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Turkey Meatloaf

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Turkey Meatloaf with BBQ Glaze

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A family favorite, this turkey meatloaf is as flavorful and juicy as one made with ground beef.

Swapping ground turkey for ground beef is a great way to make meatloaf a bit healthier. However, for all its merits as a low-fat alternative to ground beef, ground turkey can be dry and bland. The key to making a good turkey meatloaf is to add flavor and moisture without adding fat, which would defeat the whole purpose of making it lighter. I season this turkey meatloaf with sautéed onions and garlic, and I also add some of the sweet and tangy glaze directly to the meatloaf mixture, which makes the meatloaf flavorful and juicy. One tip if you’re making this for kids: be sure to chop the onions very finely. My experience is that kids do not like finding flecks of onions (or flecks of anything, really!) in their meatloaf. Naturally, leftovers make excellent meatloaf sandwiches.

Looking for more ways to lighten up your classic ground beef recipes? Try my turkey chili, skillet turkey burgers and turkey meatballs.

What you’ll need To Make Turkey Meatloaf

ingredients for turkey meatloaf

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by making the 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 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.

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Turkey Meatloaf

A family favorite, this turkey meatloaf is as flavorful and juicy as one made with ground beef.

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


For the Glaze

  • ⅔ cup ketchup
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

For the Meatloaf

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (93/7)
  • ¾ 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 a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil; grease the foil with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Make the 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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  • The sauce was SO SWEET, I typically like sweet and tangy, but this was just way too much. For the sauce I recommend to combine all the other ingredients then add sugar to taste. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had to at least half the amount of sugar.
    Loaf turned out moist, had to bake an additional 25 minutes so cooking time was off quite a bit as well. Overall it was edible after scraping the sauce off but will definitely be using a different recipe next time.

    • — K on November 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • This meatloaf turned out great! I substituted two loaf pans with a 9 x 9 glass baking dish because that’s all I had and I just had to bake it for 55 minutes instead of 45 minutes. I omitted the Worcestershire sauce because they don’t carry it at Trader Joe’s and I didn’t feel like going to two grocery stores. Lol. I strongly dislike the texture of mixing the meat and sauce with my hands so I used a spatula instead and everything still got mixed in well. The meatloaf turned out very moist and delicious! Thank you for this great recipe!! 5/5

    • — Alexis on November 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • Very flavorful recipe. I omitted the brown sugar from the glaze due to dietary restrictions and it was still very good. My family loved it. Thank you for sharing!

    • — Barbara on November 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • I learned we’re not a ketchup based meatloaf family. I tried halving the recipe as I only had half the turkey ground beef it asked for in the recipe but I don’t think I should have used all the sauce. I also had to cover the meat and bake an extra 20 minutes as it was not completely cooked, perhaps due to the large meatloaf shape.

    • — Lulu on November 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • An excellent recipe for a turkey meatloaf that meets all the requirements for being moist, tasty, delicious and simple to put together. I made 1/2 the recipe exactly as written for two of us today. My husband loved it! Sprinkled some chili pepper flakes on top of the sauce for a bit of zip. I also overlaid a silicone baking mat on the small rimmed baking sheet I used for the meatloaf. The meatloaf baked perfectly without having to grease anything. No spillage as there was relatively little juice or fat from the loaf as it baked. Thanx again for a super good recipe Jenn!

    • — missy b on November 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • Labor intensive recipe, but worth the result. I altered it slightly, using 1 lb of turkey and a 1/2 lb of Italian sausage, and substituted honey mustard for Dijon, but it came out scrumptious and delicious. Fixing mashed potatoes and steamed carrots with it. Will take a photo and post it on FB.

    • — Frederick Smith on November 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • This looks great. I plan to make it this weekend. Do you have a recommended brand of ground turkey? Thanks.

    • — Kathy on November 9, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, I like both Perdue and Shady Brook Farms. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 9, 2022
      • Reply
  • My all time favorite! My go to! Guests love this recipe and always ask

    • — Karen on November 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • Fabulous as written. I am always tinkering. I added a heaping cup with a combination of raw chopped red pepper, green pepper and grated carrots.

    • — Gayle on November 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hello Jenn,

    I had to make an adjustment to your recipe and it was delicious. I did not have ground turkey in the house so I used ground chicken. Thank you for always offering wonderful recipes. I make them often and never disappointed. Keep them coming.

    • — Frances Crandall on November 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • Jenn, my market has either dark or white turkey. What should I buy?

    • — Carol J Winkelman on November 3, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, I’d go with the dark. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 3, 2022
      • Reply
      • My 6 year old daughter is requesting this meatloaf for her birthday, again. I cook almost exclusively from Once Upon a Chef, so they eat well, but this meatloaf is something really special, and one of the few meals all of my 5 little kiddos love👌👌

        • — Lynnessa R Struble on November 6, 2022
        • Reply
  • Hi Jen.
    This looks fabulous. I have Panko in my pantry. What should I add, and in what amounts, to substitute for Italian flavored breadcrumbs?
    thanks. Love your recipes. I love all the ones I’ve made already.

    • — Helen Gitelson on November 3, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Helen, this recipe will give you some basic guidance. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 3, 2022
      • Reply
  • This has become a family favorite. In fact I don’t make meatloaf anymore, I make the Turkey loaves. It is a delicious addition to our meal rotation. My husband loves it and tells me I could make this at least once a week. Your recipe’s are excellent.
    Thank you.

    • — Erika Horn on November 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I’ve made this recipe before and its delicious. Just wondering if I could substitute watered down tomato paste for the ketchup in the BBQ glaze? Thanks for all you do!
    Jane H.

    • — Jane H on October 30, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jane, glad you like it! the glaze may taste slightly different, but it should work. 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 31, 2022
      • Reply

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