Turkey Tetrazzini is a perfect way to use up leftover or frozen cooked turkey and this one-pot meal gets even better when you crisp up the topping using the air fryer lid on the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot.
My Mom used to make turkey tetrazzini every year with leftover Thanksgiving turkey and it was always such a delicious recipe that screamed comfort food! The spaghetti noodles were perfectly cooked and coated in a creamy white sauce with mushrooms, peas, cheese and, of course, the turkey chunks.
I don't remember ever having it other times of the year unless it was frozen from Thanksgiving, but it can absolutely be made any time and, if you don't have turkey, use cooked chicken breasts and make chicken tetrazzini instead! Or use leftover rotisserie chicken!
Frequently Asked Questions
Turkey Tetrazzini will freeze just fine, my mom did it all the time. The important thing when freezing any leftovers is to make sure the food is cold before bagging and freezing to prevent ice crystals from forming.
Once the turkey tetrazzini has been refrigerated overnight, put it into freezer containers and freeze.
When reheating the turkey tetrazzini, you most likely will need to add more liquid in the form of chicken broth or cream to get that cheesy and creamy sauce again.
Can I cut this recipe in half?
Yes, absolutely! In fact, I recommend it if you are making it for the first time because it makes a lot! Unless you have a very large family, half of a recipe will more than feed 6 people.
When cutting this recipe in half, you simply reduce the ingredients in half and INCREASE the pressure cook time to 4-5 minutes. This is done because you will have less volume in the pot. The time to pressure will be quicker and therefore reduce the overall cook time.
Ingredients & Substitutions
I used all turkey breast meat in this recipe, but you can use any kind of leftover turkey meat that you have available. If you wanted to make the recipe and didn't have cooked turkey, you can use raw cubes of turkey and they will cook in the 3-minute pressure cook time as long as they are only about 1" chunks.
You can also make this recipe with cooked or uncooked chicken. Some people like to use canned tuna, but I really think you'll be happier making this recipe for tuna noodle casserole if you want to make a pasta dish with canned tuna.
Personally, I think shrimp and scallops would be delicious in this recipe, kind of like a seafood alfredo.
I chose Fettuccine in this recipe, because I like the way the thick noodles hold the sauce; however, you can use any style of pasta that you like. It's also important to note that the pasta in this recipe is only cooked to al dente, meaning it still has a bite to it. If you like your pasta cooked to a softer consistency, then I suggest increasing the PC time to 4-5 minutes with the same natural release.
The timing is different for different pasta types and, of course, if you like softer noodles then add 1-2 minutes to my suggested times below.
- Spaghetti Noodles: 2 minute PC with 3 minute NR
- Thin Spaghetti: 1 minute PC with 3 minute NR
- Penne Pasta: 4 minute PC with 3 minute NR
- Farfalle Pasta: 3 minute PC with 3 minute NR
- Linguini Noodles: 3 minute PC with 3 minute NR
- Wide Egg Noodles: 2 minute PC with 2 minute NR
I used sea salt, black pepper, and bacon as the primary seasonings in this recipe. You can certainly omit the bacon if you like. I think the salt and pepper is important in the recipe, but feel free to adjust the amounts to your liking.
You can also add other seasonings, like red pepper flakes if you want a little spice or a bit of Italian seasoning. If you aren't sure how much or what other seasonings will work well, then I suggest waiting until the end of cooking, but before the topping is put on and taste the turkey tetrazzini and adjust the flavors then.
You can put some in a little bowl and play around with seasoning it in the bowl before you commit to the entire pot. I do this all the time! Just remember that you will be adding just a pinch to the bowl and then you will increase the amount in whole pot. My advice is not to be heavy handed because you can always add more, but you can't easily remove it!
I used onions, mushrooms, garlic and peas in this recipe and I love the earthiness of the mushrooms with the sweetness of the peas. It's the perfect combination of flavors for me, but maybe not for you and that's okay. If you don't like or can't have onions, mushrooms or peas, leave them out or substitute another ingredient.
The garlic really adds a great flavor and don't be concerned that I use a whole bulb. It's very mild because we leave the cloves whole. If you want to use minced garlic instead, use about 1-2 teaspoons.
I think very small broccoli florets would be amazing in this recipe. Asparagus is another option.
The mushrooms can be baby portobello or button mushrooms and the great thing about mushrooms is they keep the best texture even when pressure cooked! So, no worries, you won't end up with soft and soggy mushrooms. Instead, they are firm and bursting with flavor!
You can also add additional vegetables to bring different flavors into the dish. For example, if you wanted to add celery, simply dice up 1-2 stalks and add them in when sautéing the onion.
I use a combination of white wine, chicken broth, and cream in this recipe, however there are plenty of ways to substitute different liquids and amounts.
First and foremost, if you don't like or can't have wine or any alcohol, simply use an extra ½ cup of chicken broth or turkey stock. You will want a total of 3½ cups of thin liquid in this recipe to properly build the pressure and cook the pasta.
The heavy cream can be substituted for whole milk or half and half (also known as light cream), but remember that these substitutes will be thinner and you may not have as thick of a creamy cheese sauce. You can also decrease the amount of cream by using only 1 cup and, if the turkey tetrazzini needs more liquid, use chicken broth or milk instead.
The only thing that matters at the end is that you are happy with the consistency of the sauce.
You can use any type of cheese and you can add more or less depending on how cheesy you want the sauce. My mom used to use whatever she had on hand, BUT she always used parmesan cheese as the main cheese. I used equal parts of parmesan and an italian blend and I enjoyed the flavor with this blend of cheeses, but feel free to experiment.
When it comes to parmesan cheese, I really recommend using a block of cheese and using a fine grater to grate it. You will have an easier time with it melting and creating a creamy sauce.
I think a smoked cheddar would work great or even a Swiss cheese. Mozzarella cheese is another option. Try different combinations until you find your favorite!
You can also use cream cheese which will definitely add a creaminess and you might even find that you don't need to use the roux if you use cream cheese. Simply put the block (8 ounces) of cream cheese on top of the turkey before pressure cooking. It will look terrible when you open the lid, but don't worry, it blends in fine when you stir it.
Adding a topping is completely optional. This recipe is good with or without a topping! I decided to use a topping because that is how my mom made it, although I'm not exactly sure what she used in her topping. That's the beauty of it -- use what you like and what you have on hand. You will want a total of about 1½-2 cups to cover the top if you are using the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot with a crisping lid.
I used a combination of crushed Ritz crackers (about 1 cup), parmesan cheese (about ½ cup shredded), and 4 slices of thick cut bacon that I chopped into bite size pieces and cooked in a frying pan until crispy. The 4 slices of bacon was about ¼ cup in volume.
I enjoyed this combination of flavors very much, but there are tons of different ways to make a topping. You can use bread crumbs, panko, or another favorite cracker instead of ritz crackers or corn flakes will also work! You can use any kind of cheese or skip the cheese. The bacon bits are completely optional, but they are so good in this recipe!
How to Make Turkey Tetrazzini on the stove
Bring a large stock pot full of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta according to the package instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, add 2 Tablespoons of salted butter into a large frying pan and cook over medium high heat until melted. Add in the diced onions, sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté for about 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle in the 2 Tablespoons of flour and stir. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Add 1 cup of chicken or turkey broth and reduce the heat to low. Stir constantly and the liquid will begin to thicken.
Add the grated cheeses and 1 cup of cream. Stir to combine and let cook long enough for the cheese to melt.
When the pasta is done, drain the water but keep about 1 cup of the pasta water in case you need it to thin the sauce.
Put the pasta back into the large pot and add the peas and the turkey chunks. Pour over the cheese sauce and stir until combined.
If the sauce is too thin, you can thicken it with more cheese or add a little more roux. If it is too thin, you will want to add a little pasta water and/or cream.
Once the peas are warmed through and the sauce is the consistency you like, you can transfer the pasta to a baking dish and put the topping on and bake at 400℉/200℃ for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
How to Make Turkey Tetrazzini in an Instant Pot
The instructions are going to be exactly the same as making Turkey Tetrazzini in the Ninja Foodi, but depending on your model, you may have to transfer the pasta to a baking dish before adding the topping.
If you have an Instant Pot Duo Crisp or the Instant Pot Pro Crisp, the directions will be exactly the same as they are for the Ninja Foodi.
If you don't have the crisping lid, then simply follow the recipe until you've added the cream and cheeses and the pasta has simmered in the sauce long enough to be the texture you like.
Then, transfer to a large casserole dish and preheat the oven on 400℉/200℃
How to Make Turkey Tetrazzini in the Ninja Foodi
This is definitely the kind of recipe where you want to have the prep done before you start cooking. You can wait to grate the cheese until you close the pot up for pressure cooking if you prefer. You will have about 15-20 minutes while the pot is under pressure.
I recommend using freshly grated parmesan in this recipe and any other cheese you like. You will want 8 ounces of grated cheese.
Remove the peas from the freezer and soak in a bowl of water to thaw.
Dice the onion into about ½" dice, slice the mushrooms into ¼-½" slices. Cube the turkey into 1-1½" chunks. Finely grate the parmesan cheese and measure out the other ingredients.
Remove the cloves from the garlic bulb and cut off the ends. Smash the clove with the back of your knife and the paper will just fall off. It's much easier to do it this way because peeling garlic takes forever!
Here is a video showing you exactly how I do it.
Turn the sear/sauté on high and add 2 Tablespoons of butter. When the butter has melted, reduce the heat to medium and add in 2 Tablespoon of flour. Stir to combine into a loose paste. Make sure all the butter is absorbed by the flour and the mixture isn't lumpy.
Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes and turn the Foodi off. Remove the roux and place it in a bowl for use later.
Sauté and Deglaze
Turn the Ninja Foodi on sear/sauté and set on high. Add 2 Tablespoons of butter, the diced onions and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add in the sliced mushrooms, salt, and black pepper.
Stir and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms start to brown.
Deglaze the pot, which means put in liquid and scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any brown bits or fond that might be stuck to the pot, with ½ cup of white wine or chicken broth.
Once the vegetables are sautéed and the pot deglazed, add in the strip of uncooked bacon if using. Break the fettuccine noodles in half and begin layering them in a criss cross fashion. Add in the 3 cups of chicken broth and place the turkey cubes on top of the pasta. Do not stir.
Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Set the pressure on high for 3 minutes (or see pasta section above for timing for a different pasta) and hit start.
When the pressure time is up, allow the pot to natural release for 3 minutes and then manually release the remaining pressure.
Remove the lid and DON'T FREAK OUT! I know, it looks like a clumpy uncooked mess right now, don't worry! That all gets fixed in the next step.
Creating the Sauce
Like I said in the last section, the noodles are going to look clumpy and undercooked. That's because they are! That's by design so they don't overcook while you create the cheese sauce.
Turn the Ninja Foodi on low sear/sauté.
Remove the piece of bacon. Set aside about ½ cup of the parmesan cheese if you are making the topping and place the rest of the grated cheeses on top. Use tongs or a wooden spoon to stir and toss the pasta to mix in the cheese.
You will see that it is clumpy in places, try to break it apart the best you can. It will loosen and cook more when the cream is added.
Add in 1 cup of cream and toss. Continue adding cream and/or chicken broth until the sauce is the consistency that you like. Let the pot cook on low until the pasta is cooked the way you like it.
In my test batches, I found that the amount of cream added at the end varied from 1 cup to 2 cups. If you don't want to use a full 2 cups of cream, then add half chicken broth instead.
If you aren't adding the topping, you can serve it right now.
In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the crushed Ritz crackers,½ cup shredded parmesan cheese, bacon bits, and 1 Tablespoon of bacon grease. Mix together and then spread on the top of the turkey tetrazzini.
Put the crisping lid down and set the bake/roast function on 375℉/190℃ and set the time for 10 minutes. You will want to check the topping every 5 minutes and lower the heat, if needed.
When the topping is golden brown, turn the Ninja Foodi off and leave the crisping lid open. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.
Serve & Enjoy!
More One-Pot Meal Recipes
If you enjoy one pot meals made in the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot, here are some that you may enjoy.
- Chicken Alfredo in the Ninja Foodi/Instant Pot
- Green Curry Chicken with Rice ~ One-Pot Meal in the Ninja Foodi
- One-Pot Sausage Peppers & Pasta ~ Pressure Cooker Recipe
- One-Pot Pasta Primavera ~ Ninja Foodi Recipe
- Lemon Garlic Pasta with Vegetables ~ Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker Recipe
- Cajun Jambalaya in the Ninja Foodi
- Cheesy Ground Beef & Rice Casserole ~ Pressure Cooker Recipe
- Cheesy Shrimp and Grits in the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot
One-Pot Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe
- Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker
- 4 Tablespoons butter divided in recipe
- 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 medium onion
- 16 ounces mushrooms
- 1½ teaspoons fine grind sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bulb garlic 10-12 whole cloves
- ½ cup white wine or use an additional ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 slice thick cut bacon raw
- 16 ounces fettuccine noodles
- 20 ounces cooked turkey
- 3 cups chicken broth or turkey stock
- 12 ounces peas frozen and thawed
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 4 ounces Italian blend cheese about 1 cup shredded
- 4 ounces parmesan cheese about 2 cups finely shredded
- 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers about 26 crackers
- parmesan cheese use about ½ cup from the Tetrazzini ingredients.
- 4 slices thick cut bacon cooked crispy
- 1 Tablespoon bacon grease
- Dice the onion into about ½" dice. Slice the mushrooms into ¼-½" slices. Cube the turkey meat into 1" pieces. Put the frozen peas in a bowl of cold water to thaw.
- Cut the bacon up into bite size pieces and fry in a frying pan or in the bottom of the Ninja Foodi until crispy. Drain the grease and reserve. Put the bacon bits on a paper towel to cool.
- Measure out the remaining ingredients and shred the parmesan cheese. Remove the paper from the cloves of garlic. The way I do this is by cutting off the ends and smashing the garlic with the back of my knife and the paper just comes off as the clove is smashed.
Making the Roux
- Turn the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot on high sear/sauté and add 2 Tablespoons of butter. When the butter has melted, reduce the heat to medium and add 2 Tablespoons of flour. Stir until all of the butter is absorbed by the flour. Cook for about 3 minutes. Turn the Ninja Foodi off and remove the roux and place it in a small bowl for later use. You do not need to clean the pot before moving to the next step.
- Turn the Ninja Foodi on high sear/sauté and add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter. Add the diced onions, mushrooms, salt, pepper, and garlic cloves. Stir and Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to brown.
- Deglaze the pot with ½ cup of white wine or ½ cup of chicken broth and make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to release anything that maybe stuck on the bottom.
- Add in the slice of raw bacon if using. Break the fettuccine noodles in half and criss cross the pasta. Add the cubed turkey on top.
- Pour in 3 cups of chicken broth. The pasta will not be completely covered by liquid.
- Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes and when the time is up allow the pot to natural release for 3 minutes. Manually release the remaining pressure.
- Open the lid and remove the bacon strip. Don't worry about how it looks right now, the pasta is going to look undercooked and clumpy, but we fix that in the next step.
Creating the Cream Sauce
- Turn the Ninja Foodi on low sear/sauté. Add in the roux and stir into the liquid.
- Put the shredded cheese on top and mix with tongs to break up the noodles that are stuck together.
- Drain the water from the peas and add to the pot and mix again. Pour in 1 cup of heavy cream and stir. Continue to add more cream until the sauce is the consistency you like. Cook on low until the noodles are the cooked the way you like. You can serve it now or add the topping.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the crushed Ritz crackers, ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese, bacon bits, and 1 Tablespoon of bacon grease. Mix and spread evenly over the top of the turkey tetrazzini.
- Bake on 375°F/190°C for 10 minutes. Check after 5 minutes and lower heat if needed. Let sit about 5-10 minutes before serving with the crisping lid open.
- Serve & Enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.
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