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The Best Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

Moist, juicy, and packed with flavor, this Turkey Meatloaf is so good that you won’t miss the beef and pork used in traditional meatloaf. The glazed topping adds a sweet and smokey taste with just the right amount of heat, creating an incredibly delicious crust. This turkey meatloaf is a simple recipe that takes little time to prepare, perfect for a weeknight meal.

Best Turkey Meatloaf feature image.

Since we eat a great deal of ground turkey meat, we are always working on ways to enhance the flavor. This meatloaf is also a perfect meal to make in advance as it is freezer friendly and can be frozen up to 3 months in an airtight container. Our kids love this moist and tasty meatloaf, especially when we combine it with potato wedges, sweet potato fries, or mashed potatoes.

Why This Recipe Works?

  • Moist, juicy, and extremely flavorful.
  • Delicious sweet and smokey crust.
  • Healthier using ground turkey rather than beef and pork.
  • Super easy to make.
  • Comes together from start to finish in under an hour.
  • Readily available ingredients.
  • Kid Friendly.
  • Make ahead and freezer friendly meal.
  • The Best Turkey Meatloaf ever!!!
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Main Ingredients

This recipe uses super easy ingredients that can be purchased from a local grocery store if they are not already in your kitchen. Read the Recipe Card for the measurements.

  • Ground Turkey – This recipe uses lean ground turkey (93%) because it is a healthier option than beef and pork and also is readily available.
  • Garlic/Onion/Thyme – These aromatics add a nice mild and sweet flavor to the mix.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – This sauce adds a powerful unami flavor – a combination of sweet, sour, and spicy.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Grated Parmesan Cheese creates a moist texture and adds tons of flavor.
  • Bread Crumbs/Egg – These are the key ingredients that ensure your meatloaf will stick together and not be too crumbly. We use unseasoned bread crumbs since we are adding plenty of seasoning ourselves.
  • Cayenne Pepper – We like the extra kick this gives. If you prefer not to have any heat, this is completely optional.
  • Ketchup – Is the base for this simple, yet irresistible glaze. Combined with honey, Worcestershire sauce, and a few spices this sauce caramelizes when baked and tastes amazing.
  • Beef Stock – We use this to increase the moisture and add some additional flavor. You can also use chicken stock if that is what you have available.
Turkey Meatloaf ingredient picture.

How To Make The Best Turkey Meatloaf

Step 1: Prep It

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and set aside. 
  • Gather your ingredients.
  • Prep the aromatics: finely chop the onion, mince the garlic, separate the thyme leaves from the stem and give the parsley (also remove the stems) leaves a rough chop.

Step 2: Sauté It

  • Heat a medium frying pan over low heat and add olive oil. Add onions, thyme and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Remove the pan from the heat and add salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, liquid smoke and beef stock. Set aside to cool slightly.
Sauté the aromatics.

Step 3: Mix It

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the ground turkey, onion mixture and the rest of the meatloaf ingredients; beaten egg, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, chopped parsley (if using) and mix gently with a fork until the ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix or the meatloaf will be dense.
Mix all the ingredients for the turkey meatloaf.

Step 4: The Glaze

  • Add all the glaze ingredients together; ketchup, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce and honey. Mix to combine and set aside.
Prepare the glaze.

Step 5: Shape It

  • Line a loaf pan with cling wrap and add the turkey mixture to the pan. Pack and flatten the turkey mixture into the loaf pan with a rubber spatula. Alternatively, you can shape the meatloaf free form directly on the prepared sheet pan.
Shape the loaf.
  • Carefully, turn the loaf pan upside down onto the prepared baking sheet. Lift the loaf pan to unmold the meatloaf and discard the cling wrap.  
Use cling wrap to help shape the meatloaf.

Step 6: Bake It

  • Bake the meatloaf in the preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and spread the glaze evenly on top and on all four sides.
Bake and remove the meatloaf from the oven.
  • Continue baking for 35-45 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees F.
  • Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. This helps to redistribute the juices.
  • Before serving, freshen up the meatloaf with any leftover glaze.
final feature image of the meatloaf.

Options to serve with also include baked mac and cheese, spinach squares or a kale salad.

The Best Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

The Best Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Moist, juicy, and packed with flavor, this Turkey Meatloaf is so good that you won't miss the beef and pork used in traditional meatloaf. The glazed topping adds a sweet and smokey taste with just the right amount of heat, creating an incredibly delicious crust. This turkey meatloaf is a simple recipe that takes little time to prepare, perfect for a weeknight meal.

Ingredients

  • Meatloaf:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground turkey (93/7)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped (optional)
  • Glaze:
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and set aside. Gather your ingredients. Prep the aromatics: finely chop the onion, mince the garlic, separate the thyme leaves from the stem and give the parsley (remove the stems) a rough chop.
  2. Heat a medium frying pan over low heat and add olive oil. Add onions, thyme and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Remove the pan from the heat and add salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, liquid smoke and beef stock. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the ground turkey, onion mixture and the rest of the meatloaf ingredients; beaten egg, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, chopped parsley (if using) and mix gently with a fork until the ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix or the meatloaf will be dense.
  4. Add all the glaze ingredients together; ketchup, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce and honey. Mix to combine and set aside.
  5. Line a loaf pan with cling wrap and add the turkey mixture to the pan. Pack and flatten the turkey mixture into the loaf pan with a rubber spatula. Carefully, turn the loaf pan upside down onto the prepared baking sheet. Lift the loaf pan to unmold the meatloaf and discard the cling wrap. (Alternatively, you can shape the meatloaf free form directly on the prepared sheet pan).
  6. Bake the meatloaf in the preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and spread the glaze evenly on top and on all four sides. Continue baking for 35-45 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees F.
  7. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. This helps to redistribute the juices. Before serving, freshen up the meatloaf with any leftover glaze.

Notes

It's helpful to use a meat thermometer for the most accuracy. If using, take out the meatloaf from the oven when the thermometer reaches 160 degrees F, as the temperature of the meatloaf will continue to rise a few degrees once removed from the oven.

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