Whether you're a home cook looking to change up your weeknight dinner routine or a busy parent in need of a meal that's comforting and quick, a turkey casserole could be the perfect recipe to add to your repertoire. Casseroles are known for their simplicity and versatility, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to feed a crowd or have a week's worth of leftovers. In this detailed instructional guide, we’ll take you through the process of making a delicious turkey casserole, step by step.

turkey casserole

The Versatile Turkey Casserole

The beauty of a turkey casserole lies in its adaptability to your tastes and the ingredients you have at hand. You can make it a light, summery affair with fresh vegetables and a zesty tomato base, or a hearty, wintery comfort food by adding creamy sauces and root vegetables. And of course, turkey is a leaner, healthier alternative to heavier meats like beef or pork, which is perfect if you’re looking for a dish that won’t weigh you down. It's also a great way to use up any leftover turkey from a large roast.

Ingredients You'll Need

The ingredients for a classic turkey casserole are simple and hearty. Tailor the list to your preferences and use fresh herbs and spices to elevate the flavor.

For the Base:

  • 2 cups cooked turkey, shredded
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (or an equivalent amount of homemade soup)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Topping:

  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese
  • Paprika for garnish

Preparing the Casserole

Step 1: Cook the Turkey

Start by cooking your turkey if it isn't already cooked. A simple way to do this is by seasoning the turkey with salt and pepper and baking it in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Step 2: Prepare the Vegetables

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add the mixed vegetables and continue to cook until they are tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 3: Mix the Base

In a large bowl, combine the shredded cooked turkey, the sautéed vegetables, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Mix everything well until it's evenly combined.

Step 4: Layer the Casserole

Grease a casserole dish and spread the turkey mixture evenly across the bottom. If you're adding any additional layers, like a breadcrumb topping or a layer of mashed potatoes, do so now.

Step 5: Top with Mashed Potatoes and Cheese

Spread the mashed potatoes over the turkey mixture, creating an even layer. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the mashed potatoes, and dust with a touch of paprika for color.

Step 6: Bake It

Place the casserole in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the casserole is heated through.

Customizing Your Casserole

Adding Layers

Consider adding layers of stuffing, cooked acorn squash, or even cranberry sauce between the base and mashed potato topping for a Thanksgiving-inspired casserole.

Healthier Alternatives

For a lighter version, swap the traditional cream of chicken soup for a homemade version made with low-fat milk. Use a mixture of sweet potato and cauliflower for the mashed potato topping, which is creamy and nutritionally rich.

Vegetarian or Gluten-Free

If you're catering to a vegetarian crowd, use a meat substitute or a medley of beans and lentils instead of turkey. For a gluten-free option, ensure that all your soup and stock ingredients are safe, or make your own versions at home.

Serving Suggestions

A turkey casserole is a complete meal in itself, but you can pair it with some simple sides to round out the dinner.


A green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing adds freshness and crunch to your meal.


A loaf of crusty bread or dinner rolls is perfect for mopping up the delicious sauce.


Keep it simple with a fruit cobbler or serve a classic apple pie for a comforting end to the meal.

A turkey casserole not only provides a delicious dinner for your family, but the leftovers also make a fantastic lunch the next day. Stick with the classic version or get creative—either way, you're sure to end up with a satisfying meal that everyone will love.

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