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Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Turkey and Caramelized Onions. Comfort food on a plate.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Turkey and Caramelized Onions

Looking for a use for your leftover Thanksgiving turkey?  Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Turkey and Caramelized Onions is the perfect comfort food.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword baked macaroni and cheese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 600 kcal
Author With Two Spoons


  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (divided into 1/4 cup and 2 Tablespoons)
  • 11 sage leaves (10 whole leaves and 1 leaf chopped finely)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups skim milk, warmed
  • 4 ounces Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces gruyere, shredded (approximately 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (approximately 2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
  • 2 cups turkey, shredded or cubed
  • 1 cup caramelized onion
  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni (cooked and drained according to package directions)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Place 10 sage leaves and butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until butter is melted.  Remove sage leaves and place on a paper towel lined plate. Add garlic to melted butter and stir for 30 seconds.

  3. Whisk in flour until it forms a paste.  Slowly add warmed milk and whisk until no lumps remain.  Add Neufchatel cheese, gruyere and sharp cheddar, stir until melted and smooth.  Simmer for 10 minutes until cheese sauce thickens. (if you haven't started cooking your macaroni noodles yet, now is the time)

  4. Add salt, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage, and fresh thyme to cheese sauce.

  5. Melt remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Stir in panko and grated parmesan cheese.  Set aside.

  6. Pour cooked macaroni noodles into a 9x13inch casserole dish (approximately 3-4 quarts).  Add turkey and caramelized onions and carefully stir to combine.

  7. Pour cheese sauce into casserole dish, covering noodles.  Stir once more to combine.  Top with panko/parmesan mixture.

  8. Bake macaroni and cheese for 30-35 minutes until edges are bubbly and topping is golden.  

Recipe Notes

Warming the milk before adding it to the butter/flour roux makes it easier to incorporate.

This recipe works with leftover holiday turkey, precooked turkey breast, or you could substitute chicken or bacon.  Leave the turkey out if you prefer a vegetarian version.

Don't have Neufchatel cheese? You can substitute regular cream cheese or another 1/2 cup of skim milk.  

Don't like gruyere?  Gruyere hard to find? You can use all sharp cheddar cheese, or combine mild cheddar and sharp cheddar cheeses.

Avoid preshredded cheese if possible for this macaroni and cheese, the preshredded versions contain an anticaking agent which sometimes hinders their melting smoothly.  Buy your cheese in blocks/wedges and shred using your food processor.