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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.

Platter of sliced turkey meatloaf.

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.

“This meatloaf was delicious. It was moist, tasty, and so easy to make. My husband gave this a 10, and I loved it too! I loved that I could freeze one for another nights dinner.”

Suzanne

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.

Platter of sliced turkey meatloaf.

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Video Tutorial

Turkey Meatloaf

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

Servings: 6
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ingredients

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)

Instructions

  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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Comments

  • I made this and it was delicious!

    • — Jodie on May 23, 2024
    • Reply
  • Chef Jenn,
    Thank you for the wonderful recipe!
    We have had your turkey meatloaf recipe many times. And, it is simply delicious! We do increase oven temperature to 375 degrees for 45 minutes instead of 350 degrees.
    (I’m so sorry, I accidentally submitted the above comment to your Italian Meatloaf by mistake.)

    • — Carrie Johnson on May 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • Jenn, I tried your recipe for mother’s day. The meatloaf was awesome. I tailored it to my taste and it was so good and even better today.

    • — C on May 13, 2024
    • Reply
  • Good recipe. I’ll make it again. Delicious meatloaf. It will replace the one I’ve made for years.

    • — Anne Silverstein on May 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • This came out soooo good. Yummy yummy. The only thing I changed was increasing it from 6 servings to 8 and I didn’t fry the onions. I just put them in with the mixture so the onion flavor would come through more strongly from the bake. I did sautee the garlic, though. Thanks for this recipe. Going into my recipe files.

    • — kazy on May 8, 2024
    • Reply
  • Fabulous! It was so good the first time, that I’m making it again tonight. Thank you!

    • — Mavis Viragos on May 6, 2024
    • Reply
    • Ohh, I forget to mention that instead of preparing a baking sheet and shaping the meat loaf into 1½ in high x 6 in long x 4 in wide, I just placed them into 2 bread loaf pans lined with parchment paperwhich created the shapes without any measurement. You should try doing that. So much easier.

      • — kazy on May 8, 2024
      • Reply
  • This recipe is really delicious. I would like to note though if you use the Progresso seasoned bread crumbs don’t add additional salt. The seasoned bread crumbs have a high content of salt already. I’m thinking I will used plain next time and add other herbs.
    Thoughts?

    • — Chelsea on April 25, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Chelsea that’s fine (and you can just add salt to taste).

      • — Jenn on April 25, 2024
      • Reply
  • Hi! Thank you for sharing the Turkey Meatloaf recipe. I made it tonight and it was delicious…could not tell it was turkey. A big hit! I followed your recipe exactly and it was very easy to follow. I’ll definitely make this again and again!

    • — Lori on April 17, 2024
    • Reply
  • We’ve made this twice now and always come away with rave reviews!! I never pre cook the onions, just throw them in raw with all the other ingredients and it still turns out great. Yum!!

    • — Deb on April 16, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was really good. I used 2-1/4 lbs turkey, a large onion, a full cup of panko seasoned bread crumbs and increased glaze proportions, but otherwise followed directions. I refrigerated loaves and glaze for about 1 hour, glazed the loaves, then let it sit out for a half hour before baking. It was really perfect and delicious. Never had such a good experience with turkey before in a meatloaf. Will definitely make again.

    • — Bubba on April 14, 2024
    • Reply
  • Moist and delicious. A hit at our house.

    • — JRBR on April 13, 2024
    • Reply
  • This recipe makes me forget about the beef meatloaf recipes! It was so moist, full of flavor, and easy to make. I bought 3 lbs ground 85% lean ground turkey because it was on sale for $10 for the pkg; trying to be thrifty. I used all 3 lbs and increased the other ingredients accordingly. Hubs has acid reflux but didn’t with this meatloaf served with mashed taters and green beans. We are eating this, and finishing, for the 4th night since we are tax CPAs and we have next to no time to cook. I will make many more times!

    • — Anne K on April 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • I have never in my life left a comment for a recipe online. I despise needlessly signing up for websites. This meal was so good though I figured the least I could do was take the time to add my rating and leave a comment to appease the algorithm gods. I’m not even ashamed to admit that I just finished a whole one of the loafs I enjoyed it so much. IF I HAD to make a criticism it would be that I would have preferred it maybe a little more dry (I think would be the right word). I prefer a little more meaty texture, but I mean that’s like really nit picking here. Also, I’m going to work on lowering the sugar content but other than that it’s one of my all-time favorite recipes.

    • — Chris on March 30, 2024
    • Reply
  • I have tried turkey meatloaf recipes in the past and was hesitant to try again but WOW this one is tasty and moist. My teenager says it is one of his top 2 favorite meals that I make. I have made it twice now. Excellent recipe – thank you!

    • — Shannon M on March 27, 2024
    • Reply
  • Wow! This was simply delicious. The seasoning was nicely balanced and the meatloaf was perfectly tender and moist. I plan to freeze one of the loaves, but now that I know how great this is, I don’t think it will last long in the freezer. Served with homemade dinner rolls, steamed broccoli, and rice pilaf. Will definitely be adding this recipe to the rotation. Thanks, Chef!

    • — April on March 23, 2024
    • Reply
  • Can we sub in ground sausage if needed?

    • — Erin on March 22, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Erin, I don’t recommend it – it would impact the texture and the seasonings would need to be adapted too. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 26, 2024
      • Reply
  • I’ve tried many recipes from your website and have not been disappointed. This meatloaf was no exception. It was absolutely delicious. I will be making it again.

    • — Elisa on March 22, 2024
    • Reply
  • We made this tonight and it is the best meatloaf we’ve ever had! Made some scalloped potatoes with it as a side, and it was perfect. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!

    • — Melissa Apolinario on March 17, 2024
    • Reply
  • My favorite turkey meatloaf recipie by far! My family (who tend to roll their eyes when I cook with ground turkey instead of beef) devoured this. I thought the seasoning was perfect….not bland, nor was there any one overwhelming flavor. Leftovers made a fantastic cold sandwich too. Will definitely make this again!

    • — Lorraine on March 17, 2024
    • Reply
  • My husband really enjoyed this meatloaf. Not dry, but flavorful and amazing.

    • — Beth W. on March 12, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hello,
    I used your recipe exactly accept for the amount of turkey. I actually used 3 pounds of turkey, hoping it would soften the sugary ingredients. Unfortunately, it did not. The 3/4 cup of catsup, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, and spreading more catsup on the meatloaf before going into the oven, made the dish far too sweet. I enjoy baked cookies, cakes, etc., but sweet meat I can do without. I think I’ll go back to my dear mother’s meatloaf recipe.

    • — Zuberi Ntumwa on March 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • HI Jen, Thank you for another scrumptious recipe! I made this tonight and cut the recipe in half as there are only two of us. I also shared this with my daughters who are nurses and meal prep for their 12 hour shifts.

    • — Cheryl on March 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • This is definitely my favorite turkey meatloaf recipe! I don’t comment online very often so….Thank you, Jenn (my daughter’s name as well!!) for the great recipe!!

    • — Susan H on March 3, 2024
    • Reply
  • The flavor is perfect…I am trying to make healthier meals for us so I decided to try a turkey meatloaf instead of ground beef.
    My only mistake was to use the ground turkey in a roll. I should have used the ground turkey that comes like ground beef, it made the loaf way too soft and it spread out while baking. It still tastes good though. I will be making this again.

    • — GrammyKim on February 25, 2024
    • Reply
  • I do most of the cooking for the five of us, 100 year old mother-in-law, wife, adult daughter and adult grand-daughter, and they like to let me cook. I made this last night and got rave reviews. The mother-in-law is still a great cook and if she likes what I make she’ll tell me “that’s a keeper!” Followed the recipe and everyone commented on how flavorful and moist it was.

    • — Greg B on February 20, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this for my husband who is a beef-pork meatloaf guy. He loved it and so do I. Very moist and flavorful. I will make it again.

    • — Jana on February 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • This is REALLY good! We’ve been reducing our red meat consumption and meatloaf is a good recipe to try the switch to turkey. My husband and I were surprised at how flavorful and juicy this is. The texture is good too – less firm than with beef but still able to stay on the fork. I was tempted to add peppers or sub smoked paprika for regular, but then I decided to make it as is the first time through. I don’t think I need to change a thing. The only thing I did different is to make 4 patties instead of the loaf and baked for 25 minutes. I highly recommend this recipe!

    • — Mary Ann on February 17, 2024
    • Reply
  • The BEST meatloaf…super moist and flavorful! Another hit, thank you Jenn. Quick question: I’d like to freeze one of the loaves and it is already baked and has the glaze on it. Any suggestions on how to wrap it so the glaze doesn’t stick to the wrap? Thanks!

    • — Ilse Rassin on February 15, 2024
    • Reply
    • So glad you like it! Unfortunately, there’s no real way to avoid the glaze sticking to the wrap. I usually just use a clean finger to scrape it off the wrap and reapply it to the top of the meatloaf. You could also make a little more glaze reapply it once the meatloaf is thawed.

      • — Jenn on February 16, 2024
      • Reply
  • Best turkey meatloaf ever. It was moist and tasty. Even after freezing a few pieces and heating up in the microwave, the meatloaf was still tasty and moist.

    • — JOQUEST on February 14, 2024
    • Reply
  • THIS. IS. FANTASTIC!

    This is the first time I made this and the entire family LOVED it. The fact that it’s extremely easy to make is a bonus.

    I by no means feel like anything needs to be changed in this recipe, but, just for the sake of “experimenting”, there a couple of things I might try the next time I make this (I’d love your thoughts on these, Jenn): 1) I’m considering increasing the Dijon in the glaze from 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp (or even 1.5 or 2) for a little extra “tang” and 2) I’m considering swapping out 1/2 of the onion with 1/2 of a red pepper, diced and sauteed soft.

    In any event, I can not recommend this recipe enough.

    • — Jeffrey D / Minneapolis on February 14, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Jeffrey, so glad you enjoyed it! And sure, I think both of your tweaks would work nicely. 😊

      • — Jenn on February 15, 2024
      • Reply
  • I plan on making this sometime this week and I have a question.

    Is it best to make this into two smaller loaves as stated in the recipe or can it be made as one larger loaf? If so, what should the cooking time be?

    Thanks.

    Jeffrey

    • — Jeffrey D on February 10, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Jeffrey, assuming you make the loaf the same height and width (it will just be longer), the cooking time should be about the same if not just a touch longer. If you’re uncertain if it’s done, I recommend testing it with an instant read thermometer; it will be done at 165°F. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 12, 2024
      • Reply
      • I’ll definitely report back after I make this, which I’m really looking forward to. Thanks, Jenn!

        • — Jeffrey D on February 12, 2024
        • Reply
  • I have loved just about every recipe from Jenn, but not this one. I was hoping to find a healthier alternative to my mother’s beef meatloaf (I make with ground sirloin) but neither my husband nor I enjoyed this. I’m glad I only made half the recipe. We didn’t like the essentially barbecue sauce on it nor the taste or texture of the ground turkey. All in all, this was a failure with us. I only make meatloaf about once a year and it will still be beef.

    • — Susan from Maine on February 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • D E L I C I O U S !!! I have tried many turkey meatloaf recipes but this is the winner. Love this recipe. I make half the recipe because it is only my husband and myself and it comes out great. I make 2/3 recipe of the sauce because we love the sauce and I add 4 oz of mushrooms for a little larger meatloaf. We eat it for three days and love it. 5 star recipe!

    • — Margaret Savage on February 1, 2024
    • Reply
  • Question how many slices is a serving? For the 413 calories. This is the most delicious meatloaf I have ever had!!!! My husband is a beef guy and when he had this he couldn’t stop saying had delicious it was.

    • — Sara Pearl on January 29, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Sara, The serving is one large slice. So glad you enjoyed it!

      • — Jenn on January 30, 2024
      • Reply
  • Made this meatloaf exactly as the recipe described and it was excellent. As a matter of fact, my daughter thought it was the best turkey meatloaf I ever made.

    • — Wendy Kross on January 28, 2024
    • Reply
  • The BEST turkey meatloaf. I like to add an extra tsp of Dijon in the glaze

    • — Chelsea on January 28, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was amazing! The apple cider vinegar and baking on a cookie sheet set this apart from other meatloaf recipes. Also, you have a good variety of flavorings added, which is sometimes missing in other meatloaf versions.

    I did not have Dijon on hand, so I substituted a leftover honey mustard dip with horseradish and bacon. This recipe would also work great with any fun mustard a person might want to try or have left over. Next version will have a leftover gifted truffled mustard seed dip. Fun!

    • — Tricia on January 27, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was the best turkey loaf ever!
    The glaze that went on top really topped it off. This recipe is going into my favorites,
    My husband who is especially hard to please, really enjoyed it and the left over loaf was also a hit.
    Thank you for a wonderful recipe.
    Maddie in Arizona

    • — Madelyn Sies-Quint on January 21, 2024
    • Reply
  • Can you make this the day before, refrigerate, then bake the next day?

    I’ve made this recipe numerous times, and everyone loves it. In fact, it’s one of my picky eater son’s favorite meals! I usually use all ketchup instead of making the bbq sauce (I like it a little less sweet).

    • — Heather on January 14, 2024
    • Reply
    • Glad it’s a hit with your family! Yes, it’s fine to assemble it a day ahead and refrigerate.

      • — Jenn on January 15, 2024
      • Reply
  • Wow. Cut the recipe in half but messed up by using 2 eggs instead of one so I added extra bread crumbs along with some grounded flax seed and honestly this was such a hit with my husband and MIL. She even asked for the recipe! Really excited to be adding this to our monthly menu!

    • — Stephanie sands on January 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hot out of the oven. Can’t wait to try this recipe, seems to have perfect notes for delicious enjoyment!

    • — Priscilla on January 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • I never had good luck with turkey meatloaf, but one of my 2024 promises to myself is eating better and taking better care of myself not only physically but mentally. I made this recipe this morning to freeze for meals after my knee surgery (today starts the 2 week countdown). OMG ! It is absolutely delicious. I did add additional breadcrumbs because it seemed very wet, but followed the rest of the directions. This recipe is a definite keeper.

    • — Marcia Piazza on January 1, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I just made this, it’s in the oven, though I did use a loaf pan instead of the baking dish with foil and I only made one, it’s about 2 inches high, should I be cooking it longer?

    • — Nic on December 31, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes maybe just a bit. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 31, 2023
      • Reply
  • Would like to know if the meatloaf recipe can be made ahead of time, put in the freezer and then baked?

    • — Dorothy Parham on December 22, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, Dorothy, that will work.

      • — Jenn on December 22, 2023
      • Reply
  • I made this recipe with part turkey and part ground pork as I only had 1 lb. ground turkey. I also had to improvise for the glaze and I know it didn’t come out right. And, the ground pork had too much liquid to be able to put it on the baking sheet, so I put part of it in a Pyrex baking dish lined with foil sheet and then poured a bit of the glaze on top. Then I filled a smaller Pyrex loaf pan and put that in the oven along with the larger one. The rest is in the freezer in 2 quart size freezer bags. I also used red onions as they were already chopped–but not really small and used minced garlic to save time rather than mince whole. I tasted a bite just now and I am sure it is okay. For the glaze I just had to use what was handy–light brown sugar, BBQ sauce, Salsa, the liquid from the mushrooms, no Thyme so used Basil.
    Next time I will see if I can round up the ingredients for the entire recipe. It seems like a good glaze, but I don’t always keep Apple cider vinegar on hand and I had stopped using ketchup to save on sugar. Maybe just not redo the recipe and try something else. I am sure the glaze recipe here is a good one; I just didn’t have everything called for.

    • — Sherry Jackman on December 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • Oh my gosh! I don’t really like meatloaf but I had some ground turkey and googled best meatloaf. I settled on this recipe, halved it for just the two of us, changed nothing. OK, well I did few a few drops of Gravy Master as I was scared of the loaf being pale. It was so very tasty, not dry. The glaze was a great component.

    • — Betty on December 7, 2023
    • Reply

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