Turkey and Noodles Tetrazzini

Recipe Pin
1 hour
8 servings

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Discover the joy of making easy Turkey and Noodles Tetrazzini with this step-by-step recipe guide – perfect for using leftover Thanksgiving turkey! This is a recipe that will change your leftovers game FOREVER! This same method makes a mean Chicken Tetrazzini using leftover rotisserie!

A hot leftover turkey and noodle tetrazzini casserole.

Have you ever stared at your fridge full of Thanksgiving turkey leftovers and thought, “What now?” Well, prepare to be amazed! This easy recipe for Turkey Tetrazzini transforms your leftover Thanksgiving turkey into a mouthwatering dish that’s easy to make and a ridiculously delicious and creamy casserole. This is among my favorite leftover turkey recipes, and it’s even better the next day after baking. Serve with a green salad and homemade dinner rolls and ooo-la-la!

Little-known fact: the origin of Tetrazzini. Did you know the original Turkey Tetrazzini recipe is named after a famous opera singer of the early 1900s, Luisa Tetrazzini? Well, this is NOT a Southern story in the least! It’s believed to have been invented in San Francisco, a city she adored. Now, it’s your turn to love this dish!

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe!

Effortlessly Delicious – Make Turkey Tetrazzini easy peasy with a mix of creamy sauce, tender turkey, and perfectly cooked noodles; each bite is a symphony of flavors.
A Perfect Way to Use Leftovers – This dish is the ultimate solution for your leftover Thanksgiving turkey. A great way to say goodbye to food waste!
Comfort in a Dish – Every spoonful brings warmth and comfort, making Turkey Tetrazini Casserole a great recipe and an ideal meal for cozy nights.


Ingredients for Turkey and Noodles Tetrazzini

Use homemade turkey stock for this recipe for turkey tetrazzini casserole if you have a leftover holiday bird. Follow my easy chicken stock method, swapping in the turkey carcass. You’ll have a flavorful stock in about an hour and extra to freeze for later use.

Ingredients to make Turkey and Noodles tetrazzini.
  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti – A healthier alternative, providing a lovely texture. For a classic twist, feel free to use egg noodles.
  • Cooked Turkey Meat – Both white and dark meat work well, offering a delightful mix of flavors and textures. Chicken can be used as an alternative.
  • Cream of Chicken Soup – Most Turkey Tetrazzini recipes specify condensed soup as the base of the creamy sauce. Mushroom soup or cream of celery soup can also be used for a different flavor profile.
  • Dry Sherry – Possibly the most important ingredient for me flavor-wise; sherry adds a depth no other ingredient, not even dry white wine, can offer.
  • Full-Fat Sour Cream – Adds creaminess. For a lighter version, try using Greek yogurt.
  • Garlic Powder, Parsley Flakes, Pepper – These spices bring the dish to life. Adjust according to your taste preferences. Substitute Italian seasoning in a pinch. 
  • Turkey Stock – Enhances the turkey flavor. Chicken broth or stock can also be used.
  • Ritz Crackers – They are visually appealing and add a crunchy topping. Alternatively, breadcrumbs can be used.
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese – It brings a salty, nutty flavor. Pre-grated cheese works, too, but fresh is always better!
  • Ciliegine Mozzarella Cheese Balls – They melt beautifully, adding gooey goodness. Shredded mozzarella is a great alternative.
  • Freshly Grated Nutmeg – Nutmeg and dry sherry complement one another naturally. Combining them kicks this recipe up tenfold and is among my favorite ways to use both ingredients. 
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See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Easily swap turkey for leftover rotisserie chicken and a delicious Chicken Noodle Casserole, Tetrazzini style! Who says you have to use turkey??? 
  • Add a cup of sliced fresh mushrooms to the mix before baking for a layer of earthy flavor.
  • Instead of whole wheat spaghetti, try using other noodles like egg noodles, angel hair pasta, or penne. Keep in mind you must undercook these, too.
  • For a variation in flavor and certainly in color, replace the cream of chicken soup with condensed golden mushroom soup. 
  • Replace the Ciliegine Mozzarella cheese balls with grated Swiss cheese smoked Gouda for a pronounced smoky flavor in your casserole. If using leftover smoked turkey, this could get very interesting!
  • Instead of Ritz crackers, mix panko breadcrumbs with melted butter for a golden, crunchy topping. I’ve also tested this dish using store-bought herb croutons, which is delicious!
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Tip: Undercook Your Pasta

Follow package directions when cooking pasta but reduce cook time by 2 full minutes. Save 1 cup of the starchy pasta water before draining.


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This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!

Making Turkey Tetrazzini in Advance

The merits of preparing Turkey Tetrazzini ahead of time means you can enjoy a delicious meal without the last-minute rush, perfect for busy schedules and reducing kitchen stress on the day of serving. 

Quick Steps for Advance Preparation:

  • Follow the recipe to make the Turkey Tetrazzini, stopping just before the baking step.
  • Let the prepared dish cool to room temperature. Then, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or a lid, ensuring it’s airtight.
  • Refrigerate if you plan to bake it within 48 hours. For longer storage, freeze the dish for up to 2 months.
  • When ready to serve, bake it directly from the fridge or defrost overnight if frozen. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time if it’s cold from the fridge.

Step By Step Instructions

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Tip: Save Some Pasta Water

Save a cup of pasta water and add it into the casserole in small increments to help thicken the sauce and finish cooking the pasta and avoid drying the casserole while baking.


A womans hands buttering a casserole dish, making a cracker topping, and adding lots of ingredients to a large mixing bowl.

Step 1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a 9×13 baking dish with 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Cook 16 ounces of whole wheat spaghetti in salted water, reducing the cooking time by 2 minutes. Remember to save a cup of pasta water before draining. (Image 1)

Step 2. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium heat. Crush 10 to 12 Ritz crackers with a meat mallet. (Image 2)

Step 3. Mix with the melted butter in a bowl and set aside. (Image 3)

Step 4. In a large bowl, mix 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter, 3-4 cups diced turkey, 2 cans cream of chicken soup, 2 cups sour cream, 1/4 cup dry sherry, 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, parsley flakes, and sea salt, plus ½ teaspoon each of fresh nutmeg and black pepper. (Image 4)

A womans hands adding stock to ingredients in a large bowl, then stirring in cooked spaghetti and starchy pasta water.

Step 5. Blend in 1 cup of turkey stock for smoothness. (Image 5)

Step 6. Stir the mixture well so all of the ingredients are well combined, and herbs and spices are distributed. (Image 6)

Step 7. Fold the cooked spaghetti into the turkey mixture. Stir to coat. (Image 7)

Step 8. Add reserved pasta water gradually to achieve a gravy-like consistency or slightly thinner. This starchy water keeps the casserole moist and ensures perfectly al dente pasta. (Image 8)

A womans hands scraping a spaghetti mixture into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish and topping with cheese and buttery crackers.

Step 9. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish. (Image 9)

Step 10. Scatter Ciliegine mozzarella halves over the pasta, lightly pressing them into the sauce. Grate Parmesan cheese directly over the dish. (Image 10)

Step 11. Put the casserole dish on a foil-lined baking sheet. (Image 11)

Step 12. Finally, top with the cracker mix for a crispy finish. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Let it stand for 5 minutes after removing from the oven. (Image 12)

How To Serve Turkey and Noodles Tetrazzini

Presentation

  • Plating: Serve Turkey and Noodles Tetrazzini hot, spooned onto plates or in shallow bowls. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or extra Parmesan cheese for an added touch.

Accompaniments

  • Salad: A crisp green salad with a light vinaigrette balances the richness of the Tetrazzini.
  • Vegetables: Steamed vegetables like broccoli, green beans, or a medley of seasonal veggies complement the creamy pasta well.
  • Bread: A side of garlic bread or crusty artisan bread is perfect for soaking up the sauce.

Pairings

Wine Pairing:

  • White Wine: Chardonnay, with its buttery notes, pairs nicely with the creamy sauce.
  • Red Wine: For red wine lovers, a light Pinot Noir can complement the dish without overwhelming the flavors.

Beer Pairing:

  • A Pale Ale or a Pilsner works well with this dish, offering a crisp and refreshing contrast to the creamy and savory flavors.

Jenny’s Recipe Pro Tips for Perfect Tetrazzini

  • Ensure your spaghetti is slightly undercooked. It will finish al dente during baking.
  • Don’t skimp on the details. The Ritz crackers, sherry, and nutmeg make the dish!
  • Use freshly grated Parmesan for the best flavor.

Recipe FAQs

What is Tetrazzini sauce made of?

The basic components of a smooth, velvety Tetrazzini sauce include butter, sour cream, condensed soup, and turkey or chicken stock. 

How do I store fully cooked, leftover Turkey Tetrazzini?

Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Can I freeze Turkey Tetrazzini?

Yes, Turkey Tetrazzini, both baked and unbaked, may be frozen in a freezer-safe container up to 2 months. Freeze in portions for quick meals for one or two people. 

Additional Creamy Casseroles to Try!

Turkey and Noodles Tetrazzini

Jenny DeRemer
Savor the comfort of Turkey and Noodles Tetrazzini. Easy and delicious, it's the perfect way to turn turkey leftovers into a gourmet casserole, complete with a crispy cracker topping. A must-try for a satisfying family meal!
5 from 2 votes
Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 8 servings
Calories 577 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 16 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter divided; 4 tablespoons melted and divided, 4 tablespoons softened
  • 3 to 4 cups chopped. cooked turkey white and dark meat
  • 2 (10.5 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups full fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
  • 1 cup turkey stock may substitute chicken broth
  • 1/2 to 1 cup starchy pasta water
  • 2 cups Ciliegine mozzarella balls halved
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese more for serving
  • 10 to 12 Ritz crackers crushed

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Use 2 tablespoons melted butter to grease a 9×13 baking dish. Set aside. Like a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1 pound of whole wheat spaghetti and cook according to package directions but reducing the cooking time by 2 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  • Load 10 to 12 Ritz crackers into a plastic zipper bag and lightly crush. Empty bag into a small bowl and add remaining melted butter to the crackers and stir to coat. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the 4 tablespoons softened butter, turkey, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, sherry, garlic powder, parsley, sea salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Whisk in 1 cup of turkey stock until smooth.
  • Fold the cooked spaghetti into the turkey mixture. Stir to coat. Add reserved pasta water gradually to achieve a gravy-like consistency or slightly thinner. You may or may not require all of the pasta water.
  • Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish. Put the casserole dish on a foil-lined baking sheet in the event of bubble over.
  • Add mozzarella halves over the pasta, lightly pressing into the sauce. Grate Parmesan cheese directly over the dish. Top with the buttered cracker mix and bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Let it stand for 5 minutes after removing from the oven. Serve hot with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

Notes

Store Leftovers – refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Freeze Baked or Unbaked – freeze in a freezer-safe container up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Place on counter 30 minutes before baking. Reheat in oven according to recipe card instructions. Smaller portions are easier microwaved. 

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 577kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 28gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 495mgPotassium: 371mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 742IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 199mgIron: 3mg
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One Comment

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