Air Fryer Meatloaf made with ground turkey and glazed with a tangy sauce is a fast and easy weeknight dinner the whole family will love!
Meatloaf has long been an American dinnertime favorite. We've been making meatloaf for our family for decades, and I think you'll love this modern air fryer turkey meatloaf version!
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📚 History of meatloaf
The dish's origins go way back to the fifth century, when the first iteration of meatloaf appears in medieval Europe. This first version was apparently a "loaf" of scraps, including meats, fruits, seasonings, and nuts.
According to Bon Appetit magazine, meatloaf first appears in American cuisine around the 1870s. Meatloaf was a great way to use up meat scraps and make them last longer, but back then, it was more often eaten for breakfast - not dinner. Then it became super popular in the 1890s thanks to the advent of industrial meatpacking.
Fast forward to 2022, and Americans and meatloaf lovers across the world are still enjoying this culinary concoction. And today, it's made even faster and easier, thanks to the almighty air fryer!
🌟 Why you'll love air fryer turkey meatloaf
- Thanks to the air fryer, you can make this in about half the time it takes for traditional baked meatloaf. This recipe takes just 30 minutes of prep and cooking time, plus 10 minutes to let the meat rest before slicing into it.
- Meatloaf made in the air fryer is just as easy to make as traditional baked meatloaf.
- You only need pantry-friendly ingredients. We're talking the basics, that can also easily be substituted.
- Using ground turkey instead of traditional ground beef generally cuts saturated fat in half. Ground turkey also has about 50 less calories than ground beef.
🛒 Ingredient notes
Ground turkey - Our recipe calls for ground turkey, but you can certainly substitute ground beef.
Onions - you can either chop or grate the onions. Both work, but if you grate the onions, this releases the juices and adds moisture to the meatloaf, making it juicier. So when possible, we prefer to grate the onions versus chop them.
Ingredients for the glaze - The glaze for this turkey meatloaf is made with just three ingredients: ketchup, light brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce.
✅ Step-by-step instructions
- In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the main meatloaf, from the ground turkey through the finely chopped parsley.
- Mix together until the ingredients are well distributed and combined.
3. Form a meatloaf, approximately 6-inches long, 3 to 4 inches wide, and about 2 inches tall. 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.
4. Spray the foil with cooking spray. Place the meatloaf on top of the foil.
Air fry at 350°F for 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, make the glaze: in a medium bowl, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth and well combined.
6. 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 at 350°F for another 5 minutes.
7. When cooking is complete, remove from the air fryer and brush with remaining glaze.
8. Allow the meatloaf to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into it.
❓ Recipe FAQs
There are a few tricks that we use here to keep the turkey from being too dry. One, is to grate the onions. This helps release the onion juices and adds moisture to the turkey meat. The second trick is that we add milk, which adds a creamy liquid to keep the meatloaf from drying out. Finally, we also use Worcestershire sauce and ketchup in the meatloaf mixture itself, as well as in the glaze, to add both moisture and umami flavors to the meatloaf.
The egg and the breadcrumbs both act as binding agents to hold together the meatloaf. In our recipe tests, this meatloaf has never fallen apart. Using leaner meat like ground turkey also helps the meatloaf keep its shape!
Allow the meatloaf to cool completely, then store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
🥘 Kitchen tools
As you can imagine, you'll need an air fryer for this air fryer meatloaf recipe. This recipe will work in any 6 to 10 quart airfryer. It will also work in air fryers that have baskets or trays.
I love making meatloaf in my 10-quart Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer (pictured above). One loaf fits perfectly in one of the baskets and air fries beautifully.
🍽 Side dishes
🍷 Best wine pairings
When enjoying a hearty meatloaf that has a tangy glaze topping, try pairing it with a light-bodied red wine. A Gamay from Beaujolais or an Oregon Pinot Noir would pair deliciously with this turkey meatloaf!
More air fryer dinner recipes
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Air Fryer Meatloaf Recipe
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the main meatloaf, from the ground turkey through the finely chopped parsley. Mix together until the ingredients are well distributed and combined.
- Form a meatloaf, approximately 6-inches long, 3 to 4 inches wide, and about 2 inches tall.
- 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 the foil with cooking spray. Place the meatloaf on top of the foil.
- Air fry at 350°F for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the glaze: in a medium bowl, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth and well combined.
- 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 at 350°F for another 5 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, remove from the air fryer and brush with remaining glaze. Allow the meatloaf to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into it.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.