This deliciously creamy, easy Tuna Noodle Casserole is anything but standard! Made in one dish, this casserole combines on-hand pantry items with cans of tuna fish and turns them into a dinner that will have everyone asking for more! A combination of egg noodles, tuna fish, cream of mushroom soup, milk and Parmesan cheese that is the definition of comfort food all in 45 minutes.
I started making this easy tuna casserole while in college where quick and easy dinners were always appreciated. I first got this recipe from my husband’s roommate who made it all the time for the guys in their apartment. See, I told you it was easy. I have since gussied (OK I’m showing my age) it up a bit with a few more spices and a little cheese for our more adult taste buds.
Making easy dinners s is a must most nights and ones with standard ingredients and as little time as possible spent in the kitchen is especially important now. I love having my Taco Tortilla Stack and Air Fried Tuna Patties recipes in my quick and easy repertoire but this creamy casserole has got to rank as one of my favorites. All you need are egg noodles, or your favorite pasta, that will hold all that creamy cheesy goodness on each bite, some cream of mushroom soup, canned tuna and a few produce items like onion, bell peppers, of any kind, and some minced garlic. I like to add cajun seasoning for an added pop of flavor and some buttered panko crumbs for an extra crunch on top.
Just look at that delicious bite of creamy goodness just waiting to be gobbled up! You can even see all the moist cheesy sauce coating the noodles along with the crunchy pieces of panko. And doesn’t that tuna look as tender as can be? It really is comfort food at its best! Add some peas or broccoli and you’ve got a complete dinner all in one dish!
- Add vegetables – have dinner all in one casserole by adding peas, peas & carrots or broccoli into the mix.
- Seasoning – change it up with Italian seasoning or thyme in lieu of cajun seasoning for more subtle flavor.
- Topping – add Parmesan cheese to panko topping or omit altogether and sprinkle with French fried onions.
- Soup – no condensed mushroom soup? Use cream of celery or even cream of chicken in its place.
- No Tuna? – make it a completely different casserole by exchanging the canned tuna for canned turkey or chicken and using cream of chicken soup.
Once baked, this casserole will store in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
If you want to freeze it prior to baking, freeze without the topping, cover tightly and place in freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, top with panko crumbs and bake as usual. If it is very cold you might need to add five or ten minutes to baking time.
You can also freeze it after baking. Let cool, put in refrigerator for an hour or two to make it easier to cut. Cut in serving sizes, wrap in foil and freeze. Remove each serving as you want it and thaw in refrigerator overnight then reheat in microwave for 4-5 minutes.
Pasta – any pasta will do but the classic way to make this casserole is with egg noodles. However, using medium shell or spiral noodles are also great at holding all that awesome sauce. Or you can just use whatever you have on hand, it all works!
Onion – I like to use yellow or white onions for their more distinct and stronger flavor but sweet onions will do in a pinch.
Tuna fish – Use a good white albacore tuna packed in water for a less fishy, more mild flavor that blends well with the creamy, mushroomy sauce.
Cajun seasoning – this is the perfect seasoning for seafood. It gives the casserole a nice kick that isn’t too pronounced, for those that don’t like things too spicy, but lends its garlic, onion, oregano, thyme, paprika and cayenne flavors to the mix.
White Wine – I add a little white wine in with the milk to add another layer of flavor and a little sweetness.
Parmesan cheese – using this cheese with its distinct, strong flavor actually goes well with a strong fish such as tuna fish. It adds a sharp edge to the entire dish.
Gather ingredients to make this dinner a quick and easy “throw it all in the casserole”recipe.
- Add soup to casserole dish. Stir in milk and wine. If you don’t like to use wine, you can use all milk or even half and half and omit the wine. (photo 1)
- Season with your favorite Cajun seasoning, such as Emeril’s, then salt and pepper to taste. The more Cajun seasoning you add, the spicier the dish will be. (photo 2)
- Add both cans of tuna fish. Costco still sells the 7-oz cans but the grocery stores have all gone to smaller 5-oz cans so you may need to decide between using 2 or 3 cans. (photo 3)
- Stir in chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic. Some recipes call for sauteing these vegetables in a tablespoon of butter but they cook up very well in the casserole so there is no need to take the extra time for this step. (photo 4)
- Sprinkle in cheese. I’ve used Parmesan in this recipe but you could also use Pecorino Romano or, for a classier casserole, a Gruyere cheese. (photo 5)
- Stir in cooked egg noodles until all ingredients are well combined. (photo 6)
- Melt butter for topping. (photo 7)
- Add butter to panko crumbs then sprinkle over the top of the casserole and bake. (photo 8)
De-stress a little at dinner tonight and whip up this easy tuna noodle casserole for the family. And besides all the oohs and ahhs you’ll receive, the leftovers can be eaten for lunch the next day (one less meal to worry about) or frozen for dinner later in the month. If you’re anything like me, easy meals and less time in the kitchen has become my motto of the year. Enjoy!
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Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 6-8 oz egg noodles
- 1 can cream of cream of mushroom soup
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1-2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 14- oz canned albacore tuna fish in water 2 7-oz cans, drained
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 red or orange bell pepper chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup panko crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons butter melted
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large casserole dish with nonstick spray.
- Cook noodles and drain. Set aside.
- Add soup to casserole dish. Stir in milk and wine.
- Season with Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper.
- Add both cans of tuna fish.
- Stir in onion, bell pepper and garlic.
- Sprinkle in cheese.
- Stir in cooked egg noodles until all ingredients are well combined.
- Melt butter and add to panko crumbs.
- Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
- Bake for 30 minutes and serve hot.
- Add vegetables - have dinner all in one casserole by adding peas, peas & carrots or broccoli into the mix.
- Seasoning - change it up with Italian seasoning or thyme in lieu of cajun seasoning for more subtle flavor.
- Topping - add Parmesan cheese to panko topping or omit altogether and sprinkle with French fried onions.
- Soup - no condensed mushroom soup? Use cream of celery or even cream of chicken in its place.
- No Tuna? - make it a completely different casserole by exchanging the canned tuna for canned turkey or chicken and using cream of chicken soup.