Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole is a nostalgic dish made with tuna, egg noodles, and a creamy, homemade sauce. This filling and comforting casserole feeds up to eight and is ready in less than an 45 minutes.
Cheesy tuna noodle casserole is a classic American dish that the entire family will love. This homemade casserole is made with egg noodles, canned tuna, peas, and a creamy, made-from-scratch sauce.
I like to top my casserole with cheddar cheese and a panko crust for maximum flavor. If you don’t have panko breadcrumbs on hand, feel free to use classic breadcrumbs or crushed crackers instead.
Making your casserole from scratch is easier than you think. Plus, a homemade sauce is more flavorful than anything you can find in a box. Give it a try, you won’t go back!
What type of tuna should I use?
For this recipe, I used solid white albacore tuna in water. I like to use this type of tuna for casseroles because the meat has a mild flavor and a texture similar to chicken.
Albacore tuna is light in color and breaks apart into large chunks, so it doesn’t get lost in the casserole. The downside of using albacore tuna is that it contains higher mercury levels. Because of this, it’s suggested to only consume one serving of albacore tuna per week.
Canned light tuna is another great option, as it is widely available and generally less expensive than albacore tuna. It also contains lower levels of mercury. Light tuna is pink in color, and shreds apart into smaller pieces. It may also have a more distinct ‘fishy’ flavor.
Tuna can also be substituted with canned chicken or rotisserie chicken instead.
Ready to make your casserole? Gather your ingredients.
For this recipe, you’ll need egg noodles (I like the medium width), onions, butter, albacore tuna (drained), salt, pepper, paprika, minced garlic, frozen peas, panko breadcrumbs, chicken broth, milk, all-purpose flour, shredded cheese, and more butter.
First, boil your noodles according to package directions for al dente pasta. Drain and rinse your pasta, then pour into a 9×13 pan and set aside.
Making a homemade cream sauce
Next, you’ll make your homemade cream sauce. Melt your butter in a saucepan, then add your onions and cook until they begin to turn translucent. Add the minced garlic and flour and stir to coat and create a paste.
Cook another minute, then add your chicken broth and milk, whisking to combine. Cook your sauce down for another 3-4 minutes, or until thickened slightly.
Remove from heat and add your spices, tuna, peas, and half of your cheese, stirring to combine.
Assembling your casserole
Pour your sauce over the cooked noodles and toss until evenly coated. Top the casserole with your remaining shredded cheese.
Last, combine your melted butter and panko bread crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the top of your casserole.
Bake your casserole as directed below, remove from the oven, and serve immediately. Leftovers will reheat well and will last for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, covered in a tightly sealed container.
Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 12 ounces egg noodles
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 12 ounces canned albacore tuna drained
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese divided
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook egg noodles according to package directions for al dente pasta. Drain, pour noodles into 9x13 pan, and set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add butter. Once hot and melted, add diced onions. Cook until onions begin to brown and turn translucent. Add garlic and flour, then cook for 1 additional minute.
- Add chicken broth and milk, whisking until incorporated. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce has thickened slightly, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add salt, pepper, paprika, peas, tuna, and half of cheese, stirring to combine. Pour mixture over noodles and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle remaining half of cheese on top of casserole.
- In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over casserole.
- Bake uncovered for 15-18 minutes, or until casserole is heated through. Optionally, broil for 2 minutes to brown crust on top.
More casserole recipes
- Hash Brown Potato Casserole
- Green Bean Casserole From Scratch
- Southern Sweet Potato Casserole
- Beef Enchilada Casserole
- Sausage Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole