These mini turkey meatloaf muffins are a lean, delicious, and fun way to eat meatloaf. Totally kid-friendly and made with ground turkey, these mini meatloaves are packed full of flavor.
Ingredients For Mini Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
- Bell pepper– Orange, red or yellow bell pepper had a slightly sweeter taste which is great for pickier eaters. Green bell pepper is less sweet, but delicious also in this recipe. Keep these pieces small.
- Onion– Mince the onion small or even use a food processor to keep from getting a sharp bite of onion. Sweet onion can also be great for pickier eaters.
- Ground turkey– Lean ground beef can be easily swapped. Chicken works ok, though is a bit drier. I don’t recommend using ground pork unless it’s mixed half and half with turkey or lean beef.
- Old Fashioned Oats OR Quick Oats– Either of these fast-cooking oats works with this recipe. Don’t swap in steal-cut oats though, as they absorb more moisture.
- Salt And Pepper
- Granulated garlic– powdered garlic also works, or add two fresh minced garlic cloves.
- Soy sauce– Worcestershire sauce can also be substituted for soy sauce, both give these mini meatloaf a more savory flavor.
- BBQ sauce Use your family’s favorite! We like Sweet Baby Rays, and also the classic BBQ sauce at Sprouts for its flavor and slightly lower sugar content.
If you love Classic Beef Meatloaf, you should try my recipe! My favorite part is making sandwiches from the leftovers the next day, yum.
How To Make Muffin Tin Turkey Meatloaf
- Chop and prep– Chop and prep the peppers and onions. Crack the egg and add all of the ingredients and spices except the BBQ sauce to a large mixing bowl.
- Mix Ingredients– Mix all of the ingredients together so they are mixed well. Oiling your hands with a little cooking oil (like olive oil) can help to keep the turkey from drying out if you mix it with your hands, which does tend to go quicker. You can use a spatula to mix also.
- Portion Out Meatloaf Muffins– Oil the muffin pan well with cooking spray. Evenly portion out the ground turkey mixture between the muffin tins.
- Bake Then Add Sauce– Bake the meatloaf muffins then add the BBQ sauce at the end and bake just a little more. The internal temperature should reach 165. This helps keep the sauce from burning around the edges while still keeping your meatloaf juicy. If you are having trouble releasing the meatloaf, use a large spoon or a thin spatula to release the meatloaf from the pan. Enjoy your meatloaf hot out of the oven!
Can I Use Other Types Of Ground Meat For These Mini Meatloaf Muffins?
Ground b eef that is in the middle range works well swapped into this recipe. Heavier mixes of ground beef (like 70/30) can become too oily, and the meatloaf muffins will become a little too mushy. I recommend sticking to Ground Round (85/15) or Ground Round (80/20) for the best mixture of texture and flavor if you are using beef instead of turkey.
Ground chicken can work but tends to be a little drier than turkey or beef and may need an extra egg yolk added to the mix.
Pork can be delicious in mini meatloaf, but it is a heavier and fattier meat. If using ground pork, I typically swap only half of the meat for pork and mix it with turkey, chicken or lean ground beef. Using pork along in these meatloaf muffins can become too oily.
How Can I Help My Picky Eater Like These Meatloaf Muffins
Picky eaters can be tough, especially when you’re trying to make one meal for the whole family. Here are a few tips to encourage your child to enjoy these mini meatloaf muffins too!
- Use a Sauce They Like– I’ve used our family’s favorite BBQ sauce, but you can also use more of a red pasta sauce, or even ketchup. The great thing about making a mini meatloaf muffins over a full meatloaf is you don’t have to top all of the muffins with sauce, you can easily serve some without.
- Cut Into Bite Sized Pieces- These meatloaves are already a small size, but you can make it even easier by cutting the meatloaf into bite size pieces so it’s even easier to eat.
- Chop The Vegetables Small– Cutting the vegetables small can help some kids with the vegetables being part of the meatloaf. You can also sautee the vegetable in a pan with a tiny bit of oil before adding it to the meat, which will both soften them more and make the flavor meld together even more.
- Serve On A Bun- Have a kid who loves hamburgers? Try serving these meatloaf muffins on a small roll or bun.
Can You Freeze Turkey Meatloaf Muffins?
You can totally freeze turkey meatloaf muffins, in fact it’s a really great recipe to make ahead and freeze.
- Freeze Turkey Meatloaf Muffins Cooked– Let your muffins cool completely before you pack them into freezer bags or containers. Then you can cook one or two at a time or a whole batch. If you freeze them with sauce, they will be more likely to stick together in the freezer bag. When I have turkey muffins that already have sauce to freeze, I place them on parchment or foil on a cookie sheet and freeze them, then pop them into a freezer bag so they are less likely to stick together.
- Freeze Mini Turkey Meatloaf Raw– You can mix the meatloaf mixture and pop them in the muffin tins then freeze. Once frozen you can pop the raw meatloaf muffins out of the muffin pan and into a bag or freezer container. If your meatloaf is getting stuck, run just a little warm water over the back of the pan to help remove them from the pan.
- How Do I Defrost?– These mini meatloaves will cook best if you defrost them before baking in the fridge. You can also pop the bag into tepid water in a bowl on the counter to defrost a little faster. Change the water every 45 minutes or so to defrost even faster.
How Do I Know When These Turkey Muffins Are Done Cooking?
When you are cooking these muffins, make sure the inside of the turkey meatloaf reaches 165 degrees before serving. There should be no pink in the center.
The muffins themselves will take about 30 minutes to cook all the way through. Oven temperatures can vary though and some run hotter than others. It can be really helpful to start checking the meatloaf at 25 minutes with a meat thermometer to make sure you don’t overbake them.
What Should I Serve Turkey Meatloaf Muffins With?
There are so many options you can serve with these turkey meatloaf muffins, but I usually think of sides packed with vegetables and a little more filling.
- Crispy Baked Potato Wedges
- Roasted Broccoli
- Roasted Green Beans
- Dreamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Boiled Corn or Corn On The Cob
- Roasted Carrots
- Classic Italian Pasta Salad
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Green Salad– Our family tends to go with spring mix or spinach topped with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Sometimes we’ll add seeds like pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds and Italian dressing or a fruity vinegarette.
- Macaroni And Cheese
These meatloaf muffins are delicious on their own, but they also make a great sandwich. Our family loves to eat these meatloaf as a sandwich for lunch, or for dinner the next say to switch things up.
Other Recipes You Will Love
If you love these mini turkey meatloaf muffins, you’ll love some of these tasty recipes too!
- Turkey Burger Sliders– Light and flavorful, these sliders are delicious!
- Kid-Friendly Ground Turkey Chili– Mild yet flavorful, this lean chili is a family favorite.
- Juicy Pork And Zucchini Baked Meatballs – Perfect with pasta or delicious as a meatball sub
Mini Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
- Food Processor (or vegetable chopper)
- Muffin Pan
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Silicone spatula
- Pan spray
- ½ Cup Bell pepper- minced small orange, red or yellow
- ½ Cup Medium onion- minced small
- 1 Pound ground turkey
- ½ Cup old fashioned oats or quick oats
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Pepper
- ½ Teaspoons Granulated garlic powdered garlic also works, or add two fresh minced garlic clove.
- 1 Teaspoon Soy sauce
- ½ Cup BBQ sauce
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray the muffin wells with oil or oil with a silicone brush.
- Mince dice and mince the bell pepper and onion into very small pieces. Use a food processor or hand chopper if you have one.
- In a large bowl add bell pepper, onion ground turkey, oats, egg, pepper, salt, garlic and soy sauce. Mix together with clean hands until just combined.
- With a quarter cup measuring cup, scoop the meat mixture into the holes of the muffin pan. Any remaining meat mixture split evenly between the mini meatloafs.
- Bake the meatloaf muffins for 30-35 minutes.
- With a silicone brush, baste the tops of the meatloaves with your favorite bbq sauce. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. When finished cooking, the meatloaf will register 165 degrees with a meat thermometer. If you don’t have a meat thermometer you can slice into one muffin, it should have no pink in the center. Enjoy!
- A food or hand chopper will mince the onion and pepper into really small pieces easily. If you don’t have one though you can mince both vegetables using a large chef’s knife and a cutting board. The most important part is to make the pieces as small as possible, as it’s a more pleasant texture in the meatloaf. (This is also important for pickier eaters also.)
- If you prefer a milder onion taste, try rinseing and dry the onion on a paper towel before adding it to the meatloaf. You can also use sweet onion for a milder onion flavor.
- Mixing with the meat mixture with your hands keeps you from overmixing the mixture, which can dry out the meatloaf. Add a little cooking oil to your hands before mixing to help keep the meatloaf even juicier.
- Sometimes the meatloaf may stick a little to the muffin pan. Use a large spoon or a thin frosting spatula and run it around the inside of the pan to release the meatloaf before serving.