No time to prep dinner at night? Get your start the morning of with this delightful, easy and delicious Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf. Browned before it’s placed in the slow cooker with classic tomato soup, this meatloaf has great texture and flavor for a fast weeknight meal!
2018 Update: This recipe was originally shared in March 2013. I have simplified this recipe to include ingredients everyone can find, as well as added new photographs and more tips and tricks. I hope you love this Turkey Meatloaf!
This recipe is the ultimate quick morning recipe. Like, you have someplace to be in about 30 minutes and need to put on dinner so you can eat SOMETHING after you finish work later in the evening.
Unsurprisingly, this recipe is one from my newspaper photographer days.
And even though I generally don’t find myself leaving the house at a moment’s notice these days, it’s still a gem. (Hi, breaking news. You were not and have never been my favorite.)
Why I love this recipe:
When I lived in Mississippi, I was basically the queen of dishes like this Turkey Meatloaf recipe, especially since my days had a habit of starting a little earlier than expected.
This dish, first introduced to me by my mother and then tinkered with by me throughout the years, has remained a household favorite ever since because it is quick, it’s easy, and it is delicious.
It’s also the perfect for a comforting meal after a long day.
I even found a way to expedite the process, especially if I didn’t have the time in the morning to make up the meatloaf.
So I would either mix the meatloaf ingredients the night before and let them hang out in the fridge until the morning.
I would even freeze loafs, then remove one from the freezer, toss it into a pan to brown the sides—an essential part, folks!—and then throw it in the the slow cooker to hang out with a can of tomato soup all day.
The end result is a crunchy on the outside, utterly smooth and delicious on the inside slice of meatloaf, topped with its own juices and tomato soup and served atop mashed potatoes.
What you need to make this recipe:
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Let’s talk ingredients!
In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.
Here’s what you need:
- Lean ground turkey — I love this recipe because you can use the leanest ground turkey you can purchase. You can also swap the turkey with a lean ground chicken.
- Extra virgin olive oil — or another neutral oil for searing the outside of the meatloaf
- Egg — I like to use large eggs from the grocery store.
- Saltine crackers — you’ll need some of these beauties. They act as a binder and add a lovely amount of salt to the mixture.
- Onion — you may use a yellow or white onion. I do not recommend using purple or red onion for this recipe.
- Garlic — you’ll need a single clove, finely minced. You can always add more, if desired.
- Kosher salt — medium grain kosher salt is my go-to.
- Mural of Flavor — or your favorite salt-free poultry seasoning.
- Black pepper — I love to crack my own, but the pre-ground stuff from the store also works.
- Tomato Soup — you’ll need a cup of it. You can use homemade tomato soup (like this Spicy Tomato Soup) or the condensed stuff from the store.
- Water — to thin everything out! It’s fine from the tap, so long as you can drink tap water.
How to make Slow Cooker Meatloaf
Pour the olive oil into a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
Mix the meatloaf. Combine the turkey, egg, crackers, onion and garlic in a large bowl. Add the salt, poultry seasoning and black pepper.
Form the meatloaf. Use your hands, mix the ingredients together until combined. Form into two oblong rounds.
Sear the meatloafs. Place the loafs into the preheated saucepan. Brown all sides until thoroughly browned and crispy.
DID YOU KNOW?
Searing the meatloaf will not only make for an excellent exterior, but it locks the juices inside the loaf. The end result is just delightful, so don’t skip this step!
Transfer the meatloafs to the slow cooker. Add the tomato soup and water.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
When cooked, remove from the slow cooker and slice into pieces. It will be fork-tender.
Serve each slice with tomato soup over mashed potatoes (or rice) and your favorite veggies!
Can I make this meatloaf in the Instant Pot?
Yes! I’ve made it in the IP before. Use the Saute setting to sear it on the outside before pouring in the tomato soup. Seal and click the ‘High Pressure’ button. Cook for 8 minutes, then manually depressurize.
Easy peasy, y’all!
Quick tips and tricks to the BEST meatloaf:
- Make the meatloaf the night before! Combine the ingredients, and store the loafs in the fridge, then sear them in the morning before placing in the slow cooker.
- Double the recipe. If you’ve got a bigger family than mine, you might want to double this so everyone can eat their fill!
- Don’t skip the sear! It adds a lovely exterior texture, as well as locks in the juices.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat in the microwave with your favorite sides.
What to serve with ground turkey meatloaf:
- Homemade Mashed Potatoes
- Lemon Pepper Green Beans
- Potatoes Au Gratin
- Lemon Kale
- Wild Rice Salad with Dried Fruit and Almonds
Ready to learn how to make this goodness? Scroll on down to make it at home…
No time to prep dinner at night? Get your start the morning of with this delightful, easy and delicious Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf. Browned before it's placed in the slow cooker with classic tomato soup, this meatloaf has great texture and flavor for a fast weeknight meal!
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 egg
- 10 Saltine crackers, crushed
- ½ cup onion, diced (about ½ a medium onion)
- 1 garlic clove, minced fine
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons Mural of Flavor (or other salt-free poultry seasoning)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 oz. Tomato Soup
- 8 oz. water
- Preheat the olive oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Combine the the turkey, egg, crackers, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning in a large bowl.
- Mix the the ingredients together with your hands until just combined. Form into two oblong rounds. (They don't have to be perfectly the same shape or size, but you want them to be similar in size.)
- Gently place the loafs in the preheated saucepan and brown all sides thoroughly browned and crispy.
- Once each loaf has been browned, transfer to the slow cooker.
- Top the meatloaves with tomato soup and water.
- Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.
- Once done cooking, remove the meatloafs from slow cooker, and slice into pieces. Top each slice with the tomato soup.
- Enjoy warm with a side of mashed potatoes (or rice) and your favorite veggies!
To make this recipe in the Instant Pot: Use the Saute setting to sear all the edges of the meatloaf before pouring in the tomato soup. Seal and click the 'High Pressure' button. Cook for 8 minutes, then manually depressurize.
Make Ahead Tip: The meatloaf(s) can be formed the night before and stored in the fridge. Sear them in the morning before throwing them in the slow cooker to cook all day! You can also sear the meatloaf straight out of the freezer, too, though it'll take longer to sear that way.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 407Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 167mgSodium: 434mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 32g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.