Learn to make my favorite homemade Tuna Casserole with egg noodles, flakes of chunky tuna, and peas in a creamy sauce and a buttery topping made from crispy crunchy cornflakes!
Love creamy casseroles? Be sure to try this Creamy Chicken Casserole or this Bacon Ranch Chicken Casserole too.
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Best Tuna Noodle Casserole
Tuna noodle casserole is about as American as pecan pie is and as comforting as loaded baked potato soup!
This is what people mean when they talk about homestyle classic comfort food. Tuna casserole is the kind of dish that gets passed down generations and while some people make theirs without canned soup, or toss in whatever veggies they have, I prefer to keep mine as traditional as possible and make it with mushroom soup and crushed cereal on top. It’s the best!
It’s tried and true for a reason and because it’s super simple to make and cost-effective, it’s accessible to everyone, making it a family favorite on any occasion. Including potlucks, dinner parties, and for quick and easy busy weeknight dinners.
You can serve tuna casserole in smaller portions as a side dish or a main dish complete with protein, carbs, and veggies. I sometimes will make two and freeze one for later or deliver a freezer meal to a friend in need.
Everyone loves a classic tuna casserole which makes it a hit every time!
- Egg noodles: Egg noodles are lighter than traditional pasta noodles made with semolina flour and water. They’re available in the pasta section of the grocery store and are the same you’d use to make beef stroganoff.
- Butter: The butter is used for cooking the aromatics and veggies and because there is salt already present in the soup, use unsalted butter. That way you can control the amount of any extra added salt.
- Onion, celery, and garlic: These are cooked down to form the flavor base of the entire casserole.
- Tuna: Packed tuna in water. Canned tuna is relatively inexpensive, however, some brands will cost more depending on quality. If you’re looking at sustainable practice when it comes to fishing, you will want to look for that on the label.
- Cream of mushroom soup: A condensed soup that will add flavor and thick creamy consistency to the sauce. You can easily make your homemade cream of mushroom soup if you don’t prefer canned soups.
- Milk: Needed to thin out the soup a bit to make it less of a condensed soup and more of a sauce that’s easily pourable. Use any milk you have on hand, but the higher the fat content the richer the sauce will be.
- Shredded cheddar cheese: Freshly grated cheddar will melt nicely in this casserole adding to the creamy cheesiness. If you like sharp cheddar, use it! It’s a great balance to the richness.
- Frozen peas: No need to thaw them first, just toss them into your tuna casserole as is!
For the tasty topping, I use a combination of crushed cornflakes, cheese, melted butter, and parsley.
1. Swap the cornflakes for buttery crackers instead. Ritz crackers or Club crackers are great for this.
2. Instead of peas, use frozen chopped broccoli or sliced mushrooms.
3. If you can’t find egg noodles, or prefer to use what you have, elbow macaroni or rice are both great replacements.
4. Add 2 Tablespoons of Parmesan cheese to the tuna casserole topping.
5. You can add 1 Tablespoon of chopped pimentos if desired.
6. Replace ½ cup of the shredded cheddar cheese with 4 ounces of cream cheese for added creaminess with a tangy element.
7. Use Panko bread crumbs or regular breadcrumbs for the topping rather than crushed cornflakes.
8. Swap the butter for olive oil to saute the veggies.
9. Use cream of celery soup or cream of chicken soup in place of cream of mushroom.
How to Make this Casserole Recipe
Here’s how to make this delicious tuna casserole from scratch with simple pantry ingredients and a few easy steps!
Step 1: In a nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat and sauté the onions, celery, and garlic until tender.
Step 2: In a large bowl, add the drained tuna, soup, milk, cheddar cheese, peas, and cooked veggies.
Step 3: Cook the noodles al dente per the package directions and then add the cooked noodles, and salt to the tuna mixture and mix well to combine.
Step 4: Transfer that mixture to a prepared 13 x 9 baking dish and spread it into an even layer.
Step 5: Make the topping by combining the cereal, cheese, and parsley in a small bowl then pour melted butter over the top and stir until evenly coated. It should resemble wet sand.
Step 6: Sprinkle it over the top of the tuna casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes until the topping is golden brown.
Serve with additional shredded cheese on top and a sprinkling of fresh parsley. Enjoy!
- Don’t get caught up on which tuna to buy. I like albacore tuna in water but feel free to use any variety you’d like.
- Try making tuna casserole with cream of chicken soup and canned chicken for a completely new take!
- As best as you can, use at least half and half, or whole milk. Even evaporated milk would be great. You want the richness from the fat!
- Don’t forget to drain your can of tuna. Otherwise, your tuna casserole will be runny.
Keep it in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Yes! That’s one of the best things about any casserole! If you know you’re going to freeze it ahead of time, make it in a disposable foil tray. Otherwise, transfer it to a freezer-friendly container. Be sure to seal it well to avoid freezer burn and keep it frozen for up to 2 months.
If it’s frozen, you want to make sure to thaw it overnight. You can bake it straight from frozen, but it’ll take much longer to heat through. Heat it at 325 degrees until the entire casserole is warmed through. You may want to add a bit of fresh topping so that you get back that crunch!
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Best Easy Tuna Casserole
- 1 pound egg noodles
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 2 stalks celery finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- salt to taste
- 2 cans tuna packed in water
- 10.5 ounces Cream of Mushroom soup 1 can , 10.5 ounces
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup peas frozen
For the topping
- 1 cup cornflakes crushed
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- Preheat oven to 375° F and grease a 13×9 baking dish
- In a large pot, boil water for egg noodles.
- Cook the noodles for half the time listed on the package directions.1 pound egg noodles
- Then drain the noodles into a colander in the sink and rinse them with cold water.
- Melt butter in a non stick skillet and add onion, celery, and garlic and saute until tender1 tablespoon butter, 1 small onion, 2 stalks celery, 2 cloves garlic
- In a large bowl, add the tuna, soup, milk, cheddar cheese, peas, cooked vegetables, cooked noodles and salt and mix together thoroughly.2 cans tuna, 10.5 ounces Cream of Mushroom soup, ¾ cup milk, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1 cup peas, salt to taste
- Pour into prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer.
- In a small bowl, add the crushed cornflakes, cheddar cheese and parsley.1 cup cornflakes
- Pour the melted butter over the mixture and stir until evenly coated.½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 cup cornflakes
- Sprinkle the topping evenly over the top of the entire casserole.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.
- Garnish with additional shredded cheese and parsley if desired.1 tablespoon parsley
Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
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