Slow Cooker Meatloaf Recipe

If you love meatloaf but you’re busy, this slow cooker meatloaf recipe cooks itself in your slow cooker!

I couldn’t help but do another slow cooker recipe before the season ends.

Clean Eating Slow Cooker Meatloaf sitting on a platter and shown up close. It has a few slices off the front that are laying nicely on the platter in front of the loaf.

Mini Chef is down for the count with a head cold and bad congestion, and I’m fighting seasonal allergies right and left (thank you, San Francisco Bay Area!). My husband is covering extra shifts at work for an employee who injured himself, and I have about 90 recipes left to go for my upcoming super foods cookbook and less than 8 weeks to create them all. (June 2012 release). So, right now, the slow cooker is definitely my friend. Even with this incredibly beautiful weather, we’re having right now. Blue skies and sunshine everywhere you look. In fact, I have to seriously question if we’ve even had a winter at all here in California. I swear we’ve had about 2 days of rain and not a drop more. But I digress…

I’m not sure why, but meatloaf is never the first thing I think of when I think about what to make for dinner. I just didn’t grow up with it, so it’s not something I crave or remember from my childhood. I do like it, I just never think to make it. But that’s all changed because this recipe is now a family favorite, me included.

While several of my slow cooker recipes require only a relatively short cooking time, this one will cook all day for you while you’re away at work (up to 10 hours!). And the longer it cooks, the better the house smells. It’s really pretty amazing stuff (she says, ever so humbly).

Clean Eating Slow Cooker Meatloaf shown from overhead, looking down onto the platter. It's sliced into chunky slices and is ready to serve.

More Healthy Recipes

Slow Cooker Meatloaf Recipe

Clean Eating Slow Cooker Meatloaf Recipe

Slow Cooker Meatloaf

Let your weekday meatloaf cook itself in your slow cooker! It’s easy and totally delicious!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 18 servings
Calories: 160kcal
Author: Tiffany McCauley


  • 3 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 cup whole wheat Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or ½ cup grated)
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • salt to taste after cooking


  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well using your hands to knead.
  • Lightly spray your slow cooker with a bit of olive oil and place the meat inside, molding it into a meatloaf form. (My slow cooker was a 5 quart.)
  • Press your fingers between the meat and the edge of the slow cooker to bring the meat a finger’s width away from the side of you insert. So basically, you are creating about a 1/2 inch space around the edge of the meat so that the sides of the meatloaf don’t touch the sides of the slow cooker.
  • Cook on Low for 8-10 hours. Slice into 18 pieces and serve with sweet potatoes and a vegetable for a complete, comfort food meal.


Please note that the nutrition data is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 293mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2450IU | Vitamin C: 3.6mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1.8mg

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel


Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

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  1. My sister hates meatloaf. I mean she HATES it! But she loved this version!!! My entire family loved this recipe. It was so flavorful and filling. Plus, we had plenty of leftovers for later in the week.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Awesome! I’m glad she liked it so much! It’s one of my favorites.

  2. graciouspantry says:

    Nope! No liquid! Make it just as the recipe states. There is typically enough liquid in the meat anyway.

  3. graciouspantry says:

    Yes, it’s vital to understand how your slow cooker cooks.

  4. Pingback: Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf « Forcing the Bloom
  5. graciouspantry says:

    My pleasure! I love hearing stories like that! Glad everyone enjoyed it. 🙂

  6. Going to try this recipe this week!

  7. Would I be able to make this in the oven? I do have a slow cooker but it’s at another house and I have no way of transporting it. If so, how would I go about it?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      It could work, but I have another meatloaf recipe here that is for the oven. Probably better to use that.

  8. kel white says:

    I have never actually eatten meatloaf so this is going to be fun to try!

  9. Whitney Jankiewicz says:

    This is in the pot now for Christmas Eve dinner…. so excited!

  10. leigh currie says:

    I plan on making this on Sunday, and was wondering if the lean ground turkey is the one that has almost 0% fat and is white when cooked, or is it the ground turkey that has the higher fat content and is more moist? Being that it is hard to please my son and husband when it comes to meatloaf, I wanted to make sure I used the right kind of ground turkey. Thank you for the great recipes.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Get the higher fat content meat. It tastes better and will hold up better for long term cooking.

  11. I have a question…We love this crock pot meatloaf…but we have switch more to the paleo lifestyle. What could I use instead of the WW bread crumbs? I didn’t know if a cup of almond flour would be too much
    What do you think?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      I think you could probably go with 3/4 cups almond meal and add an extra egg. I’m just guessing here though. You may have to play around with it a bit. In fact, probably the best thing to do is just leave the bread crumbs out all together and not make any substitutes. That’s where I would start anyway…

  12. I plan on making this today, but only purchased 20 ounces of turkey. It is only my husband and I, we thought 18 servings would be too much. How long would you suggest we keep it in the slow cooker? Thanks for all the great recipes!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Raw meat generally takes from 4-6 hours to cook fully in a slow cooker on low. The only exception would be if you have a very small amount of food in a very large slow cooker. A slow cooker should always be at least half to 3/4’s full in order to cook properly. Otherwise, it will cook quicker and the food will be dry.

  13. Sandy Rutkowski says:

    Is the Panko gluten free?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sandy – No. It’s bread crumbs. But you could make your own from gluten free bread if you wanted.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lisa – Nope!

  14. Happy Home Fairy says:

    Hi! This looks so great! Can you substitute a different cheese for the Parmesan? Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      HHF – Sure!

  15. Hi! I’m making this for tonight and didn’t get it cooking in time for dinner. Could I cook it on high at first then turn it to low? If so, what would you suggest. Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Hi Anna,

      I would just cook it on high. Don’t worry about the low setting. Hope that helps!

  16. Can I substitute the turkey with ground beef?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kimmii – Sure!

  17. i would like to cut this recipe in half because there are only 2 of us. Should I cut the crockpot time in half as well? Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Leah – That really depends on the size of your slow cooker. If you have a 4-6 quart pot, then you’ll probably want to check the temp of the meatloaf at the 4 or 5 hour mark. It needs to reach at least 165 F. to be safe to eat. If you have a smaller crock, you would cook closer to the full time.

  18. First of all, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this recipe~it’s my go-to meatloaf. Have you ever cooked this in the oven? If so, what temperature and for how long? Thanks!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jackie – How awesome!! I haven’t tried it personally, but I would just put it in a loaf pan and cook it at 350 F. for about 40-50 minutes or until it reached at least 165 F. on a meat thermometer. Let me know how it turns out for you! 🙂