Moist and flavorful Ground Turkey Meatloaf is juicy, easy to make, and healthy comfort food. Made with oats instead of breadcrumbs then topped with a simple ketchup glaze, this homestyle classic is sure to be a hit at your house.

Ground turkey is a favorite substitute for beef when it comes to healthy cooking! Family favorites include ground turkey tacos, homemade meat sauce, and ground turkey pasta bake.

Ground turkey meatloaf resting in pan on bakers rack with glaze.

I know turkey has a reputation for being dry, but trust me, this meatloaf will WOW your family. After making super moist turkey meatloaf in Instant Pot thanks to all that steam, I knew I had to perfect oven baked ground turkey meatloaf.

This is it! This turkey meatloaf recipe is so juicy from minced onions and soaked in milk oats, even ground turkey haters will think they are eating beef. Not only have readers rated this recipe 5 stars, I have heard rave reviews from friends whose husbands also approved turkey chili, healthy turkey burgers and turkey meatballs.

What Makes This Ground Turkey Meatloaf Healthy?

  • Lean protein: Ground beef with higher saturated fat is often used in meatloaf because the fat keeps meatloaf moist. Using lean ground turkey with soaked in milk oats plus onions, keeps this turkey loaf moist and light!
  • Simple ingredients: Over the years I have tried to make one with breadcrumbs, shredded zucchini and sauteed veggies. With busy lives, though, I knew we needed simple ground turkey meatloaf recipe without extra steps, this recipe is it!
  • Versatile: Adaptable to be gluten free, dairy free and even grain free if desired.
  • Lower sodium: No worchestire sauce and minimal added salt keeps this dish lower in sodium.
  • Low sugar: Only 3 Tblsp. of ketchup for the glaze, use a no sugar added ketchup for further reduction!
Turkey meatloaf sliced  and garnished with parsley.

Ingredients for Turkey Meatloaf

  • Ground turkey: Lean or extra lean ground meat. Just know if package says 1 lb and 3 oz it is fine, most are that weight, not exactly 1 lb.
  • Egg: It helps to bind all ingredients and add moisture.
  • Oats: Quick or rolled oats work. I used quick cooking steel cut oats. If using steel cut, soak them for 1 hour. (Learn more about oat differences in my overnight oats recipe!)
  • Milk: You can use regular milk or any dairy free milk. Water works too, just less flavor.
  • Onion and garlic: Not only do they add flavor but make meat more juicy.
  • Seasonings: Balsamic vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.
  • Ketchup: 3 tbsp of preferably organic ketchup goes a long way for the easy glaze.
Ground turkey, ketchup, onion, egg, garlic, milk, balsamic vinegar, spices and oats.

How to Make Moist Ground Turkey Meatloaf

  • Soak oats with milk: Do so while you are mincing onion, garlic, and getting other ingredients ready. For about 10 minutes. No need to drain the milk before adding oats to meat mixture. This step makes ground turkey meatloaf juicy and flavorful. My grandma always soaked bread in milk when making meatloaf.
oats soaking in milk or water for meatloaf with oats
  • Combine ingredients: Ground turkey, egg, onion, garlic, soaked oats, balsamic vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well using your hands. That’s when rings come off.
  • Shape meatloaf: Place in regular 9 x 5 loaf pan or shape 1 meatloaf on lined baking sheet or into 4 mini meatloaves. You don’t have to own a loaf pan to make meatloaf. Ha!
ground turkey meatloaf mixture in a loaf pan before baking
  • Bake: Single large meatloaf for 45 minutes or 4 mini meatloaves for 35 minutes in preheated 400 degrees F oven.
thermometer inserted in the meatloaf showing 161 degrees F

What temperature should ground turkey meatloaf be cooked to? Meatloaf is ready when  internal temperature is 160 degrees – check with the thermometer. Do not overbake because meatloaf will start drying out. 

  • Glaze meatloaf with ketchup: I used organic and just 3 tablespoons. Everything in moderation. I used to make fancy glaze with tomato paste and balsamic vinegar but not anymore. Remove from the oven and brush with ketchup. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
glazed with ketchup meatloaf and garnished with parsley, brush nearby on a cooling rack
  • Cut into 8 slices using sharp knife: No need to let meatloaf cool down. However, I would transfer meatloaf with spatula on a cutting board before slicing to avoid damaging the loaf pan, silicone baking mat or baking sheet.
ground turkey meatloaf served with mashed potatoes and peppers

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • Using breadcrumbs: Even though this is recipe for ground turkey meatloaf with oats, you can substitute breadcrumbs, almond meal (grain free meatloaf option!), or flour in place of oats. No need to soak and then skip milk.
  • Add heat: Add chipotle in adobo, red pepper flakes or hot sauce to the meat mixture for spicy meatloaf.
  • Double the meat? You can double the recipe but cooking time would be close to 70 minutes. Again, check with internal read thermometer.
  • Other ground meat: Ground chicken or beef could be used. Ground chicken is a bit more dry and beef more ‘greasy’ but both will work.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Just a tablespoon can add a ‘beefier’ taste.
  • Glaze: Use BBQ sauce or your favorite glaze!
  • Other herbs: Swap oregano for dried thyme, Italian seasoning, or parsley!
  • Vegetables: Diced carrots, celery, and mushrooms are common to add to turkey loaf. You will need to saute them first in olive oil to soften them before mixing in with meatloaf.

Tips for Best Results

  • Don’t overwork the meat mixture: It will make your ground turkey meatloaf dense and less tender.
  • Family not a ground turkey fan? Try using 1/2 beef and 1/2 turkey, to adjust their taste buds to the turkey.
  • 1 lb. ground turkey or 1 1/4 lbs.: If your store only sells 1 1/4 lbs. ground turkey package, that is fine, no other adjustments needed.
  • Oats: Quick or rolled oats work. I used quick cooking steel cut oats. If using steel cut, soak them for 1 hour.
  • Mini meatloaves: Make 12 meatloaf muffins and bake for 35-40 minutes or so. Check with internal read thermometer for 160 degrees F doneness.
  • Rest meat: If you have the time, let recipe for meatloaf with oats rest for 5-10 minutes after baking. This will redistribute meat juices and you will moist, juicy meatloaf!

FAQs

Do I need to add the eggs?

Eggs will add both moisture and binding. I have not tested a vegan egg replacer such as store bought version or flax egg but if you do, let us know in the comments! I would advise to not use chia egg, as it will soak up too much moisture.

Do I need to grease the loaf pan when making ground turkey meatloaf?

No need to as juices will settle at the bottom and prevent meatloaf from sticking. But if you want to, feel free to lightly grease your pan.

How do I keep moist turkey meatloaf recipe from falling apart?

With this recipe for the best turkey meatloaf you should not have that problem! If you are still worried though, after you have shaped your meatloaf, allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes. Then after removing from the oven, let it sit again for 5-10 minutes. Meat juices will redistribute and settle.

Should I cover my turkey meatloaf recipe while it bakes?

I found it not necessary to cover the meatloaf. If you want to, though, go for it! You may need to increase baking time, and to get the edges/top crispy, you will want to uncover during the last 15-20 minutes of baking.

Can I make turkey meatloaf in the Instant Pot?

Yes! I have a specific pressure cooker turkey meatloaf with mashed potatoes recipe exactly for that reason. So easy!

How do I make meatloaf made with turkey in slow cooker?

Follow my slow cooker turkey meatloaf recipe for an amazing hands off dinner.

How do I prevent the bottom of my meatloaf from getting soggy?

This could naturally happen when baking in a loaf pan or rimmed baking pan on silpat mat as meat juices create drippings. Try baking it on a broiler pan with slats! Caution though, all the drippings moving away from the meat could result in a drier meatloaf.

Favorite Sides to Serve With Meatloaf

How to Store Turkey Loaf?

Fridge: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Eat as is or make meatloaf sandwiches!

Keep Warm: I kept meatloaf warm along with Instant Pot mashed potatoes until dinner. It was my lucky day I made those potatoes because in a food blogger’s life dinner is usually ready at lunchtime.

ground turkey meatloaf with mashed potatoes in instant pot

Can You Freeze Turkey Meatloaf Recipe?

Freeze: I usually make 2 meatloaves. You can freeze cooked, cooled and sliced ground turkey meatloaf in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat in the microwave or simmer in a covered pot with a splash of water. I do not like to warm up meatloaf in the oven because it dries out.

More Ground Turkey Recipes

turkey meatloaf on plate for serving with mashed potatoes and bell peppers
healthy Ground Turkey Meatloaf

Ground Turkey Meatloaf

Moist and flavorful Ground Turkey Meatloaf is juicy, easy to make, and healthy comfort food. Made with oats instead of breadcrumbs then topped with a simple ketchup glaze, this homestyle classic is sure to be a hit at your house.
4.87 from 15 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 241
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 3 tbsp any milk or water
  • 1 medium onion minced
  • 1 large garlic clove minced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp oregano dried
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp ketchup

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl, add oats and milk. Stir and set aside to soak for 10 minutes while you are getting other ingredients ready.
  • In a large bowl, add ground turkey, egg, onion, garlic, soaked oats, balsamic vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Using your hands mix well to combine.
  • Spray ceramic non-stick 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray and transfer mixture into it. Level with spatula. You can also shape 1 meatloaf on lined baking sheet or 4 mini meatloaves.
  • Bake single large meatloaf for 45 minutes or 4 mini meatloaves for 35 minutes. Meatloaf is ready when internal temperature is 160 degrees. Do not overbake, so meatloaf dries out.
  • Remove from the oven and brush with ketchup. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
  • Cut into 8 slices and serve warm with mashed potatoes, Instant Pot mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash.

Video

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: I usually make 2 meat loaves. You can freeze cooked, cooled and sliced meatloaf in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat in the microwave or simmer in a covered pot with a splash of water. I do not like to warm up meatloaf in the oven because it dries out.
  • Ground turkey: Lean or extra lean ground meat. Just know if package says 1 lb and 3 oz it is fine, most are that weight, not exactly 1 lb.
  • Oats: Quick or rolled oats work. I used quick cooking steel cut oats. If using steel cut, soak them for 1 hour.
  • Using breadcrumbs: You can also use breadcrumbs, almond meal or flour in place of oats. No need to soak either. Skip milk then.
  • Mini meatloaves: Make 12 meatloaf muffins and bake for 35-40 minutes or so. Check with internal read thermometer for 160 degrees F doneness.
  • Add heat: Add chipotle in adobo, red pepper flakes or hot sauce to the meat mixture for spicy meatloaf.
  • Double the meat? You can double the recipe but cooking time would be close to 70 minutes. Again, check with internal read thermometer.
See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

Nutrition

Serving: 2slices | Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 494mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

    1. As this has not happened when recipe testing, not exactly sure, are you soaking the oats for at least 10 minutes with the milk? You could also use breadcrumbs then skip the milk.

  1. This was delicious and my whole family loved it . That’s rare ! One problem, it was too small ! Can I double the recipe to make a bigger loaf ? How much long would you cook it ?

    1. You can double the recipe but cooking time would be close to 70 minutes. Check with internal read thermometer!

    1. Balsamic has a nice depth of flavor with some sweetness, if you are using apple cider vinegar I would also add a small amount of sugar. In this case 1/2 t. of sugar. You could also use red wine vinegar mixed with 2 t. of maple syrup.

    1. Hi Kitty! You can substitute the same amount of almond flour (1/4 cup). You can also use breadcrumbs or almond meal in place of oats.

  2. 5 stars
    Best meatloaf ever!! My husband loved it- followed the recipe and it was juicy and flavorful- will definitely make this again

  3. 5 stars
    I made this a few days ago and it was utterly delicious. I was hesitant that my husband would not like a turkey meatloaf but he loved it! The only real change I made was I added chopped up celery to the mix because I had so much of it in my fridge, and I did not do the ketchup glaze on top. Instead I found a few slices of bacon in the fridge that I wanted to use up as I don’t eat bacon too often, and I layered the top with the bacon and put it back in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes. As promised it was very Flavorful and moist. Thanks Olena!

      1. 5 stars
        Yes…I pulled it out of the oven 15 to 20 minutes early and then I added the bacon on top and put it back in the oven and I had to check a couple of times to make sure the bacon was nice and cooked. With or without it, it was still delicious. You truly are a culinary gift to this planet.

  4. I have to say I love all your recipes but this one didn’t go well with the family. I personally liked it but they didn’t. Maybe it was the oats ? It was moist I felt too

    1. Interesting… Maybe breadcrumbs will do. I honestly do not consider this recipe flavors or cooking method different from what I usually do. Maybe they are used to a beef meatloaf? Maybe it is onions that you didn’t like, they add moisture but flavor at same time to rather bland turkey. Maybe was undercooked and too moist otherwise moisture is never a bad thing with a meatloaf. Maybe beef meatloaf it is for your family. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    Hi! My steel cut oats are apparently not quick cooking. Should I alter the soak time or the recipe in any way? Let me know please. Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    I just tried this. I loved it, came out moist just as you said. The only thing I did a little different was add some barbecue sauce the tomato sauce. Your recipe was wonderful. Thank you!

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