Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole

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5 from 11 votes
Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole is a warm memory. A hug from an old friend, a classic recipe that takes you back to a kinder and simpler time.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole on a white plate with a fork.

Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole is a warm memory. A hug from an old friend, a classic recipe that takes you back to a kinder and simpler time.

Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole on a white plate with a fork.

This Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole is a creamy, cheesy noodle packed meal that is so satisfying. Truly it is so simple to make it will work its way into your meal planning routine.

Want even more easy meal ideas, check these out.


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What We Love About This Tuna Casserole with Noodles Recipe

While the popular version of this recipe was introduced by the Campbell’s soup company in the 1940’s, this recipe has been around for centuries, find out more history here. In this old fashioned tuna noodle casserole I do not use a prepacked soup, however I make a rich creamy sauce for the casserole.

  • 35 Minute Meal: This is a quick and easy make ahead meal or freezer meal.
  • Easy Ingredients: All found in pantry or fridge.
  • Family Friendly: Creamy sauce, noodles and a crunchy top, what’s not to love.
  • Adaptable: Can make it low-fat or low sodium.
A Closeup of Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole.

Ingredient Notes

  • Butter, divided.
  • Egg Noodles : Cook until al dente, since you will be baking them too.
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • All-purpose Flour
  • Milk: whole milk.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Shredded cheese.
  • House Seasoning Blend
  • Albacore Tuna packed in water: Pouches or cans tuna can be used. Solid white albacore tuna can be used.
  • Peas: Frozen, and thawed.
  • Panko Bread Crumbs: Crushed up potato chips or ritz crackers work well for this casserole dish.

Equipment Needed Tuna Noodles Casserole

How to Make Old Fashioned Tuna Casserole Recipe

These are the basic steps for making tuna noodle casserole without soup. Please refer to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

Saute the mushrooms,  adding the tuna, peas and finally the pasta.

STEP 1: PREP

First, preheat oven to 375 degrees and then spray a 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion, celery, and garlic, and cook 5 minutes or until tender.

STEP 2:SAUCE

Next, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan, and whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk and continue cooking until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened and then add cheddar cheese. Season with House Seasoning Blend. Stir in tuna, peas, onion mixture and cooked noodles. Transfer to the baking dish.

STEP 3: TOP AND BAKE

Finally, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter and pour melted butter over bread crumbs and mix, and sprinkle over the casserole..Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Prep and Storage Tips for Tuna Macaroni Casserole

HOW TO MAKE THIS CHEESY TUNA CASSEROLE RECIPE AHEAD OF TIME

You can make this dish several days ahead and heat by following the baking instructions in the recipe card below or freeze for meal prep.

HOW TO STORE THIS NO SOUP TUNA CASSEROLE RECIPE

Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

HOW TO FREEZE THIS TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE WITH CHEESE RECIPE

Freeze your meal in an airtight container or by wrapping the baking dish in plastic wrap and foil. Thaw the night before use.

HOW TO REHEAT THIS RECIPES FOR TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE

Reheat by following the baking instructions in the recipe card to follow.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cheese Tuna Noodle Casserole

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE MORE DIETARY FRIENDLY?

For low carb you an use a protein noodle. To watch calories use a butter alternative and low fat or fat free cheese and a lower fat milk.

CAN I SUBSTITUTE CAN CONDENSED SOUP FOR THE SAUCE?

Of course, this method makes a beautiful rich sauce but to save time, you can use the cream of celery, cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup or cheddar cheese soup.

CAN THIS CLASSIC TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE RECIPE BE DOUBLED OR HALVED?

Indeed, make the full recipe and freeze half for a future meal or double the recipe for a crowd.

WHY IS MY TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE DRY?

The main culprit is not enough liquid. Make sure that the sauce is evenly distributed throughout the noodles and also cover the casserole with foil for all but the last ten minutes.

Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole  on a fork.

Expert Tips for Making Mom’s Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe

  • Add Different Ingredients: Not a fan of peas, use carrots, leeks or mushrooms.
  • Mix up the Protein: Different fish such as canned salmon can be used or even make with crab, shrimp or chicken.
  • Variation tip: No need to use egg noodles, elbow macaroni or any other pasta or shells can be used.
  • Cheese: Feel free to use a different cheese such as parmesan or gruyere.
  • Alternate cooking method tip: Make this comfort food recipe in the instant pot/Pressure cooker. It will take less than ten minutes and then transfer to a baking pan and broil the topping until brown and crunchy.

What to Serve with Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole

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Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole on a white plate with a fork.
5 from 11 votes

Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole

Yield: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole is a warm memory. A hug from an old friend, a classic recipe that takes you back to a kinder and simpler time.
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 1 pkge package egg noodles, cooked and drained (reserve 1/2 cup cooking water)
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon House Seasoning Blend
  • 5 ounces Albacore Tuna , packed water 2 pouches Bumble Bee Premium, can will work too
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion, celery, and garlic, and cook 5 minutes or until tender.
  • Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan, and whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk and continue cooking 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened.
  • Add cheddar cheese. If sauce is too thick, slowly stir in reserved pasta water until sauce is desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in tuna, peas, onion mixture and cooked noodles. Transfer to the baking dish.
  • Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter and mix with bread crumbs, and sprinkle over the casserole.
  • Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Expert Tips

  • Add Different Ingredients: Not a fan of peas, use carrots, leeks or mushrooms.
  • Mix up the Protein: Different fish such as canned salmon can be used or even make with crab, shrimp or chicken.
  • Variation tip: No need to use egg noodles, elbow macaroni or any other pasta or shells can be used.
  • Cheese: Feel free to use a different cheese such as parmesan or gruyere.
  • Alternate cooking method tip: Make this recipe in the instant pot/Pressure cooker. It will take less than ten minutes and then transfer to a baking pan and broil the topping until brown and crunchy.

Estimated Nutritional Information

Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 566mg | Potassium: 280mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1011IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 187mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information provided are estimates. To learn more about how I calculate this information go to www.itisakeeper.com/about-its-a-keeper/privacy-disclosure-policies/
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: casserole, Lent

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7 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole”

  1. 5 stars
    This is such a classic comfort dish. I can’t decide if my favourite part is the noodles or the cheesy breadcrumb topping!

    Reply
  2. I am looking for the nutritional values of the dish and could not find them. I need to make low sodium dishes for my husband. Thank you

    Reply

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