This meatloaf recipe bakes in a mini muffin tin and is a great snack, appetizer or kid-friendly meal. It is made with ground turkey and topped with a sweet and tangy homemade meatloaf glaze.
Bread crumbs absorb the liquid that is mixed in with the meatloaf. As the meatloaf bakes, the bread crumbs hold in the moisture and provide some binding power as well.
I prefer to use seasoned or Italian bread crumbs. They already have some flavor. If you use bread crumbs without seasoning, add a few pinches of salt a few pinches of garlic powder and a few pinches of onion powder.
An egg also helps to provide moisture richness and binding power to the meatloaf.
I use milk as the liquid. If you are lactose-free or dairy-free you can use a dairy-free milk substitute like coconut, almond, oat or soy milk.
Minced onion, in addition to adding flavor, also adds moisture to the meatloaf. As it cooks it releases its moisture into the meat. It’s important that you immensely onion into small pieces. Because this is a mini meatloaf you don’t want to have large chunks of onion.
To add more layers of flavor, the recipe includes garlic powder (not garlic salt), finely chopped parsley and ground black pepper.
And of course salt enhances all the flavors in the meatloaf and makes it taste great.
Tips for Moist Tender Meatloaf
- The first tip is to use dark meat turkey (usually 7% fat). Turkey breast has very little moisture and fat and flavor and is not a good option for meatloaf.
- The next tip is to mix some liquid with the bread crumbs. The bread crumbs will absorb the liquid and hold it in the meatloaf as it bakes.
- The last tip is to bake the meatloaf just until done. Turkey is safe to eat at 165°F. So if you have a meat thermometer, you can test the temp. and remove it from the oven as soon as it reaches 165°F.
Ketchup is a traditional and super easy glaze for meatloaf. If you like ketchup, use it! Your favorite BBQ sauce can also be a great topper for meatloaf. But I prefer a homemade glaze with a little less salt and one that is exactly to my taste.
The glaze recipe in the card below is made with a base of tomato paste and has a few other ingredients to make it sweet and tangy. For the sweet, I like agave, maple syrup or brown sugar. I prefer a liquid sweetener because it incorporates easily. The tangy flavor comes from vinegar and soy sauce or tamari. A little sweet and pungent flavor comes from onion powder.
Finally, salt enhances and brings all the flavors together. I have made this glaze to my tastes. I completely expect you to taste it and adjust it to your preference. Maybe you like it saltier or sweeter or more sour. If so, add a small amount salt, sweetener or vinegar at a time and taste until you are satisfied with the flavor.
Muffin Tin Ground Turkey Meatloaf with Homemade Glaze
Muffin Tin Meatloaf
- ½-¾ medium sized onion, enough to make ½ cup minced, packed tightly
- 1½ lbs. dark meat ground turkey
- 1 large egg
- ½ c Italian bread crumbs (or seasoned bread crumbs)*
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
- ¼ c milk or dairy-free milk substitute
- 2 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- ¾ tsp salt
- 3 pinches finely ground black pepper
- ¼ c + 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- ¼ c apple cider vinegar
- ¼ c maple syrup, agave or brown sugar
- 1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp salt
Make the Muffin Tin Meatloaf
- The pan can get pretty messy after baking meatloaf. I recommend using a good quality pan with a non-stick coating or a pan made from anodized aluminum (no toxic coatings).
- Preheat the oven to 400℉. Do not grease the pan yet.
- Mince the onion. See my post How to Cut an Onion With Minimal Tears for info on how to easily mince an onion. You'll need ½ cup packed.
- To a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients except the ground turkey.
- Beat well with a fork or whisk.
- Add the meat and gently fold it in using your hands until it is evenly combined. Do not mash – mashing will create dense meatloaf.
- Grease just 3 of the mini muffin tin openings and be sure that every inch of the surface is coated. Oil spray tends to puddle as it sits. This creates ungreased spots causing the meatloaf to stick. So spraying just 3 at a time will help this problem.
- Use a 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) scoop or use your hands to form the meat into a size that will fit in the muffin pan. Form the mini meatloaf with a medium amount of pressure. Too much pressure will create dense meatloaf.
- Continue to work 3 at a time.
- I prefer to save the glaze until after baking and allow the tops to brown a little. But if you prefer, spoon a little bit of the glaze on top after 10 minutes of bake time.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the center of the meatloaf reaches 165℉.
- Let them cool for just 3-4 minutes. Then run a mini spatula or knife around the edges and remove.
- These meatloaves will stay fresh when refrigerated for at least 5 days. They can also be frozen for 3 months.
Make the Meatloaf Glaze
- Place all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with a fork or whisk until smooth.
- Taste. Feel free to adjust it to your preference. Prefer it more sweet? Add more sweetener a teaspoon or two at a time. More sour? Add more vinegar a teaspoon or two at a time. More salty? Add more salt a few pinches at a time.