Turkey Tetrazzini is a creamy, comforting, crowd-pleasing pasta casserole and a delicious way to use up leftover turkey. Made with chunks of leftover turkey and spaghetti noodles in a creamy mushroom and cheese sauce, it’s an easy weeknight meal the whole family will love!
You can do a lot with leftover turkey, but one of my favorite ways to really make leftovers last is with a big pan of creamy noodles covered with cheese.
Turkey tetrazzini has been a post-turkey dinner tradition in my family since before I was born. My dad learned how to make it from my grandmother who made hers with canned cream of mushroom soup, chopped pimentos, and gobs of shredded cheddar cheese.
While her version – the one firmly rooted in my childhood memories – was a good one, I prefer this homemade version better. Better flavor and less processed ingredients. And if big forkfuls of sliced mushrooms aren’t your thing, dice them up into small little pieces. You’ll hardly notice they’re there are all.
How to Make Turkey Tetrazzini
1. Get organized
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Shred the turkey and cheese (or cheeses!), and chop the veggies. At the same time, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Soften the vegetables
Cook the onions, mushrooms, and garlic until softened in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or skillet set over medium heat. Stir in the white wine, bring to a simmer, and reduce by half.
Substitutes for wine in cooking
This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get from readers. And while every recipe is different, the most common substitutes are water or stock/broth.
3. Prepare the roux
To make our lives super simple, we’re going to leave the onions and mushrooms in the pan – rather than remove them – and just include them as part of the roux.
What is a roux?
Roux is flour and fat (butter, lard, vegetable oil) cooked together and used to thicken sauces, soup, or stew.
Melt the remaining butter with the onions and mushrooms, then sprinkle everything with flour. Mix it all together until combined (see below).
4. Make the sauce
Slowly whisk in the chicken broth followed by the heavy cream (or half-and-half). If you want a super creamy, luscious sauce, add about 4-8 ounces of softened spreadable cream cheese.
Season with salt, black pepper, and fresh thyme and bring to a simmer before reducing the heat to low.
5. Mix it all together
Add the turkey, frozen peas, and half of the cheese to the sauce. Let things simmer and cook for a few minutes before seasoning with additional salt or pepper (and maybe some red pepper flakes), to taste.
Gently mix in the spaghetti noodles with the sauce before transferring everything to your prepared casserole dish. Top with the remaining shredded cheddar cheese.
7. Bake and serve
Transfer to the oven and tent with foil. Bake for 30 minutes covered, then remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve!
Leftover turkey tetrazzini
Leftovers are delicious! Allow it to cool before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
You may also freeze made-ahead, pre-cooked turkey tetrazzini for up to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before baking according to recipe instructions.
- Sprinkle the top with buttery breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs in addition to cheese for a golden brown, crispy, crunchy top!
- Swap the spghetti noodles for any other favorite pasta shape or noodle, like linguini.
- Reserve 1-2 cups of the boiling salted pasta water before draining your noodles. Use it to thin the sauce if it becomes too thick.
- You may also enjoy this chicken tetrazzini recipe.
Have you tried making this Turkey Tetrazzini 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.
Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe
- 5 cups cooked turkey - shredded
- 1 pound (16 ounces) dry spaghetti noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 tablespoon butter - divided
- 1 medium yellow onion - minced
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms - sliced
- 5 cloves garlic - minced
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2½ cups low-sodium chicken stock - or homemade turkey stock
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt - plus more to taste
- 2 teaspoon fresh thyme - minced
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups white cheddar cheese - shredded
- Fresh lemon juice - for serving
- Preheat oven – Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Shred the turkey – gather approximately 5 cups of cooked turkey and shred into small, bite-size pieces (see notes).
- Boil the spaghetti – Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook until just under al dente. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- Sauté the vegetables – Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until starting to soften. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and bring to a simmer. Cook until liquid is reduced by half.
- Prepare the roux – Over medium heat melt the remaining butter with the onions and mushrooms. Sprinkle with flour, whisking continuously to combine the flour with the melted butter, forming a thick paste covering the onions and mushrooms (this is your roux).
- Make the sauce – Whisking continuously to prevent clumping, slowly add the chicken broth. Once all of the chicken or turkey stock has been incorporated, add in the heavy cream. Season with salt, black pepper, and fresh thyme. Bring to a low simmer then reduce heat to low.
- Return the turkey – Add the turkey, frozen peas, and half of the cheese to the sauce and simmer all together for 2-3 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Assemble – Gently mix in the spaghetti noodles and mix before transferring everything to your prepared casserole baking dish. Sprinkle with additional thyme, if desired, and top with the remaining shredded cheddar cheese.
- Bake – Transfer to the oven and tent with foil. Bake for 30 minutes covered, then remove the foil tent and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- Serve – Allow the baking dish to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- Although this is a turkey tetrazzini recipe, boneless chicken will also work when a leftover Thanksgiving turkey isn’t available. Rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken breasts are a great option when you’re in a hurry. You may also poach chicken breasts which take approximately 30 minutes.
- Swap heavy cream for half-and-half
- Trade spaghetti noodles for egg noodles. Be extra careful to cook your noodles at least 2 minutes less than the advised package directions as egg noodles are more likely to fall apart when overcooked.
- Add different flavors with different types of cheeses – parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, shredded Italian blend, etc.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)