This turkey tetrazzini contains diced turkey, mushrooms and peas, all tossed with pasta in a creamy sauce, then baked to perfection. A hearty casserole that’s the perfect way to use up leftover turkey!
When the holidays roll around, I make sure to prepare extra turkey so that we have leftovers for dishes such as turkey salad, turkey soup and this fabulous turkey tetrazzini.
Turkey tetrazzini is a comfort food classic for good reason. It’s got everything, tender turkey, fresh veggies, plenty of cheese sauce and a breadcrumb topping. My version is simple to put together and always gets rave reviews.
What does tetrazzini mean?
Tetrazzini dishes are named after the Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini, even though this casserole originated in America. Tetrazzini style recipes feature chicken or turkey and spaghetti in a creamy cheese sauce, often with the addition of mushrooms and peas. The dish is baked in the oven with breadcrumbs or melted cheese on top.
How do you make turkey tetrazzini?
Start by cooking onions and mushrooms in butter. Whisk in a little flour, then add half and half and chicken broth to form the base for the creamy sauce. Stir in cream cheese and parmesan cheese, along with herbs and spices. Place cooked spaghetti in a large bowl along with turkey, the mushroom sauce and peas. Toss until everything is mixed together, then spoon the pasta mixture into a baking dish. Add a layer of breadcrumbs, then bake until the breadcrumbs are brown and sauce is bubbly. Add a sprinkling of fresh parsley, then serve.
Tips for the perfect dish
- I typically use leftover diced turkey, but you can also cook up turkey specifically for this casserole. I recommend using turkey breast or turkey tenderloins, and roasting them in the oven.
- Turkey tetrazzini can be assembled up to 8 hours before you plan to bake it. Cover the pan with foil and store it in the fridge, then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes to compensate for starting with a cold dish.
- I typically use button mushrooms because they are readily available and mild in flavor. You can also use other varieties including cremini, portobello or chanterelle. Feel free to buy pre-sliced mushrooms to save on prep time.
- You do not need to thaw your peas before you mix them into the pasta, as they’ll cook through in the oven.
- Tetrazzini will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, and can be frozen for 2 months. Reheat any leftovers in a covered dish in the oven at 325 degrees F, or heat individual portions in the microwave.
Turkey tetrazzini flavor variations
While this dish is great as-is, you can absolutely substitute in other ingredients to customize the flavors to fit your tastes.
- Protein: Instead of turkey, try diced chicken, ground chicken or sliced smoked sausage.
- Noodles: While spaghetti is traditional in this dish, you can also use other varieties such as linguine, fettuccine, penne, farfalle or even egg noodles.
- Flavorings: You can add a variety of ingredients to this recipe including sauteed bell peppers, frozen corn, diced green beans, bacon, or spinach.
- Toppings: Try a topping of shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese instead of the breadcrumbs.
Turkey tetrazzini to be my favorite way to repurpose extra turkey. It’s perfect for feeding a crowd and is adored by both kids and adults!
More casserole recipes you’ll enjoy
- Sausage Casserole
- Cheeseburger Casserole
- Pizza Casserole
- Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
- Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole
Turkey Tetrazzini Video
- 16 ounces spaghetti
- 6 tablespoons butter divided use
- 3/4 cup yellow onion diced
- 12 ounces button mushrooms sliced
- 2 1/2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups half and half
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 2 ounces cream cheese cut into small pieces
- 3/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups cooked turkey cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3/4 cup frozen peas do not thaw
- 1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9"x13" baking dish with cooking spray.
- Boil the spaghetti in a pot of salted water according to the package directions.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for another 4-5 minutes until all of the vegetables are browned and tender.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly add the chicken broth and then the half and half to the pan, whisking the whole time.
- Bring the sauce mixture to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes or until it has just thickened.
- Take the sauce off the heat, and mix in the parmesan cheese, cream cheese and Italian seasoning. Stir until well blended and cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Drain the spaghetti and place it in a large bowl. Add the turkey and peas to the pasta.
- Pour the mushroom sauce over the pasta and toss to coat evenly.
- Place the pasta mixture into the prepared pan.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Pour the butter into the breadcrumbs and mix. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the pasta.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are browned. Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.
I made it with your bacon suggestion and boy was it good!
Instead of half and half can you use whipping cream?
Yes that’s fine!
We make turkey all year round, but always have so many leftovers! We used them in this tetrazzini and it was delicious!
So many great flavors! This is the perfect family meal, especially for a big family.
I had some frozen turkey tenderloins and they worked out well with this recipe. The kids loved it and asked for seconds. I will be making again. Thanks for the great recipe.
What an amazing recipe – Perfect to use up any leftover turkey from Thanksgiving / Christmas.
I hadn’t made tetrazzini in forever and couldn’t resist this recipe. So good! Will be revisiting it many more times I’m sure!
Delicious, tempting and the best Happy Meal for my family. One of their favorite Dinner option.
This turkey tetrazzini was so flavorful and satisfying! And we all really loved the slight tanginess from the cream cheese!
This is my kind of meal. Hearty, comforting and flavorful. Can’t wait to make this for my family.
This would be so great to make the day after Thanksgiving and use leftover turkey! I also prefer turkey to chicken so this is a great recipe and obviously a classic.
My kids loved this! Thank you so much!