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Tuna Noodle Casserole

Discover the convenience of our quick-prep tuna noodle casserole – an ideal solution for busy nights. Guaranteed to satisfy the whole family!

Tuna noodle casserole cooked in a skillet.
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Best Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe

Today, we’re exploring the classic tuna noodle casserole – an easy and satisfying recipe. With its creamy textures, savory tuna, and crunchy topping, this dish delivers a comforting meal.

Casseroles are a great option and this easy recipe for tuna noodle casserole just like my chicken noodle casserole and chicken broccoli rice casserole fits the bill perfectly!

Why This Recipe Works

  • It’s simple and hearty: The magic lies in the simplicity of this recipe, a creamy base, perfectly cooked egg noodles, and the savory goodness of tuna is truly satisfying!
  • It’s versatile and easy to customize: Customize it to suit your preferences – add extra cheese for indulgence or throw in your favorite veggies.
  • It’s convenient and quick to prepare: A perfect solution for busy nights, this tuna casserole recipe is a breeze to whip up. Plus, it makes the perfect freezer-friendly meal.

Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy tuna casserole with egg noodles.

Tuna noodle casserole ingredients on the counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Sauce: Combining butter, onion, garlic, flour, and half and half and white cheddar cheese will give you a thick and creamy sauce.
  • Egg noodles: These egg noodles are the classic choice for this casserole. They are hearty with a satisfying texture.
  • Tuna: I recommend the Kirkland brand of canned tuna for its amazing flavor. You can add more than one can if you want more tuna flavor.
  • Frozen Peas: I love the peas for their burst of sweetness and vibrant color.
  • Seasonings: I use my homemade Italian Seasoning, Kosher salt, and black pepper.
  • Topping: For the crunchy topping, I recommend using Panko breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter and lemon zest.

Toppings

While I kept it traditional, here are some creative topping options you can try on your tuna noodle casserole:

  • Fresh herbs: Sprinkle over some finely chopped chives or parsley for a pop of green color.
  • Cheese: Grated Parmesan adds a great salty and nutty flavor.
  • Spice: For those who enjoy a hit of heat, red pepper flakes are a great addition.
  • Cracker crust: Create a buttery and crispy topping by crushing your favorite butter crackers.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Vegetable variation: Mixed vegetables like carrots, corn, or broccoli are fantastic additions. Mushrooms are also great.
  • Tuna choices: I recommend the Kirkland brand for its superior taste, you can opt for two cans of chunk light tuna or solid white albacore tuna for extra protein.
  • Cheese extravaganza: If you’re a cheese enthusiast, amp up the cheesiness by adding an extra 1/2 cup of your favorite cheese to the sauce. Sharp cheddar, pepper jack, or Swiss – take your pick!
  • Herb infusion: Elevate the sauce with a touch of freshness by adding thyme or parsley. Fresh herbs can take the flavor to a whole new level.

How to Make Tuna Noodle Casserole

Follow these simple steps to ensure that your tuna noodle casserole turns out perfect every time.

Showing how to make tuna casserole in a 4 step collage.
  • Prepare the noodles: Boil wide egg noodles in salted water until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Make the sauce:  In a skillet, melt butter, sauté onions, and add garlic until translucent. Whisk in flour until golden, then slowly pour in half and half, simmering until thickened. Stir in shredded white cheddar until smooth, creating a velvety sauce.
  • Mix: Combine cooked noodles with drained tuna, frozen peas, Italian seasoning, kosher salt, and black pepper in the skillet. Transfer skillet to oven, topping the casserole with a mix of Panko breadcrumbs, melted butter, and optional lemon zest.
  • Bake and serve: Bake until bubbly and golden. Sprinkle with optional chives or chopped parsley for a fresh finish.

Expert Tips

  • Cook the noodles just until al dente. This will prevent them from overcooking and becoming mushy, as they will continue to cook in the oven.
  • I recommend grating your cheese fresh from a block. It’ll melt easier and have an overall better taste.
Tuna noodle casserole cooked in a skillet.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use fresh tuna instead of canned tuna?

While canned tuna is the convenient and traditional choice for this recipe, you can use fresh tuna if you prefer. Cook and flake the fresh tuna before adding it to the casserole.

Can I use different types of cheese?

Certainly! Feel free to experiment with your favorite cheeses. Sharp cheddar, pepper jack, or Swiss would all be delightful choices.

Is it necessary to use an oven-safe skillet, or can I transfer the mixture to a baking dish?

You can certainly transfer the mixture to a baking dish if your skillet isn’t oven-safe. Simply mix everything in a regular skillet, then transfer the contents to a greased baking dish before adding the topping and baking in the oven.

Can I make this casserole ahead of time?

Absolutely! This casserole is a freezer-friendly meal. Prepare it up to the point of baking, cover tightly, and freeze. When ready to enjoy, simply thaw and bake according to the instructions.

Serving Suggestions

This tuna noodle casserole goes really well with lots of different sides. Here are some of the ways my family likes to turn our meal into a feast:

  • Salad: Any side salad works. A Caesar salad with crisp fresh romaine lettuce, savory Caesar dressing, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese creates the perfect sidekick to creamy rich tuna casserole.
  • Bread: Soft, warm dinner rolls or sliced french bread are perfect for sopping up any leftover sauce.

Make Ahead and Freezing

Store: Store any remaining casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Make ahead and freeze: Prepare the casserole up to the point of baking. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil before placing it in the freezer. When ready to enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake according to the original instructions.

Reheating: Whether reheating from the refrigerator or freezer, you can warm up your casserole in the oven or microwave. Either cover with foil and bake at 350°F until heated through or heat in short intervals in the microwave stirring in between.

Tuna noodle casserole recipe on a plate.

More family-friendly casserole recipes to try: taco casserole, meatball casserole, and tater tot casserole!

More Casserole Recipes

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Tuna noodle casserole cooked in a skillet.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

4.91 from 11 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Discover the convenience of our quick-prep tuna noodle casserole. It's an ideal solution for busy weeknight dinners.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6

Video

Ingredients 

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 8 ounces dry wide egg noodles 
  • 1 (5 ounce) can tuna , drained
  • ¾ cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup shredded white cheddar cheese , see note

Topping

  • 2-3 Tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon butter , melted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest , optional but recommended

Optional: chives or chopped parsley

    Instructions

    • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
    • In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the noodles and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain.
    • Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet (or oven safe skillet) over medium heat. Cook onions about 2 minutes and then add in garlic. Cook until translucent. Whisk flour on top, until lightly golden.
    • Slowly stir in the half and half and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Stir until smooth.
    • Stir in the cooked noodles, tuna, peas, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper until well combined.
    • In a small bowl, mix the panko breadcrumbs, melted butter and lemon zest. Sprinkle on top of the casserole.
    • Bake 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Move to the top rack or broil the last minute if you want a golden top. Garnish with chives if desired.

    Notes

    Vegetables: You can add in mixed vegetables, if you prefer.
    Tuna: I prefer the Kirkland brand. You can use two cans if you’d like extra protein (my family likes 1 best). 
    Variation:
    • Feel free to make the sauce cheesier by adding 1/2 cup extra cheese to the sauce, if desired.
    • Use whatever cheese you like, such as sharp cheddar, pepper jack or Swiss.
    • I love to add fresh herbs to the sauce like thyme or parsley if I have it on hand.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 465kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 424mg | Potassium: 361mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 922IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 240mg | Iron: 2mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: American

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