Easy Turkey Tetrazzini

If you think turkey tettrazini is not that exciting a dish, let’s discuss after you make this recipe.  I was also of the mind that this casserole was going to be on bland and boring side, but thanks to a cheesy crunchy bread crumb topping, sauteed fresh mushrooms, and a delightful cream sauce spiked with sherry, sage and parsley, I stand corrected, and I hope you will find yourself standing corrected next to me very shortly.

Turkey Tetrazzini

What is the Origin of Turkey Tetrazzini?

Did you know that Turkey Tetrazzini was named after an opera singer?  This was news to me.  Luisa Tetrazzini, which is one hell of a great name.  Apparently the dish was created in San Francisco, where she lived in the early 1900s, created by a chef named  Ernest Arbogast at the Palace Hotel.  There are other accounts that state that the dish was created at the Knickerbocker Hotel in NYC, and still other theories, but I’m sorry, I have to lean towards the story where someone is actually named Tetrazzini.

Sauce for Turkey Tetrazzini

Using a combination of broth and whole milk (plus the butter used to saute the vegetables) gives this sauce a great amount of savoriness and creaminess both.  The Parmesan also gives it body, and the herbs make it aromatic and fresh at the same time.  

Turkey Tetrazzini

Cheese in Turkey Tetrazzini

This recipe calls for two kinds of cheese, not a whole lot of each, but just enough to elevate the dish without being overpowering, Parmesan bolsters the sauce, and the tempting gold brown topping made with bread crumbs and gruyere cheese adds another level of sophistication and flavor.  You can use grated Swiss cheese if you don’t have access to gruyere.  

Turkey Tettrazini: Leftover turkey mixed with sauteed fresh mushrooms and a delightful cream sauce spiked with sherry, sage and parsley is nestled under a cheesy crunchy bread crumb topping. This casserole is anything but boring!

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Tips for Cooking Turkey Tetrazzini

  • Don’t overcook this casserole!  The components are basically all already cooked (the vegetables in the sauce, the leftover turkey) so all you want to do is heat everything through and allow the flavors to meld a bit more.
  • Use fresh mushrooms.  You can use button mushrooms, cremini, or any combo of fresh mushrooms available to you, but just don’t use canned.  Canned vegetables are fine in some cases, but canned mushrooms will never really brown, and they have a spongy, slack texture.
Turkey Tetrazzini
  • Don’t skip the bread crumb topping.  The buttery, cheesy crunchiness is the perfect contract to the creamy tender filling.
  • If you prefer to use another herb instead of the sage, go right ahead.  Thyme, marjoram or rosemary would be good choices.
  • Break the spaghetti in half.  More on that right below!
Turkey Tetrazzini

How to Break Spaghetti in Half

First of all, why are we breaking the spaghetti in half?  This does not seem very authentically Italian.  The only reason I chose to do this is because shorter strands make the casserole easier to serve and to eat, and since this isn’t exactly authentic Italian cuisine to start with, it made sense.

The following method allow you to do this easily, without the mess of shards of pasta flying all over your kitchen.

Wrap the spaghetti (or other long thin pasta noodle) in a clean dishtowel.

How to Break Spaghetti in Half

Place the middle of the wrapped pasta against the edge of your kitchen counter.  Press both ends with equal force so that the bundle of spaghetti snaps in the middle.

How to Break Spaghetti in Half

Unwrap, and cook up that pasta!

What to Serve with Turkey Tetrazzini:

Turkey Tetrazzini

Other Leftover Turkey Recipes:

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Turkey Tetrazzini

Leftover turkey mixed with sauteed fresh mushrooms and a delightful cream sauce spiked with sherry, sage and parsley is nestled under a cheesy crunchy bread crumb topping. This casserole is anything but boring!
Yield: 8 People
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


For the Bread Crumb Topping:

  • ½ cup fresh bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
  • ½ cup shredded gruyere or Swiss cheese
  • 12 ounces dried spaghetti , snapped in half
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter , divided
  • 1 medium onion , chopped
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms , any kind
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 cup chicken broth , preferably less-sodium
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
  • 3 cups cubed cooked turkey
  • 2 cups frozen peas , thawed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley , plus more for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish (or another similar shallow 2 ½ quart baking dish) with nonstick spray. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, in a large, deep saucepan melt the 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes until they are browned and any liquid they have released evaporates. Remove to a plate.
  • While the vegetables cook, make the topping: in a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, salt, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and Gruyere or Swiss cheese. Set aside.
  • Return the skillet to medium heat and melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of the butter. Sprinkle over the flour and cook, stirring 1 to 2 minutes until the flour is incorporated and turns golden. Stir in the sage, broth and milk and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently for about 4 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Add the cooked mushrooms and onions, drained pasta, turkey, ½ cup parsley and Parmesan (if your pan is not big enough you can mix it al together in a large mixing bowl). Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Sprinkle with a bit more parsley and serve.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 466kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 443mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1120IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 203mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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