This tuna noodle casserole is a family favorite that is filled with thick noodles, vegetables and tender chunks of tuna fish. All baked together in one pan in 30 minutes!
Tuna is a simple ingredient that can make a variety of meals like this easy tuna pasta salad, tuna avocado macaroni salad or tuna melt sandwich recipe. A can of tuna can go a long way!
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Be ready to sit down with your family enjoying a comforting meal all together with this tuna noodle casserole. It is filled with vegetables, chunks of tuna fish with a cheese mixture and Italian breadcrumbs sprinkled over top. This family dish is one that will be made over and over again! You can’t go wrong with this delicious casserole on your dinner table during a busy week.
Gather the family around to taste this tuna casserole. It is a one pan dish with less than 30 minutes to have it baked all together. It is a tried and true favorite in our family. All kids loved the tender noodles mixed with vegetables and tuna fish. Always a favorite combination that makes for a great dinner time meal. Be sure to cook the noodles first then add to the casserole dish. This is even perfect for making ahead of time or even freezing it for a freezer meal. This casserole is so versatile you will wonder why you haven’t had it yet! Enjoy this homemade tuna noodle casserole!
What is a Casserole?
I get asked this a lot! I am always shocked but also so happy to always explain. It is a mom’s best friend and a simple way to make a delicious homemade dinner in one pan. A casserole is a baked dinner dish that is filled with all the ingredients you need in order to make a complete meal. Usually a casserole is baked in a deep pan that is filled with a mixture or layers of ingredients then baked all together. Hopefully this the first of many casseroles that you make!
Tuna Noodle Casserole Ingredients:
Don’t let this ingredient list scare you away! It is a lot and looks intimidating. It is a simple casserole dish that is quick and easy to prepare, mix and bake all together. Each ingredient makes this casserole a perfect combination all mixed together.
- Noodles: Wide Egg noodles soak up more and hold a thickness after being
- Olive Oil: Helps sauté the vegetables together as well as adds a little flavoring at the same time.
- Onion: small is best. Not everyone loves onions and I understand that. You are welcome to omit the onion.
- Celery: Pre-dice the celery the best you can at the thickness you prefer.
- Mushrooms: Sliced up is best and in thin slices.
- Butter: This butter and flour mixture is going to create a thickener for the sauce when baking.
- Flour: Thicken a roux to make a sauce within the casserole.
- Chicken Broth: Adds flavor as well as a thickener.
- Milk: Whole milk is best for the thick sauce over the noodles.
- Salt and Pepper: Just a pinch of each for taste and flavoring.
- Tuna Fish: Cans of white albacore is my preferred choice but any tuna is delicious.
- Frozen Peas: Thaw the peas before adding them into the noodle mix.
- Cheddar Cheese: Shredded is best and easier to sprinkle.
- Parmesan: Grated in a bottle works well for the topping.
- Breadcrumbs: Italian adds flavoring and gives it a thin crust layer.
- Butter: Melt the butter and drizzle over top creating a harder crust when baking.
How to Make Tuna Noodle:
- Boil Pasta: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot boil the pasta according to package directions and drain and rinse.
- Sauté vegetables: In a medium skillet over medium high heat add the olive oil, onion, and celery. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until almost tender. Add in the mushrooms and continue to sauté until tender. Add to a large bowl.
- Create a roux: Add the butter to the skillet and whisk the flour until golden. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. Let simmer until thickened.
- Add to casserole dish: In the large bowl add the pasta, tuna, peas, and cheese. Mix together. Spread evenly in a 9×13 inch casserole dish. In a small bowl combine parmesan, breadcrumbs, and butter. Sprinkle on top of casserole.
- Bake at 375 degrees: Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubble and golden brown on top.
The Recipe Critic Pro Tip:
Undercook the pasta when making it. It will finish cooking in the casserole while being baked.
Variations for Homemade Tuna Casserole:
Tuna casserole can be made a few different ways. Making it your own and how your family prefers is the best way to enjoy this dinner.
Here are a few ideas of omitting or substituting ingredients:
- Tuna Fish: If the tuna fish is not your favorite try shredded chicken in replace of it.
- Noodles: Whole wheat, bowtie, macaroni or any other noodles that you prefer to cook.
- Vegetables: Add in or omit any vegetable that you are not sure of. Just know that each ingredient really blends in this casserole.
- Cheese: Try different cheeses to make a variety of casserole options. Jalapeño or cheddar jack are also fun ways to add a little heat.
Let’s Freeze it!
Yes, you can freeze this casserole. Fortunately, there are two ways to freeze it. Make ahead method or freeze the leftovers that you were not able to finish.
- Make Ahead: It is best to prepare everything and follow the instructions on how to bake it. Once you get to baking, skip and place in a air tight container or wrap tight with foil or wrap. Then place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 months. When ready to warm up, let thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Top with parmesan and Italian bread crumbs then bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
- Freeze Left Overs: This is simple to do and a great practice for left overs. Place the left overs in an airtight container and lay flat in the freezer. Thaw over night in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave or oven.
More Comforting Casserole Dishes to Make:
- Cheesy Broccoli Casserole
- Turkey Mediterranean Casserole
- Chicken Parmesan Casserole
- No Peek Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Easy Teriyaki Chicken Casserole
Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 12 ounce wide egg noodles
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1 cup mushrooms sliced
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cup whole milk
- salt and pepper
- 2 6 ounce cans tuna fish I used white albacore
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup butter melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot boil the pasta according to package directions and drain and rinse. In a medium skillet over medium high heat add the olive oil, onion, and celery. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until almost tender. Add in the mushrooms and continue to sauté until tender. Add to a large bowl.
Add the butter to the skillet and whisk the flour until golden. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. Let simmer until thickened.
In the large bowl add the pasta, tuna, peas, and cheese. Mix together. Spread evenly in a 9×13 inch casserole dish. In a small bowl combine parmesan, breadcrumbs, and butter. Sprinkle on top of casserole.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubble and golden brown on top.