Spiced Mexican Turkey Meatloaf

By Sally Cameron on December 16, 2014

Chicken & Turkey, Gluten-Free, the daniel plan

With holiday madness in full swing, you’ve got better things to do than worry about than dinner. Reach for a classic with a new twist – Mexican turkey meatloaf with herbs and spices. Serve it hot from the oven or make it ahead of time to save time at dinner rush hour. It’s even good cold.

Mexican Turkey Meatloaf | AFoodCentricLife.com

Mexican Turkey Meatloaf

With a pound of ground turkey, some herbs, spices, and one mixing bowl, you can have this meatloaf in the oven in just a few minutes. While it bakes, get something else checked off your to-do list.

Choosing Ingredients

Ground turkey – I usually buy ground thigh meat as it has more flavor but breast meat works too, although it has less moisture and fat.

Ketchup – Choose ketchup without any High Fructose Corn Syrup. Read labels like a hawk. Compare sugar content too.

Breadcrumbs – There is no comparison to homemade, and they are easy to make. Much better than store bought, and particularly important if you eat gluten-free. I’ll do a loaf of gluten-free bread at a time. Toasted breadcrumbs last almost forever in the fridge or the freezer, always ready to go. For directions, read here.

Herbs – Fresh cilantro adds Mexican flavor, but if you can’t stand cilantro, use Italian parsley. Oregano is not just Italian or Mediterranean, it’s widely used in Mexican cooking. I prefer fresh but if that’s not available, look for dried Mexican oregano. It’s more potent than it’s Greek counterpart.

Spices – Ground cumin and ancho chili add wonderful flavor and mild heat. If you like heat, add a little ground chipotle, but sparingly as it packs quite a punch.

Apple – Apple in meatloaf? It adds moisture and fiber and you will never know it’s there. Go for a tart apple like a Granny Smith.

Serving Ideas

I’ve been serving this meatloaf with spiced whipped sweet potatoes and broccolini. Make basic sweet potatoes (recipe here) and instead of the rosemary, use cumin and ancho chili pepper. If you need directions for quick and simple broccolini, read here.

Mexican Turkey Meatloaf

Make it Ahead

While this meatloaf is great right out of the oven, you can bake it ahead of time. Make it on Sunday, cool completely, and wrap well. Refrigerate and enjoy within three days.

To heat the meatloaf up, slice while cold (easier), place in a casserole dish or foil lined baking sheet (for easier clean up), cover with foil and heat at 350º for 20-30 minutes or until hot throughout. The meatloaf should reach 165º.

For faster heating, remove the meatloaf from the refrigerator about an hour ahead of time to get the chill off.

Freezer Option

Meatloaf freezes well for a future dinner. After baking, cool, wrap tightly, label and freeze. To enjoy, place meatloaf in the refrigerator for 24 hours to thaw. For food safety, never thaw any foods on the counter. A slow overnight thaw is much better.

Mexican Turkey Meatloaf

With warm Mexican spices of cumin and ancho chili powder, this turkey meatloaf is a nice twist on a classic. You can even make it ahead, then heat if back up again for those busy nights when you need a quick meal. Serve with broccolini and spiced whipped sweet potatoes. Add a tossed green salad for more veggies. For a spicy kick, add a little chipotle powder or fresh jalapeño pepper.
Servings 4



  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3/4-1 cup breadcrumbs guten-free, homemade preferably
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Granny Smith apple
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder optional


  • Pre-heat oven to 350º. Line a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick foil (or regular foil and spray it).
  • Combine all meatloaf ingredients into a medium bowl, turkey all the way through the pepper. Start with 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs. If the mixture feels wet, add the last 1/4 cup. Mix gently but completely with your hands (I wear food handler gloves).
  • Mound turkey mix on the baking sheet. Shape and pat into a long, smooth football-shaped loaf.
  • Whisk glaze ingredients together, pour onto the meatloaf and smooth to cover the turkey top and sides with a pastry brush or knife. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a thermometer reaches 165º internally. Slice and serve.


You can make this up to 3 days ahead. Cool after baking, packaged tightly and refrigerate. To heat, slice cold meatloaf and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Cover with more foil. Heat until hot all of the way through (350º oven), about 20-30 minutes. Timing will depend on how cold it is coming our of the refrigerator. It will be longer if it is very cold.  See notes for freezing in the post.

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