Turkey Tetrazzini is one of the best ways to use up that leftover Thanksgiving Turkey. This easy to make turkey pasta dish is one that has a total comfort food flavor that is perfect for using leftover turkey. Chunks of tender turkey, with peas carrots, and pasta in a creamy sauce then baked in a casserole dish for one amazing comfort food to use up those leftovers.
Easy Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe
This pasta casserole is one that I look forward to making each year after a holiday. I purposely get extra large turkeys so we have lots of leftovers to use and make meals out of for days after the holiday.
This easy pasta casserole has tender pieces of turkey mixed with cooked pasta, peas and carrots and then a creamy sauce all mixed together. Then it is topped with cheese and baked in the oven.
This Turkey Tetrazzini recipe uses no “cream of” anything soup, to make it creamy we use a combination of chicken stock, milk, and heavy cream. While I do think condensed soups have their place in making easy pasta casserole recipes, this is not one of them. The sauce is easy to make, starting out with a roux, then adding chicken stock, milk and heavy cream and then the different veggies, I find that the homemade sauce is a much better option then using condensed soups.
Leftover Turkey Recipes
What is Turkey Tetrazzini?
Turkey Tetrazzini is a classic American dish typically made with diced turkey, mushrooms, and pasta in a creamy sauce. After mixing the pasta and the sauce it is then put into a baking dish and topped with cheese and breadcrumbs. The cheese will melt while being baked and with the breadcrumbs form a crunchy topping.
It’s a great way to use leftover turkey. When I make this dish using our Thanksgiving dinner leftovers or our Christmas dinner leftovers I use whatever vegetables I have leftover or frozen vegetables along with the mushrooms.
Variations of this Recipe
Change up the Veggies. The great thing about this recipe is that while the basics of the cream sauce and the turkey are needed, you can change things up when it comes to the veggies that you have on hand easily. You can totally change up the veggies in this if you want to. I normally use frozen peas and carrots mixture, but if you want to use frozen mixed veggies you can too. If you have leftover veggies like roasted carrots, roasted cauliflower, or roasted broccoli you can totally add those into the Turkey Tetrazzini as well.
Use turkey breast. If you do not have any leftover turkey, then you can make a simple roasted turkey breast to use, this will also work with a rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken breasts.
Change up the pasta. I like using spaghetti noodles but you can also use egg noodles or other shaped pasta that you have on hand.
What to serve with Turkey Tetrazzini
What you choose to serve with this pasta dish will be a personal preference. In our house, since I tend to make this recipe with our holiday dinner leftovers I serve it with bread and a salad that is from the holiday dinner. If you are making this as a weeknight meal not after a holiday here are some great side dish options:
- Green Salad. A simple salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette can provide a refreshing contrast to the creamy Tetrazzini. We love copy cat Olive Garden Salad or Caesar Salad as a side dish with this pasta recipe.
- Steamed Vegetables. Serve with a side of steamed broccoli, green beans, or asparagus to add some healthy greens to the meal.
- Garlic Bread or Breadsticks. A side of garlic bread or breadsticks complements the dish by offering a contrast in texture and a savory element.
- Roasted Vegetables. Roasted vegetables like carrots, Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower can add a depth of flavor and a hint of caramelization that pairs well with the creamy pasta.
- Crusty Baguette or Dinner Rolls. Serve warm bread on the side for dipping into the creamy sauce of the Tetrazzini.
Can turkey tetrazzini be made ahead of time?
Yes! You can prep this recipe ahead of time which will make it so you have an easy-to-make dinner after the busy holiday cooking. Prepare the Turkey Tetrazzini as the directions say up until putting it in the baking dish.
Allow the dish to cool to room temperature before storing it. Place the baking dish with the unbaked Tetrazzini tightly covered with plastic wrap or foil in the fridge. It can stay in the refrigerator for up to 24-48 hours before baking.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven, and remove the plastic wrap or foil, and bake in the oven. It may take a few extra minutes to bake going from the cold temperature of being in the fridge.
How to Store Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini
Let the Turkey Tetrazzini cool down to room temperature. Place the leftovers in an airtight container or sealable plastic bags. Store it in the refrigerator and eat within 3-4 days.
Can you Freeze Turkey Tetrazzini?
Yes! Turkey Tetrazzini can be frozen. I like to make a double batch of the recipe and then portion out some of it into individual servings to put in the freezer for the kids to heat up and eat later.
How to Freeze Turkey Tetrazzini
Let the Turkey Tetrazzini cool down to room temperature. Place the leftovers in freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Squeeze out excess air from the bags to prevent freezer burn. Label the containers or bags with the date and contents. It will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Full Meal. To reheat from frozen move the frozen Tetrazzini to the refrigerator 24-48 hours before reheating to thaw. Pour the thawed Turkey Tetrazzini into a baking dish and reheat or you can heat it in the microwave.
Individual servings. If single servings are being frozen, place the serving of Turkey Tetrazzini in the microwave and heat on low heat until heated all the way.
Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe Ingredients
- Spaghetti. I use spaghetti noodles but you can change up the noodles to what you have on hand, linguine is another pasta that works well in this recipe.
- butter. Use salted butter, if you do not have salted butter you can use unsalted butter, just add a pinch of salt when mixing everything together.
- Veggies. I use Fresh mushrooms, frozen peas and carrots mix. But you can use leftover veggies including carrots, onions, and broccoli that you have from making a holiday meal.
- all purpose flour.
- chicken broth
- heavy cream
- Seasonings. salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
- lemon juice
- cooked turkey breast, chopped
- parmesan cheese
- bread crumbs. You can use regular breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs.
How to make Turkey Tetrazzini
Heat oven to 375ºF.
Wash and slice the mushrooms.
Fill a large pot with water and a pinch of salt (salted water is best for cooking pasta) and heat over high heat and bring the water to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, break the spaghetti in half and cook to al dente, save 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in a separate bowl and drain the rest. After draining put the pasta back into the pasta pot.
While cooking the pasta, In a large skillet over medium-high heat add 1 tablespoon of butter and the mushrooms until the mushrooms have browned, remove from pan, and set them aside.
Add four tablespoons of butter to the pan, once the butter has melted whisk in the flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes until the mixture is golden brown (this is called a roux).
Slowly whisk in the chicken stock, milk, heavy cream, garlic, salt, and pepper to the roux while constantly whisking to avoid lumps. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is bubbling and smooth.
Stir in the mushrooms, lemon juice, turkey, peas, carrots, and 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese.
Pour the creamy turkey sauce into the pasta pot with the pasta and mix well. If the mixture is too thick add in some of the cooking water.
Pour the pasta and sauce mixture into a 9×13 greased baking dish.
In a small bowl combine the remaining parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle the mixture on top of the pasta.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Easy Pasta Recipes
- Shrimp Alfredo
- Olive Garden Alfredo
- Easy Baked Ziti
- One Pot Chicken Alfredo
- Chicken Asparagus Alfredo Pasta
- Tuna Noodle Casserole
Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe
- 16 ounces spaghetti
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3 cups cooked turkey breast chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- Heat oven to 375ºF.
- Bring a large pot of water seasoned with salt up to a rolling boil. Break the spaghetti in half and cook to al dente, save 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in a separate bowl and drain the rest. After draining put the pasta back into the pasta pot.
- In a large skillet over medium heat saute 1 tablespoon of butter and mushrooms until the mushrooms have browned, remove from pan, and set them aside.
- Add four tablespoons of butter to the pan, once the butter has melted whisk in the flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes until the mixture is golden brown (this is called a roux).
- Slowly whisk in the chicken stock, milk, heavy cream, garlic, salt, and pepper to the roux will constantly whisking to avoid lumps. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is bubbling and smooth.
- Stir in the mushrooms, lemon juice, turkey, peas, carrots, and 3/4 cup of the parmesan cheese.
- Pour the creamy turkey sauce into the pasta pot with the pasta and mix well. If the mixture is too thick add in some of the cooking water.
- Pour the pasta and sauce mixture into a 9×13 greased pan.
- In a small bowl combine the remaining cheese and bread crumbs.
- Spread the mixture of the top of the pasta, bake for 30 minutes.