Ground chicken meatloaf is healthier than traditional meatloaf but still packs big flavors in each tender bite. If you have a pantry full of seasoning and some ground chicken lying around you are ready to bake up a new family favorite! Best of all, this comfort food is easy on the calories, so you can feel good about enjoying each savory bite.
What is it?
Chicken meatloaf is prepared much in the same way as classic beef meatloaf recipes, ground meat is combined with breadcrumbs and seasonings and then baked in the oven until done. The obvious difference is the primary protein is chicken rather than beef.
I tried a variety of glazes and toppings for this meatloaf, but ultimately, my favorite was the same glaze I use in my classic meatloaf recipe. It is delectably sweet and tangy, and perfect for making the best chicken meatloaf!
In hindsight, I think using a gravy-like sauce such I created for my cocktail meatballs, would have tasted phenomenal as well, had I thought to test it. Perhaps, with a handful of herbs tossed in as well... just an idea to spur your own creativity!
Ingredients You'll Need
- Ground Chicken - This easy recipe will work with other poultry, such as ground turkey, as well. Otherwise, you can also pulse boneless chicken breasts in a food processor as well to create ground chicken breast, but that will be drier due to the lack of fat.
- Breadcrumbs - I recommend plain bread crumbs, but panko breadcrumbs can be substituted.
- Onion - A yellow onion is best.
- Shredded Parmesan cheese - Grated Parmesan cheese is equally as good.
- Fresh Parsley
- Tomato Paste - I prefer Paste over tomato sauce because it has more flavor and less liquid.
- Worcestershire Sauce - Soy sauce can be substituted.
- Seasonings: Table Salt, Garlic Powder (or garlic cloves), ground Sage, and ground Black Pepper
- Meatloaf Glaze - Ketchup, Brown Sugar, Worcestershire Sauce
How to Prevent Chicken Meatloaf from Being Dry
The biggest concern when making a meatloaf with lean meat is how to prevent it from being too dry. Fat adds a lot of calories, but it also adds moisture and flavor.
Since the ground chicken doesn't contain much fat, the moisture in this meatloaf comes from the breadcrumbs soaking up the milk, as well as the shredded Parmesan cheese which will melt into the meatloaf.
How to make it
Prepare the meatloaf mixture by crumbling ground meat into a large bowl. Separately combine the dry ingredients then sprinkle them on the chicken. Then add the wet ingredients with the ground chicken mixture and combine everything together.
Note: Combining them separately helps ensure more even distribution of the seasonings.
Next, prepare the meatloaf glaze. Combine ketchup with brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and mix together in a small bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of glaze to the bottom of your bread pan, then place the meat mixture on top and form it into a loaf.
Tip: It is easiest to form the chicken loaf in a bread pan, but you can use a rimmed baking sheet as well. Whichever you use I recommend lining it with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
How Long to Bake Chicken Meatloaf at 350 degrees
It is particularly important to bake chicken meatloaf long enough, since you don't want to serve your family uncooked chicken. The internal temperature of the meatloaf needs to reach 165 degrees, which will take approximately 90 minutes of cook time at 350 degrees.
It is important to note, the cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your meatloaf, so I always recommend using a digital meat thermometer to monitor your progress.
Tip: Let your meatloaf rest for 5-10 minutes after removing from the oven. Not only does this allow it to cool slightly, it also allows the juices to settle inside the meatloaf.
Chicken Meatloaf Recipe FAQs
Meatloaf leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, or wrapped in plastic wrap. It is best to reheat individual slices of leftover meatloaf individually. You can do this in the microwave, or in a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Best of all, a leftover slice of meatloaf makes a great meatloaf sandwich the next day!
Yes, ground chicken is great for making a healthier meatloaf. Since ground chicken has less fat than beef, the meatloaf will be lower in calories. Ground turkey or ground pork can also be used.
Most commonly, fat is needed to make a moist meatloaf, however, when making a ground chicken meatloaf, it will have noticeably less fat. To get around that we add moisture through other fats and liquid elsewhere in the recipe, such as tomato paste, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and milk.
Plain breadcrumbs are most commonly used as a filler in meatloaf. They are often considered to be the best filler because they have a fine texture, little flavor, and work as a great binder. Other options are panko, or oatmeal.
Chicken meatloaf is healthier than traditional meatloaf because ground chicken is exceptionally lean. Ground chicken has roughly half the calories as the same-sized portion of 80/20 ground beef. This delicious dinner tastes great and is better for you!
What to serve with it
- Fresh vegetables such as snap peas.
- Roasted broccoli and cauliflower
- Sweet potatoes and Brussel sprouts
- French Onion Mashed potatoes
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Ground Chicken Meatloaf
- 2 lbs Ground Chicken
- 1 cup Breadcrumbs
- 1 cup Milk
- 2 Eggs (beaten)
- ½ cup grated Onion
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup chopped Parsley
- 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 ¼ teaspoons Table Salt
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground Sage
- ¼ teaspoon ground Black Pepper
- ½ cup Ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Gently crumble chicken into a large bowl. In a separate dish, combine all dry ingredients and mix together, then sprinkle over ground chicken. Add remaining wet ingredients to the raw meatloaf mix and thoroughly combine.
- In a separate dish, prepare the meatloaf glaze by mixing ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce together.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of glaze to the bottom of a bread pan and add the chicken meatloaf mixture into the pan and form into a loaf. Paint the top of the meatloaf with the remaining glaze.
- Bake in the oven uncovered for 90 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees with a digital meat thermometer.
- Remove from the oven, let the meatloaf rest 5-10 minutes, slice and serve.
This recipe was originally published March 11, 2019 on FoxValleyFoodie.com.