The Thanksgiving Leftover Recipe You’ll Be Thankful For

A turnkey turkey meal

Thanksgiving is supposed to be for feasting; the following days are supposed to be, if not for fasting, at least, for just feasting on the same old leftovers.

Not so fast. There's a leftover turkey recipe so good you'll never look at that roasted bird the same ever again. You will merely see it as a vessel for future creamy, comforting goodness. Can you even? Sure can, and sure f*cking will, y'all. Turkey tetrazzini is where it's at, and it's lit.

Now, you may be thinking, Why not just make this on Thanksgiving day? To which I say with the confidence and wink of Elle Woods, "Trust me. You'll want leftover turkey for this." After all, the basting and oven trickery that goes into the all-American Macy's Thanksgiving Day™ meal provides the perfect amount of tasty oomph to what could otherwise be a pretty blasé chunk of meat. You'll want the spices and stuffing influence baked into the casserole. It adds texture. (Blame copious amounts of Food Network consuming for that phrase.) You'll also want an audience to share the luxurious decadence that is leftover turkey baked with breadcrumbs, cream, cheese, and spaghetti. Have them stick around for a few days, even. This recipe, which comes straight from my mother, tastes even better the day after you make it. It is, honestly and truly, the turkey recipe that keeps on giving. That is, until, it's all gone. Savor responsibly.

Turkey tetrazzini


  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup of ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 cups of cooked leftover turkey, diced
  • 0.5 lbs. of spaghetti, cooked
  • 1 cup of peas, cooked
  • 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs
  • Cooked bacon and/or sliced mushrooms (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees; grease a 3-quart casserole dish with olive or canola oil.
  2. Heat 4 tablespoons of butter and all of the olive oil in a large saucepan with minced garlic. If using cooked bacon/mushrooms, add them to the saucepan and saute for five minutes. Use a draining spoon to remove cooked bacon/mushrooms and set aside.
  3. Add in flour to butter and oil and cook until it bubbles. Add thyme and nutmeg.
  4. Whisk in broth and milk; bring to a boil, then simmer; turn down the heat.
  5. Whisk in cream and cheese until the cheese melts.
  6. Add turkey (and, if using, cooked bacon/mushrooms), mixing well.
  7. Toss cooked spaghetti in the saucepan.
  8. Mix in the peas before transferring the mixture to the casserole dish.
  9. Melt the extra 2 tablespoons of butter over the casserole and mix in breadcrumbs, dusting the top of the casserole with extra breadcrumbs.
  10. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until desired crispiness.