This tuna noodle casserole recipe is made from scratch with a deliciously creamy and cheesy sauce, egg noodles, flaked tuna, and a crunchy topping.
Typically, tuna casserole uses cream of mushroom soup, but like I often do, I decided to make the sauce from scratch. There's plenty of the "classic" recipe out there, so this is the Salt & Lavender version with a little bit of extra love put in. 😉
This recipe is family-friendly, and I'd say that if you have picky eaters, it's a good choice between the sauce and buttery Ritz cracker topping!
How to make tuna casserole (overview):
Boil the egg noodles until they're almost done (slightly undercooked is good), then drain and transfer them to a 9x13 casserole dish. Meanwhile, sauté the onion and celery in a skillet until softened, then transfer to the casserole dish. In the same skillet, prepare the sauce (about 5 minutes), then stir in the peas and tuna. Pour the sauce into the casserole dish and toss until everything is combined. Spread in an even layer, then top with the crushed Ritz crackers/butter mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
Recipe notes & tips:
- You can use either water-packed or oil-packed tuna; just be sure to drain it before adding it to the sauce.
- Take the cream cheese out of the fridge an hour+ ahead of time to let it soften up, or microwave it until soft so it melts into the sauce better.
- I don't recommend subbing the cream for something thinner (like milk). If you do, you may need to add a roux and it might impact sauce quantity and texture.
- I recommend keeping the Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard in for flavor... the sauce will be fairly bland without them.
- As always, grating your own cheeses will yield the best results (how well they will melt as well as taste).
- This is indeed a tuna casserole, but swapping the tuna for cooked chicken would also work!
More cozy casseroles to try:
- Cheesy Broccoli Casserole
- Cheesy Chicken Divan
- Easy Taco Casserole Recipe
- Simple Ground Beef Casserole
Questions about this tuna casserole? Did you grow up with it? Talk to me in the comments below!
Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 3 cups uncooked egg noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 sticks celery chopped small
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 8 ounces cream cheese (a block of Philly) softened
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 12 ounces canned tuna drained
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers or panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- Prep all recipe ingredients. For the melted butter, I suggest microwaving it in a small bowl and setting it aside until needed.
- Cook the egg noodles for a couple minutes less than the package directions indicate. Drain and add them to a 9x13 casserole dish.
- Meanwhile, add the oil, onion, and celery to a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for about 30 seconds, then transfer the skillet contents to the casserole dish.
- To the same skillet, over medium heat, add the cream cheese (microwave it for 20-30 seconds if it isn't soft yet), cream, chicken broth, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and a bit of salt & pepper. Stir/whisk nearly constantly until the cream cheese has melted into the sauce (about 5 minutes). Don't let the sauce get too thick (it should be similar to Alfredo sauce). If the sauce seems a bit too thick, add in another splash of cream. The sauce will thicken more as it bakes.
- Turn the burner off and stir in the cheddar and parmesan until melted.
- Add in the peas and tuna (I use a fork to flake it right in the can after draining it), then pour the skillet mixture over the noodles. Toss until well coated and spread it in an even layer.
- Add the crushed Ritz crackers to the bowl that has the melted butter and mix well.
- Top the casserole with the Ritz topping and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
- See blog post for more tips and step-by-step photos.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.