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Tasty Turkey Meatloaf

I hardly even know how to start this, realizing that many of you are already yawning at the mere mention of meatloaf.  But, stay with me, people, that’s the whole reason I decided to talk about it today.  Not that I wanted to exactly bore you into clicking away to something more hip and edgy or fusion something or other, but to help you recognize the prejudice and perhaps even disdain you might harbor for this oft-maligned staple from the 50’s.  Yes, I know that meatloaf has been around for centuries, but it took the 50’s to turn it into styrofoam.

I will acknowledge here that many of our mothers and grandmothers made good meatloaves, otherwise we would not to this day find it one of the top comfort foods on most people’s lists.  And I must also admit that for years I only made meatloaf just so I could have meatloaf sandwiches for a week.  Crying shame.

And then several years ago I came to the conclusion that I might actually want to enjoy meatloaf and set out on a serious culinary quest to solve the meatloaf question once and for all; to crack the code and not only create a meatloaf that was moist and delicious and flavorful, but I was going to do it with ground turkey!  I was the first to admit this might actually be an impossibility.

Of course, had that been the case, we would not be here right now enjoying this moment together, because yes, my dears, I think I did crack the code, and we have been enjoying tasty, delicious, moist and flavorful turkey meatloaf for several years now.


There are several factors and ingredients that contributed to this eventual outcome, and the first was discovering this little bottle of Kitchen Bouquet.  For years and years our grandmothers, mothers, and yes, myself have been using it to boost the deliciousness of our gravies and meat sauces.  But with some experimentation I found out that adding it to meatballs and meatloaf made with ground turkey boosted the flavor quotient by about a billion.

The second crucial component of deliciousness is the sauce/glaze.  We’re talking here about ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar and molasses, and I promise you there is no meatloaf party without it.  This lovely concoction gets drizzled over the meatloaf before it goes into the oven, and then again about halfway through baking and then again when it comes out of the oven.  It goes something like this…


I will leave it to you to imagine how delicious this meatloaf is, but I will tell you that even though I still love my meatloaf sandwiches, there’s rarely enough left over for more than a couple.  Here’s the recipe…


Tasty Turkey Meatloaf

Click here for a printable recipe

We love how moist, tender and flavorful this meatloaf is, but to accomplish this you will need a good ratio of fat to protein in your meat.  If you cannot find a ratio of 93/7 in your store, then use ¾ ground thigh meat and ¼ ground breast.  Mix them well before adding them to the other ingredients.  It would also work fine to use straight ground turkey thigh. Kitchen Bouquet is a dark seasoning sauce that adds a real flavor boost when using ground turkey.  You can find it either on the condiment or cooking aisle, or order it here.

Brown Sugar - Ketchup Glaze

½ cup ketchup 
4 tablespoons brown sugar  
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 T molasses


1 tablespoon vegetable oil  
3 slices bacon, chopped (I use turkey bacon)
1 small/medium onion , chopped 
2 cloves garlic , minced
1 ½ tablespoons kitchen bouquet
2 large eggs  
½ teaspoon dried thyme  
2 teaspoons salt  
1 teaspoon ground black pepper  
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard  
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce  
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4  cup whole milk
2 lb ground turkey
1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs 
½ cup fresh parsley, minced 
1 to 2 tablespoons of hot pepper sauce (optional)

For the glaze

Mix all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes (until slightly thickens)  and then set aside.

For the meatloaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1.  Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion, bacon and garlic; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool while preparing remaining ingredients.

2. Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, Kitchen Bouquet, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, and milk.  Add the egg mixture to the meat in a large bowl along with the breadcrumbs, parsley, and cooked onion and garlic; mix until evenly blended.

3.  Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and pat the meatloaf mixture into the pan.  You can proceed to glazing and cooking the meatloaf, or cover the meatloaf with some plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.

4. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place the loaf pan upside down on it.  Tap until the meatloaf releases.  Remove the loaf pan and brush the meat with one-third of the glaze.  Bake until the glaze is set, about 25 minutes. Top with another one-third of glaze and continue to bake until the second coat has set, about  20- 25  minutes longer.  Pour the remaining glaze over the loaf and let it cool about 5 minutes.  Slice and serve.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Reader Comments (16)

Always looking for a good meatloaf recipe and this looks stellar!

February 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBridget

I've never been able to make a good meatloaf with ground turkey, but this looks great. I'll have to give it a try.

February 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSam

That glaze sounds so good.

February 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBianca

I gave up on meatloaf, but I love it and just might have to try again. So great that you made yours with turkey instead of beef.

February 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I want to make this but noticed you used turkey bacon. I tried it once and it was awful. What brand do you use?

February 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia

It is pretty hard to find good turkey bacon, Patricia, but I like Welshire Farms, which they sell at Whole Foods and most health food stores. It's actually pretty good, but you can leave out the bacon in this if you want.

February 24, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

This looks de-lish!

February 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

My boyfriend will not eat meatloaf if it's not beef, but I'm going to try this and see what he thinks. It sounds so good.

February 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

My Mom always used Kitchen Bouquet for her gravy, but I never thought to use it for anything else. What a great idea!

February 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

I'm not a big fan of meatloaf, but this one looks delicious. I might just give it a try. I hope it turns out as moist as it looks.

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMoira

I do hope you make this, Moira. Yes, it really is as moist as it looks.

March 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I made the meatloaf but it was a little dry. You had Kitchen Bouquet in the ingredients, but left out of the recipe when mixed together.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

I apologize for that oversight, Carolyn, and have fixed the recipe to include the Kitchen Bouquet in the body of the instructions. I'm not sure if you added the Kitchen Bouquet, but that would not have accounted for it being dry. This meatloaf usually turns out so moist that it wants to sort of fall apart, so I'm not sure what caused yours to turn out on the dry side. Since all ovens run to temperature differently, it could be that next time you could try reducing your temperature to 325 degrees and see if that doesn't help. I do hope you try again and let us know how it comes out. Good to hear from you!

March 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Made your meatloaf last night and it came out perfect! I've never used ground turkey before but it was good. Found the Kitchen Bouquet and I think it added a lot. Thanks for that tip! Great recipe!

March 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeorgia Middleton

This Turkey Meatloaf was a big hit... Made your Chicken and Dumplings last week also wonderful.. Katie K. Is a long time buddy and has provided me your blog... I have never been a big cook but your recipes have really made cooking enjoyable. Thank you for sharing.

February 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie Curry

Hey Melanie! I'm so glad you liked the meatloaf and the chicken and dumplings! Katie said you sent her a photo of them and they looked awesome! Nice to hear that you're enjoying the recipes. So great to hear from you, Melanie!

February 10, 2016 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

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