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This tuna noodle casserole is just about as delicious, nutritious, and comforting as it gets!
What is Tuna Noodle Casserole and why is this recipe the best?
With chopped tuna, noodles, and a creamy sauce, tuna noodle casserole is a delicious casserole dish that is just about as comforting as it gets. This recipe actually came straight out of Cassy’s most recent book, Cook Once Dinner Fix, and it is a real homerun.
While this meal is delicious made all on its own, it is part of a 2-part dinner series (part 1 is this delicious chili-lime tuna steak dinner served alongside tricolor quinoa) — for directions on how to make these two dinners together, click HERE.
Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need for this delicious tuna noodle casserole:
- Tuna Steaks – to start, you’ll need 1 ½ pounds of tuna steak.
- Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons of olive oil will coat the steaks before searing so that they don’t stick to the pan.
- Dried Noodles – 9 ounces of either dried tagliatelle or linguine noodles make up the starchy base of the casserole.
- Butter – 2 tablespoons of salted butter goes into the dutch oven with the veggies to make the delicious gravy-like casserole sauce.
- Onion – ½ of a diced yellow onion gets sauteed in the pot with the butter.
- Garlic – 2 cloves of minced garlic add a rich, delicious flavor.
- Mushrooms – 4 ounces of sliced button or baby bella mushrooms go into the pot also.
- Flour – to thicken the sauce and give it a gravy feel, you’ll need about 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. If you’re gluten-free, feel free to use an all-purpose gluten-free flour option.
- Milk – 1 ⅔ cups of whole milk makes the sauce so creamy and delicious.
- Chicken Broth – a ½ cup of chicken broth gives the sauce some volume and an extra boost of flavor.
- Peas – 1 cup of frozen peas gets tossed into the sauce.
- Sea Salt + Pepper – thanks to all of the other really delicious flavors, 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt and a ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper are the only real seasonings you need here.
- Cheese – 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese tops the casserole beautifully.
- Parsley – 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley finishes the entire meal off!
What type of noodle is best when making tuna noodle casserole from scratch?
Cassy used a tagliatelle here, but linguine also works great! Any heartier, long noodle will work great (as opposed to a short penne or bowtie).
How to Make Tuna Noodle Casserole
Are you ready for this? This yummy casserole is equal parts delicious, easy, and comforting. Here’s how you’ll pull it together:
- Prep – heat a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat, coat the tuna steaks with olive oil, and season with sea salt.
- Sear and chop the tuna steaks – add the steaks to the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until a slight crust forms on the bottom, then flip and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the second side. Once cooked, transfer the tuna steaks to a cutting board and coarsely chop them into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Cook the noodles – bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions.
- Make the creamy sauce – while the noodles are cooking, in a large Dutch oven or other oven-safe pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes, until the onion and mushrooms have reduced in size. Add the flour and stir to combine. Slowly whisk in the milk and broth until smooth.
- Add the tuna, peas, salt, and pepper – add the tuna, peas, salt, and pepper to the Dutch oven and bring to a low boil.
- Add the pasta – when the pasta is done cooking, drain it, and add it to the pot. Stir gently to combine.
- Top with cheese and bake – top the casserole with the cheese and transfer the pot to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbling, then remove from the oven.
- Garnish and serve – garnish with the parsley, serve, and enjoy!
Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions to Make a Tuna Noodle Casserole
This recipe is to-die-for as written, but if you need to make ingredient modifications, that’s okay too! Here are Cassy’s best tips, tricks, and substitutions for this recipe:
- Make it dairy-free: substitute olive oil for the butter in the tuna casserole and replace the whole milk with an additional 1 cup of chicken broth plus ⅔ cup full-fat coconut milk. Either omit the mozzarella cheese topping or substitute vegan cheese.
- Make it gluten-free: use gluten-free pasts and substitute cup-for-cup gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour in the tuna casserole.
- Use canned tuna: if you don’t want to cook tuna steaks, just use canned tuna instead! You’ll just need 24 ounces of drained canned tuna here.
What type of topping is best on top of a classic tuna noodle casserole?
In my opinion, a nice cheesy topping! Cassy used mozzarella here and it is DELICIOUS.
What to Serve with a Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole
A nice, fresh simple side salad is great alongside tuna noodle casserole! This arugula sea salt salad is the perfect simple green veggie accompaniment.
Is this tuna noodle casserole recipe able to be prepped ahead of time?
Sure! I’d go ahead and prep the entire thing (just short of baking it), cover the casserole dish, and store it in the refrigerator. Then, when you’re ready to enjoy it, pop it into the oven!
Does tuna noodle casserole make good leftovers?
While a lot of seafood does not make ideal leftovers, this one actually does. Because this casserole includes chopped tuna mixed with a creamy sauce and assembled casserole-style (versus just seared tuna steaks with a separate side), it’s a great leftover candidate.
How to Store Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole
Store any uneaten casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Stored this way, it’ll last for 4 to 5 days!
Can tuna noodle casserole be frozen?
It can! If you’re freezing your casserole, I actually recommend waiting to bake it until you pull it out of the freezer, though. Essentially, get it totally assembled and ready to go into the oven (you can even top it with the shredded cheese), then cover it with foil and freeze it. Then, when you’re ready to enjoy it, simply transfer it from the freezer to the oven and bake at 350 until warmed through (about 45-50 minutes).
How to Reheat Tuna Noodle Casserole
If your tuna noodle casserole is in the fridge, simply reheat a single serving in the microwave or reheat a larger portion (still in the casserole dish) in a 350°F oven until warmed through.
More Cook Once Dinner Fix Recipes
- Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- Vegetarian Chili with Vegan Cornbread
- Whole Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with Fresh Arugula Salad
- Indian-Inspired Butter Chicken Bowls
- Chili-Lime Seared Tuna Recipe with Quinoa
- 1 1/2 pounds tuna steaks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 9 ounces dried tagliatelle or linguine
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 4 ounces button or baby bella mushrooms sliced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 2/3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese for topping
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Heat a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat.
- Coat the tuna steaks with olive oil and season with sea salt.
- Add the steaks to the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until a slight crust forms on the bottom, then flip and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the second side. Once cooked, transfer the tuna steaks to a cutting board and coarsely chop them into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions.
- While the noodles are cooking, in a large Dutch oven or other oven-safe pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes, until the onion and mushrooms have reduced in size. Add the flour and stir to combine. Slowly whisk in the milk and broth until smooth.
- Add the tuna, peas, salt, and pepper and bring to a low boil.
- When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and add it to the pot. Stir gently to combine.
- Top with the cheese and transfer the pot to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. Remove from the oven, garnish with the parsley, and serve.
Legitimately really good. Even my husband who doesn’t like tuna noodle casserole ate seconds.
Brandi Schilhab says
Wahoo! I’m so glad to hear that, Tina! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
I’m curious about how many servings does this make? Also about what size (or qts) is the baking dish in the photo? My dutch oven is fairly large and I don’t believe it would work well spreading the casserole so thin. Plenty of corningware dishes to put it in though. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
Melissa Guevara says
Hi Melody! We would say this makes about 4-6 servings. The casserole dish is about an 8×10, so slightly smaller, but this dish absolutely works in a standard 9×13 casserole dish. I’ve also made it in a large, round corningware casserole dish, and it worked great. Plenty of great options! -Team FF