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Ground Turkey Meatloaf with Tomato and Basil

5 from 9 community reviews

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My best turkey meatloaf recipe is one of our most-loved easy dinner recipes! This method makes a moist, super-juicy ground turkey meatloaf, packed with Italian-style seasonings like sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese. Serve with a side of herb butter orzo or mashed potatoes and green veggies.

Thick slices of turkey meatloaf on a platter, with fresh basil leaves scattered over the plate.
Thickly sliced turkey meatloaf with basil, Parmesan and ketchup glaze.

This comforting turkey meatloaf recipe is a go-to in my house. When I was a personal chef my clients requested it weekly, along with a side of savory mashed potatoes and roasted green beans!

It’s moist, juicy and super tasty — everything you’d want in the best meatloaf, along with Italian-style seasonings like basil, Parmesan cheese. The base is a puree of sun-dried tomatoes and garlic that really amps up the flavor.

Is meatloaf kind of like a classic meatball in loaf form? Yes! And that’s why meatloaf is a family-favorite.

Ingredients for turkey meatloaf arranged on a surface, including raw ground turkey, eggs, basil, grated cheese, panko breadcrumbs and garlic.

About the ingredients

  • Ground turkey: I highly recommend using ground turkey thigh instead of lean ground turkey. The dark meat has a higher ratio of fat, which ensures the meatloaf turns out tender and juicy. If you like, use a half-and-half mixture of ground beef and turkey.
  • Onion: I take a tip from my grandma, who used grated onion instead of chopped onion in her meatloaf. This trick helps make the meatloaf super-juicy. The fine pieces of onion melt into the meat, and their juices add a lot of flavor. Plus, there’s no need to sauté onion before mixing, which is a time savor.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: Instead of using tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes add depth to the meatloaf. Seek out plump, moist dried tomatoes, or use oil-packed tomatoes (drained). If your tomatoes seem very firm, give them a 10-minute soak in hot water before slicing and blending into a paste.
  • Basil: Use 1 lightly packed cup fresh basil leaves, or 1/3 cup of your favorite basil pesto.
  • Bread crumbs: Similar to breadcrumbs in meatballs, they lighten the texture of the meatloaf. I prefer unseasoned panko crumbs, but really any type of fine dried breadcrumb is fine to use, including gluten-free breadcrumbs.
  • Eggs: Two lightly beaten eggs serve as a binder along with the breadcrumbs.
  • Ketchup: A topping of tangy-sweet ketchup is a must on meatloaf. I love how the sugars caramelize to form a crust on top! Try to find brands made with just tomatoes, vinegar, spices and real cane sugar rather than those with added preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Fresh parsley: Fresh chopped parsley is my choice for lovely color and flavor.
  • Cheese: Freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano are both perfect choices.

Recipe steps

  • Start by making a puree of sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and basil. This is the seasoning base of the meatloaf that adds flavor and moisture:

Meatloaf tips and suggestions:

  • Season generously with salt. My go-to ratio is one teaspoon kosher salt per pound of meat.
  • Grate an onion into the meatloaf mix, rather than using chopped onion. It’s the best way to get because the onion juices penetrate the meat better and add some moisture.
  • Meatloaf can be frozen up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, covered.
  • To determine when the turkey is cooked through, you can use an instant read thermometer. The interior should read 160 degrees. Remember the meatloaf will continue to cook for a few minutes as it cools.
  • Use a food processor to pulse the sun-dried tomatoes with the other seasonings. This step not only adds flavor, but gives the meatloaf a fine, even texture.
  • Form the meat mixture into turkey meatballs instead of a loaf.
Sliced meatloaf in a baking dish, with a blue napkin underneath.
Bake the meatloaf in a loaf pan, or free form on a sheet pan.
Thick slices of turkey meatloaf on a platter, with fresh basil leaves scattered over the plate.

Ground Turkey Meatloaf with Tomato and Basil

Karen Tedesco
Our favorite recipe for moist and juicy turkey meatloaf, made with ground turkey blended with with sun-dried tomatoes and basil for lots of flavor. Serve with roasted green beans and mashed potatoes for best comfort food dish!
Print Pin
5 from 9 community reviews
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Meat
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

Sundried tomato basil puree

  • 1 cup (80 g) moist sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped (rehydrate the tomatoes in hot water 10 minutes if they're not oil-packed or seem too dry and hard)
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, or ⅓ cup basil pesto
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Meatloaf

  • 2 pounds (900 g) ground turkey thigh
  • ½ cup (75 g) grated onion
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup (54 g) dried breadcrumbs, or panko
  • ¼ cup (25 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup (60 g) ketchup

Instructions 

  • Heat the oven to 425 (220C) degrees.
  • Pulse the dried tomatoes, basil (or pesto), olive oil, garlic and parsley in a food processor until it forms a chunky paste.
  • Put the turkey in a large mixing bowl with the tomato mixture, grated onion, eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, red pepper, and black pepper. Mix until everything is combined evenly.
  • Pack the mixture into a loaf pan. Or, make a freeform loaf: Dump the mixture onto a parchment-lined (or nonstick) rimmed baking sheet. Pat into a loaf shape.
  • Bake 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, and spread the ketchup over the top of the meatloaf. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes, until the top of the meatloaf is well browned.
  • Cool the meatloaf about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • If using pesto instead of fresh basil, omit the olive oil or use about 1 tablespoon instead of 2.
  • Ketchup is a must on meatloaf. Try to find brands made with just tomatoes, vinegar, spices and cane sugar rather than those with added preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Meatloaf can be frozen up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, covered.

Nutrition

Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1127mg | Potassium: 1189mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 632IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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13 Comments

  1. Liane @ Foodie Digital says:

    5 stars
    Karen, this meatloaf is so delicious. The sundried tomatoes are such a refreshing addition. Will 100% make this again.

  2. Where can I find the recipe for the turkey meatloaf? It looks great!

    1. Hi Jackie – I just added it back – it went missing! Hope you like.

  3. I’m struggling to find the recipe for the turkey meatloaf with sundried tomatoes and basil. Every link just sends me to this post. Help please!
    Thanks
    Laurie

    1. Oh, Laurie, it’s been while but I just noticed the recipe was not on the page. Oops!

  4. this sounds fantastic! I LOVE the inclusion of sundried tomatoes!

  5. Janice, glad I’m not the only one! Someday they’ll look back and thank us, right?? Let me know how the meatloaf goes over in your house. Cheers!

  6. This sounds great! I love the idea of using sundried tomatoes and basil. I’ve been poking around your blog…it’s really lovely!

  7. Hello! I just found your blog and I think it’s amazing! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  8. Love the idea of the fresh-ground turkey – who’s doing it for you in St. Louis?

    1. Whole Foods always has it freshly ground, and Straub’s will grind if you call ahead…sad that most bigger grocery stores no longer offer full butchery service these days.