Nothing could be more comforting than a freshly baked turkey meatloaf. This turkey meatloaf with a decadent brown sugar topping is great for those that want to avoid beef, whether for dietary or simply preferred taste reasons. Plus, it’s just as tasty as a regular meatloaf and comes with a super tasty sauce that caramelizes on top! This recipe is close to my Mom’s turkey burgers, which can also use red pepper in them.
Turkey Meat Loaf
A good meatloaf should be tender, juicy, packed full of flavor and it simply has to come with a sweet and saucy caramelized topping that crisps up slightly like a BBQ baby back rib!
By using ground turkey in this recipe, you can avoid a lot of the fat that regular meatloaf would have while still keeping the tasty meat-forward flavor.
The key with this recipe, though, is to make sure you don’t overmix it. Just like with ground beef, if you try and mix this meatloaf too much, you will end up with something like an oven-baked turkey sausage, something nobody wants.
Turkey Meat Loaf Ingredients
Make sure to see the precise amounts you need down in the recipe card below.
- Ground Turkey
- Red bell pepper
- Parmesan cheese
- Italian seasoning
- dried parsley
- Salt & Pepper
Sauce for Topping Meatloaf
- Brown sugar
- Spicy Brown mustard
- Worcestershire sauce
How to Make Turkey Meat Loaf
- Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray
- Mix the ground turkey with all the ingredients using your hands
- Shape it into a loaf on the baking sheet
- In a different small bowl, mix all of the topping ingredients together, season with salt & pepper as desired
- Spread half of the topping onto the turkey loaf and bake for 20 minutes at 350 Fahrenheit
- After 20 minutes, spread the rest of the topping on the loaf, and bake for a further 25 minutes
- Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut and serve immediately
How to Avoid Over Mixing Your Turkey Meatloaf
Anyone that has ever tried to make a meatloaf or form burger patties knows the pain of accidentally over mixing their meat.
Despite the fact that you need to get all of your ingredients incorporated together, over-mixing it is a constant worry.
The key to avoiding over-mixing your meat is to stop mixing before you think it is done. Just like you would with cookie dough, you want to stop mixing it a bit early before it is fully 100% incorporated. This is because it will continue to be mixed together when you start shaping the meat into a meatloaf anyway.
Another great trick to avoid over mixing is to only use your hands instead of an electric mixer or a wooden spoon.
To avoid your hands getting too sticky, wet them with cold, fresh water beforehand. The water will stop the meat and spices from clinging to your hands and allow you to easily mix everything together.
Why Do You Have to Reapply the Topping During Cooking?
Those not familiar with the sacred art of barbeque might be confused why you have to apply the topping sauce twice during baking.
Just like when you make barbecued ribs, applying the sauce twice does two things. First, it ensures that the sauce doesn’t burn in the oven during the time it takes to cook the meat through.
Secondly, and most importantly, it allows for double the development of tasty, caramelized flavor. This process is known as ‘shellacking,’ and it creates lots of extra delicious caramel flavors that come from allowing the sauce to brown in the oven in two separate applications! The more you know!
What to Serve with Turkey Meatloaf
Try some of these side dishes that are reader favorites!
Looking for more delicious ground turkey recipes? Try these:
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- Prep Time
- 15 minutes
- Cook Time
- 45 minutes
- Main Course
- Karlynn Johnston
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 small red bell pepper finely chopped
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Sauce for Topping
- 1/2 cup Ketchup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste if desired
- Preheat your oven to 350°F
- Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix ground turkey with all of the ingredients except the topping ingredients. Mix the ground turkey mixture with your hands so that you don’t over mix the meat, and you're going to have to shape the meatloaf on the baking sheet anyway.
- Turn out the ground turkey mixture onto the baking sheet and shape into a loaf with your hands.
- In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.
- Spread half of the topping onto the turkey loaf and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes spread the rest of the topping on the loaf and return to the oven for 25 minutes more or until the middle of the meatloaf reaches 165°F.
- Let the meatloaf sit for 5 minutes, then cut and serve.
- You can add other finely chopped vegetables to the meatloaf, green peppers work well!
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.