Already have an account?
Get back to the

This Turkey Meatloaf Recipe Cooks Fast in the Air Fryer + Chef’s Secret to Lock In Moisture

Plus, delicious mix-ins that make it easy to customize your dish

Meatloaf, a timeless comfort food, brings to mind memories of cozy family dinners and cherished recipes passed down through generations. Who can resist a warm slice with browned edges and brushed with lusciously sweet glaze? We didn’t think meatloaf could get any better — until we made turkey meatloaf. It may not be your grandma’s meatloaf, but it’s just as delicious. We’re sharing our favorite recipe with a homemade glaze that’s healthier and cooks fast in an air fryer! From a busy weeknight to Sunday dinner, this lighter loaf is sure to be a new favorite. Keep reading to learn expert tips for getting it moist and flavorful, as well as fun ways to elevate your dish. Here’s everything you need to know to make turkey meatloaf!

What is turkey meatloaf?

Turkey meatloaf isn’t that different from regular meatloaf: Just like traditional version, the ground meat is mixed with various seasonings, binding agents and sometimes additional ingredients like vegetables or herbs for more flavor. This mixture is then formed in either a loaf pan or by hand and usually baked or smoked. Traditionally, finished meatloaf gets brushed with sauce and served alongside a starch and vegetables. While their preparations are similar, turkey meatloaf offers a leaner alternative without sacrificing flavor or texture. Its versatility allows for endless customizations, making it ideal for a range of dietary preferences and flavor profiles.

For more on meatloaf, click through for Meatloaf Side Dishes and How To Cook the Juiciest Meatloaf

Facts about turkey

turkey meatloaf: sliced turkey

We all know turkey as the star on most Thanksgiving dinner tables or one of many meats in a hearty deli sandwich. But what makes this versatile meat unique? For one, it boasts a range of nutritional benefits, making it a healthy addition to any diet. Most turkey cuts are packed with high-quality protein. One 4 oz. serving of turkey breast contains a hefty 27 grams of protein and all nine amino acids, which supports muscle growth, repair and overall body maintenance. Turkey is also rich in essential B vitamins and minerals, including niacin, which supports energy metabolism, and selenium, a powerful antioxidant.

Lastly, turkey is low in fat, particularly saturated fat, making it a heart-healthy choice. “When comparing ground turkey to ground beef of the same total fat percentage, say, 93% lean and 7% fat, ground turkey is healthier because it has less saturated fat,” says Samantha Shuflin, MS, RDN, LDN.

Expert tips for the best turkey meatloaf

Turkey meatloaf, as with all meatloafs, can easily become dry or bland. Choosing turkey, then, requires a little extra love to increase moisture and amp up the flavor. Here, some expert tips on cooking juicy and tasty turkey meatloaf.

1. Choose the right percentage

Ground turkey usually ranges from 93% to 85% lean. While higher-fat varieties sound more appealing, opting for turkey with a lower fat percentage cuts out unhealthy fats. But try to stick within this range; anything higher than 93% lean can run the risk of being too dry and tasteless.

2. Lock in moisture

“The lower total fat in [turkey] will reduce the flavor and cause it to dry out quickly,” explains Shuflin. To keep your loaf from drying out, add wet binding agents. “Adding sour cream, for example, is a flavorful way to boost moisture. However, substitute sour cream for non-fat Greek yogurt if you want to keep the dish low-fat.”

3. Always add a glaze

“A glaze is an excellent way to add moisture and an extra burst of flavor to turkey meatloaf,” says Amy Hand, professional pastry chef and writer at The Skillful Cook. She suggests that turkey works well with sweet flavors, so she likes to make hers out of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar.

4. Check the temp

“The best way to cook turkey meatloaf to juicy perfection is to use a meat thermometer,” adds Hand. “The internal temperature should be 165°F for a nice, moist meatloaf.”

Easy turkey meatloaf with homemade glaze recipe

Cooking your turkey meatloaf in an air fryer achieves the same ‘baked to perfection’ texture in half the time! For a helpful tip, if you have a tray-style air fryer, use the bottom rack for quicker cooking. We found the perfect recipe from Urban Bliss Life that’s ready in under an hour and features a sweet and tangy homemade glaze.

Air Fryer Turkey Meatloaf

turkey meatloaf


For the meatloaf:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. ketchup
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped parsley

For the glaze:

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbs. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce


  • Active Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people
  1. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the meatloaf, through the finely chopped parsley. Mix together until just combined (don’t over mix). Then form into a meatloaf, approximately 6″ long, 3 -4″ wide, and about 2″ tall.
  2. Create a foil sling by laying a piece of foil at the bottom of the air fryer basket and up the sides. This will make it easier to lift the meatloaf out of the air fryer. Spray with cooking spray, then place the meatloaf on top of the foil. Air fry at 350°F for 20 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth and well combined, then set aside.
  4. At 20 minutes, remove the air fryer basket and brush half of the glaze over the top and sides of the meatloaf. Return to the air fryer and air fry for another 5 minutes.
  5. When cooking is complete (165°F internal temp), remove from the air fryer and brush with remaining glaze. Allow the meatloaf to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into it.

Storing turkey meatloaf

Allow the meatloaf to cool completely, then store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Elevate your turkey meatloaf

As we know with turkey, the more flavor and moisture, the better. So, consider it a blank canvas to experiment with any customization you like! Here are a few creative ideas to get you started:

1. Mix in cheese

Cheese is another great source of protein and calcium, plus its fat and sodium contents add a bit more flavor!

2. Wrap It in bacon

Who doesn’t love bacon? Wrap these around your loaf for crispy texture and saltiness.

3. Change up your glaze

Put down the ketchup bottle and find a new sauce, like classic tomato, spicy sriracha or sweet BBQ.

4. Top with breadcrumbs

Add some texture by creating your own meatloaf crust! Try seasoned breadcrumbs or crushed cheese crackers.

For more tasty turkey recipes, read through these stories:

Asian Turkey Meatballs Are a Delicious Twist on a Classic Favorite: Easy 30-Minute Recipe

These Turkey Sandwich Ideas Will Make Leftovers Disappear Fast — 7 Easy Recipes

5 Fun Leftover Turkey Ideas (That Aren’t Sandwiches)

More Stories

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.