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.”


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


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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  • Can you make this recipe with just 1lb of ground turkey

    • — Lorraine on March 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure – just cut the whole recipe in half and make one meatloaf. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 17, 2023
      • Reply
  • This turned out so yummy and kept the moisture really well! It was my first time substituting for turkey – no regrets. The only thing I did differently was save some extra glaze to add on within the last 5-10mins of baking.

    • — JoAnne on March 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is great recipe! I only had 1 1/4lbs of ground turkey, so I finely chopped 8oz of mushrooms and added them at same time as the turkey. We sliced up the loaves after baking/cooling, portioned up for 2 of us for future dinners and froze.

    • — KIMBERLY ONEAL on March 5, 2023
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  • Made this recipe, turned out excellent, my husband loved it, my go to Turkey meatloaf recipe now.

    • — Cynthia Marr on March 3, 2023
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  • Found this recipe very Thyme forward, but otherwise good.

    • — Hannah on February 25, 2023
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    • Agreed, I will omit the thyme next time. Otherwise very good!

      • — Erin on April 26, 2023
      • Reply
  • OK, I’ve tried what feels like a gazillion turkey meatloaf recipes and I swear they all taste the same or are dry….but not this one, this is juicy and delicious! (and I even used half 99% and half 93% because it’s all I had) Yes it’s more ingredients and more steps than I usually do, but it’s SO worth it. Even my guy loves it. Adding this to the rotation, thanks Jenn!

    • — Kelly on February 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was really good, you can’t really tell it’s turkey. Very moist and flavorful. The only thing I would do next time is add less brown sugar in the sauce, for me personally. I don’t like sweet flavors in my savory dishes. Other than that, this is a keeper recipe. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Linda on February 22, 2023
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  • I was looking for another recipe for a Turkey Meatloaf. This was absolutely delicious!!
    It’ll be my “ go to” recipe hereafter for ground turkey. Thanks very much .

    • — Bettianne on February 20, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is SO delicious! I’ve made it a bunch of times. I accidentally forgot to put the glaze inside the meatloaf and put it just on top and used an 85% fat turkey and it was still amazing! It’s fantastic paired with the Once Upon a Chef Chipotle Cheddar Mashed Sweet Potatoes!

    • — Michele Cole on February 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made this many times before. Family loves it. My son keeps asking for bison meatloaf. Would that be a safe swap?

    • — Nancy on February 16, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Nancy, So glad your family likes it! I’ve never cooked bison before but based on what I know about it, I think it should work. Please LMK how it comes out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on February 16, 2023
      • Reply
  • I don’t think I’ve ever left a review for a recipe but I just had to with this one. This turkey meatloaf was AMAZING! So flavorful, moist (apologies to those who hate that word!) and easy to make. I’ve already sent the recipe to my mom and sister and will be making this for my boyfriend who isn’t a meatloaf fan – I think this one will convert him!

    • — Jennifer on February 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • I guess everyone can’t like everything. Followed exact recipe. Not dry. No one liked it. It’s quite similar to one of my own recipes…no one liked that very much either. Sweetness, too much thyme, who knows. Those who love it, enjoy! Will continue to try your other recipes Jenn. You probably won’t like some of mine either.

    • — Susan on February 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is the BEST turkey meatloaf I’ve ever had… no exaggeration!! I am so excited for my meatloaf sanwich lunch today! Thanks Jenn.

    • — Hella on February 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe exactly as written and it was AMAZING. Even my picky teenage son loved it and he has never liked meatloaf. So moist and tender. Thank you so much. We will use this recipe for years to come.

    • — S. Shephard on February 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this for Sunday dinner, Hubby said this was the best Turkey meatloaf he’s every had. So happy I tried your recipe I will double the glaze next time I make it.

    • — Cynthia on February 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn,

    Am I missing something? What is the white stuff in the bowl in your picture?
    I don’t see it in the list of ingredients.


    • — Jack on February 6, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jack, there are two ingredients that you may be seeing — either the sauteed onions or the bread crumbs. Please LMK if you need any more clarification. 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 7, 2023
      • Reply
    • Hi Jack, I’m making this recipe right now and had to look back at picture, it looks like salt to me… correct me if I’m wrong

      • — Shannon on February 7, 2023
      • Reply
  • Another great recipe. This will now be my go to recipe and I’ve tried many! I can always count on your recipes. Easy to follow and delicious. Thank you, Jen, you came through again!

    • — Linda on February 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’ve never made a meatloaf with turkey. Tonight I prepared your recipe for Turkey meatloaf and it was absolutely delicious! It was very easy to prepare and all of the ingredients I had in my pantry except for the turkey. It was a big hit!

    • — Linda DiMaio on February 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • I am not one to stick to one recipe on just about anything, but I have used Ina Garten’s turkey meatloaf recipe exclusively for at least 15 years, but…I think this is going to be my new favorite. The only thing I did differently was use about half the sugar. The flavor is fantastic. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us all. I’m sure it’ll continue to become a favorite for many.

    • — Roxanne Gujda on January 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • Nutritional values?

    • — Dawn Delanghe-Foor on January 31, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Dawn,
      If you scroll down, immediately under the box with the full recipe, you’ll see nutritional information. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was excellent! Can’t wait to make sandwiches with this.

    • — John on January 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this meatloaf for dinner tonight. It is the best meatloaf I’ve ever made. My family said it should go into regular rotation. ☺️☺️☺️

    • — Jenni on January 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • We almost exclusively make Jen’s recipes in our house. We have yet to make any of hers and not love it so she’s our go to. This meatloaf is no exception. It was delicious! I have never really been a fan of meatloaf but this changed my mind. The glaze is superb and the dish feels a bit healthier using turkey. I also love that this makes two. We have half of one for dinner and portion the remainder and freeze for future weeknight dinners. It’s great to get multiple meals out of this and a real time saver for busy nights.

    • — Sarah on January 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Love this! It’s probably the best meatloaf recipe I have ever made. The only thing I did different from the recipe is I subbed panko for the breadcrumbs and added a tablespoon of Italian dried herbs. Light, flavorful, much less dense than normal meatloaf. My family raved.

    • — uncabri on January 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • Very good and will become a staple… next time I’ll double the sauce, saving half to warm and serve at the table..

    • — SuzyQ on January 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • Way too salty

    • — Caraline on January 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • Everyone loved it! Will definitely make this one again.
    Thanks, Duke.

    • — Duke on January 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made the mistake of using ground turkey in a tube. The texture was awful. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

    • — Jackie Callies on January 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious. Thank you. Will definitely be adding this to the rotation. We added a bit more Dijon but otherwise cooked as written.

    • — Ruthanne on December 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • So easy to make and it was delicious! Family approved!

    • — Mari on December 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • This was the best turkey meatloaf recipe.

    • — Frances Mirabile on December 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • okay, so i usually don’t leave reviews nor do i make turkey meatloaf but here goes. I made this recipe and left out the thyme specifically because the store didn’t have it. And can i tell you how good this was? I didn’t think the sugar was too sweet but just the right amount. I will definitely look at your other recipes.

    • — Maria on December 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • This was delicious! The only thing I changed was that I used a brown sugar substitute. Definitely a keeper!

    • — Jennie Mimnagh on December 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made this with garlic powder instead of minced garlic, and raw cane sugar instead of brown sugar, and honey Dijon instead of regular Dijon, egg whites instead of whole eggs, used 99/1 ground turkey instead of 93/7 Ground turkey, (I used what I had), and it still came out deeee-licious!!! Will definitely make again! Thanks!

    • — Bee on December 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Just made this recipe. Added diced celery and celery seed. It was delicious. Made baked potatoes and peas. Thank you for a new recipe for ground turkey, This is a keeper.

    • — Susanne Pope on November 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • Would it be okay to use marina to top the loaves like with your Italian meatloaf recipe? Or would the higher liquid content be problematic with the turkey?

    • — Dee on November 28, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Dee, it would be fine to use marinara on top if you’d prefer that over the BBQ sauce.

      • — Jenn on November 29, 2022
      • Reply
  • 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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