Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

Hot or cold, there are few things more delicious than a slice of homemade Turkey Meatloaf. Healthy, flavorful ground turkey makes an appearance in this classic American recipe—and no one at the table will miss the beef.

For an unforgettable dinner, serve big, juicy slices of Turkey Meatloaf with some of the Best Mashed potatoes, along with a simple green salad tossed in a Homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette.

A side shot of sliced turkey meatloaf on a baker's sheet.
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Easy to make and packed with savory ingredients, this recipe for lean (yet super moist) Turkey Meatloaf is anything but dull. It's the best recipe for ground turkey when you need meals for the week ahead, because it makes a generous amount.

Making luscious Turkey Meatloaf for one giant party or just the two of you? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

Turkey Meatloaf ingredients:

  • Ground turkey. This recipe uses 5 pounds of ground turkey, made as-is. Don’t worry—the leftovers are delicious!
  • Yellow onions.
  • Olive oil.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Thyme. Fresh thyme tastes so wonderful with turkey, but you can use homemade Italian Seasoning, too.
  • Worcestershire sauce. A pantry staple.
  • Chicken stock. Homemade or canned.
  • Tomato paste. A little tomato paste, canned or in the tube, goes a long way to creating a tasty meatloaf.
  • Bread crumbs. If you make your own, use them, but store bought work just as well here.
  • Eggs. Eggs hold the meatloaf together.
  • Ketchup. Instead of ketchup, use your favorite BBQ sauce, or bake the meatloaf plain and make a gravy or marinara sauce for serving.

How to make Turkey Meatloaf:

Before you start, be aware that this recipe makes a large meatloaf. But you can always split the recipe in half. You can also make two smaller meatloaves and share one with someone who would appreciate it. Chances are you'll love having the leftovers, though!

(Because a cold meatloaf sandwich makes an incredible lunch, anytime of year.)

These photos take you through the process, but for exact quantities, scroll down to the recipe card!

  1. In a skillet, sauté the onions, olive oil, and thyme over medium-low heat until the onions are translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Next, add Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and the tomato paste. Mix everything together well. You can let the mixture cool a bit before adding it to the turkey in the next step.
    An overhead shot of turkey meatloaf topping ingredients in a skillet.
  3. Meanwhile, place the ground turkey, bread crumbs, and beaten eggs into a bowl large enough to accommodate all the ingredients. Pour in the onion/Worcestershire mixture and gently mix all the ingredients. Don’t over mix—use your fingertips or a wooden spoon to just lightly fold in everything until incorporated.
  4. Form the ground turkey mixture into one large loaf (or two smaller ones) on an ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Then spread the ketchup liberally over the top. This will keep the meatloaf moist.
    An overhead shot of sliced turkey meatloaf on a baker's sheet.
  6. Finally, bake the turkey meatloaf for 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees, until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees and the turkey meat loaf is cooked through.

Best turkey meatloaf tip: Cracked meatloaf? Place a pan of hot water in the oven under the meatloaf as it bakes to keep the top from cracking.

Turkey Meatloaf with oats:

Some cooks swear by using old-fashioned rolled oats in their meatloaf. If you’re one of them, just omit the breadcrumbs and add an equal amount of rolled oats.

How to make Turkey Meatloaf muffins:

Cute, quick, and single-serve meatloaf muffins are a hit for parties and potlucks. Plus they bake up in half the time. Here's how:

  1. Drop scoops of the turkey mixture into a standard muffin tin using a large ice cream scoop.
  2. Brush on ketchup topping.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven at 325 degrees until golden brown and 160 degrees when a food thermometer is inserted in the center, about 45 minutes.

Does meatloaf freeze well?

Here’s how to freeze meatloaf, before and after baking:

Raw: Form ground turkey mixture into a loaf, then wrap thoroughly with plastic wrap and place in an airtight freezer bag. Raw meatloaf should last up to six months in the freezer.

To cook the unbaked meatloaf, take it out of the freezer and place in the fridge the night before to thaw before baking according to the recipe instructions.

Cooked: Baked meatloaf can freeze well, too. After it's cooked, just let it cool to room temperature before wrapping well in foil; then place in a sealed plastic freezer bag, and store in the freezer up to six months.

To reheat, remove the wrapping and place in the oven without thawing. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees.

When cooking or reheating frozen meatloaf, always check for doneness with a meat thermometer—it should read 160 to 165 degrees.

What can you add to meatloaf?

Get as creative as you like. Ground turkey just gets more delicious.

  • Bacon. Skip the ketchup and cover the meatloaf with your favorite bacon.
  • Dried mushrooms. Got some dried mushrooms in the pantry? Rehydrate them and add them to the mix. Turkey and mushrooms is a winning combo.
  • Spice it up. Add some green chilies or pickled jalapeños to the meat. Then a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce into the ketchup topping.
  • Get smoky. Barbecue sauce makes an excellent topping on turkey meatloaf in place of ketchup. It’s smoky, sweet, and keeps the meatloaf tender and moist.
  • Gluten-free turkey meatloaf. Use your favorite gluten-free breadcrumbs in place of traditional breadcrumbs to lighten your carb load or go gluten-free.
  • Dried herbs. Fresh thyme isn't the only star in the show. A homemade Italian Seasoning made with easy to source dried herbs is just as good.
    A side shot of sliced turkey meatloaf on a baker's sheet.

How to serve Turkey Meatloaf:

Just some suggestions for how to eat your meatloaf masterpiece.

  • Down home style. Serve a slice of hot turkey meatloaf with Baked Mac and Cheese and Green Beans with Bacon. Or the Best Mashed Potatoes. Or all three!
  • Gravy. Make a homemade mushroom gravy, or a simple marinara sauce to pour over turkey meatloaf.
  • Sandwiches. Sliced turkey meatloaf, a slathering of mustard, and a slice of Swiss cheese on the bread of your choice. Great for picnics, road trips, and work lunches. Or a Turkey Meatloaf BLT with mayo and a slice of bacon, but only if you want to make your office mates jealous.
  • Lunches. A crunchy green salad topped with a slice of meatloaf makes a perfect and easy lunch.

Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

Hot or cold, there are few things more delicious than a slice of homemade Turkey Meatloaf. Healthy, flavorful ground turkey makes an appearance in this classic American recipe—and no one at the table will miss the beef.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword meatloaf, turkey
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Calories 377kcal
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions 2 large onions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 5 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1 1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs
  • 3 extra large eggs beaten
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  •  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a medium sauté pan, on medium-low heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme until the onions are translucent but not browned, approximately 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste and mix well. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into a rectangular loaf on an ungreased baking sheet. Spread the ketchup evenly on top. 
  • Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees and the meat loaf is cooked through. Serve hot, room temperature, or cold in a sandwich.
  • (A pan of hot water in the oven, under the meat loaf, will keep the top from cracking.)

Nutrition

Calories: 377kcal

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