This comforting tetrazzini is a classic, adaptable way to use leftover chicken or turkey

Southern Kitchen

About the recipe

Nothing says comfort better than chicken tetrazzini. A crowd-pleaser, tetrazzini can be made with either chicken or turkey. You can cook the chicken the old-fashioned way, by simmering it in water flavored with onion, bay leaves, salt and pepper.

Let the chicken cool, then remove the meat from the bone, and reserve about three cups for the casserole. Or you can easily use a store-bought rotisserie chicken or any leftovers you’ve got. 

Making the sauce from scratch — no cans here — is key to success with this dish, and you can feel free to alter the seasonings as you see fit. Add some cayenne if you like it. Add a pinch of nutmeg if you like. Use the sherry to pick up the sauce, but if you don’t have sherry, add some white wine instead. Add the green olives or omit. But do take the time to toast some chopped pecans to scatter on top just when ready to serve. If you add the pecans before baking, some will burn and the others will get soggy sitting in the casserole and its juices.

Serves: 6 to 8

Hands On Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 0 minutes


8 ounces thin spaghetti or vermicelli, broken in half

3 cups (12 ounces) chopped or shredded cooked chicken

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups (8 ounces) sliced button or cremini mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons sherry

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup sliced green olives

1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans, for garnish


Arrange an oven rack to the center position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Stir in the pasta, reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook, uncovered, until just al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain well, shaking to remove excess water, and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the chicken.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter is foamy, add the mushrooms, onion, and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken broth and cook, stirring, until it begins to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in the cream and sherry, season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring, until the sauce comes just to a boil, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, along with the olives. Pour the sauce into the bowl with the chicken and noodles and stir to combine.

Transfer the chicken mixture to a 9- by 13-inch baking dish or a large round casserole. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Bake until the casserole is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Scatter with the toasted pecans and serve.