This easy Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe 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!
The Best Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe
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
In other words, preheat your oven, spray a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray, shred your turkey and cheese (or cheeses!), and get the veggies cleaned, chopped, and ready to go.
At the same time, it’s probably a good idea to bring a large pot of salted water to a boil so that it’s ready and you can cook your spaghetti noodles.
2. Cook the vegetables
Begin by grabbing your largest heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or pan and set it over medium heat. Cook the onions and mushrooms in a little olive oil and butter until softened, then add the minced garlic and the white wine. Continue to cook until the wine has reduced by approximately half.
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.
Oh yes, what’s a roux? It’s when fat and flour are cooked together and used to thicken sauces, soups, or stews.
So, melt the remaining butter and sprinkle everything with flour. Mix it all together until combined.
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. Bring to a low simmer then reduce 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.
Optional– sprinkle with buttery breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs in addition to cheese for a golden brown, crispy, crunchy top!
7. Bake and serve
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. Remove from the oven and serve!
Leftovers? Delicious! for up to 3-4 days when stored properly in the refrigerator. You may also freeze your prepared pre-cooked turkey tetrazzini to keep the gift of leftovers coming months after.
More casserole recipes to love
If you try making this Easy Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe
- 5 cups cooked turkey (shredded)
- 1 pound (16 ounces) dry spaghetti noodles
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 tbsp butter (divided)
- 1 medium yellow onion (minced)
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms (sliced)
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2½ cups low-sodium chicken stock (or homemade turkey stock)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
- 2 tsp fresh thyme (minced)
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups white cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 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.)