Fool-Proof Turkey Meatloaf

by Andie Mitchell on April 2, 2013

turkey meatloaf

On the first day at my last job, I spent much of my lunch hour getting to know Sheri, the oh-so-lovely Vice President of the company. We chatted about our mutual passion for food, and I told her all about my blog. Hearing the excitement in my voice as I blabbered on about cooking, she naturally followed-up with, “So, what’s your favorite meal to make?”

It wasn’t until I’d replied—until I saw the puzzled look on her face—that I realized she’d been expecting a fancier dish. Something more exciting or even more exotic. More complicated, perhaps.

But no.

turkey meatloaf

“Meatloaf,” I told her in earnest. It’s kind of my thing.

Look, cool it is not. But downright delicious? That it is.

Meatloaf is the precise flavor of my entire adolescence. It’s as much a part of my youth as stretchy stirrup pants, awesomely bad sweater vests, and hair that never quite relented to straightening.  Rather than growing up and growing away from log-shaped beef concoctions, I’ve just embraced them bearishly. So really, it comes as no surprise that one of the most popular recipes on this here blog is Honey Barbecue Meatloaf. It’s fitting. It makes me smile.

turkey meatloaf

This white meat version, much like its beef brethren, is just fantastic. It’s laced with thyme, oregano, garlic, and Parmesan—making each and every bite interesting and complex. The reason I deem it fool-proof is because this exact combination and the easy preparation never fail to produce a tender, super- flavorful loaf in under an hour. The best part is that by using dried herbs and forgoing the typical turkey meatloaf additions of diced onions, carrots, or peppers, you’re not only shortening prep time, but you’re likely ensuring that you have all of the ingredients on hand already.


Fool-Proof Turkey Meatloaf

Serves 4


1 pound extra-lean ground turkey breast (93% lean)

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)

1 large egg

1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, ¼ cup of ketchup, and all remaining ingredients and mix well with your hands. Transfer mixture to an oiled baking dish and form it evenly into a loaf shape. Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of ketchup over the top and sides of the loaf. Bake for 40 minutes. Slice and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information for 1 Serving (1/4th of Entire Recipe): Calories 255, Total Fat 10.8 g, Total Carbohydrate 12.5 g, Dietary Fiber 0.0 g, Sugars 6.4 g, Protein 25.3 g

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim April 2, 2013 at 11:35 pm

This looks absolutely delicious. I’ve had turkey meatballs that we’ve made with ground lean turkey and they were very good, so I’m sure this is too. Great recipe!


Cinnamon Vogue April 3, 2013 at 2:04 am

You are right of course. A simple well-made recipe is a delight. Too often I have drunk much wine making an over complicated recipe with disastrous results. And meatloaf is one of my favorites. And Turkey meatloaf does put a new spin on things. Isn’t it amazing that a dash of Worcestershire sauce makes every recipe come alive? That’s because it has Tamarind in it, which like Cinnamon is widely used in South Asian and Mexican cooking. It’ a sweet and sour fruit. We used to eat it off the tree growing up in Sri Lanka.


Debra April 3, 2013 at 2:32 am

Do you favor one meatloaf over the other, or is that like asking which child you like best?


Maureen @ Breaking Free & Finding Me April 3, 2013 at 7:47 am

I’ve always had an aversion to meatloaf… I think it’s because my mom didn’t like it so she never made it. This looks delicious though! will have to try :)


Kristin April 3, 2013 at 8:19 am

I’d like to recreate this entire meal–the sides look fantastic, as does the meatloaf! Is it mashed sweet potatoes? And how do you prepare your broccoli, it looks nice and light and crisp!
I’m not a fan of meatloaf, perhaps because I’ve never had a good one? But it is my husband’s favorite, so I can’t wait to prepare this and surprise him! Thanks for the idea!


Barb R. April 3, 2013 at 10:31 am

How come I can’t pin any of your recipes?


Rachel @ Bakerita April 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm

This looks amazing!! I, too, love meatloaf, though I’ve never made it! Only side dishes while my grandma, the meatloaf expert, makes hers. And hers is SO good. But I need to try this one for sure. It looks wonderfully delicious, easy, and fool proof. Thanks for the recipe. Pinned!


Kelsey April 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm

This looks and sounds amazing! I’ve given up red meat for the month so I’ll have to try it! Yum!


Jess April 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm

It looks really good- and I have never made/had meatloaf before! What’s on the side of it- it looks similar to the squash puff my mom makes.

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sallybr April 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm

When I first arrived at the US, I was 26 years old and had never had meatloaf. I worked at Stanford and the hospital cafeteria was famous for…. bad food. I tried their meatloaf and fell in love with it. It was served on Thursdays only – the amazing thing is that only years later I managed to have REAL GOOD meatloaf, home made and all… For me, bad meatloaf is still great… go figure! ;-)

It was my first love affair with American cooking, first in a long series… I now do a turkey loaf more often than beef, so your version seems perfect to me


Hootie April 3, 2013 at 5:54 pm

I cook my peppers or whatever veg I want to throw in before cooking my meatloaf and fix a normal recipe in an abnormal pan. I use a bundt shape muffin tin with 6 slots so that when they are turned out of their pan there is a perfect little dent to fill with ketchup. Cooks faster :)


jennielynn April 3, 2013 at 6:38 pm

I’ve been teaching my daughters how to cook and when we began, I let each choose their first lesson. Both of them chose meatloaf!


RBee April 3, 2013 at 9:44 pm

I knew there was a reason I liked you, Andie. I find meatloaf incredibly comforting and delicious. It’s one of the first foods I remember from my mother’s kitchen!


Elizabeth April 3, 2013 at 10:03 pm

I want to try it, it looks really simple but looks delicious too! I haven’t tried to make my own meatloaf because I just usually buy but I think this worth a try. Thanks for this recipe :)


Laura April 4, 2013 at 1:24 am

I made this tonight and it was delish! Very flavorful. I will definitely make this again.


Liam Rubel April 4, 2013 at 8:19 am

It’s great to have so many dishes with low calorie based as well as healthy for the body.


Stephanie April 4, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I made this tonight and it was excellent! I’ve slowly been cooking my way through your blog and we’ve been loving everything! Keep ‘em coming =)


Alicia J. April 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Andie, I must agree, meatloaf is one of my favorite meals also. My kids and husband love it too, though I have to make half without the ketchup on it because my 17 year old doesn’t eat condiments – especially ketchup. I remembered I had some frozen ground turkey in the freezer when I got this email and knew right away that’s what I was going to do with it. I made 3 pounds of meatloaf and they loved it. We had it for dinner again last night. And to finish it off I might have a cold meatloaf sandwich for lunch today. The meatloaf was so juicy and tasty. Only thing I did different was put chili sauce on it instead of ketchup. Yummy. Thank you.


Lisa April 14, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I made this for dinner tonight along with your Perfect Mashed Sweet Potato recipe and some fresh green beans, It was delish on a dish! My hubby loved it, the whole time it was cooking he kept commenting on how good it smelled, and if I didn’t tell him he NEVER would have thought it was ground turkey. It was very moist and full of flavor and sliced perfectly, I did however had to add more than 2 tablespoons of ketchup on the top to get it to look like yours in the photo.
I will be trying your Honey Barbecue Meatloaf next, thanks for posting all these fabulous healthy recipes that taste like their fat cousins.


Jackson April 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

Looks and sounds divine. I’m vegetarian and I’m always looking for great recipes of meat dishes I once loved in hopes of substituting ingredients with plants based alternatives. I love the combo of Parmesan, thyme, and oregano. Not a big bread crumbs fan, though I know it’s a textural thing. I’ve read fresh bread soaked in a bit of milk does the trick better, provided extra moisture at the same time. Not sure how this throws off the precise ratio that achieves the texture I like. Maybe I’ll do a mixture of crumbs and fresh? Any thoughts?


Andie Mitchell April 19, 2013 at 10:22 am

Hey Jackson,

Thanks! I’ve heard the same thing about soaking fresh bread in milk and I’ve tried it with beef in meatballs in the past with good results. However, I think in this case, since you’re not using the meat (turkey), it’s hard to know the amount of moisture that will be needed to act as a good binder. It will really depend on the type of non-meat ingredient you’re using and the texture of it.
In this case, turkey tends to be really wet when raw, so it sticks together well with just the bread crumbs and egg, but I know that if you were using something like soy crumbles or mashed chickpeas, they’d likely be able to stand a bit more moisture. Does that make sense?

Let me know what you end up trying!



Meghan W May 5, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Just made this for my dinner for the week and it’s delicious! Thank you again for such a great recipe!


Christina August 6, 2013 at 11:21 am

DELISH! Moist and flavorful. I made it with 93% lean beef with much success :) I’m looking forward to eating the left overs!


Louanne October 10, 2013 at 11:36 am

I made your recipe subbing in 93% lean ground beef, and my husband, who has always claimed to “hate” meatloaf, loved it! “I like that it has no chunks” is what he said. I love all meatloaf, so no surprise that I thought it was terrific, too.


Melanie October 4, 2014 at 11:28 am

Looks great! Are there any substitutes for the bread crumbs? Perhaps oat bran?



Meredith December 10, 2014 at 10:29 am

We tried this last night and it was fantastic! Moist, tasty, and low carb! This one will be filed in the “Our Favorite Recipes” notebook.


Mark December 27, 2014 at 8:18 pm

This meatloaf looks delicious, I will try it for lunch tomorrow! I love your passion for food another great post.


Christine December 29, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Great recipe! Since I used 1.5 lbs of turkey I stuck a meat thermometer into the meatloaf and cooked it to 160 degrees. I’m usually not into meatloaf but I love this recipe – its very flavorful, not dry at all, and simple to make with ingredients readily on hand.


Kathy January 3, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Can I make this ahead of time? Would you suggest cooking and then reheating? Preparing the day before and cooking on the day? I have time to cook on the weekend but not during the week. Thanks!


Charlotte January 5, 2015 at 9:51 pm

Hi Andie, can you freeze this recipe? I do all my cooking on weekends :)


Ellyn January 13, 2015 at 1:22 pm

I made this last night and followed the recipe exactly as stated. It was delicious! The only minor changes I would make is reduce the thyme to 1/2 a teaspoon (The flavor was a little to much for me but that’s my personal opinion) and mine needed 45 minutes but other than that is was perfect! This is going to be a weekly go to dinner for me.


Michele February 4, 2015 at 8:49 am


I am going to make this for dinner tonight. My family loves meatloaf!! Sounds delish!!
Thanks for sharing.



lisa June 8, 2015 at 1:05 pm

i made this meatloaf yesterday and it was so yummy my family loved it. thanks for sharing .:)


Ashley Grindstaff July 16, 2015 at 9:30 pm

I made this last night for dinner and to my surprise it did not taste good at all. It had no flavor at all and we could not finish it. I did the recipe exactly as you posted. I usually add veggies and marinara sauce but wanted to try this recipe. I tried to wow my boyfriend but he couldn’t even finish it. Epic fail. Not sure what happened?!!


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