How to Make Polpettone: Italian Meatloaf Recipe

If you’re a fan of hearty Italian cuisine, then you’re in for a treat with our article on how to make polpettone, the delectable Italian meatloaf. Bursting with flavors from ground meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, and a medley of seasonings, this dish is as comforting as it gets. From the first bite to the last, polpettone is a culinary delight that will transport you to the charming streets of Italy. And with our detailed recipe, you’ll soon be able to recreate this Italian classic in the comfort of your own home, complete with a mouthwatering tomato sauce to accompany it. Get ready to indulge in a taste of Italy with our simple yet delicious polpettone recipe.

Learn more about the How to Make Polpettone: Italian Meatloaf Recipe here.


To make a delicious Italian meatloaf, known as polpettone, you will need the following ingredients:

Ground Meat

The star of the show is the ground meat. You can use a combination of beef, pork, and veal, or stick to one type of meat. The choice is yours!


Breadcrumbs not only add texture to the meatloaf but also help bind the ingredients together. You can use store-bought breadcrumbs or make your own by grinding up stale bread.


Eggs are another binding agent that helps hold the meatloaf together. They also add moisture to the mixture, resulting in a tender and juicy meatloaf.


To add flavor to your polpettone, you’ll want to season it with a combination of salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley. Feel free to experiment with other herbs and spices to suit your taste.

Tomato Sauce

Polpettone is traditionally served with tomato sauce, which adds a tangy and savory element to the dish. You can use store-bought tomato sauce or make your own from scratch.


Before getting started, it’s important to prepare the meat mixture for your polpettone. Here’s how to do it:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, breadcrumbs, and eggs. Use your hands to mix everything together until well combined.

  2. Once the meat and breadcrumb mixture is thoroughly mixed, it’s time to add the seasonings. Sprinkle in salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley, or any other herbs and spices you desire.

  3. Mix the seasonings into the meat mixture, making sure they are evenly distributed. This will ensure that every bite of your polpettone is bursting with flavor.

  4. Once everything is well mixed, it’s time to shape the meatloaf. Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape on a baking dish or a cutting board. Make sure to compact the meatloaf tightly so it holds its shape during cooking.

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Cooking Methods

Now that your meatloaf is ready to go, you have two options for cooking: the baking method or the stovetop method. Both methods yield delicious results, so choose the one that suits your preferences and kitchen setup.

Baking Method

The baking method is the most common way to cook meatloaf and requires the use of an oven. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to the specified temperature in the recipe you are following. This is usually around 350°F (175°C) but may vary slightly.

  2. Carefully transfer the shaped meatloaf onto a baking dish. Make sure to choose a dish that is large enough to accommodate the entire loaf without crowding.

  3. Place the meatloaf in the preheated oven and bake for the recommended amount of time. This can vary depending on the size of your meatloaf and the recipe you’re using, but it typically takes between 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  4. To check for doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the center of the meatloaf. It should read 160°F (71°C) when it’s fully cooked. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can also cut into the loaf slightly to ensure there are no traces of pink in the center.

Stovetop Method

If you prefer not to use an oven or simply want to try a different cooking method, you can cook your polpettone on the stovetop. Here’s how:

  1. Heat some oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Make sure the pan is large enough to accommodate the meatloaf without overcrowding.

  2. Carefully transfer the shaped meatloaf into the heated pan, making sure it sits evenly.

  3. Cook the meatloaf on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes on each side, or until it is fully cooked. Use a spatula or tongs to flip the loaf halfway through cooking to ensure even browning.

  4. To check for doneness, use a meat thermometer or cut into the loaf slightly to ensure it’s cooked through and no longer pink in the center.

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Serving and Presentation

Once your polpettone is cooked to perfection, it’s time to serve and present it in an appetizing way. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Allow the meatloaf to rest for a few minutes after removing it from the heat. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful polpettone.

  2. Slice the meatloaf into thick slices using a sharp knife. Take care to make clean, even cuts to ensure aesthetically pleasing servings.

  3. Serve your polpettone slices with a generous amount of tomato sauce. You can spoon the sauce over the slices or serve it on the side for dipping. The tomato sauce adds a burst of flavor and freshness to the dish.

  4. If desired, garnish the plate with some fresh parsley or grated Parmesan cheese for an extra touch of visual appeal.


While the traditional polpettone recipe is fantastic on its own, there are endless possibilities for adding your own twist to this classic dish. Here are a few variations to consider:

Add Cheese to the Meat Mixture

To take your polpettone to the next level, try adding cheese to the meat mixture. Mozzarella, Parmesan, or even blue cheese can all add a delightful cheesy surprise when you cut into the meatloaf.

Incorporate Vegetables into the Meatloaf

For a healthier version of polpettone, consider incorporating vegetables into the meat mixture. Finely chopped onions, bell peppers, or grated carrots can add not only flavor but also nutrition to your meatloaf.

Experiment with Different Seasonings

While the classic combination of salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley is delicious, don’t be afraid to get creative with your seasonings. Try adding dried herbs such as oregano, thyme, or rosemary to add a unique flavor profile to your polpettone.

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Tips and Tricks

To ensure your polpettone turns out perfectly every time, here are some handy tips and tricks to keep in mind:

Choose the Right Meat-to-Fat Ratio

For a juicy and flavorful meatloaf, choose a ground meat with the appropriate fat content. A mixture of lean and fatty cuts, such as beef chuck and pork shoulder, creates a great balance. Too lean a meat may result in a dry and tough meatloaf.

Use Fresh Breadcrumbs

To achieve the best texture, opt for fresh breadcrumbs rather than store-bought ones. Simply grind up stale bread in a food processor until you have fine crumbs. The moisture from fresh breadcrumbs helps keep the meatloaf moist and tender.

Don’t Overmix the Meat Mixture

When combining the ingredients, be careful not to overmix the meat mixture. Overmixing can lead to a dense and tough meatloaf. Use your hands or a fork to gently mix the ingredients until just combined.

Allow the Meatloaf to Cool Slightly Before Slicing

Allowing the meatloaf to cool for a few minutes after cooking enables the flavors to settle and the meat to set. It also makes slicing the meatloaf easier and helps maintain its shape.


If you have leftovers or want to make a batch of polpettone in advance, it’s essential to know how to store it properly. Here’s what you need to do:


To store cooked polpettone in the refrigerator, follow these steps:

  1. Allow the meatloaf to cool completely.

  2. Slice the meatloaf into individual portions or wrap the whole loaf tightly in plastic wrap.

  3. Place the wrapped portions or whole loaf in an airtight container or resealable bag.

  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


To freeze polpettone for longer-term storage, follow these steps:

  1. Allow the meatloaf to cool completely.

  2. Slice the meatloaf into individual portions.

  3. Wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap, ensuring there are no air pockets.

  4. Place the wrapped portions in a freezer-safe bag or container.

  5. Label the bag or container with the date of freezing.

  6. Store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

By following these storage methods, you can enjoy polpettone whenever you desire without worrying about it going to waste.

Now that you have all the information you need, it’s time to gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and start making your own delicious polpettone. Whether you choose the baking or stovetop method, experiment with different variations, or stick to the classic recipe, this Italian meatloaf is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Buon appetito!

Learn more about the How to Make Polpettone: Italian Meatloaf Recipe here.

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