This Ground Turkey Pasta Recipe is a super easy, cheesy, and flavorful weeknight dinner made with lean ground turkey and pasta smothered in a creamy tomato sauce. Guaranteed to have the whole family begging for seconds!
Easy Ground Turkey Pasta
Easy pasta recipes like this one are fast becoming my go-to dinners for busy weeknights – or anytime I’m unsure what I feel like making for dinner. Quick and delicious, it’s also one of my favorite ways to use up leftover veggie scraps, helping to waste less and spend less money on groceries each month.
Cheesy, creamy, and filled with loads of ground turkey, this ground turkey pasta is a true winner. Filled with simple ingredients, it tastes like restaurant-quality pasta, minus the hefty price tag.
My 7-year old, not usually a fan of any type of tomato-based pasta sauce, licked his plate clean and asked for seconds. Perfect served with a light green salad or some roasted veggies, the whole family will love this comforting ground turkey pasta.
How to Make Ground Turkey Pasta
- Cook noodles in a large pot of salted water according to package instructions. After the pasta has finished cooking, reserve 1 cup of boiling pasta water before draining.
- Grab a large pan or Dutch oven to cook everything in.
- First cook the onion in a little olive oil, then add and cook the ground turkey.
- Add the garlic, season, and sprinkle with flour (use gluten-free flour if you need to). Mix, then add the chicken broth and tomato sauce.
- Bring to a simmer.
- Add the cooked pasta and half-and-half (or heavy cream). Thin the sauce with reserved pasta water, if desired.
- Stir in some of the cheese and top with the rest. Allow the cheese to melt and serve. So easy, right?
That’s all it takes to a delicious, winning, cheesy ground turkey pasta dinner.
Can I make Ground Turkey Pasta Gluten-free?
Absolutely. In fact, nowadays there are several gluten-free pasta alternatives including chickpeas pasta, lentil pasta, bean pasta, and I think I’ve even seen cauliflower pasta! Any of these options would work great in this ground turkey pasta.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- This recipe is also wonderful when made with lean ground beef or ground sausage in place of ground turkey.
- I used penne pasta to make this recipe, but feel free to use any small or medium-size pasta shape including bowtie, shells, rotini, fusilli, rigatoni, etc.
- For best results, use at least half-and-half or heavy cream. Anything lower in fat may separate when combined with the tomato sauce.
- Add additional veggies if you feel up to it. Some of my favorites include peas, mushrooms, kale, spinach, and asparagus.
I hope you LOVE this easy ground turkey pasta recipe! It’s:
& full of protein!
Perfect whenever you’re not sure what to make for dinner, I love serving this pasta with a small green salad or fruit salad.
Looking for more delicious pasta recipes? Try these reader favorites:
- Easy Bacon Broccoli Pasta
- Creamy Ham and Pea Pasta
- Creamy Buffalo Chicken Pasta Recipe
- Easy Pasta Primavera Recipe
- Penne Arrabbiata Recipe
- One-Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe
Have you tried making this Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Ground Turkey Pasta
- 12 oz penne pasta - or pasta of choice
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion - diced
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 2 teaspoon salt - divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 5 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- fresh parsley - to garnish
- red chili flakes - to garnish (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (I usually add at least 1 tablespoon of salt) and cook the pasta 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions. After the pasta has finished cooking, reserve 1 cup of boiling pasta water before draining. Set the pasta aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Cook the onions until soft and translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the ground turkey and cook over medium to medium-high heat, breaking it into small bite-size pieces. Once cooked, season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and stir in the minced garlic. Mix to combine and continue to cook for an additional minute or so.
- Sprinkle the ground turkey with 2 tablespoons of flour and mix well to combine. Pour in the chicken broth and the tomato sauce and let it come to a simmer.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pan and pour in the half-and-half. Stir to combine.
- For a thinner sauce, slowly add additional chicken broth or reserved pasta water. For a creamier sauce, add additional half-and-half.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in half of the mozzarella cheese and half of the cheddar cheese and top with the remaining half cup of each.
- Reduce heat to low and cover your pan or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid until the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and enjoy!
- You may also make this recipe with ground beef.
- For an extra creamy sauce and pasta, swap the half-and-half for heavy cream.
- For bubbly, golden cheese on top, preheat your oven to 400° F. After your pasta has been assembled and topped with cheese, transfer your (oven-safe) pan or skillet to the oven. Cook for about 5-10 minutes or so, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- The small cherry tomatoes that you see in the photos were added last minute as they would have otherwise spoiled in the refrigerator. Feel free to do the same with any vegetables you may have that are about to spoil.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
It was pretty good. I added spinach, oregano and a little bit more salt. Other than that I followed the recipe as is.
Ange Hamilton says
This is an incredible recipe and is now one of my family’s favorites! Thank you!!!!
Amanda Waltz says
I made this with a small can of tomato sauce with a partial can of water and a squeeze of tomato paste. The whole family LOVED it!!
Excellent taste. I added more pasta though. Thanks for sharing!
I used my home canned yellow tomato sauce in place of the commercial sauce and this was excellent! So make it your own. Very versatile. Five stars.
I was looking for a recipe to use up my ground turkey. Thought I’d give this a try. OMG! Everyone absolutely loved it. I did use heavy cream. I added fresh spinach and tomatoes and used my own chicken bone broth to it to try to make it a little healthier (less sodium). I have pinned this to my favorites. Will be adding this to my monthly menu. Thank you so much for another Winner Winner Dinner!
Made this tonight using low sodium chicken stock and no salt added tomato sauce to help reduce the sodium content of 1700mg! I also didn’t add salt to boiling water. Turned out really good for family!
Kelly S. says
Made a gluten free version. Subbed out tomato pesto sauce instead of the plain tomato sauce & added chopped asparagus since I had it in the fridge. Amazing dish!! My whole family loved it. Will make this again for sure!
Jessica Randhawa says
Thanks for the lovely feedback, Kelly 😀
Great recipe! I used Mexican cheese blend because that’s what I had. It turned out terrific. Perfect for potlucks and family dinners. I will definitely try this recipe with beef and chicken.
I am allergic to eggs, beef, pork, barley, rye, crab, shrimp and apricot. I struggle with meals that taste good and are flavorful. I used ground chicken instead of turkey. This is the first meal I’ve enjoyed in months, only wish it could be a bit creamier, any advice on that? And feel free to point me to other recipes!!
Jessica Randhawa says
Thanks, Katelyn 🙂
While I havnt tried this on this specific recipe, cream cheese may make it a bit creamer if desired.
I just made this. Was super easy and yummy. Added oregano and mint flakes, and shredded carrots and finely chopped spinach.
Didn’t have tomato sauce, so I subbed paste and a little more water. Also added a bit of fresh minced ginger along with the garlic.
I don’t really like ground turkey but trying to eat healthy so gave this a try and have to say my husband and I loved it will definitely make again
Jessica Randhawa says
Thank you for the lovely feedback Debbie 🙂
Maria K says
Great way to use ground Turkey. I liked the creaminess of the dish. I added some lemon zest and cream cheese instead of the full portion of cheese in the recipe. I also did not see tomatoes in the recipe but saw on the photo. I think they would be tasty in this recipe too. Thanks for sharing!
Jessica Randhawa says
Thanks for the feedback, Maria 🙂 . As for the tomatoes, per the Notes Section of the recipe card:
The small cherry tomatoes that you see in the photos were added last minute as they would have otherwise spoiled in the refrigerator. Feel free to do the same with any vegetables you may have that are about to spoil.
Amazing!!! It easy to make and it doesn’t take long. My fam love it!
Just made your ground turkey pasta and OMG, it was absolutely amazing and a family fav now! I made a few tweaks that I thought I would share with you. First of all, I added mushrooms. Then instead of chicken broth, I used beef broth. And instead of tomato sauce, I used a jar of Catelli Romano cheese pasta sauce. And for the cheese, I substituted with a bag of Kraft Habanero cheese and WOW! Thank you for creating an easy and versatile recipe! We love it! Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes!
Jessica Randhawa says
Thank you for the amazing feedback Nancy 😀