Use up that leftover turkey with this turkey bolognese! Shredded turkey in a lovely rich ragu. Ready in 30 minutes!
The recipe is almost exactly the same as my regular Spaghetti Bolognese – why change it if it works!

leftover turkey bolognese on a white plate with spaghetti. Topped with spring onions.

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After all the feasting at Christmas, I usually crave curry or pasta in the following days.
Of course we still have loads of turkey left, so that’s my staple meat for the next few days.

I’ll be making this turkey bolognese to satisfy that pasta craving (and turkey tikka masala for the curry!)

📋 What do we need?

Ingredients for Leftover Turkey Bolognese on a wooden table
  • Turkey – shreds or small chunks of leftover cooked turkey. Even those little tiny bits of turkey are great – so be sure to get as much meat of as you can.
  • Tinned tomatoes – I love using finely chopped tomatoes for a thicker sauce (rather than the tins of tomato with big lumps of tomato in a think sauce). Passata is also good too.
  • Wine – don’t worry about which wine to use. Any red wine will do. I use a fairly cheap merlot just because that what we have in.

🔪 How to make this turkey bolognese

Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.

Soften onions, garlic, carrots, celery and mushrooms in a pan with a little oil.

Add in the cooked turkey and then the wine and bubble for a few minutes. The red wine will darken the meat, but don’t worry, we’re adding tomatoes etc later, so the colour all evens itself out.

Add in tomato puree, some tried thyme and oregano, Worcestershire sauce, a crumbled chicken stock cube, a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes, a little sugar (to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes) and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 until luscious and thick.

8 image collage showing how to make leftover turkey bolognese

👩‍🍳PRO TIP Put your pasta on to boil as soon as the bolognese comes to a simmer so it will all be ready at the same time.

Serve on top of spaghetti with a sprinkling of spring onions and parmesan.

leftover turkey bolognese on a white plate. Gold fork resting on the plate.

🍽️ What to serve it with

If you haven’t tried our simple 2-ingredient homemade pasta recipe yet (no machines needed!) take a look 😋

homemade tagliatelle being lifted off a board

📺 Watch how to make it

YouTube video

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5 from 3 votes

Leftover Turkey Bolognese

Use up that leftover turkey with this turkey bolognese! Shredded turkey in a lovely rich ragu. Ready in 30 minutes!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American-Italian, British-Italian


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion peeled and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 1 carrot peeled and finely diced
  • 1 stick of celery finely diced
  • 3 chestnut mushrooms finely diced
  • 300 g (10.5 oz) leftover cooked turkey finely chopped or shredded
  • 120 ml (½ cup) red wine any red will do
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree paste for US
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 chicken stock cube crumbled
  • 2 x 400 g (2 x 14 oz) tins finely chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tbsp granulated or caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

To serve:

  • cooked spaghetti swap for pasta shapes if you prefer
  • small bunch spring onions/scallions chopped
  • grated parmesan


  • Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onion softens.
    1 tbsp olive oil, 1 onion
  • Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
    2 cloves garlic
  • Add the carrot, celery, and mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
    1 carrot, 1 stick of celery, 3 chestnut mushrooms
  • Add the chopped turkey, stir, then add the wine. Bring to the boil and let it bubble for 2-3 minutes, until reduced by three quarters.
    300 g (10.5 oz) leftover cooked turkey, 120 ml (½ cup) red wine
  • Add the tomato puree, oregano, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock cube, tinned tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir and bring to the boil.
    3 tbsp tomato puree, 1 tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp dried thyme, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 chicken stock cube, 2 x 400 g (2 x 14 oz) tins finely chopped tomatoes, ½ tbsp granulated or caster sugar, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper
  • Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 -20 minutes until thickened (this is a good time to cook your spaghetti).
  • Spoon the bolognese on top of the spaghetti and sprinkle on the spring onions (scallions) and parmesan before serving.
    cooked spaghetti, small bunch spring onions/scallions, grated parmesan


YouTube video


Can I make it ahead or freeze?
I would usually say yes for a bolognese, but since we’re using turkey that’s already been cooked once, then cooked a second time to make this bolognese, we don’t really want to reheat the meat a third time. So just make enough for the people you’re feeding. You can increase or decrease the number of servings to the same ratio.
Ingredient swaps
If you have leftover veggies from Christmas dinner add them in! Carrots and green beans work great!
I’m not so sure about sprouts (but being a sprout lover I’d probably try it anyway 😁)
If you made roast beef for your Christmas dinner – use the leftover beef instead of the turkey. Just chop it up finely (I find this tastes better than large chunks of meat when using beef).
How to scale up and scale down this recipe
Increase or decrease the servings by sticking to the same ratios.
Nutritional information is per serving not including the pasta, spring onions and parmesan.


Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 942mg | Potassium: 802mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 2918IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. 5 stars
    Was very surprised how good is was. I made sure I cut the turkey into small cubes and added chill flakes to give it an extra kick.

  2. 5 stars
    Perfect timing, the kids were asking for bolognese and we still had some leftover turkey (it was destined for the freezer). Along comes this recipe in my in box😋 Happy kids, happy Mum, thank you.