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Easy Shell Pasta with Ground Turkey

Dinner  |  Published on Dec 20, 2018  |  Last modified on Nov 2, 2019

creamy shell pasta in a white bowl

Can’t decide what to make with ground turkey this week? This ground turkey pasta with creamy tomato sauce will have you begging for seconds!

Creating this shell pasta recipe

When I am in a pinch and don’t know what to make for dinner, shell pasta is typically the answer. It’s easy, quick, perhaps better than running to get fast food, and tastes good! Paired with a veggie and a glass of wine, I’m a happy camper.

Growing up, when my mom would work late nights and my dad was on dinner duty, we had three options: pizza, Chinese (takeout), or he’d make pasta. I don’t think he ever made anything like this ground turkey pasta recipe; he was more of a bag of frozen ravioli and a jar of red sauce kind of guy. My dad was quite the chef (*wink, wink*).

Psst…before we move on…be sure to check out this post on 10+ quick ground turkey dinner recipe ideas!

This ground turkey recipe is easily made with fridge and pantry staples and is a restaurant-quality pasta. To balance out this easy shell pasta recipe, serve with a yummy side salad.

Sometimes I feel we all think we need to overcomplicate dinner. Cooking is only as hard as you make it out to be. It’s a mindset, right? “I don’t want to cook. I don’t want to have to clean the dishes or go buy ingredients at the store.” It’s something you may need to take time to plan for and make time for. If it’s important to you, it’ll happen!

ground turkey pasta in skillet with wooden spoon

Ground turkey pasta ingredients

For this easy recipe using ground turkey, you’ll need:

  • Medium shells
  • Ground turkey
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Bell pepper
  • White mushrooms
  • White onion
  • Spices
  • Beef broth
  • Flour
  • Tomato sauce
  • Heavy cream
  • Parmesan cheese

You’re welcome to play around with the veggies you add into this ground turkey pasta. Zucchini would pair nicely with the creamy tomato sauce, as would different types of mushrooms.

Most Popular recipe on the blog – EASY Shell Pasta with Ground Turkey! krollskorner.com #pastanight Click To Tweet

How to make ground turkey pasta

To cook this easy ground turkey recipe, you’ll need one large pan to make everything in. Get the water boiling for your pasta and cook it according to the package directions. Then you’ll cook your ground turkey in a few tablespoons olive oil and set it aside.

Then you’ll sauté fresh minced garlic in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil with bell peppers, mushrooms, and onion. Season and cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions become translucent. You’ll then thicken with flour (gluten-free if you need it), beef broth, and tomato sauce and simmer until thick and bubbly. So far so good, right?

Stir in cooked pasta with heavy cream, Parmesan and you’ve got a winning, really delicious, easy dinner!

ground turkey shell pasta recipe

Can I make this ground turkey pasta gluten-free?

Absolutely! Nowadays, there are so many great pasta alternatives if you want to switch it up (or are gluten-free) — lentil pastas, chickpea pastas, black bean pastas, etc. would all work in this ground turkey pasta recipe. These pastas typically provide more protein and fiber, which is great.

Tips for making ground turkey pasta

Not a ground turkey fan? No problem! You can also opt for ground beef or Italian sausage if you’d prefer. But if you’re new to the world of recipes using ground turkey, make this shell pasta as written the first time you cook it. With the right seasonings, ground turkey can be incredibly flavorful.

For the best flavor, buy a block of Parmesan cheese and grate it yourself, or buy the pre-shredded Parmesan in a bag. Avoid the powdered stuff in a shaker can, as it’s not as flavorful and doesn’t really melt.

Sometimes I place my creamy shell pasta in the oven at 350 degrees F in an oven-safe dish to get it nice and bubbly. If everyone isn’t ready to eat yet, keep it in the oven!

This creamy pasta is made with all of your fridge and pantry staples and is a perfect family pleasing meal! #krollskorner #weeknightdinner Click To Tweet

More ground turkey recipes:

creamy shell pasta in a white bowl

Ground Turkey Pasta

This Ground Turkey Pasta is made with shell pasta, peppers, mushrooms, and onions smothered in a cream tomato sauce!
5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 605kcal
Author: Tawnie Kroll


  • 12 oz. medium shells
  • 1 lb (16 oz.) ground turkey
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 can (15oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


  • Boil water for pasta and follow directions on the shell pasta box. Typically 12-15 minutes to cook the medium shells.
  • In a dutch oven or wide stock pot, heat 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil over medium heat and cook ground turkey. Once cooked, place ground turkey in a bowl and set aside.
  • Then place remaining tablespoon olive oil in the pan. Saute the garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms and onions with seasonings until fragrant (about 5 minutes). Then whisk in the flour. Pour in the broth and tomato sauce and let it come to a simmer. Then add in the cooked ground turkey!
  • Pour in your shells, heavy cream and Parmesan and stir. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
  • *Optional: place pasta in a cast iron skillet (or leave in dutch oven) and bake at 350 degrees F. for and additional 20 minutes. You can top with more Parmesan if desired. Enjoy!!
Find Kroll’s Korner on Instagram!Mention @krolls_korner or tag #krollskorner


Add red pepper chili flakes for a little heat!
May sub shells for a different shaped pasta such as rotini or penne. I’ve even made it with cheese tortellini and added in spinach as well for a fun twist!
Other seasonings that make a great addition, but not necessary include garlic power, onion powder, dried oregano and cayenne. 


Serving: 1.5cup | Calories: 605kcal | Protein: 27.5g


ground turkey pasta recipe

I hope this dinner makes life a little easier for you – let me know what you think of it in the comments below or by tagging me on social media! @krolls_korner

creamy shell pasta in a white bowl

I’d love to see what you made!!

Share it with me on Instagram or Facebook and tag me @krolls_korner or use the hashtag #KrollsKorner!

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  1. My dad was on dinner duty too! He only had 5 dishes he knew how to do, so he made the heck out of them. I cannot eat broiled chicken to this day. But anyway, this recipe looks really tasty. I can’t wait to try it out on my family.

  2. Unless I missed it, I didn’t see when to put the ground turkey back into the recipe. I just did it when I had the sauce simmering. Also, could the broth be cut down to make it less saucy? Thanks

    1. Hey Jen! You put the ground turkey in after the sauce simmers 🙂 Of course, cut the broth down to 1 cup or 1/2 cups, no problem! 🙂 Enjoy!

      1. Hello! It’s totally optional. Sometimes I place this recipe in the oven at 350 degrees F in an oven-safe dish to get it nice and bubbly. It’s nice if everyone isn’t ready to eat yet to keep it the oven around 225F. Thank you!

  3. Can I make this ahead of time and then reheat it in the oven? Should I increase the broth or tomato sauce so it doesn’t dry out while it’s reheating?

    1. Hi Marie! Thank you for the comment – when you reheat that is when I would add MORE broth or tomato sauce in. The noodles absorb the sauce quickly so you’ll follow same directions and then add in more as desired when you’re ready to reheat. Hope that helps. Thank you!

  4. It’s a fun way to make cooking exciting and getting everyone helping in the kitchen to make a fast but delicious meal.

  5. I don’t normally comment, but I have to on this. Made this last night and it was amazing. I don’t eat mushrooms so I didn’t add those. I did add some extra oregano and basil for flavor (and a pinch of cayenne pepper for heat) and let the sauce and turkey cook for about 10 minutes before mixing in my pasta. I also opted to bake it for 20 minutes! My boyfriend loved it has been telling his coworkers about it all morning!!! Will make again!

    1. Hi Amanda, OMG you made my day! Thank you so so much!! I love the additions you made to the recipe, I will have to try it out that way next time. I am so glad you and your boyfriend loved it – thank you!!


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