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Super Tender Ground Turkey Meatloaf

Meatloaf partially sliced over parchment paper, garnished with bright green parsley.

This super tender ground turkey meatloaf is packed with flavor, slathered in a lip-smacking balsamic ketchup glaze, and rivals the beefy classic. 

Meatloaf is such a classic home-cooked meal. But ground turkey meatloaf? Not so classic. Still, you’ll love this recipe. It produces a leaner heart-healthy meatloaf—and it’s still smothered in that must-have ketchup-y glaze. (Is it even meatloaf without the ketchup-y glaze?)

A healthy turkey meatloaf with oats.

Close up of sliced ground turkey meatloaf on parchment paper.

Oats! That’s right. Your typical meatloaf recipe uses breadcrumbs or milk-soaked bread as a binding agent and to add moisture. But in this recipe, we use organic ground oats. Not only do they work well as a binder, but they come with a generous amount of health benefits. Oats may:

  • Help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Make you feel fuller for longer thanks to the hefty dose of fiber
  • Aid in controlling blood sugar levels, reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Stimulate the immune system and reduce cholesterol levels

You can ground your oats into a fine texture in a coffee grinder, food processor, or blender. Your turkey meatloaf will be SO so tender.

How do you keep the turkey from being bland?

Glass mixing bowl full of ingredients for ground turkey meatloaf.

Ground turkey has a bad reputation for lacking flavor and moisture due to its low fat content. Because let’s face it: fat is tasty. This is why people love beef and pork. But ground turkey can keep up when blended with flavorful goodies. Here’s are some things I swear by:

  • Onion. You don’t even have to precook the onion. As long as you add half an onion to the mix—yellow, white, or red—it’ll make a difference.
  • Garlic. Because everything should have garlic. This recipe suggests 3 large cloves, but go ahead and add a couple more if you’re into it.
  • Tomato sauce. Weird, I know. But it helps with keeping the turkey moist and it adds a perfect savory flavor.
  • Worcestershire sauce. This good stuff brings big flavor to any ground meat, but I find it especially important with ground turkey. If you don’t have any on hand, you can use soy sauce.
  • Herbs. This recipe calls for fresh, but you can use dried. Herbs add a smidgen of freshness to that savory goodness.
  • Salt. More importantly, the right amount of salt! I have a rule for salt: 1 teaspoon for every pound of ground meat.

How long do you cook a turkey meatloaf?

Slice of ground turkey meatloaf on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Every time we’ve made this recipe it’s been a melt-in-your-mouth treat. Since this recipe only calls for about a pound of ground turkey and is a small loaf, you don’t have to bake it for very long; 40 minutes at most. If you double the recipe, you’ll want to increase the time by about 20 minutes and check in at the hour mark. Turkey is a leaner meat, so you don’t want to overcook it and risk drying it out. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 165º F.

What can I serve with my turkey meatloaf?

Here are a few of my favorite things to serve along with this main:

Hope you love it!

If you plan on making this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag us on Insta! @killing__thyme

Super Tender Ground Turkey Meatloaf

This super tender ground turkey meatloaf is packed with flavor, slathered in a lip-smacking balsamic ketchup glaze, and will totally rival the beefy classic. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Comfort Food
Keyword ground turkey, healthy, meatloaf
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Time in fridge 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Dana Sandonato

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (give or take) of ground turkey I use 93% lean.
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced White or red onion can also be used.
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, smashed, peeled, and finely minced
  • 3/4 cup ground rolled oats
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme You can also use dried thyme

Glaze.

  • 2 TBSP ketchup
  • 1 TBSP balsamic glaze

Garnish.

  • Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Instructions

  • Place parchment paper into a loaf pan or over a baking sheet, if you're forming your meatloaf without an loaf pan.
  • Place all of the ground turkey ingredients, from the ground turkey through to the thyme (not the glaze ingredients), into a large mixing bowl. With clean hands, mix the ingredients well, until fully blended.
  • Transfer the mixture to the loaf pan. If you're forming the loaf yourself onto a sheet pan, go ahead and do that now. Then, place the meatloaf in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set.
  • Preheat oven to 350º F and position middle rack.
  • In a small bowl mix the ketchup and balsamic glaze. Then, spread it evenly over the top of the meatloaf.
  • Place the meatloaf in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 165º F.
  • Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, to further set.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve.

 

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