Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta

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This ground turkey pasta is a super easy cheesy meal made in just one pot! It’s so delicious, reminiscent of our favorite hamburger helper recipe but healthier and just as easy!

Add this to your dinner rotation; the entire family will love it!

top view of Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta in a pot

Why You Need This One-Pot Pasta

  • This easy recipe is a time-saver; something every home cook needs! All in one pan, no extra dishes.
  • This recipe is made from scratch but is just as easy as any boxed mix you’ve ever used.
  • It uses ingredients you most likely have on hand.
  • The sauce is so good, my family just can’t get enough and you won’t believe how fast it comes together.
  • It reheats well making it great for lunches (although we never have any leftover).

Serve it with a colorful tossed salad and some homemade garlic bread!

ingredients to make Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta

What’s in Ground Turkey Pasta?

MEAT Ground turkey is the meat of choice, but ground chicken would work well in this dish too. Or use ground beef and turn it into a hamburger helper style dish.

PASTA Medium pasta shapes work well in this recipe, I love the way the shells act as little cups to hold the sauce. Penne or rotini are great choices.

SEASONINGS Paprika, garlic, and black pepper add flavor. Add salt to taste.

CHEESE Two different kinds of cheese give this ground turkey pasta it’s signature savory flavor and creamy texture.

Be sure to use a bold cheese like sharp cheddar, it gives this dish a flavor boost.

noodles in sauce to make Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta

Variations

Ground turkey pasta is also a great way to use up leftovers!

  • Add veggies like spinach, broccoli, or mushrooms (or anything else you think might go well with mac and cheese) for a heartier dish with extra texture and flavor.

How to Make Ground Turkey Pasta

This easy dinner comes together in no time. It’s such a quick dinner to make!

  1. Brown Meat – Brown turkey, onion, and garlic (per the recipe below). Drain any liquid.
  2. Cook Pasta with Meat – Stir in broth, milk, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Add pasta and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the pasta is tender.
  3. Thicken Sauce – Make a slurry by combining equal parts corn starch & water until smooth. Add to sauce to thicken.
  4. Add Cheese – Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

adding cheese to pasta to make Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta

Tips For a Perfect Dish

  • Choose a medium pasta shape; shells, penne, bowtie, or rotini are good choices.
  • Different pasta shapes will cook for different times so check your pasta by tasting a piece. Add more time (and a bit more water/broth) if needed.
  • Thicken the sauce further with more cornstarch slurry if needed.
  • Freshly grated cheese will melt better than pre-grated, bagged cheese (bagged cheeses can be gritty). A sharp cheddar will add way more flavor.
  • Add the cheese once the pan is removed from the heat. This keeps it from overheating and separating or becoming gritty.

Leftovers

  • Cheesy ground turkey pasta tastes just as good the next day. Keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator and it will keep about 3-4 days.
  • Freeze turkey pasta in zippered bags with the date labeled on the outside and it will keep in the freezer for a month.

One-Pot Wonders

Did you make this Ground Turkey Pasta? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

top view of Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta cooking in a pot with a spoon
4.92 from 23 votes
Review Recipe

Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
This Ground Turkey Pasta is a cheesy one-pot meal, perfect for a weeknight meal with the family!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth not low sodium
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¾ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups pasta shells uncooked (or elbow macaroni)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese grated

Follow Spend with Pennies on Pinterest

Instructions

  • Brown ground turkey, onion, and garlic in a pan until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  • Stir in broth, milk, dry mustard, paprika, and black pepper. Bring to a boil.
  • Add pasta and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook 9-12 minutes or until pasta is tender.
  • Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water and whisk into the simmering sauce. Simmer 1 minute more.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

Recipe Notes

  • Choose pasta shapes that are hearty enough to stand up with the meat and any vegetables. Elbow macaroni, penne, bowtie, or rotini are good choices.
  • Different pasta shapes will cook for different times so check your pasta by tasting a piece. Add more time (and a bit more water/broth) if needed.
  • Thicken the sauce further with more cornstarch slurry if needed.
  • Freshly grated cheese will melt better than pre-grated, bagged cheese (bagged cheeses can be gritty). A sharp cheddar will add way more flavor.
  • Add the cheese once the pan is removed from the heat. This keeps it from overheating and separating or becoming gritty.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 607, Carbohydrates: 56g, Protein: 49g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 115mg, Sodium: 823mg, Potassium: 730mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 694IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 437mg, Iron: 2mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword best Ground Turkey Pasta, Ground Turkey Pasta, Ground Turkey Pasta recipe, Ground Turkey Pasta Sauce
Course Dinner, Entree, Lunch, Turkey
Cuisine American
ingredients to make Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta with final dish cooking in a pan
Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta in a pot with writing
adding cheese to Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta with a title
Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta in a pot with a title
About the author

Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

More Posts by Holly

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Comments

  1. Made a huge double batch for dinner tonight (had a guest), very easy to make! I generally use ground turkey which has less natural flavor than beef, so next time I may add in some rosemary or something. I did use gluten free elbow mac, and snuck in some Velveeta along with the other cheeses. Along with salad and fresh bread, everyone was happy. Thanks Holly!4 stars

  2. Awesome recipe! I made it and added peas to it and my two-year-old devoured it! I loved it too, thanks.5 stars

  3. Maybe I did something wrong, I followed the recipe to a t and it came out super bland. My family may just like stronger sauces. I even added things in the end to liven it up, more extra sharp cheddar, more parmesan, spinach, stone ground mustard and even soy sauce. It still didn’t hit the mark. I was so looking forward to it .

  4. My 7YO absolutely loved this meal and gave it 120 thumbs up (I cut off his counting by 10s at that point so I’m sure you would’ve earned more). I added some additional kosher salt and Dijon mustard to mine as a mix-in as it needed some additional “oomph” along with some fresh tomato and parsley as garnish.

    FWIW, I used extra sharp yellow cheddar and some 24-month aged parm as that’s what I had in my fridge. Barilla medium shells and Kirkland chicken stock.4 stars

  5. This was very tasty however I felt like the cheese sauce broke a little bit even with the cornstarch slurry, but all in all a tasty dish5 stars

  6. Straight up yummy. And I threw mushrooms and used ground turkey and Velveta. It’s what I needed to use! Still delicioussss! Saving this as it is a go too!

    Thank you Holly!5 stars