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An easy Turkey Tetrazzini recipe is the best way to take advantage of the leftover meat from your Thanksgiving feast (or use rotisserie chicken instead)! This old fashioned dish is easy to stir together in about 25 minutes, can be made in advance, and appeals to both kids and adults. With cream of mushroom soup, Parmesan cheese, fresh mushrooms, peas, bacon, and spaghetti in a creamy sauce, this leftover turkey noodle casserole stands the test of time! Pair it with a crisp green salad, cranberry sauce, and a loaf of crusty bread for a quick, delicious dinner.

Close overhead image of a serving spoon in a pan of the original turkey tetrazzini recipe

Original Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe

Turkey Tetrazzini is an old-fashioned American casserole originally created in the early 1900s, and named for the Italian opera star, Luisa Tetrazzini. Some credit Ernest Arbogast, the chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, with its invention, while others claim that it was first served at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City. Needless to say, the flavorful dish quickly reached mainstream America, becoming a staple in households for over a century.

Fried bacon on a plate

Turkey Tetrazzini includes diced turkey and mushrooms in a creamy sauce that’s often flavored with wine or sherry. It’s served with noodles (in this case, spaghetti), and sometimes finished with a crunchy topping such as breadcrumbs, almonds, or fried onions. For a shortcut version of the traditional casserole, cream of mushroom soup and Alfredo sauce form the base of the sauce. It’s simple, flavorful, and always a hit!

Adding a bowl of chopped vegetables to a blue Dutch oven

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to make this turkey tetrazzini easy and delicious. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Spaghetti: the noodles that form the base of the casserole. You can substitute with angel hair or thin spaghetti, or use fettuccine or linguine if you like a thicker pasta.
  • Bacon: for rich, smoky flavor.
  • Butter: to sauté the vegetables.
  • Onion, celery, sweet bell pepper, sliced mushrooms: fresh vegetables that add color, flavor, and nutrition to the meal.
  • Garlic: for savory flavor.
  • Turkey: use diced or shredded leftover Thanksgiving turkey, or substitute with the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
  • Parmesan cheese: for salty, sharp, cheesy flavor.
  • Condensed cream of mushroom soup: a can of the classic soup forms the base of the creamy sauce.
  • Alfredo sauce: I use a jar of store-bought sauce for a shortcut, but you can also use your favorite homemade sauce.
  • Chicken broth: to thin the sauce, or use homemade turkey stock if you’ve got it.
  • White wine: adds rich flavor to the sauce. You can substitute with sherry or extra chicken broth if desired.
  • Black pepper: for extra flavor.
  • Frozen green peas: you don’t even need to thaw them before adding them to the dish. This way they stay bright green and don’t get too mushy.
  • Slivered almonds: for a toasted, nutty crunch on top of the casserole.

Can you make turkey tetrazzini without mushrooms?

Yes, you can! If you don’t care for mushrooms, you can omit them entirely, or replace them with more of the other vegetables (extra onion, celery and bell pepper), or more of the turkey.

Pouring Alfredo sauce into a blue dutch oven

How to Make Turkey Tetrazzini

Thanks to help from leftover turkey, store-bought Alfredo sauce, and cream of mushroom soup, this quick and easy casserole comes together in just minutes!

  1. Boil the spaghetti; drain.
  2. Fry the bacon in a Dutch oven, then remove to a plate.
  3. Sauté the vegetables in the bacon drippings and butter.
  4. Stir in the cooked spaghetti, bacon, turkey, Parmesan cheese, cream of mushroom soup, Alfredo sauce, chicken broth, white wine, pepper and peas.
  5. Transfer to a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  6. Top with additional Parmesan cheese and slivered almonds.
  7. Bake, uncovered, in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes, until the filling is hot and the nuts are lightly toasted.
Sprinkling slivered almonds over a casserole

What to Serve with this Old Fashioned Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe

The creamy turkey tetrazzini pairs nicely with any of these easy sides:

Overhead shot of turkey tetrazzini with cream of mushroom soup on a dinner table

Preparation and Storage

  • This is a great make-ahead dinner. You can assemble the casserole up to 24 hours in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30-60 minutes.
  • How to Freeze Turkey Tetrazzini: Freeze the casserole before baking. I find that the quality is not quite as good if you bake it first, and then freeze it. Wrapped tightly, the assembled casserole will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • How to Cook Frozen Turkey Tetrazzini: if baking the casserole directly from the freezer, you’ll need to cover the dish with foil. Bake the casserole covered at 350°F for about 25 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for 20-25 more minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the inside is heated through.
  • Leftover tetrazzini will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • How to Reheat: If reheating an entire casserole, cover the dish loosely with foil and bake in a 350°F oven until warmed through (about 20-30 minutes). Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Overhead shot of a bowl of turkey tetrazzini on a dinner table

Recipe Variations

  • Use chicken instead of turkey. You can take advantage of leftovers from a previous meal, or purchase a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store.
  • Instead of spaghetti, try angel hair pasta, linguine, or fettuccine. You can even use penne for turkey tetrazzini!
  • Swap out the Parmesan cheese for grated cheddar, mozzarella or Swiss.
  • Replace the white wine with sherry. For an alcohol-free recipe, use extra chicken broth in place of the wine.
  • In lieu of the almonds, top the casserole with buttered breadcrumbs, coarsely crushed Ritz crackers, French fried onions, or other crunchy toppings of your choice.
  • If you don’t care for cream of mushroom soup, you can substitute with a different type of condensed soup, such as cream of celery or cream of chicken.
  • For a smaller family, cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square pan. Similarly, you can prepare the full recipe, but divide the ingredients between two 8-inch square pans. Bake one now, and freeze the second for a later date!
Side shot of a bowl of old fashioned turkey tetrazzini recipe on a dinner table

Tips for the Best Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Well-salted water is imperative for flavorful noodles.
  • Boil the pasta just until barely al dente (about 1 minute less than called for on the box). The spaghetti will continue to cook in the oven, so you don’t want to end up with mushy, overdone noodles.
  • Bake the casserole just until it’s heated through. All of the ingredients are already cooked, so you just want to warm it in the oven until bubbly. Don’t bake it for too long or it may dry out or get burned on top.
  • Garnish the casserole with fresh herbs, such as chopped parsley, for a bright touch of flavor and color.
Overhead shot of creamy turkey tetrazzini casserole on a wooden table

More Ways to Use Leftover Turkey

Close overhead image of a serving spoon in a pan of the original turkey tetrazzini recipe

Easy Turkey Tetrazzini

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings 6 – 8 people
Calories 465 kcal
This easy Turkey Tetrazzini is the best way to take advantage of Thanksgiving leftovers (or use rotisserie chicken instead)!

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup diced sweet red bell pepper
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 3 cups cooked, shredded (or diced) turkey
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 (10 ¾ ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, not diluted
  • 1 (15 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce (about 1 ¾ cups total)
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) slivered almonds

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking dish; set aside.
  • Boil spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water, just until barely al dente (about 1 minute less than called for on the box). Drain.
  • Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp, about 7-10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate, reserving the drippings in the pan.
  • Add butter to the skillet with the drippings. When the butter melts, add the onion, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms. Sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  • Stir in the cooked spaghetti, cooked bacon, turkey, ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese, cream of mushroom soup, Alfredo sauce, chicken broth, white wine, pepper and frozen peas. Toss gently to combine; transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  • Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan and slivered almonds on top. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is hot and the nuts are lightly toasted.

Notes

  • Use chicken instead of turkey. You can take advantage of leftovers from a previous meal, or purchase a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store.
  • Instead of spaghetti, try angel hair pasta, linguine, or fettuccine.
  • Swap out the Parmesan cheese for grated cheddar, mozzarella or Swiss.
  • Replace the white wine with sherry. For an alcohol-free recipe, use extra chicken broth in place of the wine.
  • In lieu of the almonds, top the casserole with buttered breadcrumbs, coarsely crushed Ritz crackers, French fried onions, or other crunchy toppings of your choice.
  • If you don’t care for cream of mushroom soup, you can substitute with a different type of condensed soup, such as cream of celery or cream of chicken.
  • For a smaller family, cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square pan. Similarly, you can prepare the full recipe, but divide the ingredients between two 8-inch square pans. Bake one now, and freeze the second for a later date!
  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Well-salted water is imperative for flavorful noodles.
  • Boil the pasta just until barely al dente (about 1 minute less than called for on the box). The spaghetti will continue to cook in the oven, so you don’t want to end up with mushy, overdone noodles.
  • Bake the casserole just until it’s heated through. All of the ingredients are already cooked, so you just want to warm it in the oven until bubbly. Don’t bake it for too long or it may dry out or get burned on top.
  • Garnish the casserole with fresh herbs, such as chopped parsley, for a bright touch of flavor and color.
  • Recipe adapted from Southern Living.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the casseroleCalories: 465kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 34gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 1066mgPotassium: 600mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 604IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 155mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: turkey noodle casserole, turkey tetrazzini
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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