Tuna Noodle Casserole

by Andie Mitchell on January 11, 2011

If Tuna Helper and green bean casserole decided to steal away to Vegas and get hitched, this would be their someday baby. A little hybrid bundle of joy.

The thing about tuna noodle casserole is that it’s so delightfully classic, so proudly retro, that I’m happy to let it be. Most comfort food recipes, especially those that rely heavily on canned foods and convenience, give me pause. I bite my lip, look upstairs to by brain, and ask, “Can we make this more homemade? Can we make it healthy? [Most importantly] Should we?”

And the truth is, sometimes we should not. Cans of Campbell’s condensed soup, like cans of Aqua Net hairspray, make me smile with nostalgia.  And while it’s not quite the olden days, but more just the dayglow surrounding the ’80′s, they remind me of my childhood- an era of fabulous perms and legwarmers.

I’m comforted by this dish. Creamy verging on gooey, warm, and hearty. It has all the savory depth of green bean casserole, from cream of mushroom soup, a sharpness from grated parmesan cheese, and a gentle zing of garlic. But it’s the little pops of sweet peas between my canines and the saltiness of flaked tuna that really dazzle my taste buds. I topped it all with french fried onions because I feel like those trump bread crumbs in nearly every circumstance. I dare you to find something more lovely than a crisp, buttery crust atop a melting cheesy center.

Let me know if you find something. I’ll be here eating things that taste like 1985. And getting a perm.

In a large bowl, stir together 5 cups of cooked pasta, 2 cans of tuna fish, and 2 cups of frozen, unthawed, peas.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together 2 cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Pour that mixture on top of the pasta.

Stir it all together until well combined. Pour it into a lightly greased casserole dish (I used a 13×9″ pan). Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 375°F. Remove the foil, sprinkle crushed french fried onions evenly over the top and bake, now uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes.

 

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Yield: 5 Servings

Ingredients

  • 5 cups cooked rotini pasta or egg noodles (about 10 ounces)
  • 2 cans tuna, drained and flaked with a fork
  • 2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed French fried onions (recommended: French’s brand)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine the just-cooked pasta, tuna, and peas in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soup, milk, cheese, garlic powder, and pepper, and pour over the top of the pasta mixture. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour the tuna and pasta mixture into a greased casserole dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake until hot, about 25 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle the french fried onions evenly over the top and bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.

Notes

Nutrition Information for 1 Serving (1/5th of Entire Recipe): Calories 515, Total Fat 15.8 g, Total Carbohydrate 66.6 g, Dietary Fiber 6.2 g, Sugars 6.6 g, Protein 25.7 g

http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/2011/01/11/tuna-noodle-casserole/

 

{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Evan Thomas January 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I could never let my mother see this post or she’d insist I make it for her. Her two favorite foods are pasta and tuna salad sandwiches, and this seems like a holy union of the two.

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KO February 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Make it for your mom!
I lost my mom a few years ago due to a motorcycle accident. I WISH I could make her this dish.
Make it for your mom this weekend!

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Jenn @ Cooking Aweigh the Pounds January 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm

You had me at tuna helper. My husband has always made fun of my love for the boxed casserole, but I cannot help myself. I think this is going to have to become my lunch tomorrow!

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Kelly January 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm

This takes me back to my childhood and college. One of my college friends knew she could get me to come over if she promised me tuna noodle casserole for lunch, except I’ve always used egg noodles. Whole wheat noodles sound really delicious too.

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kitchenarian January 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I don’t eat a lot of casseroles, but I LOVE tuna casserole and this looks delicious. I always put a little bit of chopped jalapeno peppers in my tuna casserole for a little extra kick.

I will be making this soon. Thanks!

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Can You Stay for Dinner January 11, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Wow, jalapeno sounds like a fabulous addition!

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Renee October 17, 2012 at 10:36 am

Thanks so much for the tip about the jalapeno peppers to add to this fantastic tuna casserole. I just made this using about 1/3 cup chopped pickled jalapenos, and it is the best I have ever eaten! Didn’t have french fried onions – sounds so good as a topping – so I crushed Ritz crackers on top after baking. I added 1 tsp of onion powder since I wasn’t using the onion topping, and a splash of lemon juice, since I like it in almost everything.
I think it would have been delicious for me just as written, but now my husband, who does not like anything without a bit of heat, will love it also! Thanks for posting this recipe! I am looking forward to trying your other recipes, they all look fantastic!

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Heather January 11, 2011 at 3:52 pm

How terrible is it that I’ve never had tuna noodle casserole? I think I missed out on my childhood :)

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Can You Stay for Dinner January 11, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Heather! You are missing out, come over for dinner!

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Meg January 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm

You’re after my own heart. SO making this tonight. Tuna noodle casserole is my number one comfort food!

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snackgirlgoeshealthy January 11, 2011 at 9:59 pm

That looks good!!! With out the peas for me though!!!
I love makin unhealthy foods healthy!

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Stephanie @cookinfanatic January 12, 2011 at 5:05 am

I had never had tuna casserole until last week (I know, shocking!) and I really like it! This is a great version, I like that you added green peas in there too!

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Karen Matthews January 12, 2011 at 5:10 am

I’ve never had or made tuna noodle casserole either. I grew up in England and hadn’t heard of it before I moved to the States. This recipe sounds wonderful and I’m going to try it out this weekend.
Quick question…what size cans of tuna? the small 6oz or the larger 12oz?
Thanks XO

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Can You Stay for Dinner January 12, 2011 at 7:35 am

Hi Karen- sorry I should have been more specific. Use 2 of the 5 ounce cans!

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Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) January 12, 2011 at 7:03 am

Mmm…comfort food at its finest. And I love how you placed it in individual ramekins. :D

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Lu January 12, 2011 at 7:11 am

I love canned mushroom soup. There I said it. I know there has to be some group I can join to help me with this. But, in all fairness, I’m only buying the 98% fat free version. I’m ok with that. Is that what one would define as denial? This casserole looks great. Just right for a chilly day.

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Megan (Braise The Roof) January 12, 2011 at 8:24 am

I’m with you- some traditions should not be messed with. This is how I feel about pretty much any of my dad’s “recipes”. Mostly because they aren’t written down. You just have to watch him, the way he watched his mom, and repeat. Classic. And no- there is nothing in the world known to man more wonderful and comforting than a crunchy, buttery top over cheesy carbs.

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Cindy January 12, 2011 at 9:17 am

so now you are really messing with me.
We love a good tuna noodle casserole. Giada De Laurentiis has a good recipe and that’s the last one I made a while ago, so now I am ready to make another one.

After a night of heavy soul searching and careful consideration, I have decided that I am going to make everything (or attmept too) you post (recipe wise) this year.

Did you think you would get away with double daring me? NO.

If stuffed shrimp wasn’t bad, a comforting bowl of tuna noodle casserole put me over the edge.

So let the Can You Stay For Dinner Challenge Commence.

Oye, what have I gotten myself into???

Bring it!

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Kace January 12, 2011 at 10:05 am

I’ve never had tuna noodle casserole, but it reminds me of the 60s ha. I will have to try this soon! It looks like a good Friday in Lent type of meal.

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Autumn @ Good Eats Girl January 12, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Oh, goodness. YUM. There seriously is no better comfort food than tuna casserole. Love this!

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Can You Stay for Dinner January 13, 2011 at 7:38 am

Thank you Autumn!

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Peggy Hogan January 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Thanks for an idea for next week’s menu. love the french fried onions idea. Yum. I agree too, I could use a perm again. It really was quite easy.

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Healthy Coconut January 14, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Before I saw the ingredients, the dish looked so creamy in the pictures. It doesn’t look healthy at all, but once I started reading the rest, I’m glad your cream of choice is cream of mushroom. Easy enough, hopefully I will be able to make it soon.

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Can You Stay for Dinner January 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Glad you approve :) It’s super easy and you can modify it with low fat versions of soup, milk, etc!

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Nicole January 17, 2011 at 5:30 am

I just had breakfast but now I’m hungry again. Ha, ha. Looks SOooo good!!!!

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mybeautifulair January 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Wow – this looks incredible. Love your blog – I don’t know what is better – the recipes or the writing. both are delectable.

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Can You Stay for Dinner January 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Wow, what a sweet and thoughtful comment! Thank you so much, you’ve made my day :)

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Jenn @ Cooking Aweigh the Pounds January 24, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I wanted to come back to let you know that I finally got to try this tonight and it was sooo good and comforting! Even my husband (the Tuna Helper Hater) liked it a lot. His issue with Tuna Helper was that it’s too salty and this was perfectly seasoned. Thanks for sharing this!

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purplehappytree April 10, 2011 at 2:23 am

Hi :)
Just wondering, is your oven fan-forced?
Only I cooked this for 20 minutes and its still cold in the middle, so am wondering if I should be doing something differently (my oven isn’t fan forced).

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Can You Stay for Dinner April 10, 2011 at 7:30 am

Ooo, I do have a convection oven :( Hope it still turned out OK!

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purplehappytree April 10, 2011 at 7:32 am

It turned out great :)
Just needed to cook it for around another 15 minutes.

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Cami April 14, 2011 at 7:32 pm

We made this for dinner the other night and it was delicious! Thanks for sharing! I love your blog and not just for the recipes and photography!

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Liz Vadset-Olver August 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I love tuna noodle casserole,I just try to find ways to cut back now on calories, fat and carbs. I use Dreamfields pasta, the 98% fat free Cream of Mushroom soup and fat free half and half to dilute the soup. I’ve never used french fried onion rings, I guess because I associate that with the infamous green bean casserole. :) I top my tuna casserole with fat free shredded cheddar. And of course I use peas as you do. It still tastes yummy, it really does.

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Kimoky August 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Hi Andrea, Im wondering how many people can you feed with this recipe? Will 6 people be sufficient?
Thanks.

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Linda September 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm

How many calories is this, tuna noodle casserole?

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Jennifer Varady September 19, 2011 at 10:26 am

This yummy looking dish is in the oven as we speak, thanks! Found it on Pintrest! I just wondered if you wanted us to use 1/2 t or 1 t of black pepper… the top recipe with pictures says 1t and the bottom says only 1/2…. I went with 1/2 and can add more later if it’s needed!

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Jeannette October 2, 2011 at 10:00 am

I made this last night, and holy cow that’s a lot of food. My family of three ate, one of us had seconds, and there’s easily almost half left, so I’d say it yields 6 generous servings (esp when paired with a veggie on the side).

Here’s the nutrition info for 1/6 the recipe (note: I used skim milk and 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup, and omitted the onion topping, plugged ingredients into an internet gadget, so YMMV, etc.): 463 cals, 7 g fat, 70 g carbs, 31 g protein.

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Scott January 28, 2012 at 10:18 am

Just made this for lunch…very yummy. I added some bacon and used cream of celery soup (don’t like mushrooms). I also added some red pepper flakes for a little kick. Big hit and it make a ton!!

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Kevin W April 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Nice recipe. You can use cream of celery soup if you’re not crazy about the cr. of mush.- a little herb doesn’t hurt. Dill is good or the standard Mrs. Dash is very good in it. I’ve never thought about using the fried onions on top. It was really good. I also use panko crumbs mixed with parmesan and held together with a little (or alot) of butter or margarine and spread on top. YUM!

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Diane May 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I know what I’m having for dinner tonight! :-) I can’t seem to get enough of your inspiration and I find I glean more every time I read one of your posts. I believe I have read everything (so I apologize if I’m making a request that might already be out there) about how you dealt with portion control. For me, if something is good – I want more… and I tend to give in, even though it won’t taste as good as the first bite. -Diane, who worries she’ll make the TNC and eat the whole damn thing! ;-)

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Kristal May 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Love your site! What size can of tuna did you use? I am planning on making this next week.

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Andie May 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Hey Kristal,
I used two six-ounce cans of tuna in this recipe. Thanks for visiting :)

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Alexandra June 20, 2012 at 5:50 am

Do you think this could be made and then frozen (without cooking) and then put in the oven and cooked (after being thawed)?

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ELee June 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I make a variation of this, but I start with a roux instead of cream soups. That way, I’m not eating enough sodium to kill a man. I begin with equal amounts flour and butter (I know, I know, butter is bad, but it’s SO GOOD), let’s say 4T each, whisk together until a roux is formed, and add 1 1/2 C milk. Let it boil, turn it down to a simmer and let it thicken. Add tuna , and salt to taste. Voila!

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Jessica February 11, 2013 at 12:10 pm

what is the nutritional info for the tuna noodle casserole

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Sully_04 March 26, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Made this casserole last night… talk about YUMMY comfort food! I could have eaten the WHOLE dish.. BUT I decided to save some for my husband and daughter.. LOL! Thanks again! Making your Honey BBQ Meatloaf tommorrow!

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teachermrw April 28, 2013 at 6:54 pm

A healthier albeit very tasty version of a comfort food classic.:)

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Sara June 2, 2013 at 10:15 am

I just made this last night. YUMMMMMY! I only had a bag of frozen mixed veggies (green beans, peas, and carrots) My kids loved it and they were getting some extra vegetables in so WIN WIN :) thank you for this site. my husband and I are currently trying to lose weight but not wanting to deprive our selves of good tasting food. I love love love your recipes.

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JennaKay September 1, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Made this tonight with leftover chicken. HUGE hit with the boys!! Thanks so much!!

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Anne October 7, 2013 at 1:39 am

Hey Andie, loved seeing mom looking GREAT! She is on a roll !!!!! Chin up and keep it up.
Loved the thought of tuna helper and green bean casserole running off to Vegas and having a hybrid buncle of joy! I laughted outloud!!!!!!!!!! I remembering going to my friend Marg’s house back in the sixties. It would be Friday and they were good Catholics and had tuna casserole. At the time, the Catholics could only eat fish or no meat on Friday. I LOVED being invited to dinner on those Friday nights because my mother did not fix this at our house. WOW! Good stuff. Use to make it on WWatchers with mayo, tuna, peas and pasta. Ate it for lunch and LOVED it! I am going to make this one for sure. Just another of your wonderful dishes!!!! Have a great day!!!!! p.s. Chicken sounds good in it too!!!!!

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Beth October 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Hi Andie!!!

Love you, love your blog!!!! You and your mom are doing amazing work together, so inspiring!

I know what you mean about the classics – i pretty much survived highschool eating cream of mushroom soup lol. However, like you said, it isn’t the healthiest thing to eat :). I didn’t read all the comments, so sorry if someone already posted this – http://www.grouprecipes.com/36004/condensed-cream-of-mushroom-soup-substitute.html
Can’t wait to try your recipe!

-Beth

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Jill November 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I’m just wondering how many servings your nutritional info is based on? Thanks! Making it now and can’t wait to try it!

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Andie Mitchell November 6, 2013 at 10:55 am

Hi Jill!

The recipe makes 5 servings. Hope you like it!

Andie

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helen January 9, 2014 at 5:48 pm

I just maid this for dinner in honor of my mom today is her bday and she loved this dish. my mom passed away I love her and think of her all the time. thanks for the recipe you sure are a awesome cook.

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Anne January 9, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Andie, I love tuna casserole!!! I used to make it on Weight Watchers. This looks devine and I am VERY afraid that I will pull it from my oven, put on counter, pull up a chair and eat the entire casserole!!!! Lol Love your wtiting. I have missed it so much. Glad you are liking NY!
af

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Marion April 30, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Hi Andie
Just put the tuna bake in the oven…..I used a can of tuna and a can of pink salmon, just makes it a bit different, and potato crisps on top….my family love this- what’s not to love – pasta cheese crisps -true comfort food

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Tosh August 20, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Hi Andie,
I have been really craving tuna casserole and I just came across your recipe. Thanks so much for posting and now I ‘LIKED’ your Facebook Page. Your recipes are great! This tuna casserole recipe was perfect for everything I already had in the house and it was just so easy to make. I am trying to cook healthier so I used whole wheat rotini pasta noodles, fit & active condensed soup (sodium is less than regular condensed soup, I buy it at Aldi), I used a little cumin because it just makes everything taste good, I used the fit & active mexican blend shredded cheese because I still like that little cheddar flavor mixed in and I topped it with a dust of italian style bread crumbs, (as I get older it seems onions don’t want to be my friend anymore, lol). Oh not sure if anyone ever heard of this, but when I was at ‘Ross’ I saw this sprayer called MISTO, you fill it only a 3rd way full of your favorite oil, (mine is extra virgin olive oil) and then you just pump the lid a little til it gives resistance, (so easy), and it sprays your oil like you bought it in a spray can but without the chemicals. I bought mine for $7.00 and i love it! I used it to spray my pan and to spray the top of the bread crumbs before I put it back in the oven to crust up. Well thanks Andie and I look forward to making more of your recipes and I will share your page with my TOPS group (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly, non-profit weight-loss group).

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Ashley October 25, 2014 at 5:12 pm

We love this recipe. I’ve made it several times over the past year and it never disappoints.

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Andie Mitchell October 26, 2014 at 7:37 am

I’m so happy to hear this, Ashley! Thank you!!

Andie

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