This easy cheesy Turkey Casserole recipe will be a hit with the whole family! With turkey, pasta, veggies, and plenty of melty mozzarella, it’s the perfect way to use turkey leftovers.
Do you always make a turkey leftovers casserole after Thanksgiving? That’s definitely a tradition in my house, and I think this one is my favorite! Once you’ve eaten all the sides and you still have leftover turkey, it’s time to put it in a casserole—preferably one that’s creamy and cheesy! You can even make my Easy Leftover Turkey Soup with your leftover holiday turkey.
Easy Turkey Casserole Recipe
This hearty Turkey Casserole definitely delivers in the creamy-and-cheesy department. It has an herbed tomato cream sauce and 2 cups of shredded mozzarella, which, when combined with the pasta, gives the casserole a bit of an Italian spin.
Like most casseroles, this one will keep in the fridge for a few days, which is always great news because it means you’ll have a day off of cooking when you make the leftovers! Of course, this Turkey Casserole is so good, there might not even be any leftovers.
- Dry pasta – I used fusilli, but penne, macaroni, or farfalle would work well too.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Onion – A yellow or white onion will work.
- Garlic cloves
- Dried oregano
- Dried thyme
- Dried parsley
- Tomato paste
- Half and half
- Turkey leftovers or shredded turkey
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Mozzarella cheese
- Cheese – Swap the mozzarella for cheddar or an Italian blend.
- Meat – If you don’t have turkey leftovers, you can use shredded or ground chicken, pork, or beef.
- Half-and-half – Substitute half light cream and half whole milk instead.
How to Make Turkey Casserole
Preheat your oven to 395ºF and grease a 9×13 baking dish. Set your oven rack in the middle position.
2. Cook the Pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to the package directions, until al dente. Reserve two tablespoons of the cooking water, then drain the pasta in a colander and rinse with cold water.
3. Make the Sauce
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, then add the oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the carrots and onion and cook until tender. Add the garlic and dried herbs, then add the tomato paste. Stir to combine, then pour in the half and half and pasta water. Stir again and bring the mixture to a simmer, then decrease the heat to low.
4. Add the Pasta and Turkey
Add the pasta and turkey to the skillet and stir again, making sure they’re well-coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer half of the pasta mixture to the baking dish and top with a cup of cheese. Pour the rest of the pasta mixture over the cheese layer, then top that with the remaining cheese.
Bake the Turkey Casserole for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese melts and begins to brown. Let it sit for 5 minutes to cool, then serve.
Hint: You can turn on the broiler for the last few minutes of the cooking time to make the cheese browned and crispy—just watch the casserole carefully!
- Vegetarian – Swap the turkey for your favorite plant-based meat or cremini mushrooms.
- Dairy-free – Use soy or almond milk and a dairy-free cheese like Violife or Daiya cheddar.
- Gluten-free – Substitute your favorite gluten-free pasta.
- Deluxe – Add crumbled bacon and mushrooms.
What should I serve with turkey casserole?
I recommend serving turkey casserole with a light salad on the side, or garlic bread if you’re in a carb-y kind of mood.
Can turkey casserole be made ahead?
Yes, this casserole does well in the fridge! You can assemble it up to a day in advance, cover it, then just add about 5 extra minutes to the cooking time to account for the fact that you’re heating it from chilled.
Can turkey casserole be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze this casserole by dividing it into individual portions and putting them in zip-top bags or airtight freezer containers. Let them defrost in the fridge, then transfer them to a plate or bowl and reheat them in the microwave until warmed through.
The pasta will continue to soften in the sauce, which is why it’s important to make sure you only cook it to al dente. You don’t want mushy pasta in your turkey leftovers casserole!
If you’re looking for more….try these recipes next!
- 3 cups | 9 ounce | 280 grams dry pasta I used Fusilli
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup | 2 small carrots peeled and diced
- 1 small onion peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup | 8.45 fluid ounce | 250 ml Half and Half
- 2 ¼ cups | 14 ounce | 400 g turkey leftovers or shredded turkey
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 2 cups | 8 ounce | 225 g mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 395 F | 200 C and greased a 9×13 baking dish.
- Boil a large pot with salted water and cook pasta Al Dente. When done, remove 2 tablespoons of pasta water and reserve. Drain pasta and run cold water on them in a sink. Let them drain.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet with oil on medium heat. Cook carrots and onion until tender then add garlic and dried herbs. Stir then add tomato paste. Stir again to combine.
- Pour Half and Half with the pasta water. Stir and bring to a simmer. Decrease heat to low.
- Add pasta and turkey in the skillet. Stir all ingredients together to combine well. Make sure all pasta and turkey are covered with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer half of the pasta in the baking dish and sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Cover with the other half of pasta then top with the rest of the cheese.
- Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until the cheese melts and turns brown. Wait about 5 minutes before serving.