Cranberry, Pecan, and Mushroom Turkey Meatloaf

Cranberry, Pecan, and Mushroom Turkey Meatloaf

This cranberry, pecan, and mushroom turkey meatloaf recipe is meant to remind you of Thanksgiving dinner. Just add your favorite sides!

Tips and tricks for this recipe

There is nothing complicated about making this turkey meatloaf recipe. It starts off with some basic homemade cranberry sauce. I combine fresh cranberries, the zest and juice of an orange, and a small amount of sugar to create the glaze for this recipe. You only need to add water if your juice doesn’t cover the bottom of the pan.

a pot filled with fresh cranberries and orange zest

When I make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, I often add a bit more sugar and some cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. Here, I’ve kept the ingredients for the glaze. You’ll just want to make sure to mash the cooked berries.

After glazing this meatloaf, I’d recommend serving this cranberry sauce thinned and warmed with a tablespoon or more of balsamic vinegar. That makes it more ketchup than jam.

a small bowl filled with cranberry sauce

While some meatloaves can be thrown together and baked immediately, this recipe requires a bit of pre-cooking. Cooking the onions and mushrooms gets rid of the raw onion taste and reduces the water in the mushrooms so the meatloaf holds together better. You can roast and then chop the garlic separately if you prefer.

a cutting board with chopped onion, mushrooms, garlic, sage, and dried thyme

And the rest of the ingredients, all chopped small. Don’t skip the step of toasting the nuts, which really brings out their flavor. I promise that once you start toasting nuts before using them in recipes, you won’t go back.

a cutting board with chopped parsley, toasted pecans, a quarter cup full of dried cranberries, a half cup full of panko, and an egg

Mix everything together except for the egg and turkey. And then incorporate those with your hands. There’s no need to knead. Your goal is just to make sure that everything is mixed together.

a glass bowl with the cranberry, pecan, and mushroom turkey meatloaf mixture

FAQs about this cranberry, pecan, and mushroom turkey meatloaf

What’s the starting ratio for meatloaf?

One pound of ground meat plus one egg plus one half cup of breadcrumbs or equivalent. It’s the spices and fillings that give your meatloaf its character.

What is a meatloaf pan?

A meatloaf pan is typically a 9″ x 5″ pan with an insert with holes that allows the fat to drip away from the meatloaf. This is the pan that I have used for years. It isn’t critical to use a meatloaf pan, especially with a turkey meatloaf, but I would recommend buying one if you make a lot of meatloaf.

Does this turkey meatloaf taste like Thanksgiving?

Unlike my taco meatloaf, which really tastes like taco, this turkey meatloaf is not going to fool you into thinking that you’re eating turkey dinner. But it’s healthier than an average meatloaf due to the turkey. And if you add some good meatloaf sides, well, that’s the best part of Thanksgiving anyway. Except for the pie, of course.

What would you serve as meatloaf sides?

I would take my cues from Thanksgiving for meatloaf sides for this recipe. Think mashed potatoes and gravy. Or baked sweet potato. Or maybe some green beans.

What wine would you drink with this meatloaf?

If we’re keeping to the Thanksgiving theme, I’d pick a light-bodied red like Beaujolais or an inexpensive Pinot Noir.

Can I freeze this meatloaf?

Yes, meatloaf freezes very well. Just slice it before freezing, wrap it well, and put it in a freezer bag. Reheat it in the oven in a pan covered with foil.

a small bowl of cranberry sauce

Cranberry, Pecan, and Mushroom Turkey Meatloaf

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4
Author uglyducklingbakery

Equipment

  • Meatloaf pan or cast iron pan

Ingredients

Cranberry glaze

  • 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

Turkey meatloaf

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 cremini or button mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped or one teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or one teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • ½ cup panko
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Instructions

Cranberry glaze

  • Put the berries, orange zest, orange juice and sugar into a medium pot. Add water, if needed, to cover the bottom of the pot.
    1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries, 1 orange, zested and juiced, 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • Heat the berries over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries have popped and the liquid has started to thicken.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and mash the berries.
  • Transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl to cool.

Turkey meatloaf

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-low heat.
    1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Add the onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
    8 cremini or button mushrooms, chopped, 1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • Add the garlic, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook for one more minute.
    2 cloves garlic, minced, 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let cool while starting while putting together the other meatloaf ingredients.
  • Add all of the meatloaf ingredients except for the turkey and egg to a large bowl and mix with a spoon.
    1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped, 1/2 cup panko, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped, 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • Add the turkey and egg and use yourj hands to lightly combine until mixed.
    1 pound ground turkey, 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Form the meatloaf in the meatloaf pan or shape it into a loaf in a cast iron pan.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes, until the internal temperature of the meatloaf is 160°F.
  • Add about 1/4 cup of the cranberry glaze to the top of the meatloaf and continue cooking for about 5 to 10 more minutes, until the meatloaf is 165°F.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes for easier slicing. Serve with additional cranberry sauce as is or combined with a bit of balsamic vinegar (see note).

Notes

This recipe will make about 2 cups of cranberry sauce, well more than you’ll need for glazing this meatloaf. Cranberry sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for one week.
I’d suggest warming some of the unused cranberry sauce with a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar for serving with the meatloaf.
If you are going to serve this cranberry sauce with turkey or roast chicken, you might consider increasing the sugar to 3/4 cup total and adding 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/4 teaspoon of cloves and all spice. You can rewarm previously made cranberry sauce to do this, adding water as necessary to thin it.
Leftover meatloaf can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days or frozen for 3 months.

What’s next?

If you make this turkey meatloaf, or if you want to see more meatloaf recipes, please comment here or share a pic with me on Instagram!

Check out other recipes for burgers, meatloaves, and meatballs like this Peking duck-inspired meatloaf or this taco meatloaf.

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sliced turkey meatloaf on a platter with a side of cranberry sauce


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