This classic Tuna Casserole is loaded with a homemade cream sauce and tender noodles. A comforting dish that’s loved by kids and adults alike!
I love comfort food. And I love casseroles. And I love tuna. I also really love egg noodles. Okay, fine, I just LOVE this tuna casserole!
Seriously, it’s so good. I know tuna isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I have a feeling this tuna casserole just might be!
Today, we’re ditching the canned condensed soup typically found in tuna casserole and making our own (super easy) homemade version instead!
- Butter – used to cook the veggies and adds a rich, buttery flavor.
- Yellow Onion, Celery, Carrot, and Peas – a delicious blend of veggies to give this tuna casserole color, texture, and a boost of nutrition.
- Garlic – adds depth of flavor.
- Salt and Pepper – enhances flavors and adds spice.
- Chicken Broth, Milk, Apple Cider Vinegar, Flour, and Baby Bella Mushrooms – our super easy homemade cream of mushroom soup. I do NOT recommend replacing with canned soup.
- Cooked Egg Noodles – the perfect, hearty noodle to hold up against the mushroom cream sauce!
- Canned tuna – a delicious lean protein that I always have on hand. Can’t have tuna casserole without tuna!
- Cheddar Cheese – gives the casserole a sharp flavor that balances out the richness of the “soup”.
- Panko and Parmesan Cheese – adds a wonderfully crispy texture and salty flavor.
How to make
Cook your noodles, make a quick and easy homemade cream of mushroom soup, combine, bake, and serve! Keep in mind, the sauce will thicken as it cooks in the oven, so don’t worry if it’s a little loose beforehand!
- Melt butter in a large straight-edged sauté pan then stir in onion, celery, carrots, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until tender.
- Sprinkle in flour then whisk in chicken broth, milk, and vinegar. Let simmer.
- Stir in mushrooms then remove from heat and stir in cooked noodles, peas, tuna, and cheddar.
- Pour the mixture into a prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle on Panko and parmesan and spray with cooking spray.
- Bake until the cheese is bubbly then serve and enjoy!
Can you use fresh tuna?
You can use fresh tuna, but I recommend using cooked canned tuna for ease. If you’d like to use fresh tuna, ensure that you cook it completely before proceeding with the recipe.
If you’re not a fan of canned tuna, this would be a great recipe to use up any leftover fresh tuna!
Can you use different noodles?
You can use different noodles, but I highly recommend using egg noodles as listed. When cooked al dente, their thick and chewy texture holds up really well to the creamy sauce!
If you don’t have egg noodles on hand, feel free to play around with another hearty noodle like medium pasta shells (*not tested). I don’t recommend a thin noodle like spaghetti, because I don’t think it will hold up well.
- Swap the protein. Not a fan of tuna? Try swapping it for shredded chicken. Crab or salmon would also be delicious.
- Try another cheese. Pepperjack, gouda, monterey-jack, you name it!
- Play around with the topping. Don’t have panko? Try crushed potato chips or crackers.
What to serve with tuna casserole
Tuna casserole is a complete meal packed with noodles, lean protein, and veggies so it’s great as-is, but here are some of my favorite side dishes to serve with this recipe!
- Pear, Blue Cheese, Candied Pecan Salad
- Buttermilk biscuits or hearty multi-grain rolls
- Roasted Green Beans
- Berry Fruit Salad
Can tuna casserole be made in advance?
Tuna noodle casserole is great made in advance. Make the casserole as directed but, before adding the Panko and parmesan, cover the casserole and store in the refrigerator for up to a day or in the freezer for 1-2 months.
I don’t recommend storing the unbaked casserole any longer than a day in the fridge, because as it sits, the noodles will start to soften as it soaks up the sauce. You may even want to cook the noodles a minute or two less than al dente.
If frozen, let thaw in the refrigerator overnight and add the Panko and parmesan before baking.
How to store
After baking, this tuna casserole can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight (if frozen) and microwave until warm or bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.
Equipment for this recipe
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 (16 oz) package baby bella mushrooms sliced
- 1 (12 oz) package egg noodles cooked al dente according to package directions
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 2 (5 oz cans) tuna drained
- 1 (8 oz) block cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup panko
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a large, straight-edged sauté pan or stockpot.
- Add in onion, celery, carrots, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until the veggies are tender.
- Sprinkle on flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring the whole time.
- Slowly whisk in chicken broth, milk, and vinegar.
- Bring to a simmer.
- Once simmering, stir in mushrooms and simmer for another 5 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken.
- Remove from heat and stir in noodles, peas, tuna, and cheddar cheese.
- Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with panko and parmesan.
- Spray with cooking spray then bake for 15-20 minutes in preheated oven or until cheese is bubbly.
- Let sit for about 10 minutes then serve and enjoy!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.