Put leftover turkey to work with this easy Turkey Tetrazzini Casserole. Made with creamy sauce and pasta baked under a crunchy crumb topping, this simple casserole is ready in under an hour or can be made ahead or frozen.

Turkey tetrazzini being scooped out of a white baking dish.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled turkey tetrazzini ingredients in various bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Crumb topping: Homemade bread crumbs are delicious, but you can substitute store-bought.
  • Spaghetti: I prefer a long-stranded pasta: linguine, or fettuccine, snapped in half while uncooked for easy serving, but you can use any pasta.
  • Thyme: Feel free to use rosemary, basil, or parsley instead of, or in addition to, the thyme.
  • Season to taste: If you don’t season the sauce before you add back the noodles, your casserole will be bland! Taste the sauce and season it until you really LOVE IT. Now’s a good time to add hot sauce or red pepper flakes if that’s your thing.
  • Turkey: Leftover roast turkey is the ideal candidate here.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Before you begin, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and move the oven rack to the middle position. Get your bread crumb topping ready. To cook the pasta, boil a big pot of salted water and cook until al dente. Rinse the spaghetti with cold water and set aside.
    Pasta in a colander being rinsed over a sink.
  2. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or skillet over medium-high heat and cook the onions. When they are softened, add the thyme and garlic and stir until fragrant.
    Onions, garlic and herbs being cooked in a silver stock pot.
  3. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly until the flour just begins to brown. Add the half-and-half and chicken broth and whisk over the heat until it forms a sauce. This should only take a minute or two.
    Turkey tetrazzini sauce in a silver pot.
  4. Once thickened, take it off the heat and stir in the grated Parmesan. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and hot sauce, chili flakes, or cayenne pepper. Don’t skip this seasoning, and make sure you taste it so you know you love it.
    Turkey tetrazzini sauce in a silver pot.
  5. Afterwards, add the turkey, peas, and pasta back to the pot. Give it all a good stir so the sauce and cheese covers the noodles. Pour everything into a baking dish and scatter the breadcrumbs over the top.
    Turkey tetrazzini in a white baking dish before being cooked.
  6. Bake until the casserole is hot and the breadcrumbs are toasted, about 10 to 15 minutes. Once you take it out of the oven, let it stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley or extra cheese.
    Turkey tetrazzini in a white baking dish after being cooked.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Cover with foil to prevent over-browning: Since everyone’s oven is a little different, place a layer of foil overt the casserole to keep the breadcrumbs from burning.
  • More vegetables: Instead o just the peas, do a mixture of frozen peas, carrots, and corn. Sauté some mushrooms with the onions, or add some finely chopped red bell peppers.
  • Make ahead: This casserole can be made up to two days ahead. Assemble it and add it to the baking dish, but don’t add the breadcrumbs or bake. Instead, wrap it up and store it in the fridge. Add the breadcrumbs just before baking
  • Freezing: Just cover, wrap, and freeze it before baking. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bake in a 400 degree oven until hot.

Turkey tetrazzini in a white baking dish.

More delicious casseroles:

Turkey tetrazzini being scooped out of a white baking dish.

Turkey Tetrazzini

Put leftover turkey to work with this easy Turkey Tetrazzini Casserole. Made with creamy sauce and pasta baked under a crunchy crumb topping, this simple casserole is ready in under an hour or can be made ahead or frozen.
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 310

Ingredients 

For the topping:

  • 2 slices high-quality sandwich bread lightly toasted and torn into 2-inch pieces, or 1 ½ cups bread crumbs (see note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted

For the filling:

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces spaghetti broken in half (see note 2)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onions finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (see note 3)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • hot sauce to taste, optional (see note 4)
  • 2 cups cooked turkey shredded or cut into ½ inch pieces (see note 5)
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Instructions 

To make the topping:

  • If using bread slices, tear the slices into 2-inch pieces. In a food processor, process the pieces until finely ground.
  • In a small bowl, add bread crumbs and melted butter and toss until evenly coated. Set aside.

To make the casserole:

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 to 9 minutes. Drain well and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
  • Return the same large pot to medium-high heat and melt butter until foaming. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  • Stir in flour and cook until golden, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Whisk in broth and half and half. Bring to a simmer and continue to whisk until sauce thickens, about 1 minute longer. 
  • Remove from heat and whisk in Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce if desired. Do not skip this step or your casserole may be bland!
  • To the pot with sauce, add cooked pasta, turkey, and frozen peas, and toss to combine. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with breadcrumb topping. 
  • Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the topping has browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Crumb topping: Homemade bread crumbs are delicious, but you can substitute store-bought.
  2. Spaghetti: I prefer a long-stranded pasta: linguine, or fettuccine, snapped in half while uncooked for easy serving, but you can use any pasta.
  3. Thyme: Feel free to use rosemary, basil, or parsley instead of, or in addition to, the thyme.
  4. Season to taste: If you don’t season the sauce before you add back the noodles, your casserole will be bland! Taste the sauce and season it until you really LOVE IT. Now’s a good time to add hot sauce or red pepper flakes if that’s your thing.
  5. Turkey: Leftover roast turkey is the ideal candidate here.
  6. Cover with foil to prevent over-browning: Since everyone’s oven is a little different, place a layer of foil overt the casserole to keep the breadcrumbs from burning.
  7. More vegetables: Instead o just the peas, do a mixture of frozen peas, carrots, and corn. Sauté some mushrooms with the onions, or add some finely chopped red bell peppers.
  8. Make ahead: This casserole can be made up to two days ahead. Assemble it and add it to the baking dish, but don’t add the breadcrumbs or bake. Instead, wrap it up and store it in the fridge. Add the breadcrumbs just before baking
  9. Freezing: Just cover, wrap, and freeze it before baking. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bake in a 400 degree oven until hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 310kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 17gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 346mgPotassium: 298mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 527IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 135mgIron: 2mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. i had to improvise with this recipe due to what was in the fridge and pantry Christmas Day. My meal was Christmas Eve so no need to cook that day except to heat up the feast from the night before, right? My in Law’s Family Tradition: Leftovers the day after a feast. So my mother in law made turkey tetrazzini look effortless and in a 50″s style, Don Draper type. It was delicious and my 2 daughters loved it. When i used this recipe i only had shredded parmesan cheese and it turned into rubber in my sauce. Is there a way to recover?4 stars

    1. Hi Amy, I’m so sorry you had trouble with this recipe and right at Christmas to. I don’t think it was the fact that you used shredded parmesan instead of grated because I’ve used various cheeses and not had this problem. It sounds like your sauce seized up. Usually this happens when the sauce is too hot or the cheese is too cold or some of each. Or, if you didn’t stir it immediately that can happen. The recipe says to remove the pot from heat before adding the cheese, but perhaps the more complete answer is to let the sauce cool for a minute or two before adding the cheese so this doesn’t happen. I haven’t had a problem with cheese seizing personally, but this is my best guess. To save it at this point, although I suspect you’ve given up by now, I’d probably try adding a little bit of water (maybe a few tablespoons?) and stir gently to try to get all the cheese up to temperature and loosened out. This is just a guess. I’m really sorry you had an issue with the cheese.

  2. The recipe looks great. I’d maybe replace the second onion with some celery. This may just be the way I grew up of course, but celery just seems like a key part of the flavor5 stars

    1. Hi Shawn, that sounds like a fantastic idea which I am going to try. I think you’re right… celery would be perfect here! My mom used cream of celery soup in all her best casseroles growing up, so I think I’d like that as well. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Vanessa, yes definitely! It just make take a little longer to thicken in Step 6. But it will still taste amazing! Thanks for the question.