Turkey Tetrazzini

If you like Turkey Tetrazzini, you'll love this easy-to-make "from scratch" version even more than you ever did before.

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Turkey tetrazzini in a green scalloped casserole with orange and green napkins and a serving spoon.

What is Turkey Tetrazzini?

Broadly speaking, Tetrazzini is an Italian-American dish made with poultry or seafood and pasta in a creamy sauce made with sherry or wine, topped with cheese and/or breadcrumbs and baked. These days, most Tetrazzini recipes are made with turkey and mushrooms, and it’s not uncommon to find a Turkey Tetrazzini dish on many a table right after Thanksgiving when there is plenty of leftover turkey around. It’s a perfect way to use up leftovers. While many recipes use a can of mushroom soup to make Turkey Tetrazzini, this recipe makes the sauce from scratch really easily and it pays off in the end.

Shredded turkey on a wooden cutting board.

Why is it called Tetrazzini?

There’s some dispute as to who was the first to make Tetrazzini, but most people accept that it was named after the opera singer, Luisa Tetrazzini who was popular in the early 1900s. I have no idea why the dish was named after her, nor does anyone else seem to know, but the name does have a nice ring to it and it’s been used so often over the years that it has definitely taken on a recognizable meaning of its own. There’s also the fun alliteration to Turkey Tetrazzini, making it fun to say!

A mushroom sauce in a stainless steel saute pan with a wooden spoon sticking out of it.

Sauce for Turkey Tetrazzini

Tetrazzini sauce is simple to make, so it’s a shame that so many use a can of mushroom soup. Start by sautéing onion, celery and mushrooms with some thyme. Stir in flour and cook for a few minutes before deglazing with white wine, adding chicken stock and finally adding cream and letting it simmer for just a couple of minutes. Season to taste and you’re done! No reason to open a can.

Looking down into a bowl with shredded turkey, cooked pasta and peas with a saute pan full of sauce and a bowl of parmesan cheese near by.

What is in Turkey Tetrazzini

Then, it’s just a matter of combining ingredients – spaghetti, frozen peas, leftover turkey, the sauce and some Parmesan cheese. Toss it all together and transfer it to a casserole dish. It’s also a good idea to have saved some of the pasta water to thin the mixture at this point. The pasta will continue to absorb liquid, so give it something to absorb by thinning the mix before topping it with breadcrumbs and baking it.

A hand sprinkling a breadcrumb topping onto a casserole of turkey tetrazzini.

Other Ways to use up Leftover Turkey

Turkey Tetrazzini is definitely one of the most popular Thanksgiving turkey leftover recipes there is, but there are a lot of other ways to use up those leftovers. You might try this Turkey Tex Mex Salad or White Turkey Enchiladas, a Turkey Mushroom Broccoli Calzone, or any number of delicious turkey sandwiches, like my favorite Spicy Turkey Panini. I’ve put ten of my favorite turkey leftover recipes in this round up for you. Who knows… if you have enough leftovers, you might just try them all!

A serving of turkey tetrazzini in a white bowl with a glass of white wine and the rest of the casserole in the background.

Featured Recipe Techniques

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Turkey Tetrazzini

  • Prep Time: 30 m
  • Cook Time: 45 m
  • Total Time: 1 h 15 m
  • Servings:


  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery chopped
  • 12 ounces cremini mushrooms sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup dry white wine or vermouth or sherry
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups shredded cooked turkey breast
  • cup grated Parmesan cheese divided
  • 1 cup peas
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. Boil the spaghetti according to the package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the spaghetti. Do not rinse, set aside.

  2. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
  3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet or sauté pan. Sauté the onions and celery until they start to soften. Add the mushrooms and dried thyme. Sauté for a few more minutes and then add the salt and season with freshly ground black pepper. Sauté for 1 to 2 more minutes.
  4. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then pour in the white wine and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and stir in the heavy cream. Simmer for a few minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, turkey, peas, cream sauce, ⅓ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Toss the mixture together and add some of the reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce. Transfer the mixture to a 3-quart casserole dish.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, panko breadcrumbs, remaining Parmesan cheese and the parsley and stir together. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over top of the pasta. Transfer the casserole dish to the oven.

  7. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until golden browned and bubbly.
  8. Let the casserole sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with more chopped parsley if desired. Serve hot.

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