This tasty and tender Chicken Meatloaf gives classic beef meatloaf a run for its money! Crafted with lean ground chicken and topped with a traditional tangy ketchup glaze, it’s a delightful and healthy alternative that is destined to become a family favorite!
Healthy Chicken Meatloaf Recipe
In the world of comfort food, few dishes can match the hearty homestyle satisfaction of a perfectly baked ground beef meatloaf. But what if there was a lighter, juicier, and just as flavorful alternative!?? Meet my chicken meatloaf recipe! It’s a mouthwatering take on the classic that’s lighter on the calories and fat, but not on the flavor!
Furthermore, this chicken meatloaf is perfect for family meal prepping. You can easily prepare it ahead of time and serve it the next day or slice it into portions for the week. Whether you’re looking for a lighter meal option or simply want to try something new, chicken meatloaf is a delicious choice that combines the comfort of meatloaf with the goodness of chicken.
Why You’ll Love This Chicken Meatloaf
- Easy Recipe! Whether you’re a busy parent looking for a quick weeknight dinner solution or a novice in the kitchen, this chicken meatloaf recipe is incredibly easy and delicious.
- Healthy Delicious Meatloaf! This isn’t a boring chicken meatloaf! It’s a tasty twist on the comforting classic that offers a lighter, leaner alternative without compromising on taste.
- Family Favorite! From the youngest members of the family who might be a bit finicky about their food to adults, this meatloaf wins over the hearts and taste buds of all ages.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Ground Chicken: Forms the base of this meatloaf, offering a lean and flavorful alternative to traditional beef. Feel free to use ground turkey if you like.
- Breadcrumbs: Add structure and help to absorb moisture, which creates a moist and tender texture. Any type of breadcrumbs will work including gluten-free and panko breadcrumbs.
- Milk: Used to soak the breadcrumbs, it contributes to the tenderness and prevents the meatloaf from drying out during baking. You can use dairy-free milk alternatives if needed.
- Onion: Finely chopped or shredded onion adds a savory flavor to the meatloaf. Brown onion works best but any onion you have on hand will do the trick.
- Garlic: Adds pungent depth of flavor. Always use freshly minced garlic cloves for the most aromatic garlicky goodness.
- Egg: Acts as a binding agent that helps to hold the meatloaf together and maintain its shape during baking.
- Ketchup: Provides rich tomato flavor and a hint of sweetness.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Brings a savory and slightly tangy, which enhances the overall taste.
- Herbs: Dried parsley and thyme elevate the meatloaf with their aromatic herby flavor.
- Seasonings: Salt and black pepper are essential seasonings that highlight all the natural flavors.
How To Make Chicken Meatloaf
Making homemade meatloaf is a breeze! It doesn’t require any complex steps or fancy ingredients. It’s the perfect solution for a home-cooked meal that demands minimal effort and delivers maximum flavor.
Preheat The Oven
Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). Then lightly grease a loaf pan or spray it with cooking spray and set it aside. This simple step is important to ensure that your meatloaf doesn’t stick.
Soak The Breadcrumbs
This next step is the secret to keeping your meatloaf moist and tender! In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk. Then leave the mixture to sit for a few minutes until the breadcrumbs have soaked up all the milk.
Make The Meatloaf Mixture
Once the breadcrumbs are ready, combine them together with the ground chicken, onion, garlic, egg, ¼ cup ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, parsley, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Then mix everything together just until combined. It’s important not to overmix as it can make the meatloaf heavy and dense.
Form The Meatloaf
Now, let’s shape a meatloaf! First, transfer the ground chicken mixture into the greased loaf pan and use your hands to form it into a loaf. Then evenly spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of ketchup over the meatloaf and your work is done!
Bake The Meatloaf
With your masterpiece formed, transfer it to the oven to bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Your ground chicken meatloaf is considered fully cooked and is ready once it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Rest And Serve
Once done, remove the chicken meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for a good 10 minutes before slicing into it to serve. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute and keeps it nice and juicy. Then slice it and serve with some side dishes like sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts if you like!
Make-Ahead Chicken Meatloaf
Simply prepare the meatloaf as instructed and, instead of baking it, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. It can be made a day in advance, allowing the flavors to meld together, resulting in a more flavorful dish.
When you’re ready to enjoy it, just preheat the oven and bake it as directed. This make-ahead method is especially handy for busy schedules, saving time and reducing stress around meal prep.
Frequently Asked Questions
For added flavor and texture, consider incorporating sautéed mushrooms and onions. You can also mix in finely chopped vegetables like carrots and celery. Also, feel free to experiment with different herbs and seasonings as well as other sauces like BBQ sauce in place of the ketchup. Just remember to keep the ratio of ingredients about the same.
The inclusion of the soaked breadcrumbs in milk is key to the meatloaf’s tenderness. Also, it’s important to avoid overmixing the meat mixture, as excessive handling can result in a denser texture.
Overmixing the meat mixture can lead to tightly bound proteins and result in a tough, rubbery texture. Additionally, using lean ground chicken breast with a super low-fat content can contribute to a drier and less tender meatloaf.
- Let the breadcrumbs soak. Make sure the breadcrumbs absorb all the milk before making the meat mixture. This helps the meatloaf to stay tender and moist.
- Don’t overmix the meat mixture. It’s important to be gentle when combining all the ingredients together to avoid overmixing, which will make the meatloaf dense.
- Check for doneness. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to ensure that the meatloaf has reached an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
- Rest before slicing. Let the chicken meatloaf sit for about 10 minutes after baking. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier meatloaf when sliced.
- Make mini meatloaves. If you prefer individual servings or quicker cooking times, form the meat mixer into mini meatloaves.
You can store any leftover chicken meatloaf in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It’s also possible to freeze the meatloaf tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, simply thaw it in the fridge if frozen, and reheat it in the oven at 350°F (175°C) or in the microwave on medium heat.
Discover Other Ground Chicken Recipes
- Asian Lettuce Wraps
- Chicken Meatballs Alfredo
- Firecracker Chicken Meatballs
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Craving More? Follow Along:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly grease a loaf pan.
- In a small bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for a few minutes until the milk is absorbed.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, soaked breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, egg, ¼ cup of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix the ingredients together until they are just combined. Don't overmix as it can make the meatloaf dense.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan and shape it into a loaf. Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of ketchup over the top of the meatloaf.
- Bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
- Let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Tips & Notes:
- Ground Chicken: Ensure it’s well mixed but avoid overmixing to maintain a light texture.
- Breadcrumbs: Can substitute with panko or crushed crackers if preferred.
- Milk: Use any milk of choice; dairy-free alternatives like almond or soy milk work too.
- Ketchup Topping: Feel free to add a bit of brown sugar or honey to the ketchup for a sweeter glaze. You can also use your favorite BBQ sauce if you prefer.
- Resting Time: Allowing the meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes helps in retaining the juices, making it more flavorful and moist.