This Easy Tuna Casserole Recipe makes an easy and delicious comfort food in 30 minutes. Boasts flaky tuna chunks combined with gluten-free egg noodles, peas, and creamy onions and mushrooms.
This Easy Tuna Casserole is such a classic comfort food! Hearty tuna, egg noodles, onions, mushrooms, and peas all wrapped in creamy and luscious sauce. This casserole is made from scratch and does not call for any flours or canned soups. Topped with Parmesan cheese and baked until bubbly and golden. Serve this Easy Tuna Casserole recipe with a side salad for a complete meal.
Easy Tuna Casserole Recipe
This casserole is a perfect budget-friendly meal that is also very filling (read: will keep bellies fuller longer). The pantry items (noodles, tuna, seasonings) are common kitchen staples which regularly go on sale at the grocery store.
I also recommend stocking up on other ingredients such as frozen peas, butter, and cheeses when they go on sale. These items generally last much longer when stored properly so they can be purchased in larger quantities.
With a handful of additional fresh ingredients combined with a few pantry and refrigerator staples, you can make this Easy Tuna Casserole Recipe in under 30 minutes.
Tuna Casserole Recipe
Traditional tuna casserole usually calls for either canned mushroom soup or flours used to thicken the creamy mixture. This recipe has neither. It is made entirely from scratch and thickened with cream cheese instead.
This classic comfort food is rich in flavor and can be made in under 30 minutes. When using the right ingredients - this classic dish can also be healthy!
How can something so creamy and velvety be healthy, you ask? Simple. It's all in the ingredients that you use to comprise this dish. Specific notes on the ingredients are below, but suffice to say that in order to have a nourishing end product, you must start with nourishing ingredients.
How do you make the Best Tuna Casserole from scratch?
Making tuna casserole from scratch is actually easier than you think. This Easy Tuna Casserole recipe is free from:
- canned soups
- any thickeners or flours
This Easy Tuna Casserole recipe does not call for any canned soups and yet still meets the criteria for a delicious and easy tuna casserole. It's still creamy yet simple to whip up, crunchy on the top yet with no flour or panko crumbs.
This recipe uses cream cheese and milk to achieve that luscious Tuna Casserole creaminess without canned soups.
In addition, we will also skip the use of flours as thickener. Cream cheese works exceptionally well in recipes like this since it serves both as a cream and a thickener simultaneously. The result is flour-less creamy sauce, ready to be added to egg noodles and tuna for a complete and easy casserole meal.
What ingredients are in Tuna Casserole?
Here is the basic lineup of this Easy Tuna Casserole Recipe, in order of appearance. Take note of any substitutions and how they will work.
- grass-fed butter (to brown onions). Highly recommend good quality butter and not to sub with oil. Butter adds rich flavor and high in omega-3 fatty acids when using grass-fed.
- yellow onions
- egg noodles (more in detail about that in the next section)
- sliced mushrooms
- organic cream cheese (check ingredients to be sure it doesn't have gums or thickeners - my favorite is Nancy's Cream Cheese)
- chicken or vegetable broth
- milk (or any creamy liquid) this can be thinned out heavy cream, or half and half, or even replaced completely with additional broth if you find the tuna filling to be too rich
- frozen peas
- canned tuna (packed in water). Tuna canned in oil will work too but I recommend that you fully drain the oil and pat dry to remove the oil as much as possible. We love Wild Planet's Albacore wild tuna because is is sustainably caught and a much much healthier option
- cheddar cheese or any other favorite grated cheese
- parmesan cheese to top the casserole before baking
- dried parsley or fresh curly parsley for garnish
Tuna Casserole with Egg Noodles
What I love about this recipe is that it can easily be customized to use your favorite noodles. To achieve a traditional, classic Tuna Casserole recipe, I used gluten-free egg noodles from Jovial. This whole grain brown rice egg tagliatelle pasta tastes remarkably like regular pasta but obviously without the inflammatory gluten.
Today's market has many gluten-free pastas made with various ingredients: rice, quinoa, chickpeas, etc.. Always remember to check the ingredients to avoid fillers and unwanted additives. Egg noodles should have flour and eggs only so skip those with funny ingredients.
You can also make this Tuna Casserole recipe keto and low-carb by using zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash pasta instead of egg noodles. You can find instructions on how to make spaghetti squash for longest strands in this post. The good news is that because the cream sauce does not contain any flour, you won't have to modify any other part of the recipe to convert it to low carb should you use a veggie-based noodle.
How to make Easy Tuna Casserole
Step 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook noodles according to package instructions, minus one minute. In a large stainless steel skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and saute until translucent and slightly golden, about 5-7 minutes.
Step 2. Add sliced mushrooms and continue cooking until tender. If mushrooms are thick-cut, reduce heat to low and cook a bit longer so as not to burn the onions.
Step 3. Add cream cheese and garlic.
Step 4. Turn heat to low, add milk and broth. The ratio of liquid isn't as important as the quantity. Use one cup of liquid: milk, half and half, broth, etc.. Gently simmer, stirring often to break apart the cream cheese until thickened and combined well.
Step 5. Add frozen peas and stir to combine.
Step 6. Drain tuna and flake with a fork. Add tuna and grated cheese to the creamy mixture and combine.
Step 7. Grease 9X13 casserole dish with butter or cooking spray. Transfer cooked egg noodles to dish.
Step 8. Pour creamy tuna mixture over noodles and toss to combine with a pair of thongs. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and bake uncovered for 15 minutes until bubbly and top is lightly golden.
Easy Tuna Casserole Recipe
- 8-12 ounces egg noodles
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ½ cup broth chicken or vegetable
- ½ cup milk or half and half, or additional broth
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 5 ounce cans albacore tuna drained and flaked
- 2 cups cheddar cheese
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9X13 casserole dish with butter or cooking spray.
- Cook egg noodles according to instructions on box, minus one minute. Set a timer so the noodles are not overcooked. Once cooked, transfer to prepared casserole dish.
- In a large stainless steel skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and saute until translucent and slightly golden, about 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add sliced mushrooms to the onions and continue cooking until tender. If mushrooms are of a thicker cut, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for longer so onions do not get burned.
- Turn heat to low, add cream cheese, garlic, milk, and broth. Gently simmer, stirring often to break apart the cream cheese until thickened and combined well.
- Add frozen peas and stir to combine.
- Add flaked tuna chunks and grated cheese to the mixture and stir to combine.
- Pour mixture over the cooked noodles and toss to combine with a pair of tongs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and bake uncovered for 15 minutes until bubbly and top is lightly browned. Serve hot.
- To make this low carb/keto, omit liquid (milk + broth) and use cooked spaghetti squash or other favorite precooked aldente vegetable noodle. Reduce oven bake time to 10 minutes.
- Leftovers can be stored in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat on stovetop, transfer casserole into a small pot. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of pot. Close lid and reheat on medium heat until warmed through.
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