Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf

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!

Sliced Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf is served on a white platter alongside green beans.

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.

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    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.

    So. Good.

    More awesome (and quick!) weeknight meals to make: Classic Cacio e Pepe | Slow Cooker Pot Roast | Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice | Pear BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Pear Slaw | Chicken Pesto Pasta

    Sauce is poured on top of Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf

    What you need to make this recipe:

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    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.
    Overhead image of sliced Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf

    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.


    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!

    A whole Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf sits alongside green beans (with mashed potatoes in the background) before serving.

    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!

    Close up of sliced Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf, smothered in tomato sauce, before serving

    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:

    Ready to learn how to make this goodness? Scroll on down to make it at home…

    Close up of sliced Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf, smothered in tomato sauce, before serving

    Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    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!
    4.50 from 4 votes
    Servings 4 servings
    Calories 407 kcal
    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 8 hours
    Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes


    • 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

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.


    • 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.


    Serving: 1 servingCalories: 407kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 32gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 167mgSodium: 434mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4g
    Keyword best meatloaf recipe, dinner, dinner recipe, easy dinner, easy dinner recipe, easy meatloaf recipe, family dinner, family dinner recipe, ground turkey, ground turkey recipe, make ahead meal, meatloaf recipe, slow cooker recipe, turkey meatloaf, turkey recipe, weeknight dinner
    Course Entrees
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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    1. I’ve never heard of a slow cooked meatloaf, but I am loving this idea. Given the cold snap we’re having, this sounds like a perfect dinner option for the week. I’m going to try this out and put one in the slow cooker tonight for tomorrow!

      1. My mom was the one to turn me on to it, especially since my job in Mississippi was SO CRAZY that I tried a ton of different foods in the slow cooker. It’s definitely a winner and makes this recipe a cinch.

        So I hope you give this a shot and enjoy the taste of it!

    2. Wow! I am kinda loving this sorts of recipes. What other kinds of meats can I substitute turkey with? I can’t seem to find ground turkey here. We have pork, beef, chicken and sometimes mutton. SO going to try this. My favourite slow cooker recipe would be braised soy pork for when I haven’t got 2 hours to nurse a bubbling pot.

      1. Thanks, lady! I think you could easily substitute beef here, and it would be lovely. I’ve never had pork, chicken or mutton meatloaf before, but if you decided to go that route, I’d love to know how they turned out and tasted!

        Oh my. Do you have a link to your favorite slow cooker recipe? I might need to try that because it sounds DELIGHTFUL.

    3. I love these kind of comfort food! Turkey meatloaf is always a healthier alternative to the traditional meatloaf (ground beef, pork and veal). Lovely post and I love your photos!

      1. Thanks, Anne! You’re too sweet! I’m a huge fan of this kind of comfort food, as well, and making it a bit healthier since I like to indulge in said comfort food. Let me know if you give it a shot! I’d love to know what you think.

    4. I simply love this recipy. Only one thing bothers me that could some of thew material be preserved, so it could short whole cooking time? 8 hours is some long. I may try it, but I will use chicken instead of turkey. I am in Beijing.

      1. Hey Kathryn. I think you could probably cook this for shorter in the slow cooker, and I think chicken is a great substitute for turkey. I’m unsure how much shorter you can go, though, as I’ve always put this recipe on in the morning before I’ve left for work and let it cook all day to be ready when I arrived home that evening. Interested to hear what you think of it!

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