Turkey Tetrazzini

Tetrazzini is an American pasta dish that includes a cream sauce, mushrooms, and either chicken, turkey, or seafood. It is thought to have been invented in San Francisco and named after the famous opera singer of the early 1900s, Luisa Tetrazzini, who lived there for many years.

To my mother however, Turkey Tetrazzini is just another way of saying turkey casserole. In her opinion casseroles are passé; she hasn’t made one in twenty years. (Note to readers – my mother is anything but a snob, although she can sound like one at times. Note to my mother’s friends – she loves your casseroles.) Fortunately, neither my father nor I could care less if something is “in” or “out”; all we care about is whether or not we like it (and by the way, mom used to make a wicked good tuna casserole). I made this for them the other night and judging by my dad’s three servings, it passes with flying colors. It’s a great way to use up turkey leftovers.

Turkey Tetrazzini

 

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Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz egg noodles, spaghetti, linguini or other pasta
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced (about 4-5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (or vermouth or dry white wine)
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped cooked turkey
  • 1 cup peas
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan (divided into 1/3 and 1/3 cups)
  • 1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (or panko)
  • Freshly chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Method

1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Start heating 2 to 3 quarts of water for the pasta. Add 1 teaspoon of salt for each quart of water.

2 Cook the mushrooms in 3 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat, stirring, until all of the liquid the mushrooms give off has evaporated, 5-10 minutes. Set aside.

3 In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of butter. Stir in the flour, and cook the mixture over low heat, stirring, for 3 minutes.

4 About now, put the pasta into the boiling water you've heated. Follow the package directions and cook until al dente. While the pasta is cooking continue on with the recipe.

5 Into the saucepan with the butter and flour, slowly whisk in the milk, cream, broth, and the sherry. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 to 8 minutes.

6 When the pasta is ready, drain it. In a large bowl combine the pasta, the sauce, the mushrooms, the turkey, and the peas. Stir in 1/3 cup of the Parmesan and the 1/3 cup of Swiss cheese. Stir in the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Note that if you have been using unsalted butter, and/or unsalted or low sodium stock, you will need to add more salt than you might expect. Just keep sprinkling it in until it is seasoned to your taste. Add a pinch of ground nutmeg if using, again to taste. Transfer the mixture to a buttered 3-quart casserole.

7 In a small bowl combine well the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the tetrazzini, and dot the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits.

8 Bake the Tetrazzini in the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is bubbling and the top is golden.

Garnish individual servings with chopped parsley.

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Turkey Tetrazzini

46 Comments

  1. Kate

    This sounds like a great recipe. As a single person, I rarely make a whole turkey. Are there some options for finding 3 cups of turkey without having to make an huge quantity of turkey?

    Hi Kate – easy. This recipe will take about 2 1/2 lbs of turkey parts (thighs and legs are the best value and have the most flavor). Rub the pieces with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven at 300°F for 1 hour 20 minutes. Use a meat thermometer – get the turkey thighs and legs to 180°F and breast to 170°F. ~Elise

  2. Wendy

    Do you have any suggestions for how to replace the mushrooms? My high maintenance kids won’t eat them, and they play such a prominent role in this recipe that I don’t think I can eliminate them entirely without throwing off the other measurements.

    I have many, many fond memories of turkey tetrazzini as a child, cooked by my mother who was a food snob, but still appreciated the occasional comfort food :)

  3. RD

    I grew up in the “golden age” of casseroles
    and television – 1950’s, 60’s. My mom used to
    make this dish. It’s a bit of work,
    and uses up a lot of pots and pans, so
    get an early start on it.

    I used an already roasted chicken from
    Safeway, and plain dry bread crumbs to save time. And added some left-over fresh tarragon from a dish I made the night before. Also used spaghetti for the pasta as that was how my mom made it.

    Every one liked it, including my 11 year old
    son who usually is not a big fan of
    casseroles. All you need is a salad to go
    with it. Will make it again soon.

  4. Erin

    I made this for dinner tonight with leftovers from thanksgiving. I got the email just as I was pondering what to do with my leftovers, so it was perfect! My husband loved it. Next time I need to remember to cook the noodles a little less than I did this time. I didn’t really take the baking time into account. But it was still delicious and we both had seconds :)

  5. Michelle

    My first culinary success was Turkey Tettrazini, made in cooking class in Jr.High (of course, no vermouth!). What a wonderful memory! Thanks for the reminder, I’ll make some this week.

    Wendy: Hint to get mushroom flavor past picky kids: Buy freeze-dried mushrooms (on-line or at Sam’s club, in a big container… don’t worry, you’ll use them!), and run some through a spice grinder (coffee grinder kept just for spices works best). Use the resulting powder in gravy, or to add a wonderful something in the background flavors of just about anything!

  6. Marcia

    This recipe is the same as the one I’ve used since the 70’s with the exception of swiss cheese. I tried this and must say the swiss is a great addition. I never use peas but often add cooked bell pepper, and we prefer chicken to turkey. If you simmer a whole chicken you have your broth, enough chicken for a large dish, and skin and bits for the poor dog’s dinner.

  7. Caroline

    I made this dish, and it was definitely DELICIOUS! One thing – it makes a TON of tetrazzini. My family of 4 couldn’t finish it all, and there’s enough for an entire 2nd night of it. People who aren’t big eaters may need to keep it in mind so they don’t end up with a ton of leftovers.

  8. Andi

    My fiance and I really liked this dish. I used chicken breasts instead of turkey (mostly to save time), skim milk, fat-free half&half, and panko crumbs instead of fresh bread crumbs (I just didn’t have time to make my own bread crumbs). Even with all the substitutions (I couldn’t call it “Turkey Tetrazzini” anymore, I refer to it as Chicken Noodle Casserole) it was still great. I too thought casseroles were passe, a relic of the fifties, but this one we really loved! Thanks for being such wonderful inspiration. I’ve made a bunch of your recipes but seldom take the time to comment on how wonderful they turn out. Props!

  9. Christine Dietz

    I tried this recipe the other night with a few substitutions and it turned out wonderfully. Instead of the swiss I used an Asiago-Romano blend , and in place of the turkey I used on of those rotisserie chickens that you can pick up from the grocery store. Everyone loved it! I even got my EXTREMELY picky daughter who lives on salmon and grilled cheese to try it.

  10. KaTe

    E,

    This was awesome. My whole fam loved it. Thanks.

    K

  11. Agota

    I know this probably sounds funny in a turkey tetrazzini recipe, but today I`m making it without the turkey. I`m really not a big meat-eater, but just love mushrooms! Last time I made this, I doubled the recipe and still the whole thing disappeared in a minute. Tonight, I`m making it with no meat, only the mushrooms. Mmmmm, yummy!!! Thank you for the recipe, Elise! It is simply perfect!

  12. Dave H

    Elise, I made this dish for my wife’s birthday last night and it was a huge hit. We had some leftover turkey and turkey broth. I only had 8oz of mushrooms and will definitely double that next time. I used 1% milk and half-and-half. Thanks for the wonderful recipe (and website).

  13. Bob K

    Hi, Elise!

    Loved the Turkey Tetrazzini recipe. Made it for friends the other night and it was a huge success!

    I did note one mistake (or typo) in your recipe: in the Ingredients list, you call for 1/3 cup of Swiss cheese, but in the Prep section, you mention adding the 1/2 cup of Swiss. So which is it?? I used a 1/2 cup and liked it!! [BTW, James Beard’s recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini uses only Parmesan, but more wine (dry Sherry), a 1/2 cup, which I think adds to the moistness of the dish.]

    Thanks for the great website. Keep it up!!
    ––Bob K

    Thanks for pointing out the inconsistency Bob, correction made (1/3 cup). Cheers, Elise

  14. Jennifer

    Great recipe. Everyone loved it when I made it the first time, and it was fun to make, too! Making it again tonight.

  15. Judy

    Can something be substituted for the wine/sherry?

    You could just skip it. ~Elise

  16. Cynthia

    Great dish! I used ground turkey and no msg chicken boullion cubes to save time. We used the Vermouth in the recipe. Incredibly delicious.

  17. Amy

    I made this for dinner tonight. It’s the best Turkey Tetrazzini I’ve ever had. Simply delicious!

  18. Jeanine

    I made this for dinner tonight (having made your roast turkey recipe the other night–it came out abnormally good!) and it was very well received. I actually cheated and substituted a huge amount of leftover gravy for the sauce, but I justified it by saying that I had utilized most of the same ingredients for the gravy anyway. I also sub’d panko for the bread crumbs and sprayed it with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray because I was too lazy to chop up real butter–it browned and crisped admirably, despite me. Thanks.

  19. will

    This was AWESOME! Can so remember having TT almost every week at university many moons ago. I have followed quite a few recipes for it in the past but none really seemed to work until tonight! Really moist, fantastic flavor, the whole thing rocked AND my three boys(9, 6, 6) all asked me for seconds. What a winner!

  20. Wendy

    I made this for dinner last night- EXCELLENT! I had leftover turkey and needed something new. My picky eater husband loved it. I LOVE your recipes.
    Thanks-Wendy

  21. Sarah

    Casseroles never go out of style in my books!! Tetrazzini is one of my all time favourites, and in fact I was planning on making it tonight! Your recipes sounds awesome!!

  22. Renee

    Hmmmm…I haven’t made tetrazzini in a long time. This sounds like a good one. I bet some Gruyere would taste good in it!

    We made this last batch with gruyere and chanterelles. Excellent. ~Elise

  23. Deanna@Marzipan

    Sounds like the recipe I use except for the peas and swiss cheese – both sound like yummy additions. Wish I had some leftover turkey in the fridge…

  24. Catherine

    Tettrazini was the go-to after holiday leftover recipe in our family. But we always did the easy Campbell soup version. Cream of mushroom soup and cheddar cheese were the base.

  25. Garrett

    Eating some of the leftovers right now! Very tasty and filling and perfect with some of my leftover cranberry sauce!

  26. Janet

    We had T-giving dinner with my in-laws at their home 400 miles away, and I am missing the glory of turkey leftovers! (I might have to cook a turkey breast in the next couple of days just so that I can make Turkey Hash.

  27. Cristina

    My father in law is a caterer and suggested I make Turkey Tetrazzini using my Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. I found your recipe and made it for my husband and I tonight. It.Was.Amazing!!! Very earthy flavor but it brought it together perfectly. Thank you for an easy but delicious recipe!!

  28. Shelly

    I made this last night. Stuck to the recipe except didn’t have any peas so skipped them. Turned out great & the 2 others that ate it loved it too. Thanks again Elise!

  29. Margaret Navarro

    I made this for our yacht club potluck today. It was a huge success. I couldn’t get out the door with my empty casserole dish without promising to email the link to your site and the recipe. I didn’t subtitute anything, but did add some leftover turkey gravy. It was delicious and I’ll make it again for company or potluck.

  30. Clarkies6

    This is absolutely hands down the best food/recipe website out there. I have tried many and this is the only site that has the best and most perfect/easy recipes. I made the stuffed peppers, pea soup, carrot cake and just now finished the turkey tetrazzini. Each recipe from this site has come out perfect, my husband is actually beginning to think I am a good cook. It makes me wonder why I’ve ever even bought a cook book!! I LOVE THIS WEBSITE…

    So glad you are finding the site useful! Happy cooking, ~Elise

  31. Cyndie

    I’m thinking of using this as a main dish at a very large rehearsal dinner. Does it work to make the main casserole the day before and then add the breadcrumb mixture right before cooking prior to the event? Any ideas or suggestions would be wonderful. Thanks! Cyndie

    Hello Cyndie. I think for an event this important, you should to a test run with a small batch and see how well it works for you. ~Elise

  32. Sarah S.

    My sister in law had been pestering me to try and make turkey tetrazzini! I was lucky to get this link first on google, we both loved this recipe! The only thing I left out was the sherry, peas and mushrooms (I’m allergic to mushrooms).

    p.s. for turkey I just pick some turkey breast up at safeway that’s already cooked :)

  33. Sally

    This is a wonderful recipe, Elise! We’d brined and smoked a turkey breast and used the leftovers for the tetrazzini. It was so delicious.

    LOVE your Simply Recipes blog and the beautiful photos. It’s now my go-to site for cooking. Thanks so much for all your hard work!

  34. Stephanie

    I really like this casserole because it doesn’t used canned soup. What a great way to use leftover turkey. And I agree with you and your dad – it doesn’t matter whether it’s “in” or not. Food that tastes good is “in” to me!

  35. Lori Ann

    I just made this and it is hot out of the oven as I type….This is an AMAZING recipe for Turkey Tetrazinni!! I cannot believe that it has no preservatives and still it bounces with flavor…I took turkey tenderloins and cut into 1 inch pieces , then sauteed it in 2 tablespoons of canola oil, seasoned with 1/2 tsp of each of thyme, rosemary, tumeric and marjoram….then set aside ….the only ingredient I added to this recipe was 2 tsp of Hungarian Parika blended in with the breadcrumbs and pecarino romano cheese replaced parmesean ….in the last 10 minutes of baking, I took croissant dough and placed it all the way around the edge of the pan…FANTASTIC!!

  36. Steven Allen

    I made this last night for dinner with the left over turkey From Thanksgiving. It was Excellent. Give yourself plenty of time for prep. Being single the only downside to this thing if you can call it a downside is I have enough leftover to feed an Army. But that can be cured by cutting the recipe amounts in half. When I cook something I put the recipe into 2 categories—do over or no do over. This is in the do over category.

  37. Gay

    I found this recipe for the last of the Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. It took a long time to make, even though I do like to do things from scratch, but the results – divine! I actually did add another couple of tablespoons of roux for the sauce, it seemed rather thin to me at first, and I added chopped celery and white onion, which I think also added to the flavor! We loved it, had seconds, and it will be dinner again tonight for the two of us. Worth the work and the cleanup (My husband and I split the work on that end).

  38. SusanB.

    Just finished this for dinner tonight. Soooooo good and now I am miserably stuffed! Even my picky daughter like it although she did pick out the mushrooms. Served it with a pear salad and some nice roasted garlic bread.
    Thank you for sharing such a yummy recipe!

  39. Kim

    This is my favorite recipe for leftover turkey. Thank you so much for sharing!

  40. Julie Anzalone

    This was awesome!! My whole family enjoyed it, and a great way to use up leftover turkey. Thanks!

  41. jane

    I want to make the recipe and freeze. Will it stand up to that okay?

    Great question. I haven’t frozen this yet, so don’t know how well it will stand up. ~Elise

  42. Jen

    I made this last night for dinner and it was great. I regrettably had to use canned mushrooms, so I imagine if I had used fresh the flavor would be even better. I didn’t have any bread crumbs so I used crushed potato chips instead. This recipe is easy to make but it does take some time, so keep that in mind. It was worth the prep time though, my family and I loved it!

  43. Mary K Benefiel

    For picky kids, leave out the mushrooms and saute some celery, carrots and onions and add a little extra sauce. PS don’t mention the sherry! The peas can go also, altho one of my children hid hers in the curtain hem in the breakfast room! This recipe will work w/ chicken, tuna, salmon and ground pork! Really!

  44. Jan Douglass

    Fantastic way to use up some leftover turkey . I used whole wheat fresh noodles and also added a couple of cloves of minced garlic and 3 scallions . Just enough gentle flavor to give the dish a little lift.
    Even with the heavy cream , the sauce was very light , not thick heavy tasting .
    I can’t wait to make it again , so many options – so little time .

  45. Rose

    This didn’t work for us. My picky eater husband, picked through his portion and then made himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Too bland and by the time everything was hot, it was too dry.

  46. Debra

    This recipe turned out great. I substituted a 14 ounce can of artichokes for the mushrooms but added garlic and onion to it while sauteing. I used all half and half instead of cream and milk and I left out the sheri. For the topping I used durkee french fried onions instead of bread crumbs. We will definately make this again my kids loved it.

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