Tuna Noodle Casserole

This Tuna Noodle Casserole is made from scratch with a simple mushroom cream sauce and a buttery cracker crust. It’s better than you remember and ready in under an hour.

Tuna casserole in a white baking dish.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled tuna noodle casserole ingredients in various bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Tuna: Use your favorite brand (canned or in a pouch) of water-packed tuna.
  • Egg noodles: Tender egg noodles provide just the right texture in the casserole, and they cook fast too. Feel free to use any other pasta (especially macaroni) instead.
  • Ritz crackers: Smash ’em up and drown them in butter. Bread crumbs, crushed potato chips, or saltine crackers make good substitutes.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Heat a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the noodles until tender. Drain and set aside.
    Boiled egg noodles and water in a silver stock pot.
  2. Melt some butter in the bottom of a Dutch oven or skillet and sauté the onions and mushrooms over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in some salt. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are nicely browned and the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the cracker topping.
    Mushrooms and onions cooking in a skillet.
  3. Once the mushrooms look ready, pour in the peas, tuna, broth, cream, and parsley and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook for about 10 minutes to let it thicken. Then mix in the cooked noodles and season one more time with salt and pepper–this time, to flavor the sauce.
    The sauce for tuna noodle casserole cooking in a skillet.
  4. Pour the casserole ingredients into a baking dish, smooth the top, and scatter the buttered cracker crumbs over the noodles. Bake at 450 degrees until hot and bubbly, only about 15 minutes.
    Tuna noodle casserole in a white baking dish before baking.
  5. Serve the casserole with lemon wedges on the side (a little fresh lemon juice cuts through the richness of the casserole).
    Tuna casserole on a white plate.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Salt and pepper: Seasoning during different stages of cooking makes sure the flavor is there with every bite. Especially with creamy casseroles! You want to add some salt to the sauce to keep it from tasting bland.
  • Make ahead: Get the casserole assembled up to 2 days before you plan to serve it. Just cover it and store in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, add the cracker topping and pop it in the oven.
  • Freezing: Assemble the casserole (but don’t bake it) and wrap tight with foil or plastic wrap. Then place in the freezer for 1 to 2 months. When ready to warm up, let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.
  • Leftovers: Leftover tuna casserole freezes great for meals down the road. Just thaw the night before before reheating.
  • Salmon noodle casserole. An equal amount of canned salmon takes the recipe in another delicious direction.
  • Vegetables. Other recipes skip the peas or mushrooms and add celery, carrots, or scallions.
  • Shredded chicken. Leftover rotisserie chicken is a great replacement for those who don’t like fish.
  • Sour cream. The sauce gets its body from heavy cream, but other cooks use a splash of milk and sour cream (or even cream cheese) mixed together.
  • Cheesy tuna casserole. For a real treat, fold in some (about 1 cup) shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese before pouring into the baking dish. The cheese will melt as it bakes. Think tuna melt mixed with mac and cheese!

Tuna casserole in a white baking dish.

More delicious casseroles:

Tuna casserole in a white baking dish.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This Tuna Noodle Casserole is made from scratch with a simple mushroom cream sauce and a buttery cracker crust. It's better than you remember and ready in under an hour.
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Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 486kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

For the topping:

  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 35 Ritz crackers (1 sleeve), smashed into fine crumbs

For the casserole:

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces egg noodles (about 3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 10 ounces white button mushrooms trimmed, sliced thin
  • 1 onion minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 (7-ounce) foil pouches solid white tuna flaked
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley minced
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Instructions

To make the topping:

  • In a small bowl, add crackers crumbs and melted butter and toss to coat. Set aside.

To make the casserole:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil. Add egg noodles and cook until al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Drain well.
  • Meanwhile, In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter until foaming. Add mushrooms, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until mushrooms are browned and their liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.
  • Add peas, tuna, parsley, broth, and cream. Bring to simmer, about 10 minutes. Add cooked noodles and toss to combine.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Do not skip this step or your casserole may be bland!
  • Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumb mixture. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the crumbs are golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Notes

  1. Tuna: Use your favorite brand (canned or in a pouch) of water-packed tuna.
  2. Egg noodles: Tender egg noodles provide just the right texture in the casserole, and they cook fast too. Feel free to use any other pasta (especially macaroni) instead.
  3. Ritz crackers: Smash 'em up and drown them in butter. Bread crumbs, crushed potato chips, or saltine crackers make good substitutes.
  4. Salt and pepper: Seasoning during different stages of cooking makes sure the flavor is there with every bite. Especially with creamy casseroles! You want to add some salt to the sauce to keep it from tasting bland.
  5. Make ahead: Get the casserole assembled up to 2 days before you plan to serve it. Just cover it and store in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, add the cracker topping and pop it in the oven.
  6. Freezing: Assemble the casserole (but don't bake it) and wrap tight with foil or plastic wrap. Then place in the freezer for 1 to 2 months. When ready to warm up, let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.
  7. Leftovers: Leftover tuna casserole freezes great for meals down the road. Just thaw the night before before reheating.
  8. Salmon noodle casserole. An equal amount of canned salmon takes the recipe in another delicious direction.
  9. Vegetables. Other recipes skip the peas or mushrooms and add celery, carrots, or scallions.
  10. Shredded chicken. Leftover rotisserie chicken is a great replacement for those who don't like fish.
  11. Sour cream. The sauce gets its body from heavy cream, but other cooks use a splash of milk and sour cream (or even cream cheese) mixed together.
  12. Cheesy tuna casserole. For a real treat, fold in some (about 1 cup) shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese before pouring into the baking dish. The cheese will melt as it bakes. Think tuna melt mixed with mac and cheese!

Nutrition

Calories: 486kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 295mg | Potassium: 454mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1238IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 2mg
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