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. Serve it with a side salad or green beans, biscuits, cornbread, or fluffy dinner rolls.
How to Make Tuna Noodle Casserole | 1-Minute Video
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. There's no need to make a roux with melted butter, all purpose flour, cream, or chicken broth from scratch. Instead, 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!
Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole Ingredients
This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you'll need for a tuna noodle casserole. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.
- Egg noodles: I like the fairly thin "medium" egg noodles, but you can use the "wide" or "extra broad" size instead. You can also substitute with different shapes of pasta, such as elbows, penne, spaghetti, and rotini.
- Condensed cream of mushroom soup: the creamy base of the casserole. Substitute with different flavors of condensed soup if you prefer, such as cream of chicken soup or cream of celery soup.
- Milk: to thin the sauce.
- Canned tuna: I like the firmer, less "fishy" tasting solid white albacore tuna in water, but any variety is fine.
- Cheddar cheese: or substitute with any other type of cheese that will melt smoothly. For instance, mozzarella, Pepper Jack, Colby, Swiss, Colby Jack, Gouda, or Gruyere will all work. A sprinkling of Parmesan cheese adds great flavor, too.
- Potato chips: for a crunchy, salty, flavorful casserole topping. You can use buttered bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, or French's fried onion instead, if you prefer.
- Frozen peas (optional): little bright pockets of sweet green goodness! You can omit the peas if you don't like them, or substitute with a different vegetable.
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!
- 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.
- Stir Together Soup and Milk. In a large bowl, whisk together condensed cream of mushroom soup and milk until completely combined.
- Add Remaining Ingredients. Stir in the cooked noodles, tuna fish, and peas. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add Topping. Transfer the noodle mixture to a 1 ½-quart baking dish. Add grated cheese and sprinkle crushed potato chips on top.
- Bake. Bake the casserole uncovered in a 350°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
Pair the tuna noodle casserole with any of these easy sides:
- Green Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette, Caesar Salad or House Salad with Candied Pecans
- 3-Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuits, Flaky Biscuits, Cheese Biscuits or Drop Biscuits
- Skillet Cornbread, Honey Cornbread, Corn Sticks, Mexican Cornbread or Corn Muffins
- Crusty French Baguette, Soft Dinner Rolls, or Homemade Crescent Rolls
- Charleston Red Rice or Rice Pilaf
- 3-Ingredient Sour Cream Muffins, Applesauce Pumpkin Muffins or Pumpkin Bread
- Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
- Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables
- Southern Fried Apples or Baked Apple Slices
- Broccoli and Cheese, Steamed Broccoli, or Garlic Oven-Roasted Broccoli
- Perfect Oven Roasted Asparagus or Sauteed Asparagus
- Brown Sugar Roasted Acorn Squash
- 5-Ingredient Easy Cranberry Salad
- 3-Ingredient Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Arkansas Green Beans with Bacon or Southern-Style Green Beans
Make Ahead Recipe for Tuna Noodle Casserole
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.
The leftover baked casserole will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat the leftovers in a 350°F oven, covered, just until warmed through (about 20-30 minutes). You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for about 1 minute.
How to Freeze
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.
- Use other flavors of canned soup. Cream of chicken soup or cream of celery soup 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).
- Taste the filling before baking, and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, if necessary.
- A splash of sherry in the filling adds another layer of delicious flavor!
More Easy Casserole Recipes to Try
- Hot Chicken Salad
- Hamburger Casserole
- Cabbage Roll Casserole
- Chicken Broccoli Stuffing Casserole
- Dump-and-Bake Chicken and Mushroom Casserole
- Ground Beef Casserole with Cornbread Crust
- Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole
- "Country Comfort" Smoked Sausage Casserole
- Chicken Noodle Casserole
- Farmhouse Chicken Cornbread Casserole
- Chicken and Stuffing 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°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.