Everyone needs an easy Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe in their hip pocket for a quick weeknight dinner. It's even better if it's been updated to include some tasty new additions that will have your family going back for seconds or even thirds!
Why do we keep wanting more of this casserole dish?
Chances are you've probably had tuna fish casserole at least once in your life if not lots of times. It's a budget-friendly, quick, and customizable dish that relies on pantry staples that will fill a hungry tummy in under an hour. It first appeared in the Pacific Northwest in the 1930's but really came into play during WWII. It stayed around for the 1950's, and then experienced a bit of a revival here recently.
Canned or foil packed tuna plus the addition of "cream of" soups made this a dish any cook could carry off with very little skill required. Endlessly able to be customized by what you have in your pantry it basically still has egg noodles, tuna, cheese, and peas usually. The sauce can be made from a basic roux or by using cream of mushroom soup.
Although it might seem like this list of ingredients is long most ingredients are pantry items that most people usually have on hand. Note this recipe is adapted from the casserole recipe on Chowhound.
- Celery stalks - two that are finely diced.
- Green onions - one bunch thinly sliced, and you can substitute a very small finely diced onion.
- Jalapeno - seeds and membrane removed, and finely diced. This can be omitted if you like, but it adds good flavor without a ton of heat to the recipe.
- Old Bay Seasoning - you can also substitute seasoned salt.
- Flour - all purpose to make the roux.
- Sour cream - full fat or reduced fat will work.
- Dijon mustard - you can substitute yellow mustard in a pinch.
- Milk - You can use whole milk or 2%.
- Egg noodles - large but not the homestyle kind.
- Shredded cheddar cheese - you can also use other kinds that you have on hand.
- Tuna - high quality tuna like Albacore.
- Saltine crackers - salted or unsalted, and you can substitute with potato chips
- Parsley - can be dried or fresh.
- Butter - I used unsalted.
- Peas - not included in the picture below, totally optional but a delicious addition.
Cook the egg noodles according to the package directions. Heat a large fry pan to medium heat, and add a little oil for frying. Add in the onions, celery, and jalapeno to cook until softened. Add two tablespoons of butter, and the Old Bay Seasoning to the pan. Once the butter has melted add in the flour, stir, and allow to cook for a couple of minutes.
Next slowly whisk in the milk stirring until there are no lumps, and the mixture has started to thicken. Next whisk in the Dijon mustard, and sour cream until combined. Add the tuna, cheese, peas, and cooked noodles one at a time until everything is combined.
Put the remaining cheese, crackers, parsley, and butter in a plastic bag. Crush the crackers with the butter and other ingredients. Top the casserole which you can cook in your cast iron pan or a 13 x 9 greased baking dish. Bake in a preheated 350-degree of oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is a golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes then enjoy!
Can I use cream of mushroom soup?
Yes, with a few changes you can use a can of cream of mushroom soup. Omit the flour, and most of the milk. Add this to the cooked vegetables with just enough milk to make a creamy sauce. This should be about ½ - ¾ cup of milk.
Be sure to not forget dessert, and follow this up with Instant Pot Spiced Peach Crisp with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe
- 2 celery stalks finely sliced
- 1 bunch green onions finely sliced, can substitute a small onion finely diced
- 1 jalapeno seeds and membrane removed, finely diced
- 2 tbsp butter unsalted is what I used
- 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning can substitute seasoned salt
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 ¾ cups milk whole or 2%
- ¼ cup sour cream whole fat or reduced
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard can use yellow mustard as well
- 1 12-ounce bag egg noodles cooked
- 2 6.4 ounce packs Albacore tuna drained
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup frozen peas
For the topping
- 1 tbsp parsley dried or fresh
- 2 tbsp butter unsalted
- 20 crackers crushed
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
For the casserole
- Preheat a large pan to medium heat. Add some oil for frying along with the celery, onion, and jalapeno. Cook until softened.
- Add in the butter, Old Bay seasoning, and flour. Stir and cook for two minutes.
- Gradually whisk in the milk and cook until a creamy sauce is formed.
- Whisk in the Dijon mustard and sour cream until combined.
- Add in one at a time until well combined the tuna, cheese, peas, and cooked egg noodles.
- Cook in a large cast iron pan or a greased 13x9 glass baking dish.
For the topping
- Add all the topping ingredients to a plastic bag. Crush the crackers and roughly combine all ingredients.
- Add to the top of the casserole.
- Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.
- Allow to rest for a few minutes prior to serving.
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to one week.