Turkey Meatloaf with BBQ Glaze

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Turkey Meatloaf with BBQ Glaze

Generously seasoned and topped with a BBQ glaze, this turkey meatloaf is full-flavored and satisfying. A family favorite!

Turkey Meatloaf

For all its merits as a low-fat alternative to ground beef, ground turkey can be incredibly dry and bland. The key is to add flavor and moisture without adding fat, which would defeat the whole purpose. This turkey meatloaf is generously seasoned with sautéed onions and garlic and topped with a tangy-sweet barbecue glaze, which makes it full-flavored and satisfying. A family favorite!

What you’ll need To Make Turkey Meatloaf with BBQ Glaze

ingredients for turkey meatloaf

It’s important to use ground turkey that 93% lean and 7% fat. Avoid 99% lean ground turkey, which will result in a dry, bland meatloaf.

How to make Turkey Meatloaf with BBQ Glaze

Begin by making the BBQ glaze: in a medium bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and mustard.

glaze ingredients in mixing bowl

Whisk to combine.

whisked glaze ingredients

Next, in a small pan, heat the olive oil and add the onions.

sautéing onions for turkey meatloaf

Cook until softened, then add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more.

sautéing onions and garlic for turkey meatloaf

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the BBQ glaze with the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, and eggs.

seasoning and eggs in mixing bowl for turkey meatloafWhisk to combine.

whisked seasoning and egg mixture

Mix in the onion mixture.

adding onion and garlic mixture to the bowl

Then add the bread crumbs and turkey.

adding the bread crumbs and turkey to the bowl

Use your hands to mix it all together.

mashed turkey meatloaf mixture in bowl

Form two loaves on a baking sheet.

free-form turkey meatloaves on baking sheet

Then spread the remaining BBQ glaze over top.

turkey meatloaves topped with glaze, ready to bake

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. I prefer this “free-form” meatloaf to those made in a loaf pan; clean-up is so much easier and all the extra fat is able to ooze out during baking.

baked turkey meatloaf fresh out of the oven

Scrape the fat away from the loaves, transfer to a platter, and slice.

How to make turkey meatloaf

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Turkey Meatloaf with BBQ Glaze

Generously seasoned and topped with a BBQ glaze, this turkey meatloaf is full-flavored and satisfying. A family favorite!

Servings: 4-6
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes


For the BBQ Glaze

  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

For the Meatloaf

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (93/7)
  • 3/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • A few springs chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)


  1. Set oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil; grease the foil with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Make the BBQ glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard. Set aside.
  3. Make the Meatloaf: Heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Do not brown. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, eggs, and ¼ cup of the BBQ glaze. Whisk until well combined. Stir in the onion mixture. Add the ground turkey and breadcrumbs and mix with your hands until evenly combined.
  5. Transfer the meat mixture into two even piles onto the prepared baking sheet. Shape into two long loaves about 1½ in high x 6 in long x 4 in wide. Spread the remaining BBQ glaze over the loaves, letting it drip down the sides a bit. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the meatloaves are cooked through. Scrape any fat away from the sides of the loaves, then transfer the loaves to a platter. Slice and garnish with parsley if desired.
  6. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cooked meatloaf can be frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, defrost it in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then reheat it in a 300°F oven until hot in the middle.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 413
  • Fat: 17g
  • Saturated fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 33g
  • Sugar: 20g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 35g
  • Sodium: 1086mg
  • Cholesterol: 166mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I love this recipe! Everytime I make it for guest or family, and they all love it. I like to double the sauce recipe since it’s sooo good so I can use the leftover sauce to dip chicken strips in. Highly recommend 🙂

    • — Christina on September 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • Another OUAC keeper! This meatloaf has amazing flavor and is so moist, which is sometimes lacking with ground turkey. I also like the technique of baking the loafs free-form, which allows the fat to spill out.

    • — Kim H on September 15, 2021
    • Reply
  • I don’t usually keep dark brown sugar in the house. Could I use light brown sugar or would that not be as good? Thank you.

    • — Steve on August 20, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Steve, that’s perfectly fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi! I’m so excited to try this recipe. I was wondering, if I only have one pound of ground turkey could I just halve all the other ingredients? Thank you so much!

    • — Alicia on July 22, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 23, 2021
      • Reply
    • Loved this! I really liked cooking the loaves free form (saves one less dirty dish!) I added mushrooms and celery to the loaf as well because I had some I needed to use up and it was amazing! Definitely will make this again.

      • — Devin on September 26, 2021
      • Reply
  • This is a wonderful meatloaf.
    We make it often (I have only ever used pork, as one family member has a turkey non-preference).
    Our nana (German and big fan of BBQ flavour and meatloaf) was full of praise for the taste and ultra-soft texture of your recipe, and kept some to serve to Indian friends to try. One, who we had thought was a vegetarian, even asked for the recipe so she could make it for her grandchildren!
    Thanks so much for another winner, Jenn!

    • — Savanna Faith on June 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this last night, loved it! I slightly expanded it to 3 pounds. I gave some to my neighbors and they loved it too.

    • — David Robertson on May 10, 2021
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  • I have this in the oven and it smells amazing! I added a bit of smoked paprika to the BBQ sauce and also substituted some of the regular paprika with smoked paprika in the meat mixture. I didn’t have Italian breadcrumbs but I did have Panko, so I improvised and added some Italian seasoning to make Italian Panko crumbs – fingers crossed it turns out!

    • — Leila on April 13, 2021
    • Reply
    • Update: This was a huge hit with my family! Thank you, Jenn!

      • — Leila on April 14, 2021
      • Reply
  • I’ve made this twice now and my family loves it! Such a great way to dress up ground turkey. So flavorful!

    • — Stephanie H on April 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn- I can’t wait to make this tonight. I’m surprising my husband for his 40th birthday. He LOVES meatloaf. I have a few questions:

    1) What can I add to the remaining sauce to give it some heat/spice?
    2) I will be making a half portion because I only have 1 lb of ground turkey. I have a very small amount of leftover brown rice and quinoa (maybe 1/3 cup)… could I add that to the mix?

    • — Anjali on April 8, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Anjali, You can add a few pinches of cayenne pepper to create some heat in the glaze. I think it should be fine to use rice/quinoa mixture but I’d cut back on the bread crumbs. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 8, 2021
      • Reply
      • Omg, I didn’t even realize that I already submitted a comment (palm in face). Thank you!

        • — Anjali on April 8, 2021
        • Reply
        • LOL – no worries!! 🙂

          • — Jenn on April 8, 2021
          • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! My husband LOVES meatloaf, so I’ll be making this recipe to surprise him for his 40th birthday. So many of your recipes have become classics in our dinner rotations (chicken kabobs are my FAVORITE).

    Quick question: What do you suggest I add to the glaze to spice it up a bit?

    • — Anjali on April 5, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Anjali, So glad your husband likes this! I’d add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper to the glaze to give it a little heat. Hope he has a great birthday! 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 6, 2021
      • Reply
  • I love this recipe for the entire family. I cheated and used store bought bbq sauce but aside from that followed the recipe. Have made twice and highly recommend!!

    • — Anjali on March 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this tonight and everyone loved it! So flavorful. Thanks for another great recipe.

    • — Stephanie on March 15, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn: Do you think that I could use ground dark meat chicken instead of turkey in this recipe? Also, I’m looking for a dish I can make ahead, freeze, and then reheat in a microwave (we won’t have access to an oven). Would those two substitutions work?

    Thanks so much. I really enjoy your site and trust your recipes.


    • — Stafford on March 13, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Leslie, both of those should work. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 14, 2021
      • Reply
  • Bought a 1 lb package of ground turkey bc it was on sale even tho I never cook with it but I thought it might be a good substitute for ground veal in meatloaf. OUAC is my go-to for anything since I can always count on Jenn’s recipes. I wanted to make the recipe as written so I searched my freezer and found a 3/4 lb package of ground pork and one Katana beef burger and used that with the turkey. My husband – who doesn’t like meatloaf – said it was really good and asked me to make it on a regular basis. I served it with baked sweet potatoes and an ice berg lettuce salad with blue cheese dressing. Really easy clean up and leftovers make this a great recipe.

    • — Marilyn Segal on March 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious. I’m not a big fan of ground turkey but I’m trying to substitute it more into our diet and man was this was winner! I couldn’t believe how flavorful and moist it was without any need for sausage added. Next time I will cut the thyme in half for my family’s preference but everything else was perfect. This was a major kid friendly meal for our family and very affordable. Thank you!!

    • — Lynnessa R Struble on February 24, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this last night and we all loved it! This we be a monthly meal for our family!

    • — Teresa Laakso on February 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have meatloaf mix in the fridge wondering if I can substitute for the turkey?
    Thank you – Kathleen

    • — Kathleen on February 15, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Kathleen, that should work. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 15, 2021
      • Reply
  • If you are looking for comfort food that feeds the soul, look no further! This is the BEST meatloaf. It is super flavorful and the BBQ glaze is like the icing on a cake…delish!! My family loves this with mashed potatoes and roasted veggies. Another winner, Jenn!!

    • — Ilse on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Best meatloaf ever! I am a fan of meatloaf but my husband does not have fond memories of it from his childhood. I tried this recipe and he loves it! The sauce is fabulous and it is so much healthier being made with turkey. Served with mash potatoes and broccoli. It’s a keeper!

    • — Kathy Laudick on February 3, 2021
    • Reply

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