 179mgSodium: 1387mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 37g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.
This meal combines my family’s two favorite dishes so I will definitely need to give it a try. Honestly, this sounds too good to pass up and I think I have all of the ingredients on hand already. Can’t wait to try it.
Oh yay! I hope you and your family enjoy this, Sarah. Our whole family sure did, and it’s really nice and comforting for any dinner!