Thanks to an immodest amount of barbecue sauce, this turkey meatloaf turns out moist and lovely, not dry and crumbly, and has sorta a sweet and tangy and eminently kid-friendly thing going on. And not to change the topic, but if you and the wee ones in your household are fond of this recipe, chances are you’re going to be over the moon about these barbecue pork burgers.–David Leite

A slice of turkey meatloaf on a white plate with mashed potatoes, green beans, and fork resting on the side.

Turkey Meatloaf

5 / 2 votes
This turkey meatloaf is moist and healthy and packed with plenty of onions, peppers, and mushrooms along with a healthy dose of barbecue sauce to keep it juicy and tender.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories187 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes


  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce, plus more for brushing if desired
  • 1/2 cup chopped red, green, yellow, or orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped button mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs, or as needed
  • Vegetable oil, for the pan


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • In a large bowl, combine the turkey, eggs, and barbecue sauce, and mix well with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Stir in the pepper, onion, mushrooms, salt, and pepper and gently mix. Slowly add the bread crumbs and mix just until incorporated. The turkey meatloaf mixture should be moist and thick, not firm and dry. If necessary, add a little more bread crumbs a tablespoon at a time.
  • Line an 11-by-4-inch rimmed baking pan or a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with aluminum foil and slick it with vegetable oil. Place the turkey mixture in the pan, creating a smooth oval mound if using the larger pan or just plopping it in if using the loaf pan. Smooth out the top of the turkey meatloaf.
  • Bake until the turkey meatloaf is cooked through but not dried out, about 50 minutes. If desired, brush the meatloaf with more barbecue sauce during the last 10 minutes or so. 
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Any leftover turkey meatloaf makes swell sandwiches the next day on a roll with some more barbecue sauce slathered on top. Originally published January 12, 2010.
Berghoff Cafe Cookbook

Adapted From

The Berghoff Café Cookbook

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 187 kcalCarbohydrates: 9 gProtein: 29 gFat: 4 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 0.02 gCholesterol: 109 mgSodium: 369 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 5 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2009 Carlyn Berghoff | Nancy Ross Ryan. Photos © 2021 Cenk Sönmezsoy. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

A loaf of turkey meatloaf studded with diced bell peppers, onion, and mushroom, and barbecue sauce

My son is 7 years old and any time I can sneak some vegetables into his meals, I jump all over it. I used 3 different colored peppers and cremini mushrooms, which resulted in a very colorful meatloaf. In all honesty, I probably doubled the amount of onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Since I cooked this in a loaf pan, I let it cool about 20 minutes before unmolding. While this was a beautiful presentation when sliced, next time I’ll go freeform to let the juices run clear of the loaf instead of congealing on and around it.

I served this with cauliflower puree and had leftovers for lunch. This combo is so incredibly satisfying and healthy, you almost feel guilty enjoying it so much. Almost.

I don’t like meatloaf—never have and thought I never would. This recipe changed my mind completely. This was delicious, moist, easy, and made great leftovers. The turkey works really well here and the mushrooms help keep it rich, meaty, but not heavy.

I recommend chopping the vegetables as small as you can without turning them into mush. I also cooked the recipe free-form (molded into a rough loaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper) and really liked it that way. I finished off leftovers in sandwiches with challah and onion marmalade. In the future, I might play with different proportions—more peppers, more mushrooms—or different vegetables entirely, but for a first run this recipe hit it out of the park.

This was a great recipe. The meatloaf was moist with lots of flavor. The vegetables are a wonderful touch, and I felt better eating the meatloaf knowing that there were a lot of veggies in it. Barbecue sauce might make a difference in the flavor. I used a smoky, dark, thick one from Trader Joe’s. An easy, wonderful recipe that my entire family enjoyed. I’ll definitely make this again.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Garlic Butter Steak Bites

These juicy bites of sirloin, smothered in garlic and herb butter, will satisfy any steakhouse craving for a fraction of the price.

25 mins

Chocolate Muffins

Those of us who prefer a restrained sweetness and a more pronounced cocoa taste will adore these muffins. Nothing overtly sweet here. And we’re okay with that.

1 hr

Seared Skirt Steak with Salsa

Hungry for something flavorful and good-for-you? This seared skirt steak is jam-packed with everything you need.

50 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Though we haven’t made it yet
    Your turkey meatloaf looks sublime.
    I’m already so excited
    I just had to drop you a line.

    I’m sure Lisa and I will adore it.
    This e-mail won’t be the end.
    The turkey meatloaf recipe
    has gained a lifeline friend (2)!

    Ted and Lisa

    1. Ted and Lisa, never in my 16 years as publisher of LC do I recall a recipe of ours inciting poetic passion. Thank you.