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The BEST Turkey Tetrazzini

A creamy Turkey Tetrazzini recipe with mushrooms, peas, and a crunchy topping made with panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. So good you’ll be roasting two turkeys!

a closeup shot of turkey tetrazzini with parmesan panko topping in a white casserole dish and an antique silver spoon

Thanksgiving is in just two short weeks and there’s going to be a LOT of leftover turkey going on.

I’m slowly sharing some new Thanksgiving recipes like my already popular Blue Cheese Green Bean Casserole and all the details on a foolproof juicy, roasted turkey with crispy skin (seriously, if you’re roasting a turkey this year, try this method)!

I have at least five more coming down the pipeline in the next week and a half, all easy and all delicious. But right now I want to talk turkey leftovers.

Turkey Tetrazzini is one of my very favorite ways to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. When leftovers can be transformed into an entirely new dish, I’m always on board.

I love how customizable this recipe is, too – add mushrooms and peas if you like or simply leave them out. Leftover green beans? Toss ’em in! No leftover turkey? Use chicken. It’s all good – literally.

a closeup of a dish of turkey tetrazzini just out of the oven next to a burgundy towel

What is Turkey Tetrazzini?

Tetrazzini is a dish made with turkey or chicken and baked in a creamy sauce with pasta. It usually has a crunchy top that complements its creamy base. I’ve seen versions made with seafood as well, although it’s much less common.

Sometimes vegetables are added as well; in the case of this recipe, I’ve added peas. It’s made often with Thanksgiving turkey leftovers as a way to turn them into something else entirely.

Ingredients

Many recipes for turkey tetrazzini call for canned mushroom soup. This isn’t one of them. It’s so simple and quick to make a homemade sauce and it will taste so much better!

  • spaghetti noodles, linguine, or egg noodles
  • unsalted butter
  • onion
  • garlic
  • all-purpose flour
  • chicken stock or broth
  • heavy cream
  • leftover shredded turkey
  • frozen peas
  • salt & pepper
  • panko breadcrumbs
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • fresh mushrooms (optional)
  • chopped parsley, for garnishing (optional)

You can also use rotisserie chicken to make chicken tetrazzini.

turkey tetrazzini with parmesan panko topping in a white casserole dish and an antique silver spoon

How to make Turkey Tetrazzini

It’s not difficult to make turkey tetrazzini, there are just a few steps involved. Cook your pasta just to al dente and drain it very well (you don’t want any liquid watering down your sauce).

Saute some onions and garlic in butter (sounds good already, doesn’t it?) and add some freshly sliced mushrooms at this step if you like, too.

Add some flour then chicken broth and heavy cream to make the quick cream sauce. Toss it all together with your turkey and pour it into a baking dish. Mix up your topping and spread it over the top.

Bake it at 400°F for about 30 minutes, once it’s bubbly and hot and the topping is nicely browned. The topping in this recipe is truly the best!

Be sure to pay special attention when seasoning – even after I’ve seasoned each component and baked it, I typically add a little more salt and a lot of freshly ground black pepper to my own plate – it really brings out the flavor.

The other day I was busy (and therefore absentminded) and forgot to add it. I was thinking, “hmmmm…what’s missing from this?” when I remembered I’d forgotten the extra seasoning. It’s amazing what a difference the freshly ground black pepper makes!

overhead shot of a dish of turkey tetrazzini just out of the oven

What to serve with Turkey Tetrazzini

It’s already a meal in itself: pasta in a creamy sauce, cooked turkey breast, plus peas and mushrooms if you choose. Since it’s a baked pasta dish, serve it with whatever you’d normally enjoy with creamy pasta.

Stuffed garlic bread goes really well and a great choice since you’ll already have the oven on. Blue cheese lovers should go for this wedge salad or try this keto salad with grilled romaine if you’re watching your carbs (and, in that case, replace the pasta with hearts of palm).

Can you freeze Turkey Tetrazzini?

You can freeze it with no problems. You’ll want to be certain it’s wrapped tightly and it will need to be thawed in the refrigerator overnight before baking to ensure the best results.

I’ll usually double the recipe and make two dishes, then freeze one for dinner on a night when I know we’ll be busy. The recipe makes a lot by itself so if you don’t have as many mouths to feed, make the recipe as written and use two 8×8 pans and freeze one.

The leftovers reheat well, too (yes, you’ll likely have leftovers from your leftovers :) This recipe makes quite a bit of food, which is perfect since you’ll want to be out shopping all day for Black Friday and you’ll need something delicious to come home to!

a closeup shot of turkey tetrazzini with parmesan panko topping in a white casserole dish and an antique silver spoon
a closeup shot of turkey tetrazzini with parmesan panko topping in a white casserole dish and an antique silver spoon

Turkey Tetrazzini with Parmesan-Panko Topping

Yield: 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This Turkey Tetrazzini is a great way to use leftover turkey or chicken, but so good you won't wait for leftovers!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti or linguine, cooked to al dente according to the package directions (egg noodles are also fine)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2-4 cups shredded leftover turkey
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup butter and, once it's melted, add the onions. Cook until it's soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Sprinkle the flour over the onions, cooking for one to two minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  3. Whisk in the chicken broth and heavy cream. Bring it to a strong simmer, reduce the heat and cook until it's slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about five minutes. Stir in the 1/2 tsp salt.
  4. Stir in the turkey, cooked noodles, and the frozen peas (you may want to use a large mixing bowl for this). Add more salt and pepper, if desired, to taste. Pour the mixture into a greased 2-quart casserole dish or 13x9 pan.
  5. Melt the remaining butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the breadcrumbs and parmesan, mix it thoroughly. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top of casserole.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until it's hot and bubbling and the topping is lightly browned.

Notes

If adding mushrooms, add them with the onions and cook until their liquid has been released and evaporated. I usually add around 8-16 oz.

A few readers have mentioned that they use two 8x8 pans and freeze one for later. I think this is a great idea!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 644Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 201mgSodium: 656mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 41g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix. Amounts based on 10 servings.

Kristy Bernardo
Latest posts by Kristy Bernardo (see all)

Charlie

Friday 2nd of December 2022

I made this recipe mostly according to the directions; however, I sauteed mushrooms, two large shredded carrots (for color and flavor), onions and garlic. I made the sauce separately by making a roux with the butter and flour until golden and then added the stock and cream until thickened. To the sauce (based on a different recipe I was going to use) I also added one tub (maybe 8-10 oz) of spreadable cream cheese with chives. Then I mixed the al dente pasta, peas, sauteed mushrooms and onions, turkey and sauce all in a large bowl, poured into the casserole dish and topped with the topping made exactly as instructed. I froze single portions of this after the meal. This was absolutely outstanding!!!!!

Brenda

Sunday 20th of February 2022

I made this for Sunday dinner today. So vary good, I will make this again. I did need to add more salt. I think that next time I will make 2 8x8. The 9x13 is big for 3 people.

NancyM

Wednesday 29th of December 2021

Made this tonight. Added the mushrooms as my mom did, and also 1 bell pepper. Added 1/4 c white wine to the sauce as she did. Wonderful recipe. My husband had never had tetrazzini and it is on his sit of favorites no!

Dixie

Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

This was super delicious!! I have a few comments that might help. First of all, when Kristy wrote 'large skillet', I can attest that a 14"-dia 3"-deep skillet was almost too small! Moving everything to an extra large aluminum bowl would have been smart (next time I'll do that, like she suggested). I was concerned that 5 cups of liquid (broth & cream) would be too much, but it was perfect. Of course I didn't have any heavy cream, so I went with half-&-half instead. Which wasn't thickening fast enough for me, so I sprinkled in about 1/8 cup pre-grated emergency Parmesian, and that did the trick. I divided it into two 1.5 qt. casserole dishes, and they were both filled to the brim. And, since I didn't have enough panko crumbs (why don't I ever plan ahead?), I subbed some smashed Ritz crackers (yum!). Used fresh grated Parm in the topping, as suggested. Even though it looked like a bomb went off in the kitchen, this recipe is a keeper!

Belinda

Monday 29th of November 2021

I made the Turkey Tetrazzini tonight. It was delicious. It is always a great way to use up the extra turkey.

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