Tender, savory, herbaceous, and delicate Turkey Meatloaf Marsala combines the ultimate comfort food with a decadent cascade of creamy mushroom marsala gravy. Go ahead and pop open a bottle of wine and put Sinatra on. This is the meatloaf we all wish we grew up with. Sorry mom!
Meatloaf is such a divisive food. It’s something we either grew up with and look back on with fond memories, or we’re traumatized by a childhood of dense, dry, one note logs of meat slathered in a sticky crown of ketchup. For such a comfort food, people have a lot of opinions about it. This turkey meatloaf recipe combines everything you love about a Creamy Chicken Marsala with all of the best components of a traditional meatloaf.
Why You’ll Adore This Recipe
- Texture – This turkey meatloaf is packed full of tender, sautéed vegetables infused with the sweetness of marsala wine. Between all of the vegetables and the nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano, this meatloaf cooks up tender, delicate, and moist.
- Familiar Flavors – If you love savory baked meatballs such as Baked Ricotta Meatballs, you will love this meatloaf. Italian turkey sausage, copious amounts of fresh grated parmesan, and fresh herbs like basil and parsley bring all of the Italian flavor.
- Meal Prep – How you prepare this meatloaf is perfect for meal prep. You can make it ahead of time up to the point of baking it and allow it to refrigerate until you’re ready to cook it. Once it’s cooked you can either refrigerate the leftovers for up to four days or freeze them for up to three months. Double up this recipe and make one just to freeze.
- Versatility – This recipe can be made on the charcoal or gas grill, the smoker, or baked in the oven.
What is Marsala Wine?
Marsala wine is used in both the meatloaf itself, and also the mushroom marsala gravy. Marsala wine is a fortified wine from Sicily that is often served as an aperitif. It’s a versatile kitchen staple that can be used in both savory dishes such as chicken marsala we well as desserts like tiramisu.
Marsala wine can be broken into three categories, secco which is the driest, semi-secco which is a semi-dry wine and slightly sweeter, and dolce which is the sweetest. For this recipe you will want to use a dry Marsala, although some grocery stores you’ll simply find it just labeled as marsala wine.
Because this Italian wine is fortified with brandy, it does have a slightly higher alcohol content than other varieties of wine. While most of the alcohol does cook out, I will list the substitution below so you can easily adapt this recipe to your family’s tastes.
How to Make Turkey Meatloaf Marsala
- Sauté – Heat a large skillet over medium heat with your olive oil. Add your mirepoix, the onions, celery, and carrots. Let them sweat out until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are beginning to get soft, about five minutes. Add your mushrooms, garlic, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes and stir. Let the mushroom mixture cook until they release their liquid, 3-5 minutes.
- Deglaze – Add the marsala wine and stir your vegetables. Let the cook until most of the wine has evaporated. You’re infusing the with the flavor of the wine while allowing the alcohol to cook off. Remove the pan from the heat and stir your panko breadcrumbs and fresh herbs into the vegetable mixture. This will rehydrate the breadcrumbs and help cool down the vegetables. Let the mixture cool completely.
- Mix – Once your vegetables have cooled add them to a large bowl along with the ground turkey, Italian turkey sausage, whisked egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt, and Worcestershire sauce. Gently fold the meat in onto itself until the mixture is just combined. You don’t want to over work the meat but instead keep it light, airy, and loose.
- Heat – Heat a skillet over medium heat. Form a small flat patty with the meat mixture, allowing it to brown on both sides and cool through. Go ahead and eat your chef snack and test for seasoning. If you need to add any additional salt, Worcestershire, or red pepper go ahead.
- Chill – Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the meatloaf mixture onto the pan and form into a loaf shape. Allow the meatloaf to chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of thirty minutes. This will allow the flavors to marry and for it to hold its shape. Especially when using a more delicate meat like ground turkey you want it to be cold.
- Cook – Preheat your oven or grill to 350 degrees. If making this on the charcoal grill you want to bank your charcoal to one side. If cooking this on a gas grill only ignite some of your burners leaving a cooler zone. You want to let this cook indirect. Let it cook for 55-60 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 160.
- Rest – Lightly tent your meatloaf with foil and let it rest for ten minutes. Because of carry over cooking it will continue to cook to 165 degrees while also letting the juices redistribute. Remember, we want juicy meatloaf!
- Serve – Slice up your meatloaf and let that marsala gravy flow!
How to Make Mushroom Marsala Gravy
This gravy takes the turkey marsala meatloaf over the top but is also equally delicious on other things such as pork chops, mashed potatoes, or just devoured with a spoon. It comes together in just a few simple steps and can be made ahead of time. Keep it refrigerated until ready to serve. Simply reheat it on medium-low heat in a saucepan while continually stirring.
- Brown – Heat a skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat with one tablespoon of your butter, allowing it to melt. Add your mushrooms and let them brown, only stirring occasionally. Don’t rush the process. Once brown turn the heat to medium add the remaining butter, salt, pepper, shallots, and garlic and let it cook until translucent and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Roux – Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture and stir continuously. Let it cook for a couple of minutes until the flour smells a little nutty.
- Marsala – Slowly pour in the marsala wine while continually stirring. The mixture will instantly become thick. Keep stirring for 2 minutes, allowing some of the alcohol to cook off.
- Simmer – Add a cup of your chicken stock at a time while stirring, waiting for it to incorporate until you add the next. Once all of the liquid has been added keep stirring. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to thicken, about 5 minutes.
- Finishing Touch – Stir in your herbs and heavy cream. Taste and add any additional seasoning.
How to Substitute the Marsala
If you do not cook with wine, you can still make this recipe! For both the meatloaf itself and also the marsala gravy you can replace the marsala wine with chicken broth. When it comes to making the gravy skip the step of allowing your alcohol to cook out and just add a little broth at a time until smooth and lump free.
Tips From the Beach
- Size Matters – You want to make sure that all of your vegetables are finely diced for this turkey meatloaf recipe. You want to keep them similar to the size of the grind of your ground meat. You can either finely dice or shred your carrots. It’s easier to disguise them from kids and vegetable adverse adults if they’re grated. When it comes to the mushrooms if you don’t want to finely dice them add them to your food processor and just pulse them.
- Don’t Over Mix! – Always be gentle when mixing your meatloaf or meatballs. This is what helps give them that delicate texture. Having some of the components already mixed makes this step easier. Combining your panko with the vegetables, whisking your egg…
- Taste Test – It’s impossible to season your meatloaf once it’s been cooked. Whether you’re making meatballs or a meatloaf always cook off a small test patty. If you feel it needs more salt maybe give it a splash more Worcestershire for that umami.
- A Note on the Mushrooms – Plain white button mushrooms work just fine for this recipe, but different types of mushrooms will bring even more flavor. While I recommend cremini/baby Bella mushrooms for both the meatloaf and gravy just because they’re so meaty and accessible, I usually fo a combination of baby Bellas and shiitakes for even more flavor. Use what you like and what looks good at the store.
- Cheese Please – This meatloaf recipe calls for Parmigiano-Reggiano. If you just have domestic parmesan, that totally works fine. However, no pre shredded cheese please. It needs to be freshly grated by hand for the best flavor and texture.
- Skip the cooking wine – Marsala is an inexpensive wine you can find in most grocery stores. I get mine from Trader Joe’s for like $7.99. You might have to hunt it up. It’s usually next to the sherry, but it should be in the wine aisle. Do not use marsala that is labeled cooking wine. It not only has added sodium in it but also has other ingredients such as vinegar. It will affect the final finished dish.
- Add Smoke – This recipe can be made on your smoker. You can also add that magical ingredient of smoke by adding wood chips to your charcoal once you have poured them. If cooking this on a gas grill create a foil pack by wrapping a cup of smoking chips in foil and carefully poking several holes in the top with a fork. Place it on the ignited burner and allow it to heat up along with your grill.
For a more classic meatloaf recipe be sure to check out Bourbon Glazed Meatloaf.Print
Turkey Meatloaf Marsala
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 8–10 1x
Tender, savory, herbaceous, and delicate Turkey Meatloaf Marsala combines the ultimate comfort food with a decadent cascade of creamy mushroom marsala gravy.
Turkey Meatloaf Marsala
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
- 1/2 cup carrots, finely diced or shredded
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
- 1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
- 1 pound ground turkey, 93% lean recommended
- 1 pound bulk Italian turkey sausage
- 1 large egg whisked
- 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Creamy Mushroom Marsala Gravy
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup AP flour
- 3/4 cup dry marsala wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, leaves only, chopped
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
Turkey Meatloaf Marsala
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat with the olive oil. Add your onions, carrots, and celery. Allow to cook until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are becoming tender, 2-4 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, garlic, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and softened, about 4 minutes.
- Pour in your wine and allow it to come to a simmer. Let it cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3-5 minutes. There will be some liquid.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the panko, parsley, and basil. Let the mixture cool completely while the breadcrumbs hydrate.
- Add the ground turkey, Italian turkey sausage, parmesan, salt, Worcestershire, and vegetable mixture to a large bowl. Gently mix together, folding it in over on itself until just combined.
- Heat a skillet on medium and add a small amount of olive oil. Break off a piece of the meat mixture and form it into a patty. Let both sides brown and cook through. Give it a taste. Adjust your seasoning in your meatloaf as needed.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the meat mixture onto the baking pan and form it into a loaf.
- Let the meatloaf chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to over night.
- Heat your oven or grill to 375. If cooking this on the charcoal grill bank your charcoal to one side creating a cooler zone. If using a gas grill only ignite some of your burners creating two zones. Place your meatloaf on indirect heat.
- Let the meatloaf cook for 50-60 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees.
- Remove from the heat and lightly tent the meatloaf with foil allowing it to rest for 10 10 minutes. It will continue to cook to 165.
- Slice your meatloaf and serve it with the mushroom gravy. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
Creamy Mushroom Marsala Gravy
- Heat a skillet or saucepan over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp of butter.
- Add the mushrooms. Let them cook until they’ve released their liquid and have begun to brown, only stirring occasionally, about 6-8 minutes.
- Turn the heat to medium. Add the remaining butter, shallots, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for two minutes until the shallots are translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
- Sprinkle the flour over the top. Stir continually until it becomes a little nutty smelling, about 2 minutes.
- Slowly pour in the marsala wine while stirring. Continue to stir for 2 minutes. It will be very thick and sticky while you let some of the alcohol begin to burn off.
- Slowly pour in the chicken stock stirring continuously. Continue to stir until it comes to a boil. Let it boil for a couple of minutes until it has thickened.
- Turn the heat to low. Stir in the fresh herbs and heavy cream. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
- You can pulse the mushrooms in the food processor to make sure they are finely chopped.
- Make sure that you allow your meatloaf to refrigerate before cooking it. This will allow it to firm up, hold its shape, and for all of the ingredients to marry.
- You can make the gravy a day or two in advance. Keep it refrigerated in an airtight container. When ready to serve reheat it in a saucepan on low while continually stirring.
- Feel free to add smoking chips to your charcoal grill, or create a foil pack with wood chips if cooking this on a gas grill.
- Prep Time: 45
- Cook Time: 60
- Category: Entree
- Method: Roasting
- Cuisine: American
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