This turkey tetrazzini is loaded with juicy turkey, creamy pasta, and sautéed veggies. It’s the ultimate comfort food and a perfect way to use up leftover turkey!

Turkey Tetrazzini in a pan.

What Is Turkey Tetrazzini?

Turkey tetrazzini is a baked casserole made with cooked turkey, pasta, veggies, and a creamy sauce. The flavor is rich and cheesy, and the texture is lusciously smooth. This Italian-American dish was named after Luisa Tetrazzini, an Italian opera star. In 1905, Tetrazzini performed at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. A chef working at the hotel saw her performance and became inspired to create this new dish in her honor. From that day, turkey tetrazzini’s popularity has skyrocketed.

Turkey Tetrazzini Video

How To Make Turkey Tetrazzini

Turkey tetrazzini may sound complicated, but the process couldn’t be simpler. Preheat the oven, gather your ingredients, and get to cooking!

  • Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente — a few minutes short of the package instructions.
  • Sauté the veggies: Preheat a large deep pot with four tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add in the chopped onions and sauté until they are translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until they’re softened and golden, then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Make the sauce: Add the remaining four tablespoons of butter and the flour. Cook for a few minutes until fully incorporated, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the broth and cream and simmer until the sauce thickens, about five minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients: Mix in one cup of cheese and the cooked spaghetti and turkey, then transfer the mixture to a 9×13 inch pan or 12 inch deep skillet. Top with the remaining one cup of cheese.
  • Bake the dish: Bake the dish uncovered for 25-30 minutes until it is golden and bubbly. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Hot tip: For a tasty crunch, sprinkle panko bread crumbs over the casserole before baking!

Ingredient Variations

Casseroles like turkey tetrazzini are wonderful for experimentation. Get creative with any of these ingredient changes to make a dish that’s perfectly suited to your taste.

  • Meat: Not a fan of turkey? Try cooked chicken, ham, beef, or sausage instead.
  • Cheese: Add Parmesan cheese along with the mozzarella for extra savory, cheesy flavor.
  • Noodles: Spaghetti, linguini, and fettuccine are fantastic noodle options for tetrazzini. It’s up to you to pick your favorite shape!
  • Veggies: Add peas, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, or any other veggies for more nutrition and flavor.
  • Wine: Deglaze the pan with a splash of sherry or dry white wine to add a slight tang.

Tips for the Best Turkey Tetrazzini

It’s shocking how a few foundational techniques can alter the outcome of a dish so much. Pay attention to these tips for a supremely indulgent turkey tetrazzini.

  • Prepare all of your ingredients beforehand. The French culinary technique of mise en place (put everything in its place) is a game-changer for minimizing stress in the kitchen. For expert efficiency, cook the spaghetti, chop the turkey and veggies, and shred the cheese before you begin cooking.
  • Use leftover cooked turkey. Instead of taking on the time-consuming task of roasting your own turkey, scrap up the leftovers from a store-bought roast turkey — we love the one from Costco. But, if you have the time, feel free to make your own!
  • Pour the liquids into the sauce gradually. Avoid dumping the broth and cream in all at once — a slow addition ensures the sauce thickens properly and doesn’t clump together.
  • Cook the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon. This is the best trick for knowing when a cream-based sauce is done cooking. Dip the spoon in, then draw a line with your finger across the back of the spoon. If the line remains, the sauce is ready!
Pan with a spoon and Turkey Tetrazzini.

Ways To Serve

Turkey tetrazzini is a satisfying and delicious main dish. Because it’s so indulgent, this comfort food is best served with lighter sides like a garden salad, roasted broccolini or tomato mozzarella salad. Alternatively, pair with eggplant roll-ups, or zucchini fries. Are you still hungry? Add Italian stuffed peppers and minestrone soup to the table — and don’t forget pizzelle for dessert. Buon appetito!

Make Ahead

Are you meal-prepping or planning to host a dinner party? Turkey tetrazzini is an amazing make-ahead dish! Assemble it fully and cover the 9×13 inch dish in foil, then store it in the freezer for up to three months or in the refrigerator for up to two days. When you’re ready to bake the frozen dish, place it in the oven (there’s no need to defrost it) and bake it for 50 minutes, or until the center is hot. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.

Storage & Reheating

This turkey tetrazzini is hefty, so don’t expect to finish it all in one go! Follow these storage and reheating tips to get the most out of your leftovers.

  • Storage: Once the turkey tetrazzini has completely cooled down, cover the baking dish with plastic wrap (or transfer the leftovers to an airtight container), then refrigerate for up to four days.
  • Reheating: Restore the most flavor and creaminess to your leftover tetrazzini by reheating it in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes. Or, reheat it in a skillet with a splash of water to help the sauce loosen a bit. If you’re short on time, the microwave is also a good option.


What is tetrazzini sauce made of?

Tetrazzini sauce is made of butter, flour, heavy cream, and broth. Some recipes call for a splash of dry white wine as well.

Why is it called turkey tetrazzini?

Turkey tetrazzini was named after Luisa Tetrazzini, an Italian opera singer. Tetrazzini performed at a hotel in San Francisco in the early 1900s, and a chef working there created this dish in her honor.

What is the difference between tetrazzini and spaghetti?

The main difference between tetrazzini and spaghetti dishes is in the sauce. Tetrazzini is made with a white cream sauce, while spaghetti is typically served with a red sauce.

More Turkey Recipes

  • Smoked Turkey — A whole turkey stuffed with apples and onions, rubbed with flavorful spices, and smoked to perfection
  • Turkey Meatloaf — Moist turkey meatloaf with a sweet and tangy glaze
  • Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs — Ground turkey meatballs with a crisp from the air fryer
  • Turkey Necks — Juicy and meaty fried turkey necks

About Author

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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.