Italian Chicken Meatloaf – Polpettone

Authentic Italian Chicken Meatloaf, called Polpettone. Made with ground chicken, parmesan cheese and Italian spices – this is the ultimate healthy comfort food dinner.

Italian Chicken meatloaf - polpettone

Polpettone is basically Italy’s answer to meatloaf. It’s a large, hearty meatloaf, typically made with ground meat, breadcrumbs/stale bread, eggs, and herbs, all mixed together and baked or fried. It’s often stuffed with cheese, vegetables, or other goodies for an extra flavorful punch. Think of it as a big, delicious meaty log of comfort food goodness!


The history of Polpettone in Italy traces back to ancient Roman cuisine, where various forms of meatballs were a common dish. However, the modern concept of Polpettone as a large, shaped meatloaf likely evolved during the Renaissance period.

During the Renaissance, Italian cuisine experienced a significant transformation with the introduction of new ingredients and cooking techniques. Meat became a staple in many Italian households, and cooks began experimenting with different ways to prepare it.

The term “polpettone” itself originates from the Italian word “polpette,” which means meatballs. Over time, the concept of shaping ground meat into larger loaves emerged, giving rise to the polpettone as we know it today.

Today, polpettone remains a beloved dish in Italian cuisine, enjoyed both at home and in restaurants throughout the country. It continues to evolve with regional variations and modern interpretations while remaining rooted in Italy’s culinary heritage.

Polpettone Ingredients & Substitutions

  1. Chicken ground meat – or a mix between chicken and turkey mince
  2. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated – preferably Parmigiano Reggiano D.O.P.
  3. Bread, fresh or stale – or breadcrumbs, however they might make Polpettone a bit dryer.
  4. Egg, large
  5. Nutmeg so good!
  6. Thyme – dried or fresh, only leaves
  7. Salt and white pepper, to taste
  8. Olive oil, for glaze
  9. Tomato paste, for glaze
  10. Water – for soaking bread in

How to cook Italian Chicken Meatloaf

1st: Soak bread in water and let sit for a few minutes. Then squeeze water well and crumble bread. Mix with remaining ingredients.

2nd: Shape meatloaf and place into loaf pan (wit or without baking paper). In a small bowl mix tomato paste and olive oil and brush meatloaf with it. Bake in preheated oven. Slice and enjoy.

Italian Chicken meatloaf - polpettone


Italian Chicken meatloaf - polpettone

Italian Chicken Meatloaf – Polpettone

The European Dish
Traditional Italian Chicken Meatloaf (known as Polpettone) with Parmesan Cheese, bread and aromatic spices.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine European, Italian
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 loaf pan


  • 600 g (1.3 lbs.) chicken ground meat
  • 50 g (4 tbsp.) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 4 slices (200g) bread, fresh or stale
  • 1 egg, large
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp. thyme
  • salt and white pepper, to taste
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil, for glaze
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste, for glaze


For Glaze

  • In a small bowl mix tomato paste and olive oil until well combined. Set aside.


  • In a large bowl add (stale) bread and cover with water. Let bread soak in water fully, then drain well and crumble bread.
  • Next, transfer to a large mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients (without tomato paste and olive oil for the glaze). Mix well to combine.
  • Transfer to a greased with olive oil loaf pan and shape. Using a kitchen brush cover meatloaf with mixed glaze on all sides.
  • Bake in Preheated oven on 180C/360F with fan on for about 20-25 minutes, or until fully cooked.


The amount of ground chicken meat can be reduced/increased based on what you have on hand. 
Keyword easy and quick, easy oven baked, Mediterranean diet
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5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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