turkey meatloaf for skeptics (2024)

turkey meatloaf for skeptics (1)


by debJump to recipe, comments

Meatloaf has a PR problem. It took me a while to come around to it; I didn’t grow up eating it, and certainly nothing about the name — a loaf, a loaf of meat — convinced me I was missing a thing. But, slowly, I have tiptoed into the light, and now I get it. It’s not cute, but it’s objectively delicious. Imagine if we only ate things that were camera-ready — it would be a world without gravy, mushroom soup, and lopsided made-with-love frosted cakes. We absolutely must not stand for that.

turkey meatloaf for skeptics (2)

But I’d only made meatloaves with either ground beef or ground pork, never turkey. Turkey, which I suspected would be too dry or bland for any recipe to overcome, was the final frontier, and I tried it a whole bunch of ways before realizing that what I wanted most on top was not strips of bacon or a thick layer of ketchup, but a simple barbecue-type sauce. In the oven, it gets glossy and dark, and it goes really well with Crushed Ranch-y Potatoes (recipe follows). Unlike their mashed counterparts, crushed potatoes are full of contrasts: big and small chunks, some parts puddled with cream, some parts saltier-and that slight chaos of forkfuls plays well off the reliable, steady slices of meatloaf.

turkey meatloaf for skeptics (3)

[This recipe is excerpted from my third cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Keepers. The top 5 photos were styled by Barrett Washburne, who can even make meatloaf look good.]

turkey meatloaf for skeptics (4)Podcast! The second episode of my new podcast with J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, The Recipe with Kenji and Deb, is out this week and it’s all about — yes! — meatloaf, including this one. You can listen to it anywhere you get your podcasts and I’ve set up a new podcast tab/page where you can keep up on it here, too. We will have new episodes every two Mondays. We’ve been working on this behind the scenes for the last year — I hope you enjoy listening along.


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15 years ago: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes and Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw
16 years ago: Seven-Yolk Pasta Dough and Best Chocolate Pudding
17 years ago: For Beaming, Bewitching Breads

Turkey Meatloaf for Skeptics

Note: This is a small-sized meatloaf, and it works for my family of four. It doubles easily, either as two small loaves (baking time the same) or one larger, freeform loaf that will take between 60 and 70 minutes in the oven.

  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 slim carrot, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (30 grams) panko-style breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound (455 grams) ground turkey, preferably a mix of dark and light meat, or just dark
  • Glaze
  • 1 heaped (20 grams) tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce of your choice (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the oven: To 350°F (175°C).

Prepare the meatloaf: Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or small sheet pan with nonstick spray. Very finely dice the onion, garlic, and carrot in a food processor, or by hand on a cutting board. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, coat the bottom with olive oil, and heat it for a minute; then add the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 7 to 10 minutes; transfer them to a large bowl.

Add the breadcrumbs, broth, tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire, parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper, and stir to combine. Add the egg by beating it directly into the vegetable mixture (I like to use a fork). Add the turkey, and combine just until the vegetable-egg mixture is dispersed through the meat. Pat the turkey mixture into about a 4-by-8-inch shape in your prepared pan.

Make the glaze: In a small bowl, combine the glaze ingredients. Brush or spoon the glaze over the meatloaf.

Bake: Bake the meatloaf for 30 to 35 minutes, until the internal temperature is 160°F (70°C). If you don’t have a thermometer, you can insert a knife into the center and hold it there for 10 seconds. You should feel no resistance, and when you pull it out, the blade should feel hot.

Let the meatloaf rest for 5 minutes, then cut it into 1-inch slices to serve with crushed potatoes.

turkey meatloaf for skeptics (5)

Crushed Ranch-y Potatoes

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) small red or Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) heavy cream
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 scallions, finely minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/3 cup (80 grams) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (or 1 tablespoon each parsley and dill)

In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold salted water, and bring to a simmer. Cook, simmering, until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. You can keep the potatoes warm until they’re needed by letting them rest in the empty pot off the heat, covered with a lid, then transfer to a bowl when you’re ready to finish them.

In your emptied saucepan, heat the cream and garlic together until simmering. Keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t boil over. Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the butter until it melts. Stir in the scallions, sour cream, and vinegar. Season well with salt (I use up to 1 teaspoon kosher salt here) and black pepper.

In a large bowl, use a fork or potato masher to smash each potato once or twice, but leave them mostly in craggy chunks. Pour the cream-garlic mixture over them, add the herbs, then season again with salt and several grinds of black pepper, and combine everything with two big folded stirs. I like these best with some pockets of the garlic cream not mixed in. Serve hot, with the meatloaf.



Leave a Reply

All CommentsI Made This!Questions

  1. Mary

    Any chance I can use ground chicken ( both breast and dark mix )

    1. deb

      I didn’t test it with chicken but theoretically, yes. I might reduce the liquid by 2 tablespoons, just because it’s already so soft.

      1. Andee Althoff

        Hi, Deb. I loved your podcast about meatloaf. Any reason I can’t smoke it on my Weber Grill at 275 degrees for a couple hours?

        1. Dena

          If i make two with the intent to freeze one – any suggestions on optimal way to freeze? Slice first and then freeze or leave intact?

          1. Mary Ann

            I form mine into patties, bake and then freeze without the glaze. They’re in perfect portion for reheating.

        2. Jen H

          Forgot to pick up heavy cream for the potatoes! Would whole milk work instead or maybe extra sour cream?

        3. deb

          Thank you. I have no experience smoking, but it sounds delicious!

    2. Gweneth

      I made it with ground chicken. I followed the directions exactly and it turned out great. Definitely will make this again.

  2. I have made the meatloaf so many times! It’s become the only one we make. I double it and freeze the second loaf, cooked–it reheats perfectly in the oven, covered with foil and then with foil removed the last few minutes. The only change I make is that I use tomato paste in place of ketchup in the glaze, so it’s a touch less sweet. I love that the meatloaf bakes free-form. I highly highly recommend it. I will say, pre-cooking the vegetables is a pain, but it’s worth it, and that’s why I make two at the same time. I break out my food processor to chop everything quickly, which helps.

    1. Elly Elly

      Good idea! When you double, do you cook it on two pans, or squeeze both loaves onto one pan?

      1. Both in one pan! It’s not a squeeze at all. I use a regular half-sheet pan. If you orient the two loaves parallel to the shorter sides of the pan, they fit easily side-by-side. I have whatever cheap oven my landlord put in, and even so I don’t find that I need to rotate the pan.

  3. JP

    What could be better than this recipe with the chill temperatures we still are experiencing? I am very interested in the potatoes that look almost like potato salad (although of course they are mashed potatoes) but use cream and garlic. I have some fingerling potatoes that I hope would work? What do you think?

  4. Jenna

    Growing up, instead of a glaze, my parents would always cover a meatloaf with Pillsbury croissant dough at the end to make a nice ‘topping’ of sorts. Since that’s an ingredient I rarely have laying around, I’ve started just throwing together a quick pie crust to lay over the loaf in the second half of cooking. Very non-traditional and a bit decadent, but quite yummy! I like how this glaze is light on the ketchup, my least favorite part of traditional meatloaf – I’ll have to give it a try!

  5. Anne Allgood

    I’m so happy to see that this is nearly identical to what I’ve been improvising for years! (I tend to use “Italian Seasoned” bread crumbs instead of panko, and often throw a little Parmesan into the mix along with some BBQ sauce (which subs for the Worchestershire and tomato paste for me). And I just get lazy and also coat it with Sweet Baby Ray’s. Also, this cooks up quite cutely (and more quickly) in muffin tins! My mother coated her mini-meatloaves with something she called “piquant sauce” – probably included ketchup and brown sugar – and I wish she were here so I could ask her……YES, to many of us, meatloaf brings back memories of comfort and home. Thank you for this cozy pair of recipes!

    1. Cindy

      Anne, I think I can help with the piquant sauce. This is the recipe I use:

      1/3 cup brown sugar
      1 tsp dry mustard
      1/2 tsp allspice
      1/4 tsp cloves
      1/2 cup ketchup
      1 T lemon juice

      This makes more than enough sauce for a 2-pound meatloaf. I usually shape the loaf on a foil-lined broiler pan, cover the tops and sides with the sauce, then add strips of thin-cut bacon to the top. I bake it at 350 for an hour or so and give it a quick blast under the broiler to crisp the bacon. It is high on the request list when I have people for dinner.

      I do hope this is the same sauce your mother made and that it gives you comfort and pleasant memories of days gone by.

      1. Anne Allgood

        Thank you SO much, Cindy! How thoughtful of you!

        1. Cindy

          I’m so happy you saw this! I got the recipe from my mom who began using it in the 50’s, so it has been around awhile. Keeping my fingers crossed that this is the recipe your mom used! :-)

  6. Dianne

    I make turkey meatloaf all the time adding Costco’s no salt seasoning as well as fresh white button mushrooms that I chop in a small food processor. It adds extra flavor. Also glaze with barbecue sauce at the end.

  7. Mickey2942

    Do you put the potatoes in the pan, peeled? Whole or cut up?

    1. deb

      Whole, unpeeled. They’re mini. I’ll have a video demo soon!

  8. Tara R

    Hello Deb –
    I love your podcast and have been a long time fan of your content! You and KJ and great rapport and I am enjoying your different approaches and the insight/experiences behind the recipes. Question – where does one buy dark ground turkey? I am accustomed to seeing packs of ground turkey with just the fat percentage. Is the higher fat % indicative of more dark meat? Apologies if I missed this on the ‘cast.

    1. deb

      Yes to the fat percentage — go for a higher one if you have an option. And thank you! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it.

  9. Michele

    I am a long time follower, but this is my first time posting! Growing up we often ate meatloaf which I love. One thing that I didn’t realize is unique about our family recipe is that it doesn’t use any tomato paste or ketchup. Instead we sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese. The first time I wanted to make meatloaf on my own, I was surprised to see that all the recipes contained ketchup!

  10. Carrie

    Are those chives in the picture of potatoes or perhaps really the thinnest of scallions? I am assuming I can substitute either, and certainly convenient since there are in the meatloaf recipe too, but maybe I’m missing where they are mentioned.

    1. Carrie

      Nope. No scallions in the meatloaf. I am just misidentifying green herbs, I guess!

    2. deb

      Those are chives, just for garnish but you can also use them in the potatoes if you wish.

  11. el

    why is it that meatloaf/meatballs/burgers >>>> a cut of actual meat? the world may never know

  12. deb

    Turkey is good for meatloaf but you should try venison. Slightly sweet but oh so good.

  13. Ellen

    I know various readers may role eyes as this (rather major) substitution…but since I’m gluten free (and also can’t tolerate the various refined starches in most GF breads), I’m going to try subbing almond flour for the panko in this recipe.

    1. Ellen

      Roll eyes, not role eyes… Apologies for the typo!

    2. deb

      Oats seem to be a common swap for the breadcrumbs. We don’t roll eyes at substitutions here!

      1. Ellen

        Thanks, Deb! I can’t do oats at present, either. (I have a chronic illness with lots of triggers.) If I try this with the almond flour, I’ll report back!

        1. Carol B.

          For Turkey meatloaf, I commonly use rice crispies.

          1. Millie

            That wouldn’t help Ellen since Rice Krispies are not gluten-free. Ellen, if you can tolerate gluten-free kosher-for-Passover matzo meal, it would be a reasonable substitute for the panko crumbs.

    3. Lynn

      I have often used mashed potato flakes as a sub for bread crumbs, in meatballs, meatloaf. Works really well for the gluten-free crowd!

  14. Kirsten

    I made this last night and it was delicious! My favorite part was the sauce and next time will make more of it and will serve it on the side.

  15. David

    I found this meatloaf to be too soft and tender. I prefer a meatloaf that is a bit firmer and easier to cut into slices (when hot).

    1. Angie

      I agree that it was a little too soft and mushy but I cooked it longer than 35 min, more like 45-50, and that helped. I heated it up again tonight and it was firmer.

  16. Jodie

    Just wanted to drop in and say thanks for the recipe and podcast. Currently my husband is getting cancer treatment so it’s a lot of driving to appointments. He is a meatloaf lover (me, not so much) but we both enjoyed the podcast episode and have plans to try both yours and Kenji’s recipe. Although the 20+ ingredients in his…..yikes! Thanks for all you do

    1. deb

      Thank you. I’m happy to provide a distraction, and hope your husband gets good news soon.

  17. David

    Further to my comment earlier about the texture, would replacing the turkey with pork or pork/beef result in a firmer texture?

  18. Colleen

    I made the meatloaf and potatoes last night (you shouldn’t even think about making the meatloaf without these potatoes!) and I’m contemplating eating the leftovers before 9am this morning. Loved it!

  19. KJ

    Sending some inspiration your was via Proud Italian Cook and her Chicken Parmesean Meatloaf. https://www.prouditaliancook.com/2012/10/chicken-parmesan-meatloaf.html
    I have been making this for years and years. It is amazing and the smell as it is cooking makes me hungry! I make it in patties for easy leaf-overs.
    And no, it is not a pretty picture either.

  20. Colleen

    I love listening to you and Kenji — and I totally want to make this to waffle iron it. I will report back when I have done so, but if others beat me to it, please let us know.

    And you should all listen to the podcast! It is such a joy (but I may convert to Kenji’s stovetop mac and cheese).

  21. Chelsea

    Made this tonight. My whole family loved it. We made ours with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. It was the perfect meal for a chilly spring evening,

  22. Esss

    I made this and it was a big hit! Great flavor and excellent moisture. I added some finely chopped chard because it needed to be used and served with whole roasted fingerling potatoes cooked alongside at 350.
    My partner loves meatloaf but I’m generally not a fan, but this one I loved! Thanks for another SK winning favorite.

  23. Angie A.

    I made this last night, and it is so good. I’m already excited about leftovers. Like another reviewer, I found it at first to be too soft when I took it out after 30 minutes, even though my thermometer registered 160 degrees. I put it in for another 10 minutes (40 total), and it was where I thought it should be. The problem may be my thermometer because when I poked it, it didn’t spring back when I first took it out. Anyway, after those additional ten minutes, it was just wonderful. Next up, Kenji’s recipe!

  24. Judy Spahr

    could this meatloaf be made as meatballs? would they end up too soft?

  25. Heather

    What might work as a substitution for ketchup in the glaze? I know it’s just a tablespoon but my husband really really really hates ketchup. (The only context in which he eats ketchup at all is the Shack Sauce at Shake Shake, which I think is mayo-heavy enough that he can pretend it doesn’t also have ketchup in it.) Would a mustard glaze be good, or weird?

    1. Dallas

      I doubled the ingredients and baked two loaves side by side in a 9×13 dish. It took about 50 minutes to get to 160, but they were not dried out at all! Served with roasted broccoli and mashed sweet potatoes. I will definitely make this again.

  26. This has been a huge hit with my family and I also recommending doubling and freezing the second loaf. For those of us who try to remember to make — I mean lovingly invite — our children to help with meal prep, patting the meatloaf mixture into mini loaf form and brushing it with the glaze are good steps to hand over to a child.

  27. Caterina

    I have been making this meatloaf and potatoes since the book came out. One of our favourite meals. I have made with both ground turkey and ground chicken. Both are good.

  28. Janet

    Well, mine is in the oven…heading toward 45 minutes and still not done. I discovered I didn’t have any molasses and had to use honey instead. The potatoes sure look good!

  29. Renee

    So delicious! First time making turkey based meatloaf. My kids loved this! I mixed bbq sauce and ketchup with brown sugar for the topping. I also added some brown sugar into the meat for sweetness. I am pretty sure I’ll never make regular meatloaf again!

  30. Jeff B

    Currently on 50min cook time at 350. Unfortunately, the sides are already done and sitting on the counter.

    1. deb

      What is the internal temperature?

  31. Lee Norris

    I make a very similar meatloaf, but yours is even better, with one small difference. To 3/4 of a pound of dark ground turkey I add 1/4 pound of bulk chicken sausage, which gives it that slightly porky taste but without the pork.

  32. Tracey Shumpert

    I made both the meatloaf and potatoes and wow they are good! The meatloaf is so tender and delicious, and the potatoes are even better than they look. I added in a bit of extra scallions and parsley because I loved how springy it them look, but otherwise made exactly as per the recipe. These will definitely be in my rotation. Thanks, Deb!

  33. Miranda Jones

    Best meatloaf of my life

  34. Yael

    Tempted to try this but with the klops-style addition of whole hard boiled eggs encapsulated in the middle. Should be nice for sandwiches.

  35. Lisa

    I made this last night and substituted ketchup for the tomato paste using a 1:1 ratio. Also used regular breadcrumbs due to not having any Panko on hand. We all thought it turned out great – kids included. Hopefully this helps someone else when they don’t have tomato paste or the right breadcrumbs on hand. I’ll be making the recipe again!

  36. Jen H

    Unfortunately, my family and I were not fans of this. I doubled it and it came out very mushy even after cooking it an extra long time and putting it under the broiler. I didn’t love the flavor profile either. I am a huge fan of almost everything on SK but this one was a mis

  37. Amanda

    I love your recipes Deb! I just tried one of your banana chocolate chip muffin recipes and it was amazing!
    I’ve tried this recipe a couple of times now and every time it comes out for lack of a better word, sort of soggy 😣 not sure what’s going on here… any thoughts?


    1. deb

      You can give it a more firm texture by skipping the 1/4 cup of broth.

  38. Susan

    I made this for dinner last night. It took about an hour to get the internal temp to 160 degrees and I upped the oven temp to 375 about 40-45 minutes in. When it came out of the oven it was softer than I expected but (ahem) when I went back for seconds, it was firmer. I’d make this again, just would allot more time and maybe cut back on the molasses so the glaze isnt so sweet.

  39. camillejiayin

    Couldn’t find breadcrumbs at Tesco and used oats. I was so worried they would corrupt the flavor. I couldn’t even taste them, thankfully.

    I also used pork instead of turkey (personal preference) and it tasted great. The potatoes I made without cream because I didn’t have any. Sooooo good. Thank you Deb :)

  40. kayla

    where does one find dark meat ground turkey? I buy ground turkey all the time at multiple stores and never have I seen any dark meat ground turkey….unless the dark meat is the variety with the highest amount of fat (89/11)?

    1. deb

      Look for the highest amount of fat; it’s more likely to be a mix. Also, most packages I see will say whether they’re a mix of dark and light, or just light eat.

  41. Bea

    I made this tonight as part of a trend of chicken and turkey recipes (daughter can’t stand red meat) and had honestly no idea at all what to expect, as we are not american and meatloaves are done differently where we live.
    It turned out completely different than anything we’d ever tried, and we all absolutely loved it. Such a wonderful surprise!
    Now “american meatloaf” will be on the menu often!

  42. Lauren

    I was indeed skeptical, but I followed the recipe as written and it was just as good as my mom’s beef meatloaf recipe! I did double the glaze because I like a saucy loaf. No regrets there.

  43. Bee

    I was a skeptic…but wow. This recipe proved me wrong! So good. So moist and great flavour. Followed recipe exaclty. Though did cook at 375 for 35 mins and it was perfect!

  44. Diane Keal

    This was absolutely delicious!! My husband & I almost ate the entire loaf in one sitting! This will be on regular rotation. Thank you!

  45. Margie Hinrichs

    Great meatloaf ! I have a similar recipe and have always needed to cook for 50 minutes so did the same on this one and it was fine.

  46. Mary Scott

    This is by far the best meatloaf I have ever eaten, so tender and flavorful. I will be putting this on regular rotation!

  47. Mrs. Valerie Lilien Mathews

    The turkey meatloaf was delicious – thank you! It’s been added to our “favorites” box. But the cooking time was way off for me. I checked the temperature after 35 minutes at 350 and the meat thermometer only registered 120 degrees. I tried 10 more minutes and got to 130 degrees. Since I was running out of time, I put the oven to 375 and after 10 more minutes of cooking we were finally at 160. I think perhaps 375 for 35 minutes would be perfect, as the glaze didn’t start setting until I used a higher temperature (375).

  48. Amy

    I am, without question, a meatloaf skeptic. Always have been. But I thought this sounded pretty good, so I made it tonight with the potatoes, as well- both were hits! We also had fresh spring asparagus on the side. The flavor of the meatloaf was delicious and do not sleep on the glaze- we thought it was the perfect complement. I think I’ll try skipping the chicken broth next time in order to achieve a firmer meatloaf but I am definitely looking forward to my leftovers tomorrow!

  49. Deborah N Flanagan

    Hi Deb
    I love your recipes and own all of your books. I bought the ingredients for the meatloaf and then I learned you had a podcast and listened to the meatloaf banter with Kenji. I made the meatloaf with mashed potatoes on the side.
    I followed the recipe exactly and it was divine! So moist and flavorful. Hubby LOVED it as did I. And now we are enjoying THE BEST meatloaf sandwiches.
    Thank you, as the book says, this is a keeper

  50. Gabrielle

    Thank you so much for this recipe! My family of picky eaters for the first time unanimously went for seconds, and made grunts of delight as they wolfed down both the meatloaf and the potatoes. Made the recipe exactly as specified, and will be making it again soon. No notes! 🤩

  51. Dana

    This was amazing and I will definitely be making it again. I upped the garlic, skipped the bread crumbs and broth, as well as the molasses in the glaze, but otherwise followed the recipe. So tender and delicious, thanks for this!

  52. Christine Semsack

    This was delicious! Definitely double or even triple the glaze! My family wanted more glaze.

  53. Very tasty! My only issue is that whenever I make baked meat loaves or meat balls, the egg always kinda oozes out and creates a Slimer from Ghostbusters situation on the sheet pan. Perhaps I am over mixing? This is solved by searing meat balls, but I doubt that’s the fix for meat loaf! The crushed potatoes were a great accompaniment! This may be on the Sunday dinner rotation for us now!

    1. deb

      It’s not necessarily the egg, just extra fat and liquid. Ignore; leave it in the pan.

  54. Kate

    This was so much easier than my usual turkey meatloaf! And it’s a very close second that everyone enjoyed. (Before it’s asked, slow cooker turkey meatloaf from ATK is my usual.) In what I think is true Smitten Kitchen spirit, instead of using a second pan, I wiped out the oven-safe skillet I’d used to cook the veggies for the meatloaf and it worked just fine.

    1. k

      I like that – the SK spirit of using fewer dishes. I did that with both the meatloaf and the potatoes. I cooked the veggies, mixed the stuff, formed four small loaves, and baked them, all in a large enameled cast iron skillet. I used a large pot for the potatoes, draining and leaving them in the pot, and made the sauce amidst them. The last bit was asparagus steamed lightly in the microwave, then kissed with olive oil & lemon juice. It was one of the most delicious meals I’ve made in a while.

  55. Sara

    This is one of my absolute favorite recipes from the cookbook, along with the crispy pork sandwiches and spinach butter pasta. The meatloaf is so flavorful. I don’t always make the ranch potatoes with it because they’re a bit heavy, but my family raves about them when I do.

  56. Vesella

    I’ve already made this from Keepers and it was truly wonderful.

  57. Jane

    The meatloaf is delicious and quick to make. I used 7% fat ground turkey. I used water instead of chicken broth because it was such a small amount and felt very clever using it to deglaze the pan I cooked the vegetables in, getting all the browned bits up before adding it to the bowl. Took about 40+ minutes to reach 160 degrees. Letting it sit does firm it up. By the time we went back for seconds (!) it was perfect. We’re excited about leftovers tonight.

  58. I made this meal on Saturday. The turkey I purchased was kosher and it was uncommonly squishy right out of the package. Could not fashion into a loaf (too soft) so packed the double recipe into an oval baking pan. The finished loaf was still too mushy, although with good flavor. I cooked it to the recommended internal temperature. I have made turkey meatloaves in the past without this problem. Is this a function of the turkey being kosher and if so, is there a remedy? The potatoes were scrumptious.

  59. Jess

    The potatoes are epic. The turkey meatloaf is good but did not stay together even when cooked to 160 – next time I’d omit the chicken broth or cook longer. I also used a lower fat ground turkey (97%, I think). It was tasty, but I’ve never been a turkey meatloaf skeptic! Thank you for the recipe.

  60. Elke

    We made both the meatloaf and the potatoes and really enjoyed this dish. The meatloaf was a bit soft when done, but very tasty. As others said, I might omit or reduce the broth when I make it again, but I’m sure I will make it again!

  61. Laura Turculet

    I was sceptical l, but trying to eat less red meat. Made the meatloaf as individual meatloaves like Deb’s other meatloaf recipe, because I love the way that turns out. Was fantastic! I am sold on turkey meatloaf!! Served with mashed potato and rutabaga and steamed vegetables with lemon. Will definitely make again.

  62. M Stewart

    Longtime meatloaf maker — many recipes are fussy (require a food processor to process meat; need to bloom gelatin) or disappoint (dry, mediocre flavor).

    This was terrific made as written using all dark turkey meat.

    Now for the question — I can’t find dark turkey reliably — any thoughts on how this would go with either all beef or all pork, and an any seasoning adjustments required.

    Thanks for a great, fast, meatloaf recipe.

    1. deb

      While it would probably work fine with either, I do have a meatloaves recipe with beef over here with some overlap.

  63. Ann

    Not gonna lie I’m not jazzed about meatloaf but I am SO excited you two are doing a podcast! Just subscribed.

  64. Jill

    I made this according to the recipe except I used spicy chipotle in adobo sauce instead of regular tomato sauce. It was delicious and I am a skeptic no more! Thank you so much for proving ground turkey can be a fabulous meatloaf.

  65. Yael

    Made the meatloaf this weekend – almost as written, except that following what I’ve seen in replies here, I used much less liquid (about two tablespoons for a double recipe, so 1/4 the amount), and used water instead of broth (but first deglazed the frying pan with it). Didn’t feel like breaking out the food processor for so little veg, so chopped the onion and garlic, but grated the carrot, which I feel gave a very good result.
    Made two loaves, one regular, the other klops-style (with two hard-boiled eggs in the middle, as mentioned in my previous comment). Didn’t have any issue with the baking time for the regular loaf, the second one, being a bit fatter, needed another 7-8 minutes in the oven. Both held very well in slicing, and even better when sliced cold the next day.
    Most importantly, it’s absolutely delicious. Moist, tender, flavourful, and not a lot of work. Next time I might skip the suggested glazing and use some store-bought BBQ sauce, to simplify things even more (also because mine ended up a bit thin and didn’t do a *great* job glazing, though it was alright and definitely adds to the flavour). Great success.

  66. CHRSF

    Just made this. Confirm, as several others comment, that cooking time at 350 was longer (45 mins. for me). Think the suggestion of 375 degrees might be one to follow. The only other issue I had was that of the cup measurement for the Panko breadcrumbs did not coincide with the weight given in grams. It was significantly off. I found that disconcerting, and chose to go with the weight given. Haven’t tried the meatloaf yet, and am keeping fingers crossed that I made the right choice. Anyone else have this problem?

  67. Sarah E

    Could I use maple syrup or brown sugar instead of molasses?

    1. deb

      They will be sweeter and less dark in color but yes.

  68. Hayley

    This was so so delicious. I used gluten free breadcrumbs, and it all turned out perfectly. Thank you!

  69. Esther Gross

    I made this tonight and it came out great. I’ve tried a few turkey meatloaf recipes and this one is my favorite, so moist and flavorful. I meant to add some salt-free seasoning but I forgot and didn’t even miss it.

    I used 94 percent lean ground turkey and baked it in a glass loaf pan.

    I read a few of the comments about the meatloaf being mushy, so I used less chicken broth and I was generous with the tomato paste and mustard (my favorite condiment!) I also baked it longer, 45 minutes, based on some of the comments. I think it held together well, but it was definitely firmer by the time I went back for seconds!

    For the glaze, I just mixed some Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and mustard and spread it on top.

  70. Sophia

    This was excellent. I added mushrooms (which I sauteed) and walnuts (which I toasted) to amp up the umami. For the glaze, I subbed maple syrup for molasses bc that’s what I had, and I went heavy on habanero, roasted garlic hot sauce.

    Great on a sandwich as leftovers with a slice of swiss cheese.

  71. k

    While we’re on the topic of SKK recipes, I made the molasses spice cookies last night with mostly golden syrup, as I had less than half the required molasses (and I really wanted to make and eat these, okay?). From the oven wafted an aroma not unlike “the crust for pumpkin pie”, said my partner. It really was an extraordinary scent. Anyhow, the cookies are much more pale than all-molasses, but not as pale as they might have been if I’d not swapped in about one-quarter white whole wheat flour. They’re satisfyingly toothsome, understatedly tasty, and very craveworthy. Will make again.

    1. Yael

      If you can easily find date molasses (also known as date syrup, date honey, debes/dibs or silan), that’s a very nice substitution as well. I’ve made them that way because that’s what I had more of at home, and really loved the taste.

  72. Nancy L Luberoff

    I listed to the MEATLOAF podcast, which inspired me to try this recipe. Super-easy to chop up all the vegetables in the food processor before sauteeing. I added mushrooms, celery, zucchini and scallions to the carrot, onions and garlic. I substituted cilantro for parsley. Easy and delicious. Thank you!

  73. VG

    We enjoyed this so much that I just made a loaf, sliced and froze it with wax paper between the slices, to send down to my mom with my husband tomorrow. Frozen turkey meatloaf on the airplane!

    To make it gluten free, I used rolled oats in place of the breadcrumbs, same amount. And tamari in place of the Worcestershire, just because that’s not an ingredient I keep in the house. This recipe returned meatloaf to our house.

  74. Lucy

    Both are winner recipes, although for my taste I think both needed more salt. I also felt like the meatloaf was a little loose. I think next time (and there will definitely be a next time) I’ll omit the broth out of the meatloaf.

  75. Pete

    Hi Deb, I too shared your aversion to meatloaf. Probably due to when my mom would make her meatbrick, er, meatloaf. Or, to stretch the meat, she’d add too much bread and make a breadloaf with meat. My wife started making meatloaf with turkey so I could watch my cholesterol (go up) but it was also dry. I got inspired by a Serious Eats recipe (could have been Kenji, I don’t remember) to add mushrooms to moisten the loaf up. It works. I’ll saute about 8 oz of cremini mushrooms with a little shallot and allow some of the liquid to cook off and then deglaze with marsala or sherry. I’ll then pulse the ‘shrooms and then add to the meat. No one knows its there, but the loaf turns out moist with a little added umami boost. Another Kenji inspiration is to add crushed, raw cashews which will soften during baking but add a nice textural bite to the loaf. Another meatloaf I’ll make is with a mix of lamb and turkey (to cut down on the lambiness for the lamb averse) and add a healthy dose of muhammara (inspired by a lamb kofta recipe). I’ll take the muhammara base (less the breadcrumbs) and make a sweetened sauce for topping. Sorry for the long post, but you got me inspired.

  76. Wendy

    I’ve made this three times, it’s a total winner. My whole family loves it, it’s easy and delicious!!

  77. Jetagain

    I put it in the oven at 350–as per your instructions. After 45 minutes the meat thermometer only read 140 F. I turned up the temperature to 375 F. After another 15 minutes the internal temperature was up to 160 F. Next time I will preheat the oven to 375 F.

    The meatloaf was delicious. I added oregano and dried pepper flakes to the cooked vegetables.

  78. Christine

    I make turkey meatloaf by mixing in canned chopped tomatoes, chopped green pepper, chopped onion, minced garlic/garlic powder, salt/pepper, and shredded cheese. It’s the cheese that makes it! This idea came long ago from a package of Louis Rich (anyone remember it?) ground turkey. I’ve been making it ever since. Try it – and riff on it!

  79. Leigh

    Excited to make this! If I omit the veggies, do I need to make any other changes? My kiddo can detect (and reject) even the tiniest of minced vegetables.

  80. Jen

    I made it with ground beef the first time, to appease my turkey skeptic husband. Then I figured I would try it with the ground turkey to see if he could tell and he had no clue. So we have had it with turkey every week since. The potatoes are also awesome, like a warm potato salad. And of course we have to have it with peas. Yum.

  81. Diana Cole

    Very good! My husband and I found this to be very satisfying. Thank you.

  82. melissa montgomery

    I made this for dinner today and thought it was very good. Turkey is on the rather bland side so all the additions to it made it flavorful. I also made the potatoes which were easy and fab! Served with roasted asparagus, and Rhubarb snacking cake.

  83. Susan Butterfield

    I had to try this recipe after listening to you and Kenji talk about it. My family loved it! I was worried that the turkey would be too dry but it came out moist and held its shape. It’ll definitely be in our dinner rotation. My husband is exited to make meatloaf sandwiches tomorrow.

  84. Jessica W.

    I love turkey meatloaf! I cannot wait to try this recipe! ❤️

  85. Rose Miller

    yikes I ran out of heavy cream! Would buttermilk work? did a quick scan of comments and found no answers to this…anyone?!

turkey meatloaf for skeptics (2024)


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