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Creamy Turkey Pasta with Almonds

November 7, 2023

With its humble, pantry staples, you’d never believe how impressive this creamy pasta dish is…until you try it!


  • Fall
  • Thanksgiving
  • Winter
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
creamy turkey pasta in a bowl made with butter, spices, cream and parmesan
Photography by Gayle McLeod

The Best Way To Use Up Your Leftover Turkey: Creamy Turkey Pasta!

As the holidays roll around, we like to keep a bunch of recipes for all the yummy leftovers in our Rolodex for when the time comes! We make sure the recipes are easy, fun, and most of all, delicious! This recipe for creamy turkey pasta fits all three - tender noodles, creamy cheesy sauce, specks of fresh cracked black pepper, and all topped with toasted almonds and golden brown panko..what more could you ask for? It’s one of our favorite ways to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey from our Perfect Roast Turkey Recipe and pairs well with the remaining leftovers! Did we mention it also is ideal for feeding a bunch of picky eaters because it’s budget-friendly and ready in less than an hour!

salt, noodles, butter, almonds, panko, garlic, spices, cream, parmesan, turkey & parsley in bowls for creamy turkey pasta
slivered almonds being toasted in a skillet
panko being cooked in butter in a skillet
garlic, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, pepper and butter cooking in a skillet

What’s In This Creamy Pasta Recipe?

Who doesn’t love a quick and easy, throw-together creamy pasta bake…

  • Bucatini noodles (or gluten-free noodles work well here too!)

  • Salted butter

  • Salt

  • Almonds

  • Panko (or if you’re going the gluten-free route, GF panko!)

  • Garlic cloves and garlic powder

  • Nutmeg

  • Freshly cracked black pepper

  • Heavy cream

  • Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese

  • Leftover turkey

  • Flat leaf parsley

garlic, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, pepper, butter, cream and parmesan cooking in a skillet
turkey being added in a pan with pasta sauce made with garlic, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, pepper, butter, cream & parmesan
pasta noodles being tossed in a skillet with turkey and homemade pasta cream sauce
creamy turkey pasta in a bowl made with butter, spices, cream and parmesan

What to Serve with Creamy Leftover Turkey Pasta

You can serve this recipe for creamy pasta on its own…or you can jazz it up with a side of Cranberry Relish, Baked Sweet Potato, or even Roasted Carrots. Keep it light with a salad such as our favorites The Kale Salad, Herby, Seedy Butter Lettuce Salad with Tahini Dressing, or Shaved Snap Pea Salad with Goat Cheese and Dates. If you’re serving a crowd, bulk it up with Pull Apart Cheese Bread, Garlic Bread, and maybe even our simple, no-fuss fluffy Focaccia.

How To Make Leftover Turkey Pasta

This simple pasta recipe pulls together in less than an hour – for when you have no desire to cook, but lots of turkey leftover (we love a waste-free household!), we’ve got the solution. Follow these simple step by step below:

  1. Prepare the pasta! Bucatini is a thin spaghetti-like noodle with a hollow center, perfect for sucking up all that creamy pasta sauce. We like to cook it perfectly al-dente, so be sure to check your package for details. One of the most important steps is to make sure you salt your pasta water!

  2. Toppings for days! In a skillet, toast the almonds, then the panko. Crunchy almonds and crispy, golden-brown panko elevate this dish.

  3. Make the creamy pasta sauce! Our favorite part of this dish is the rich and creamy sauce, made from heavy cream, Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese, fresh cracked pepper, a hint of nutmeg, and garlic! The turkey then gets added directly into the sauce to heat through

  4. Mix and voila! Drain the pasta. Pro tip: save some of the pasta water to incorporate into the sauce which will help coat each strand of bucatini. Add the creamy sauce to the pasta and serve. Top with the toasted almonds, butter panko, and freshly chopped parsley!

creamy turkey pasta in a bowl made with butter, spices, cream and parmesan

Simple Tools You’ll Need

Our Favorite Creamy Pasta Recipes…

When we’re looking for a lazy day meal, we like to keep it cozy and delicious with creamy pasta like:

creamy turkey pasta in a bowl made with butter, spices, cream and parmesan

Trust Us, Make Extra Turkey Just for Creamy Turkey Pasta!

While some say turkey and mashed potatoes are a match made in heaven, we think this creamy pasta recipe is a strong contender for leftover turkey! What did you think? Would you make it again? Let us know..snap a photo of your creamy turkey pasta and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

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Creamy Turkey Pasta with Almonds

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  35 min
  • Calories: 1212


  • 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ pound bucatini or gluten-free noodles
  • ½ cup (1 stick) + 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup panko or gluten-free panko
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 2 cups freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups cubed leftover turkey
  • ¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley, for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the bucatini and cook until al dente according to the package instructions. Drain.

  2. Meanwhile, heat a small dry skillet over medium-high heat. Add the almonds and toast, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a small bowl. In the same skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add the panko and cook, stirring, until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Transfer the panko to a separate small bowl.

  3. Melt the remaining ½ cup of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the garlic, garlic powder, nutmeg, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

  4. Gradually stir in the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Add the Grana Padano and stir until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the turkey and continue cooking until warmed through.

  5. Remove the pan from heat. Add the bucatini and toss to coat.

  6. To serve, divide the pasta among 4 bowls, sprinkle with toasted panko, almonds, and parsley.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories1212
  • Protein49 g
  • Carbohydrates72 g
  • Total Fat84 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol217 mg
  • sodium1274 mg
  • Total Sugars4 g

Creamy Turkey Pasta with Almonds

Questions & Reviews

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  • Jenn

    Delicious way to use left over turkey! So happy I tried this.

    Thanks Jenn!