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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  • Just made again for Thanksgiving instead of a traditional turkey.
    I don’t eat red meat anymore so have made this recipe at least a dozen times, probably more. This is the closest to a recipe that I had and unfortunately lost. I make the recipe as is except that I add chopped and sauteed mushrooms and one chopped and sauteed apple for a little sweetness, usually a honeycrisp but any finely chopped apple will do. I stock up on ground turkey when it’s on sale so I always have it available. Love the leftovers in a sandwich with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. This is a keeper for certain!

    • — Eva W on November 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this instead of Turkey for Thanksgiving lunch and everyone loved it! (I was just tired of spending so much time making a Turkey and listening to people say it was their least favorite meat. Well, today everyone in the room was going on and on about how delicious the meatloaf was. LOL

    • — Maria Weaver on November 23, 2023
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  • We love this so much, but wondering if anyone has successfully made this in an air fryer? If so, what temperature and for how long?

    • — Cindy G on November 22, 2023
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  • I’ve used many of your recipes. All of them have been excellent! I’ve slightly adapted this recipe for Weight Watchers, using half-and-half brown sugar, 1/4 c instead of 1/3 c, and used Marinara sauce instead of ketchup in the glaze. It’s 4 points for 1/6 of the recipe. I’m wondering if 2 loaves were meant for 6 servings, or each loaf serves 6?

    • — Sue on November 19, 2023
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! It’s a total of 6 servings, so each loaf serves 3 (they are generous portions). Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on November 20, 2023
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  • Jenn, we use your recipes nearly daily. In fact, I have left over ground turkey in my fridge because we made your turkey burgers. They were the first turkey burgers we’ve ever liked! I’m wanting to use up the ground turkey and found this recipe for meatloaf. The 1 pound of turkey I have isn’t enough to feed our large family. Could I add ground pork to it? I know that isn’t super healthy but I’m trying to make something my kids will eat. 🙂 Or should I just buy more ground turkey? Thanks very much.

    • — Amanda W on November 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Amanda, Glad you enjoyed the burgers! Yes, it’s fine to use ground pork to supplement the turkey. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 17, 2023
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      • I did sub in 1 lb ground pork. It was delicious! Thank you for giving me the confidence to give it a try.

        • — Amanda W on November 21, 2023
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        • So glad it came out well — thanks for taking the time to report back!

          • — Jenn on November 22, 2023
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  • Jen,
    I love your regular meatloaf recipe( haven’t tried the turkey one yet), but the glaze on the turkey recipe sounds amazing. Could I use the turkey glaze on your beef meatloaf?

    • — Joni on November 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on November 13, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen! How long will this last in the fridge? I made this Sunday/Monday and wondering if it’ll still be good tomorrow.

    • — Emily Sakamoto on November 1, 2023
    • Reply
    • I think you could get away with eating it tomorrow but I’d be hesitant to go beyond that.

      • — Jenn on November 2, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi,
    Am I the only one confused? In the picture, it shows the onions added to the glaze mix and in the directions, the onions are added to the mix, which I did.
    Making it tonight and I’m sure it will be delicious no matter what!!!

    • — Debbie starr on October 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Debbie, sorry for any confusion (and you did the right thing 😊). What you see in the picture is 1/4 cup of the glaze mixture added to the bowl with the other ingredients that will go into the meatloaf. The onion and garlic mixture is then added into that prior to the breadcrumbs and turkey. Hope that clarifies and that you enjoyed!

      • — Jenn on October 24, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was incredible! Juicy and tasty! Will definitely be making again thank you.

    • — chris on October 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • 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 will be making this again. I loved that I could freeze one for another nights dinner.

    Jenn another amazing recipe, thank you!

    • — Suzanne Gorman on October 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • If I made this again I’d eliminate the thyme and cut the brown sugar in half. The concensus around the dinner table was too sweet and too herby.

    • — Chef Boy R Bryce on October 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes! I agree. Way too sweet for my family’s taste.

      • — Lauren on October 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! I love that it made enough for two loaves – one went into the freezer for a busy weeknight. So good!

    • — Jenny on October 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made the turkey meatloaf this week. I very rarely make anything with ground turkey, however after reading the reviews I decided to give it a try. We liked it for the most part. I have decided I do not like thyme for the most part so that is my own issue. If it wasn’t for the thyme I thing I would have really enjoyed it. Is there a different seasoning I could use to replace the thyme? Thanks for all your delicious recipes.

    • — Kim on October 2, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Kim, oregano would be a good substitute for the thyme.

      • — Jenn on October 3, 2023
      • Reply
    • Made this last night and followed recipe exactly but came out a little dry. My oven is a little wonky but still delicious

      • — Martha on November 8, 2023
      • Reply
  • I really enjoy cooking recipes from this website and I have made many. This is pretty good, but could use a little more moisture – I will perhaps cut down on the breadcrumbs a bit next time. Flavor is good but I agree with a previous comment that perhaps add some additional yellow or red bell pepper.

    • — MAR on October 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn, we love your site and have many wonderful recipes from you that we have shared with family and friends.
    My husband doesn’t like onions that he can see in meatloaf. If I substitute onion powder, will the meatloaf still be moist or do I need to add something?

    • — MARYALICE O'BRIAN on September 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Maryalice, it should still be moist without the onions. And so glad you like the recipes! ❣️

      • — Jenn on September 26, 2023
      • Reply
  • I made turkey meatloaf with this recipe and OMG it is awesome. It tastes so delicious especially with the glaze. I added some green and red peppers to the mixture. So good!!!! this is a melt in your mouth meatloaf. I will definitely be making this meatloaf again.

    • — Gloria Pierce on September 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • Great meatloaf! My husband and I love the flavor and we don’t miss ground beef at all. I found it the first time you posted it and it’s been a regular at our house ever since. I don’t make it in loaves, but bake it in a rectangular baking dish because it’s easier and still yummy. Thanks for a
    wonderful recipe!

    • — Judith on September 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • How might this come out with subbing ground chicken for the turkey?

    • — Wendy on September 22, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Wendy, I’ve never made this with ground chicken, but a few readers have commented that they have, and have been happy with the results. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • I would like to use less sugar. Could I sub tomato sauce for ketchup and perhaps less sugar in bbq sauce, or what would you suggest?

    • — linda on September 21, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Linda, both of your suggestions will work. You could also replace the bbq sauce with tomato sauce. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • Yum! Made this for my son & his wife who came for dinner before he went on night shift. He’s a firefighter so I wanted to make something good & hardy for him. I made it exactly as indicated in the recipe and served with rustic mashed potatoes, roasted acorn squash & your broccoli with garlic recipe, it was a hit!
    This was the first recipe I’ve tried of yours Jenn, and one of the first internet recipes that came out exactly as I hoped, I’m so excited to dive into more! Thank you!!

    • — Bernadette on September 18, 2023
    • Reply
  • How much turkey did you use please??

    • — Phil on September 16, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Phil, you’ll need 2 pounds of ground turkey. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 18, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is such a perfect recipe and has become a family favorite. Making it this evening for company!! Thank you.

    • — Jennifer on September 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made it with ground pork and it is really wonderful!

    • — Mike on September 7, 2023
    • Reply
    • I made it and it was great! That there are two is a bonus for a future meal. I’ve always been intimidated by meatloaf, but this one was as easy as it reads. Thank you!

      • — Stephanie D. on September 10, 2023
      • Reply
  • Wow, so good. I was looking for new ground Turkey recipes and found once upon chef , with high reviews. Gave it a go, turned out amazing. Family ate it up. It’s now on rotation, this is in my wheel house. So are your cook books, they look amazing and your recipes. Thank you

    • — Stephanie on September 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • Honestly, this may have been one of the best Turkey Meatloaf recipes that I have come across in a long time!!!

    • — R. Bonner on September 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • I would like to substitute oatmeal for breadcrumbs. Do u think this will work and how much oatmeal ? Thank you…. Love your recipe

      • — Susan hirschberg on October 1, 2023
      • Reply
      • So glad you like the recipes! I haven’t tried this with oats, but some other readers have and have been happy with the results, so think it’s worth a try. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

        • — Jenn on October 2, 2023
        • Reply
  • I made the assumption that the number of servings (6 servings) was for both loaves. Is that correct? I may have made my loaves longer than 6 inches but they were still about 1.5″ high and 4″ inches. I was able to get 8 servings. I felt like a single serving if I based it on 6 servings would have been a huge amount to eat, even at dinner.

    • — Drew on August 27, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Drew, 6 is the correct number of servings. When determining servings for each recipe, I always err on the side of larger servings. To give you a little context, one of my biggest fears is running out of food at the dinner table! 🤣

      • — Jenn on August 29, 2023
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  • I grew up eating meatloafs and used my mom’s recipe to continue making them throughout my adult life. So 50+ years of eating meatloafs! LOL. Without a doubt, this is the best meatloaf recipe I have ever tried.

    • — Andrew Carey on August 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • Absolutely loved this recipe, loved the glaze, only difference i made was i used oats instead, but that is just because its my personal preference in meatloaf. This is a keeper for sure! Thanks for sharing!

    • — donna on August 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made the and I have to say it was pretty delicious!! I added a little worchesterchire to the Bbq sauce. The sauce was similar to my family recipe though this one had a little more tang and I liked it. Onions and garlic flavored the meat nicely!! Don’t skip this step!!

    • — Patricia on August 11, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can you place the meatloaf in a loaf pan?

    • — John on August 2, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 3, 2023
      • Reply
  • This turkey meatloaf recipe is excellent! This was my first time making meatloaf (my husband’s request) and we cannot be more pleased with how it came out. Moist, herby, and can be made with simple pantry ingredients! Will definitely be adding this into our rotation.

    • — Allison on August 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious recipe! I made a half recipe and didn’t have breadcrumbs on hand. I also skipped making the glaze and just put sugar free bbq sauce on top. Yummy, quick for a midweek meal – I will definitely make again!

    • — Catherine on July 24, 2023
    • Reply
    • what did you use in place of the breadcrumbs? I want to make this recipe also but am out of breadcrumbs – did you use oatmeal, crushed crackers? I am thinking of crushing some croutons to use for the breadcrumbs. What do you think?

      • — Kathy G on July 31, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Kathy, crushing croutons would work nicely. Hope you enjoy the meatloaf!

        • — Jenn on July 31, 2023
        • Reply
        • This is my go to meatloaf recipe. I love the sauce. I make the meat recipe as is, subbing oats, cooking a half pound loaf. The rest of the raw meat I vacuum seal in 1/4 pound portions so I always have several quick thaw seasoned meals ready for burgers, pasta sauces, tacos, etc.

          • — Michael on August 25, 2023
          • Reply
  • Made this today and all I can say is Delicious 😋 😊

    • — Nichole on July 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is the best turkey meatloaf ever!
    Moist, juicy and flavorful!

    • — Roslyn Kushner on July 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • This evening I made this meatloaf for my grandson who had never tasted meatloaf in his life. Subsequently, he asked for the recipe and is going to make it at home. Thank you!!!

    My only substitution was that I used 85%-15% ground turkey for the additional flavor.


    • — Noel A MacDonald on July 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this for dinner tonight. It was moist and delicious with a really nice flavor. I made very minor changes in amounts of onion and garlic based on my husband’s preferences but for the most part I followed the recipe. Thanks for sharing this healthier alternative to traditional meatloaf. I will make this again!

    • — Mary on July 18, 2023
    • Reply
  • I was nervous this would turn out dry because ground turkey tends to do that. But it was perfect. So herby and moist. Keeping this recipe forever now. Thank you!!!

    • — Erin on July 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Followed the recipe as is except, I ended up using 1.7 lbs of ground turkey and it came out very moist. I would suggests a little less salt.

    • — Maria S. on June 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can I make this without mustard? Or what would be a good replacement?

    • — Rosie on June 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Rosie, You can just omit the mustard. If you happen to have dry mustard, you could use that instead; you’ll need 1.5 teaspoons. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2023
      • Reply
      • One of the best turkey meatloafs I have had!

        • — David S on June 16, 2023
        • Reply
  • I am making 1 pound of Turkey meat. How long should I bake it for?


    • — Cindy on June 1, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Cindy, I would keep it as one loaf and the bake time will be the same.

      • — Jenn on June 1, 2023
      • Reply
  • What would be the difference in taste between using regular mustard or Dijon? Also, am I missing something in looking up recipes? I have to go thru the list until I find what I want instead of typing in the name of the recipe and having it pop up. There doesn’t seem to be a place for it or I am just not seeing it?

    • — sidney on May 24, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Sidney, there would be a slightly different taste using regular mustard instead of Dijon, but you can get away with it if that’s all you have on hand. And you can search for any recipe (or ingredient) you’d like by using the search function on the upper right corner of each page of the blog. (Just click on the little magnifying glass you see in the upper right corner.) Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 24, 2023
      • Reply
  • I loved this recipe. My Turkey meatloaf was so good, and I paired it with mashed potatoes. I will definitely make this again.

    • — Katrina on May 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this about a half dozen times now, and it’s just *perfect* exactly as written. There are only two of us, so I use just one lb and halve everything. (We looooove the sauce so, I’ll sometimes keep “double” of that!) It couldn’t be quicker or easier to come together, and it tastes delicious! Thank you!

    • — Kayla on May 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • What would be the recipe for just one pound and half of the original measurements because I want to make this for just a serving size of 2.?

      • — Tanya on July 8, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Tanya, I’d just halve all of the ingredients. Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on July 10, 2023
        • Reply
  • Can you make turkey meatloaf early in the day and bake later?

    • — Sherry Fulmer on April 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • Can you freeze turkey loaf raw and bake later?

    • — Sherry Fulmer on April 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on April 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was my first time making meat loaf and this recipe was delicious and super easy to make. I followed the recipe exactly. Everyone in my family including my toddler liked it.

    • — Lien N. on April 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • The best turkey meatloaf I’ve made.

    • — Ron Stroh on April 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this meatloaf soooo awesome!!!
    My husband loved it! Best recipe for turkey meatloaf EVER!!!

    • — Mary Hughes on March 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen, What is the best substitute for apple cider vinegar .

    • — Joyce on March 27, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Joyce, Do you have rice vinegar or white wine vinegar? Both of those would work well.

      • — Jenn on March 27, 2023
      • Reply
  • So good! Highly recommend

    • — Jenna on March 26, 2023
    • Reply

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