If your family roasts extra Thanksgiving turkey purely for the leftovers, Turkey Tetrazzini is your must-try recipe this year!
Or in the case that (nuclear scenario) you have only a small amount of leftover turkey, baked turkey tetrazzini will stretch your precious supply to feed a crowd.
Looking for more ways to use your extra turkey? Check out this collection of Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey recipes!
History of Tetrazzini
Tetrazzini is a pasta dish browned in the oven that’s made with a white cream sauce and vinegar.
- Despite being named after an Italian opera singer, Luisa Tetrazzini, this popular recipe is not Italian.
- It is believed that chicken and turkey tetrazzini originated in San Francisco, California in the early 1900s.
The original turkey tetrazzini recipe from Betty Crocker that I grew up knowing is made with cream of mushroom soup, heavy cream, and is (in this casserole recipe lover’s opinion) pretty bland.
Today’s turkey tetrazzini recipe?
It’s so tasty I’ve actually taken to making it with shredded chicken in non-holiday times just so we can enjoy it more often!
How to Make Turkey Tetrazzini from Scratch
This healthy turkey tetrazzini from scratch ditches the canned soup for real, simple ingredients.
With the help of a few little culinary tricks—a splash of vinegar here, some sun-dried tomatoes there—it is transformed from an afterthought you may vaguely remember from childhood into an adult-worthy dinner that is both interesting and nostalgic.
(This Homemade Hamburger Helper is another childhood favorite reimagined.)
- Turkey. Cooked, shredded turkey is the star protein of this recipe. It’s lean, filling, and mild in flavor, making it the ideal addition to tetrazzini. See How to Cook a Turkey and Spatchcock Turkey for my favorite recipes.
- Pasta. I used whole wheat spaghetti noodles for an extra nutrition boost.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes. These little red beauties pack a big tomato flavor punch that’s incredibly tasty in this dish (and in Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta).
- Mushrooms. Packed with fiber and antioxidants, mushrooms are a delicious and nutritious addition to our tetrazzini. They pair perfectly with the creamy sauce.
- Peas. Using frozen peas is one of my favorite healthy shortcuts. Peas are rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
- Sherry Vinegar. Gives the dish acidity and depth of flavor. It’s a classic in tetrazzini recipes!
- White Whole Wheat Flour. Helps thicken the tetrazzini sauce. I opted to use white whole wheat flour for a healthy swap.
- Cream Cheese. The key to an ultra-luscious, creamy, and flavorful tetrazzini (and King Ranch Chicken). I used reduced-fat cream cheese to reduce calories and cholesterol (just don’t use fat-free).
- Worcestershire. For a touch of umami.
- Smoked Paprika. Adds a subtle smoky flavor.
- Greek Yogurt. Gives the tetrazzini body, helps make it creamy, and adds tanginess. (I also use Greek Yogurt in this holiday-worthy Broccoli Rice Casserole.)
- Cheese. This dish uses a mix of Parmesan and provolone, mozzarella, or Monterey Jack. The blend results in melty, dreamy, cheesy goodness.
- Panko. For the scrumptious crispy topping.
- Cook the pasta and sauté the onion.
- Stir in the mushrooms and garlic.
- Add the vinegar.
- Stir in the flour. Pour in the broth. Bring to a boil.
- Remove from the heat, then add the cream cheese, Worcestershire, and spices.
- Add the drained tomatoes, turkey, peas, and cheese.
- Stir in the Greek yogurt.
- Stir in the pasta.
- Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and top with the Panko bread crumbs. Bake turkey tetrazzini at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Broil if desired. Let sit for a few minutes, then dig into that crunchy topping! ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Reheat leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze turkey tetrazzini in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Chop the onion and garlic up to 1 day in advance. Cook and shred the turkey (or chicken) up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate each ingredient in a separate airtight storage container.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Dish. Perfect for making this turkey tetrazzini.
- Dutch Oven. A kitchen staple that will last a lifetime.
- Spatula. I love using this heat-resistant spatula for everything.
When it comes to leftover Thanksgiving turkey, “the more, the merrier,” I say, especially if it means we have an excuse to bake an extra pan of turkey tetrazzini!
Frequently Asked Questions
To make your turkey tetrazzini gluten free, use gluten free pasta, gluten free breadcrumbs, and a 1:1 gluten free flour like this one.
Yes, you can swap the frozen peas for fresh peas if you prefer (though I find fresh to be more of a pain and not worth it here).
Yes, you can make tetrazzini without meat. To make vegetarian tetrazzini, omit the turkey and use vegetable broth.
I have not tested this recipe with ground turkey before, so it would be an experiment. To try this recipe with ground turkey, brown it in a large skillet over medium heat until fully cooked. Then add it to the recipe as you would the shredded turkey in Step 10. The texture of the final dish will be different, but the flavor will still be delicious!
Turkey Tetrazzini Video
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- 16 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
- 1/3 cup dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 16 ounces cremini (baby bella) mushrooms sliced
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 3 to 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel) cut into pieces
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups cooked, shredded turkey (or chicken*)
- 10 ounces frozen green peas
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2/3 cup shredded Provolone and Mozzarella cheese, or Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs whole wheat if possible
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a deep 9×13 or similarly sized baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Break the pasta noodles in half. Cook in a large pot of salted water until it is just below al dente (it should not be completely crunchy but should still be too chewy to eat; the pasta will cook more in the oven). Drain and set aside.
- Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside to rehydrate (if using oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, you can skip this step; simply drain them and pat off excess oil).
- In a Dutch oven or similar large, deep pot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the onion and sauté until softened and turning translucent, about 5 minutes; adjust the heat as needed so that the onion cooks but does not brown.
- Add the mushrooms and garlic, then increase to medium-high heat. Sauté until the mushrooms begin to soften and give up their liquid, about 5 minutes, stirring periodically.
- Stir in the sherry vinegar and let cook 30 seconds.
- Sprinkle the flour over the top, then stir to coat the mushrooms. Continue cooking and stirring periodically for 2 minutes. No white bits of white flour should remain.
- Slowly pour in 3 cups of the broth, stirring all the while to avoid any lumps. Bring to a gently boil and let cook, stirring fairly often, until the mixture is reduced by about 1/3, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add the cream cheese, Worcestershire, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir until the cream cheese is mostly melted (some bits may remain, which is just fine).
- Drain and roughly chop the sun-dried tomatoes. Add to the pot with the turkey, peas, Provolone cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
- Stir until the cheese is melted, then stir in the Greek yogurt. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired.
- Add the cooked spaghetti and stir it to combine. If it looks very thick, add more broth as needed. It should look a little bit soupy, as some of the broth will cook off in the oven.
- Pour or scoop the spaghetti mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the Panko over the top. Bake the turkey tetrazzini for 25 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and bubbly. If you’d like to brown the topping further, pop the casserole under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes until it is done to your liking, watching carefully so that it does not burn. Remove from the oven and let rest a few minutes. Enjoy hot.
- *To quickly and easily prepare shredded chicken, see my stovetop method for How to Cook Shredded Chicken, Instant Pot Chicken, or Crock Pot Shredded Chicken.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Reheat leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze turkey tetrazzini in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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