Home Video Ina Garten’s Easy Trick for the Best Meatloaf I’ve Ever Had

Ina Garten’s Easy Trick for the Best Meatloaf I’ve Ever Had

Ina Garten’s Easy Trick for the Best Meatloaf I’ve Ever Had


As a kid, the mention of meatloaf night sent me running to the nearest neighbors, looking for any excuse to miss dinner at home. It wasn’t that the meatloaf my mom made was really that bad, it just wasn’t that good. I recall it being a tad dry and lacking flavor. 

Even as a kid I was a tough critic—sorry Mom. For a long time, I thought meatloaf would be a food I’d always hate. That was until I tried Ina Garten’s Turkey Meatloaf recipe

As an Ina devotee, I figured that if anyone could come up with a meatloaf I’d like, it was her. And I’m happy to say that the Barefoot Contessa has won me over. Now I make her turkey meatloaf regularly for my family.  

Simply Recipes / Molly Adams

How to Make Ina Garten’s Turkey Meatloaf

Like any good Ina recipe, the turkey meatloaf features layers of flavors. This isn’t your mom’s dump everything in a bowl and bake it recipe. The base of the meatloaf starts off with onions that are slowly caramelized in olive oil. Once the onions are bursting with flavor, fresh thyme, tomato paste, Worcestershire, and chicken stock are added to the party.

Then simply mix ground turkey with the onions, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Season the mixture well with salt and pepper, then form into a loaf on a rimmed sheet pan. Coat the top generously in ketchup, then bake low and slow for about 60 to 90 minutes. 

Here’s a smart trick you shouldn’t skip: Ina calls for adding a pan of water to the oven while the meatloaf bakes to keep it from cracking. Not only does it yield a tidy loaf that is easy to slice, but it also keeps the meat super moist. 

The resulting meatloaf is tender, and full of rich, savory flavor and my kids love it. We call it a “burger” and no further questions are asked. I love serving this with a side of roasted broccoli and mashed potatoes—bonus points if they are Ina’s Parmesan Smashed Potatoes.

My Tips for Making Ina’s Turkey Meatloaf

Sometimes if I’m feeling very organized, I make a double batch of the onions and save half for another day. This is by far the most time-consuming and hands-on step of the recipe, and by prepping it ahead and stashing it in the freezer, I save a ton of time the next time I want to make meatloaf. Believe me, once you make it, this meatloaf will firmly cement itself in your weekly dinner rotation! 

In Ina’s original recipe, she calls for five pounds (!) of ground turkey. If we are having company, I can justify this massive size loaf, but for my family of five, I usually use only three pounds. This gives enough for about two nights of dinners, with some leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches. I keep the onion mixture measurements the same but use just two eggs and one cup of breadcrumbs.

Simply Recipes / Molly Adams


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