Thanksgiving Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

4.22 from 14 votes

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This Thanksgiving Turkey Meatloaf Recipe is a healthy substitute to a traditional meatloaf recipe! If you don’t want to cook a full bird, this is a great alternative for Thanksgiving this year. Top it off with some turkey gravy and serve with my Crockpot Mashed Potatoes! A delicious meal that won’t leave you in the kitchen for hours, but will taste as if you did. It’s THAT good!

turkey meatloaf

Why You’ll Love This Recipe!

Thanksgiving Turkey Meatloaf is a convenient and delicious option for a tasty meal in the days before, on, or following Thanksgiving. For those looking for a leaner protein source compared to a classic meatloaf recipe made with red meat like ground beef, this is a great healthier alternative. Ground turkey is lower in fat than most meats. I like to buy the 99% fat-free ground turkey for this recipe. You’ll love that Turkey Meatloaf is easy to prepare and will fit nicely into your busy holiday cooking schedule. It can be shaped, seasoned, and baked with ease, freeing up time for other Thanksgiving dishes.

sliced turkey meatloaf on a cutting board

Main Ingredients Needed

A moist turkey meatloaf recipe with all the same flavors as Thanksgiving put together in fraction of the time. It’s a simple recipe and you likely already have most of the ingredients in your pantry. Here is what you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • Butter – this is used to sauté the vegetables.
  • Onion and Celery – for flavor and texture.
  • Lean Ground Turkey – I used 99% fat-free ground turkey for this recipe.
  • Egg – this helps hold the meat together.
  • Plain Breadcrumbs – you can use regular or panko breadcrumbs. Italian breadcrumbs would also be really delicious with this recipe.
  • Poultry Seasoning – this is to give it that classic Thanksgiving flavor.
  • Cinnamon – this gives the loaf a hint of warm spice.
  • Dried Thyme Leaves – earthy and aromatic.
  • Parsley Flakes – this is for a garnish.
  • Honey – a slightly sweet flavor that balances well with all the savory.
  • Chopped Pecans – adds nuttiness (obviously) and nice texture.
  • Turkey Gravy – you can use store-bought or make your own homemade turkey gravy.

For the meatloaf lovers out there…Try these other recipes: Simple Sunday Meatloaf Recipe and Turkey Meatloaf Florentine Recipe.

loaf of turkey meatloaf on a baking pan

How to Make Turkey Meatloaf

This is a super easy and healthy turkey meatloaf recipe. Simply sauté the veggies, then mix with everything else and bake. The result is a moist and flavorful dinner! For full recipe details, including ingredients and measurements, see the printable recipe card below. Here is step by step what you can expect when making this recipe:

turkey meatloaf ingredients

Preheat Oven + Prep Baking Sheet

Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a small sheet pan (or loaf pan) with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.

baking sheet lined with foil

Sauté the Onions + Celery

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Sauté onion and celery until tender.

Combine Remaining Ingredients, hen Add Sautéed Veggies, Forming a Loaf

While veggies are cooking, combine remaining ingredients (ground turkey, egg, bread crumbs, salt + pepper, poultry seasoning, cinnamon, dried thyme, dried parsley, honey and chopped pecans) into a large bowl. Add in the sautéed onion mixture and stir to incorporate everything together.

Pro Tip: To make this recipe faster, divide the turkey mixture into four smaller loaf pans and bake for 20-30 minutes. Or you can even use your cupcake tin to make a ton of small, cute, delicious mini meatloaves. You can also make this meat mixture into turkey meatballs using a cookie dough scoop and bake for 15-20 minutes.


Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape on the prepared sheet pan or loaf pan.

Bake 30-40 minutes or until thoroughly cooked (use an instant read thermometer and look for an internal temperature of 165° F or higher).

Cool for a couple minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with some made from scratch turkey gravy or a packet of gravy or premade jar of gravy from the grocery store.

Storing Leftovers

Allow turkey meatloaf to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to 4 days and is great as leftovers. Reheat pieces in the microwave in 30 second intervals until heated to your liking.

slices of meatloaf with gravy drizzled over the top

FAQ About Thanksgiving Turkey Meatloaf

Can I freeze turkey meatloaf?

The amazing thing about meatloaf is its versatility! It can indeed be frozen and can be made for meal prep! And to make it even better, make two. One for dinner and one to freeze for later. That way you will always have turkey meatloaf on hand.
To freeze make the turkey meatloaf recipe as directed. Cool and slice, then store in airtight containers in the freezer for up to three months!
To reheat, thaw the meatloaf slowly. This is best done in the fridge the night before. Then in 30-second increments microwave until it is warm and delicious.

Can I make this meatloaf and bake it the next day?

YES! Meatloaf is a great make-ahead recipe that you can completely prepare and assemble ahead of time. Once you have assembled it, wrap the prepared loaf in foil or plastic wrap and store it overnight in the fridge to bake the next day.

Turkey Meatloaf Sides

More Delicious Turkey Recipes to Try!

Be sure to check out all of my turkey recipes here, but below are a couple of my favorites.

This truly is the best turkey meatloaf recipe! It’s one that the whole family will love and who doesn’t love a little bit of comfort food during the holidays? It’s a simple healthy meal and has all the best flavors of Thanksgiving dinner. The printable recipe card is below. Have a lovely day, friends!

If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star rating and leave your review in the comments! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.

turkey meatloaf
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4.22 from 14 votes

Thanksgiving Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

This Easy Turkey Meatloaf Recipe puts you in the mood for the holiday by tasting great! Make it before or for Thanksgiving. It’s THAT good!
servings 4 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1 rib celery finely diced
  • 1.5 lbs. ground turkey 93/7
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • store bought turkey gravy*


  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute onion and celery until tender, 5 minutes.
    sautéing onions and celery in a skillet
  • While veggies are cooking, combine remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Add in soft veggies and stir to incorporate everything together. Form into a meatloaf shape on prepared baking sheet and bake 30-40 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
    meatloaf mixture formed into a loaf on a baking sheet
  • Cool 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with turkey gravy.
    turkey meatloaf



*I used the dry turkey gravy mix that you just add water to. Feel free to make your own from scratch. I obviously did not.
Leftovers. This turkey meatloaf recipe can last up to 4 days in the fridge and is great as leftovers.
Freezing. Make the turkey meatloaf recipe as directed. Cool and slice, then store in airtight containers in the freezer for up to three months!
Reheating. Thaw the meatloaf slowly. This is best done in the fridge the night before. Then in 30-second increments microwave that baby until it is warm and delicious.
Turkey Meatloaf Muffins. To make this recipe faster and cuter divide the turkey mixture into four smaller loaf pans and bake for 20-30 minutes. OR you can even use your cupcake tin to make a ton of small, cute, delicious meatloaves.


Calories: 423kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 228mg | Potassium: 639mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Vitamin C: 2.1mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2.7mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: How to Make Turkey Meatloaf, Turkey Meatloaf, Turkey Meatloaf Recipe
thanksgiving recipes
4.22 from 14 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating

15 Responses
  1. Marilyn

    5 stars
    Looks good My son loves turkey With my son having Barrett’s disease this will be easy for him to eat. Can’t wait to try. Thank You

  2. Anne

    2 stars
    I am a very experienced cook. I made this yesterday to test it before potentially making it for Thanksgiving. I followed the recipe exactly, no substitutions or changes. When looking at the recipe, I questioned why there was no salt, pepper or any liquid (broth, milk etc.). Well my suspicions were correct. This is a dry bland meatloaf. I did not serve it with gravy as my family isn’t crazy about gravy. I like a moist meatloaf without having to pour gravy over it. Onto another meatloaf recipe.

  3. Sandra Butler

    5 stars
    My husband and I love this meatloaf. This was the first recipe I tried when we had to switch to turkey trying to eat healthier after my husband’s heart surgery. We also love your other turkey entree recipes.

  4. suzanne

    5 stars
    Since we’re a restaurant for the holiday along with the rest of our family, I decided to make this last night so my husband and I could have a taste of Thanksgiving at home. It was great! My husband even asked how in the world I made it, and he usually notices nothing about what he eats! Thanksgiving in a meatloaf!!!

  5. Brenda

    5 stars
    Love the blog and the recipe looks delicious. We dealt with the ‘rationale’ for an IPhone for a too-young-for-a-phone kiddo with an IPod. Worked out great.

  6. Jessica - The Novice Chef

    5 stars
    This looks amazing! We always have a huge turkey and a ton of people, but I think this would make an awesome pre thanksgiving dinner!

  7. Chels R.

    Yup, I have all my kids designated Christmas gifts lined up on their (my) Amazon wish lists. However, They have so many TOYS I’m trying to stay clear of that and focus on other gifts more personal to them. My 11 yr old is easy, but my 7 yr old…well…she wants it all, lol! And my nearly 3 yr old…as long as it is Avenger related he’s thrilled. I’m going to have to try this. My husband despises meatloaf with all his being, but I’m determined to make him a believer.

  8. Jorszulak

    5 stars
    I just love reading your blog and look forward to your weekly recipes on Monday! I cook at least one of them a week and they all come out delicious. I can’t wait to try this thanksgiving meatloaf! It looks so good and comforting! ? Thank you and keep them coming! ?

  9. Becki

    5 stars
    Good for you with the Christmas shopping – I guess I better get going! This meatloaf sounds awesome and I’m sure my family would love it. Love all of the spices and the turkey gravy on top sounds wonderful!

  10. sandra

    I understand about your time flying by I am 59 yrs old I had 4 kids the older you get the time can fly by even faster I don’t know how you can keep up with all you do and have a blog. they didn’t have things like this when I was having my kids I do love your blog. just take your time do what you need to do for your family and yourself don’t forget about yourself your very important to yourself and your family I pray things go well for you and your new baby and the rest of your family have a good day everything will be ok.