Turkey Meatloaf

February 23, 2021

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Turkey Meatloaf – made with lean ground turkey and flavored with onions, garlic, herbs, parmesan and those classic staple sauces. It’s juicy, tender and absolutely delicious!

Photo of turkey meatloaf on a white oval serving platter. Parsley is sprinkled over and whole parsley is to the side. A large knife is shown to the side.

Easy Turkey Meatloaf

Many of us remember the classic meatloaf (like our parents or grandparents made) with rich ground beef but have you tried it with ground turkey yet?

Meatloaf is one of those things I actually hated as a kid but now I crave it! My mom made it enough that I can’t help but love it now.

This version is a healthier alternative to the traditional fatty ground beef option yet it’s still completely comforting, perfectly hearty and super satisfying.

Plus it’s a breeze to prepare. Nothing complicated – just soaking bread crumbs, sautéing veggies, then mixing everything together and shaping into a freeform loaf.

From there, the oven does the rest while that inviting homestyle dinner scent fills the house and gets everyone excited for what will await at the table!

Two slices of turkey meatloaf shown on a serving plate with serving suggestions of mashed potatoes and green beans.

What to Serve with Turkey Meatloaf

Try this delicious main dish with these classic side dish recipes:

Photo of ingredients used in turkey meatloaf. Includes ground turkey, parsley, parmesan, chicken broth, olive oil, yellow onion, garlic cloves, eggs, bread crumbs, thyme, salt and pepper, Worcestershire, dijon, ketchup.

Turkey Meatloaf Recipe Ingredients

  • Ground turkey: To keep it lean, go with 93% if you want it richer use 85%. I recommend using Jenni-O brand since it’s less wet and sticky and therefor easier to work with.
  • Olive oil: You can use another neutral oil such as vegetable oil, avocado oil, canola oil, etc.
  • Yellow onion and garlic: These help build up background flavor. Here we saute and brown slightly for softness and extra flavor.
  • Bread crumbs: Homemade is preferred if you have them but store-bought works fine too. Only use dry bread crumbs not fresh.
  • Chicken broth: Regular or low-sodium is fine since it’s a small amount. Vegetable broth or even milk could be substituted.
  • Parmesan cheese: Be sure to shred finely. Don’t use powdered parmesan from the shelf, it doesn’t taste near as good.
  • Worcestershire sauce: A key ingredient in meatloaf. It adds rich depth of flavor.
  • Ketchup: This is used both in the loaf mixture for moisture and topping for the classic finish and taste.
  • Dijon mustard: This helps amp up the flavor since turkey is milder than beef.
  • Parsley and thyme: If you don’t have fresh parsley you can use 1 Tbsp dried. Then for the thyme you can use fresh in place of dried, use 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Whole egg and egg yolk: I like to limit the egg white and only use 1 whole egg plus an additional yolk so meatloaf isn’t dry.
  • Salt and pepper: I’ve listed recommended amounts since obviously you should never taste test raw meat. Upon serving you can season slices with a little more salt if desired.

Scroll down for full recipe with ingredient amounts.

Collage of six photos showing first six steps of making turkey meatloaf. Shows mixing bread crumbs and chicken broth in a bowl. Sautéing onion and garlic in skillet. Adding onion mixture to crumb mixture along with eggs and flavoring ingredients.

How to Make Turkey Meatloaf (Mixture and Shaping)

  1. Heat oven, prepare baking sheet: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Saute aromatics: Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until slightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.
  3. Hydrate bread crumbs: Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl stir together bread crumbs and chicken broth.
  4. Cool mixture: Add cooked onion mixture to bread crumb mixture and stir. Transfer to fridge to let cool completely about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in remaining seasonings and whole egg/yolk: To cooled mixture add parmesan, Worcestershire, 1 Tbsp ketchup, the dijon, parsley, thyme, egg, egg yolk, salt and pepper. Stir mixture to blend well.
  6. Mix in turkey: Add ground turkey and using your hands toss and mix until well combined.
  7. Shape into loaf on baking sheet: Shape mixture into a 9 by 4-inch loaf on prepared baking sheet. Brush with remaining 1/2 Tbsp olive oil.

How Long to Bake Turkey Meatloaf

It will take about 1 hour to bake. Here are the exact steps:

  1. Bake: Bake in preheated 375 degree oven 45 minutes.
  2. Brush with ketchup: Remove meatloaf and brush with remaining 1/3 cup ketchup.
  3. Continue to bake: Return to oven and bake until center registers 165 (I recommend taking temperature in every 1/3 area of the loaf), about 10 to 20 minutes longer.
  4. Rest, garnish, slice: Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Sprinkle with a little parsley (about 1/2 Tbsp) and cut into slices. Serve warm.

Collage of six images showing remaining six steps to making turkey meatloaf. Includes egg and onion mixture shown after mixing in a mixing bowl, adding turkey. Then shows mixed meatloaf mixture, shaped meatloaf mixture, ketchup coated meatloaf. And last includes image of meatloaf baking in the oven on baking sheet.

Helpful Tips

  • Use cold ingredients so meatloaf mixture is easier to work with. Be sure to cool onion mixture completely before continuing.
  • If mixture seems incredibly wet you can add a few extra tablespoons of bread crumbs to overly sticky mixture if needed.
  • Work to shape loaf evenly so it bakes evenly. One area shouldn’t be thicker than another.
  • Compress fairly well when shaping meatloaf so there aren’t pockets.
  • Smooth cracks on exterior otherwise these can spread into large cracks when baking.
  • Use an instant read thermometer to take temperature in center of loaf (in every 1/3 of the length). I like to use an oven safe probe thermometer that monitors temperature as it bakes if you have one, otherwise just remove occasionally near the end to take temp.
  • Careful not to over-bake. If you cook past 170 degrees loaf can start to dry since this is lean meat.
  • Be sure to let cool 5 minutes before slicing or slices tend to fall apart.

Photo showing slices of turkey meatloaf shown overhead on a white platter.

Variations

  • You can also use panko bread crumbs in place of regular bread crumbs. If doing so use 3/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp since they weigh less/absorb less.
  • If preferred, you can sweeten the ketchup topping with 1 Tbsp brown sugar, white sugar or honey. I don’t like it sweet (other than the mild sweetness of plain ketchup) so I don’t use it.
  • I like the ketchup topping less baked and dried so I wait to add closer to the end but if you’d like you can add at the beginning.
  • Try with barbecue sauce in place of ketchup.
  • You can try another cheese like Romano or Asiago or even sharp white cheddar.
  • You can try sneaking in some other veggies like diced sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, bell pepper or carrots.
  • Try baking in individual portions in a well greased muffin pan. I haven’t yet tested with this recipe (let me know if you do!), it should be about 30 minutes but test internal temperature for doneness.

Close up photo of turkey meatloaf with several slices cut. Shown from a side angle.

More Classic Dinner Recipes to Try

Photo of turkey meatloaf on a white oval serving platter. Parsley is sprinkled over and whole parsley is to the side. A large knife is shown to the side.
5 from 2 votes

Turkey Meatloaf

Made with lean ground turkey and flavored with onions, garlic, herbs, parmesan and those classic staple sauces. It's juicy, tender and absolutely delicious!
Servings: 8
Prep15 minutes
Cook1 hour 5 minutes
Cooling15 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped yellow onion (1 medium)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs homemade or store-bought*
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup (1.4 oz) finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp ketchup, divided
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp Salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. 93% lean ground turkey

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion and saute until slightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.
  • Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl stir together bread crumbs and chicken broth.
  • Add cooked onion mixture to bread crumb mixture and stir. Transfer to fridge to let cool completely about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • To cooled mixture add parmesan, Worcestershire, 1 Tbsp ketchup, the dijon, parsley, thyme, egg, egg yolk, salt(you can season with a little more if you want it a little saltier) and pepper. Stir mixture to blend well.
  • Add ground turkey and using your hands toss and mix until well combined.
  • Shape mixture into a 9 by 4-inch loaf on prepared baking sheet. Brush with remaining 1/2 Tbsp olive oil.
  • Bake in preheated oven 45 minutes. Remove meatloaf and brush with remaining 1/3 cup ketchup.
  • Return to oven and bake until center registers 165 (I recommend taking temperature in every 1/3 area of the loaf), about 10 to 20 minutes longer.
  • Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Sprinkle with a little more parsley (about 1/2 Tbsp) and cut into slices. Serve warm.

Notes

*You can also use panko bread crumbs. Use 3/4 cup + 3 Tbsp since they are a little lighter by weight than standard bread crumbs and absorb a little less moisture.
Nutrition Facts
Turkey Meatloaf
Amount Per Serving
Calories 304 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 134mg45%
Sodium 696mg30%
Potassium 442mg13%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 27g54%
Vitamin A 722IU14%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 134mg13%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.