The Real Reason Your Turkey Meatloaf Is Mushy

Burgers, meatballs, tacos — if a dish is made with ground beef, it can most likely be made with ground turkey instead. That includes meatloaf, too. Swapping fat-free ground turkey for ground beef can be an easy way to consume less red meat and can also make your meal lower in fat. LiveStrong reports that a 93 percent lean ground beef patty, for instance, contains 3.1 grams of saturated fat while the same size patty made of fat-free ground turkey contains just 0.6 grams.

While you can swap equal parts ground turkey for ground beef (i.e. use a 1:1 ratio when substituting), ground turkey has a slightly different texture and consistency than ground beef. This requires you to make a few tweaks to your recipe if you want the perfectly chewy meatloaf, especially since one of the most common complaints amongst people who use turkey instead of beef is that their meatloaf turns out too soft. Why does that happen? Here's the reason and how you can avoid it.

The bread is likely to blame in mushy turkey meatloaf

No one wants a mushy meatloaf (yuck). If you notice this happens to your own ground turkey meatloaf, it's likely because you're using fresh bread instead of breadcrumbs, Chowhound chefs say. In a thread, they explained that ground turkey has less structure than ground beef, so it's more apt to get soft and fall apart while baking. An easy solution is to always use breadcrumbs or bread that's at least a day old rather than fresh bread. If you only have fresh bread, you can simply toast it in the oven to toughen it up.

Frugal Cooking adds that it could be the amount of bread you're using that's the problem, too. Too much bread will lead to a less-than-ideal loaf, so if you're struggling with a mushy texture, you can merely play around with the filler-to-meat ratio. The less bread or breadcrumbs you use, the firmer your meatloaf will be when it comes out of the oven.