Preparing the Meatloaf
Making a delicious turkey meatloaf requires careful preparation and cooking. The key step is to combine the ground turkey, spices, vegetables, and other ingredients in a bowl until everything is evenly combined. Then you will need to shape the mixture into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan.
Once your meatloaf is in the oven, the next step is to bake it to perfection.
Gather the ingredients
Preparing your own turkey meatloaf is a great way to create a delicious meal without having to buy expensive pre-made products. Start by gathering the ingredients you need. You’ll need:
- 1–1.5 pounds of ground turkey
- 1 cup of diced onion
- ½ cup of diced bell pepper
- 1 finely minced garlic clove
- 1 egg
- ¼–½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs or oatmeal
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- Several grinds of pepper (adjust to individual taste)
You may also want to include optional ingredients such as:
- ¼–½ teaspoon of garlic powder (for additional flavor)
- 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (to add moisture)
- 1 tablespoon each of dried herbs such as basil and thyme for added flavor
Once you have everything ready, it’s time to get cooking!
Preheat the oven
Before baking the meatloaf, it is important to preheat the oven to the desired temperature. Preheating the oven allows for more even cooking of the meatloaf, which can result in a better tasting dish.
Depending on your desired temperature and recipe, preheat your oven anywhere from 325-375°F (162-190°C). Most recipes call for 350°F (177°C). Baking time will vary depending on size and recipe, but typically 25-45 minutes total. Use an instant read thermometer to check for doneness in internal pieces of the loaf as smaller pieces may cook more quickly than larger ones.
A turkey meatloaf should be cooked 160-165 °F (71-74 °C). If there are any pieces that seem not done inside, put them back in the oven and check again with a thermometer until they are at those temperatures. Once done, allow it to rest for approx 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Mix the ingredients together
When preparing turkey meatloaf, it’s important to mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly for an even distribution and to allow for optimal flavor.
Start by combining the ground turkey, milk, eggs, breadcrumbs and spices in a large bowl until evenly mixed. Make sure that you break apart any large clumps of turkey with a spoon or your fingers to ensure that everything is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Once the ingredients are mixed together, shape the mixture into a single large loaf and prepare to bake.
Forming the Meatloaf
Meatloaf is a classic comfort food that is easy to make. Before you place your turkey meatloaf in the oven, it is important to take the time to form it properly. To ensure that your meatloaf is succulent and delicious, it is important to make sure that it is tightly packed and shaped correctly.
In this section, we will talk about how to shape the meatloaf before you bake it:
Grease a baking pan
Before forming your turkey meatloaf, it is important to grease the baking pan properly. Line the pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking and use a brush or spoon to spread a thin layer of oil, butter or cooking spray onto the sides and bottom of the pan.
Doing this will help ensure that your meatloaf releases easily after baking and will make it easier to clean the dish afterwards.
Form the meatloaf into a loaf shape
It’s important to form your turkey meatloaf into a loaf shape before you place it in the oven. This allows the heat to penetrate and cook through evenly. If your meatloaf is unevenly shaped, it can lead to burned spots or toughened edges while the center stays raw or not cooked through. For a successful meatloaf that’s cooked through, make sure the shape goes roughly 8 inches long, 4 to 6 inches wide and 2 to 3 inches thick. Here are some tips for shaping an even turkey meatloaf:
- Thoroughly combine all ingredients before forming into a loaf
- Place your ground turkey onto wax paper (or similar) and press firmly until it holds its shape
- Lightly grease the baking pan (surface area only – sides should remain untouched) with oil
- During baking, use a spatula to turn over any excess fat that collects in the pans corners
- If using a thermometer to test doneness, check it once you’ve reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit/75 degrees Celcius
- Let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving
Place the meatloaf in the baking pan
When formed, place the meatloaf in a shallow baking pan and make sure to shape it into a loaf that is no more than two inches thick. If you’re using a metal or other non-stick pan, lightly grease the bottom of the pan with butter or cooking spray. If you’re using a stoneware pan, there’s no need to grease the bottom – just make sure to choose one that is approximately 9×13 inches in size.
After you place your meatloaf in the baking dish, cover it with aluminum foil so that there is no direct contact between the raw meat and any of your cookware. This will help speed up cooking and also help ensure an even baking temperature throughout your loaf. It also helps keep moisture inside as it cooks. Depending on how thick your loaf is, baking time for turkey meatloaf will vary from around 60 to 90 minutes. Check your oven’s temperature often during this time and adjust accordingly if necessary.
Baking the Meatloaf
Baking turkey meatloaf can be a great way to get a delicious dinner on the table without spending a lot of time. All you need to do is combine the ingredients, shape into a loaf, and pop it into the oven. But how do you know when it’s done? Here we’ll discuss how long you should be baking turkey meatloaf for:
Cover the meatloaf with foil
When baking a turkey meatloaf, it is essential to cover and seal the top with aluminum foil as this will help ensure that your meatloaf cooks evenly. This will also reduce the amount of drying out that can occur in the baking process and help to keep the juice in so your meatloaf doesn’t dry out. Sealing in the flavors, too, allows for a much more flavorful meal that everyone can enjoy!
Turkey meatloaf usually bakes for about 45 minutes when covered with foil. Depending on your oven and recipe required, this can be adjusted accordingly; however, you should take into consideration that longer cooked or heavier loaves may require additional time or an increase in temperature.
When ensuring your meal is cooked thoroughly and safely, it’s important to use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of your meatloaf before serving – 165F (75C) being the ideal safe temperature to consume.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350°F
When baking a turkey meatloaf, it is important to maintain the right temperature and baking time in order to ensure that the loaf is cooked throughout evenly. Preheat your oven to 350°F and place the loaf on a baking sheet in the center. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads an internal temperature of 165°F.
To ensure an even bake, rotate the loaf halfway through cooking time. This ensures that heat is being evenly distributed throughout the meatloaf. Additionally, if you wish to create a crust, brushing with 1-2 tablespoons of ketchup during the last 15-20 minutes of baking will help create that flavor and texture desired.
Once finished baking for 45 minutes at 350°F or when the internal temperature reaches 165°F, take out from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Be sure to follow these guidelines in order to achieve optimal results!
Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes
Removing the foil from your turkey meatloaf and baking for an additional 15 minutes helps to ensure that it is cooked through. Check that the internal temperature of the meatloaf has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving. This should take approximately 15 minutes however, this may vary depending on your oven.
If you like a crispier texture, leave the foil off of your turkey meatloaf until the last five to ten minutes of baking. Additionally, you can sprinkle grated cheese or other desired ingredients over top of your turkey meatloaf for added flavor during this last period of cooking time.
Check for Doneness
It is important to know when your turkey meatloaf is done baking in the oven. You can do this by using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It’s recommended that turkey meatloaf should be cooked to at least 165°F.
With this in mind, let’s discuss some other ways of testing for doneness:
Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the meatloaf
The best way to ensure that your turkey meatloaf is cooked to the proper temperature of 165°F (74°C) is to use an instant-read thermometer. To measure the meatloaf’s internal temperature, insert the thermometer into the center of the loaf; make sure it does not touch any bones or aluminum foil. If too far down towards the bottom, it could read cooler than the actual temperature of your meatloaf.
Alternatively, you can also check for doneness by using the touch method – insert a toothpick into several areas of your turkey meatloaf and check that no pink juices are running from them when removed from heat. If so, continue cooking until juices run clear. Be careful not to overcook as turkey meatloaf dries out quickly and will become tough if cooked too long. Let your turkey meatloaf rest for 5 minutes after removing from oven; this gives time for juices to settle back into the roast before cutting into it.
Check the temperature to ensure it is at least 165°F
The best way to know that your turkey meatloaf is done and ready to eat is by checking its internal temperature. Insert a digital thermometer into the center of the loaf, avoiding any bones if present, and avoid touching the sides. The internal temperature should be at least 165°F throughout the loaf. If not, return it to the oven and check again in a few minutes.
It’s important to cook your meatloaf thoroughly because consuming undercooked poultry can lead to food-borne illnesses such as salmonella poisoning or campylobacteriosis. To ensure it’s cooked properly, allow 10 to 20 minutes of rest time before serving, as the internal temperature can rise about 10 degrees after being removed from the oven for this amount of time.
Let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before serving
After your turkey meatloaf has finished baking and looks perfectly cooked in the center, it is important to allow the meatloaf to rest for about 10 minutes before serving. This will redistribute all of the wonderful juices and flavors throughout the turkey, as well as allow time for your finished product to cool.
Many cooks are tempted to cut into a turkey meatloaf while it’s still hot out of the oven, only to be disappointed with a dry or slightly underdone dish when they sit down afterwards. By allowing your turkey meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes after baking, you will be rewarded with a juicy cutout every single time.
If you are unsure that your turkey meatloaf is done cooking, one sure-fire way to check is using an old-fashioned kitchen thermometer. Ground poultry should reach an internal temperature of between 165-180 degrees Fahrenheit (74-82 degrees Celsius) when done cooking fully.
The resting period may seem like an inconvenient step in the cooking process but it is essential for creating a moist and flavorful meal that won’t leave you disappointed.