A classic Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe is an old-fashioned, easy dinner that has been loved for generations! Best of all, the family-friendly dish comes together in about 20 minutes. You can't beat the cheesy combination of tender noodles, canned tuna fish, and sweet peas tossed in a creamy sauce with crushed potato chips on top!
An Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe that Your Family will Love
This is the old-fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe that I grew up on! My mom tweaked the original Campbells Tuna Noodle Casserole with cream of mushroom soup to suit her taste preferences, resulting in a creamy filling of egg noodles, tuna fish and peas topped with grated cheddar cheese and crushed potato chips. This inexpensive, classic comfort food dinner is perfect for busy weeknights!
The convenient tuna fish casserole recipe comes together with some basic kitchen staples, so it's one of those easy options that you can turn to when there's nothing else on the menu. Feel free to use a different flavor of canned soup, a different variety of cheese, omit the peas or add other veggies instead, or mix up the topping with Ritz crackers or buttered breadcrumbs instead of potato chips. The options are endless...and it's all good!
What kind of noodles for a tuna casserole?
This simple tuna noodle casserole calls for egg noodles -- a traditional ingredient in the classic dish. I like the fairly thin "medium" egg noodles, but you can also use "wide" or "extra broad" egg noodles. Feel free to get creative and take advantage of just about any pasta that you have in your pantry. Try elbow macaroni, penne pasta, spaghetti, or rotini, too!
Which tuna is best for tuna casserole with egg noodles?
I recommend solid white albacore tuna in water for this recipe. Either StarKist or Bumble Bee brands are my preference. The albacore tuna has a mild (less "fishy") taste than chunk light tuna, and a more firm, solid texture that holds up better when mixed into the dish. Make sure that you drain the tuna really well before combining it with the other ingredients. You don't want a watery casserole filling!
How to Make Tuna Noodle Casserole
This cheesy tuna noodle casserole comes together in 3 simple steps! Boil the noodles, stir together the filling, and bake it in the oven!
Ingredients for Tuna Noodle Casserole with Cheese
- Egg noodles
- Condensed cream of mushroom soup
- Canned tuna
- Cheddar cheese
- Potato chips
- Frozen peas (optional)
Step 1: Boil the Noodles
Cook the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water according to the package instructions, just until al dente. For wide egg noodles, this should only take about 5 minutes. Drain.
Step 2: Stir Together Soup and Milk
In a large bowl, whisk together condensed cream of mushroom soup and milk until completely combined.
Step 3: Add Remaining Ingredients
Stir in the cooked noodles, tuna and peas. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Step 4: Add Topping
Transfer the noodle mixture to a 1 ½-quart baking dish. Add grated cheese and sprinkle crushed potato chips on top.
Step 5: Bake
Bake the casserole uncovered in a 350 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the inside is hot and bubbly.
What to Serve with Old-Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole
This creamy casserole goes well with any of the following sides:
- Wedge Salad
- Caesar Salad
- Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
- Fluffy bakery-style Corn Muffins or Skillet Cornbread
- Pumpkin Bread
- A simple green salad dressed with Buttermilk Dressing or Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette
- Arkansas Green Beans with Bacon
- Roasted Broccoli
- Roasted Asparagus
- Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- Three Bean Salad
- Sauteed Spinach with Garlic
- Roasted Cabbage or Braised Red Cabbage
This is the ultimate prep-ahead meal to get dinner on the table quickly and easily — even on busy nights. Assemble the casserole, wrap tightly, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before baking. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before putting it in the oven.
Can you freeze Tuna Noodle Casserole?
Freeze the tuna casserole before baking. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, cover with foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, allow the dish to come to room temperature on the counter for at least 30 minutes, and then bake according to recipe instructions.
The leftover baked casserole will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat the casserole in a 350 degree F oven, covered, just until warmed through (about 20-30 minutes). You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for about 1 minute.
- Use other flavors of canned soup. Cream of chicken or cream of celery would both work well as substitutes for the cream of mushroom soup.
- Use chicken. Yep, you can even make this tuna casserole without tuna! Try an equal amount of canned chicken, use store-bought rotisserie chicken, leftovers from another meal, or boil your own chicken at home.
- Pick your favorite cheese. I use sharp cheddar, but any other good melting cheese is fine. Try Pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, Colby, Swiss or American cheeses.
- For an extra-cheesy casserole, stir an additional 1 cup of grated cheese right into the filling.
- Add herbs to the sauce for more flavor. Try parsley, thyme, basil or chives.
- Top the casserole with crushed Ritz crackers, buttered breadcrumbs, crushed French-fried onions, or crushed Corn Flakes cereal in lieu of the potato chips.
- Omit the peas, or substitute with a different vegetable of choice. Try crisp-tender broccoli florets, steamed or canned green beans, or frozen (thawed) mixed vegetables. Canned mushrooms or sautéed fresh mushrooms would also be a nice addition.
- Double all of the ingredients and bake the casserole in a deep 9 x 13-inch dish to serve a larger family.
Tips for the Best Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe
- Cook the pasta just until al dente (tender, but with a firm bite). The noodles will continue cooking in the oven, so you don’t want them to be mushy or overdone.
- Use solid white albacore tuna in water (not chunk light or other varieties).
- Drain the tuna fish really well before adding it to the casserole.
- There’s no need to thaw the peas before adding them to the dish. Just stir them in while they’re still frozen — this will help them stay nice and green in the casserole (rather than turning brown and mushy).
More Easy Casserole Recipes to Try
- Chicken Noodle Casserole
- Farmhouse Chicken Cornbread Casserole
- Beef Stroganoff Casserole
- Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
- 5-Ingredient Taco Casserole
Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 4 ounces wide egg noodles (slightly more than 2 cups)
- 1 (10.5 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
- ½ cup milk
- 2 cans (5 ounces each) tuna in water, drained
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup potato chips, coarsely crushed
- Optional: ½ cup frozen peas
- Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 1 ½ quart casserole dish; set aside.
- Cook the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions, just until al dente (about 5-6 minutes). Drain.
- In a large bowl, whisk together condensed soup and milk. Gently stir in the cooked noodles, tuna and peas (if using). Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Transfer mixture to prepared dish.
- Sprinkle cheese on top, then crushed potato chips.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until top is golden brown and inside is hot and bubbly.