Tuna Noodle Casserole (From Scratch!)

Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe (From Scratch!) | browneyedbaker.com

Did you grow up in a casserole house? I feel like most people fall into two categories – those that grew up eating casseroles, and those that didn’t. I fell into the “did not” category; my mom may have made a couple here or there, but I don’t really remember ever eating them. Once I had moved out on my own after college, I fell hard for casseroles. They were so easy! Just some rice or pasta, a can or two of condensed soup, and maybe a bag of frozen vegetables. Dinner, just like that!

However, once I started really getting into cooking, I began shying away from the canned soup and prepackaged mixes. I discovered that turkey tetrazzini is one of my absolute favorite meals, and that old holiday favorites like green bean casserole and broccoli casserole can be infinitely improved with fresh ingredients.

Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe (From Scratch!) | browneyedbaker.com

I honestly am not sure that I’ve ever had tuna noodle casserole before. Crazy, right?! My Chief Culinary Consultant said that his mom used to make it all the time, and I figured it would be a perfect lunch for a Friday during Lent.

I’ve always been a fan of tuna, sometimes eating a can of it for lunch during college, so I was excited to finally make this iconic casserole. Aside from some crushed potato chips on top, this is made completely from scratch and it’s unbelievable. It’s creamy, cheesy, and has tons of flavor from a variety of vegetables and the marinated tuna.

Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe (From Scratch!) | browneyedbaker.com

I feel like my life is complete now that I’ve made and eaten tuna noodle casserole.

It’s definitely going to be on the regular rotation here, and don’t look now, but I might be turning this into a casserole house!

Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe (From Scratch!) | browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Soft and Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies
Two years ago: Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs
Three years ago: Mango Berry Macarons
Six years ago: Gooey Chocolate Cakes

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 12 to 14 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

A delicious version of an old classic.


4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup), divided
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup), divided
2 cups potato chips, crushed
2 slices white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1½ tablespoons salt, divided
1¼ teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
3 (5-ounce) cans solid white albacore tuna packed in water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
12 ounces egg noodles
10 ounces white mushrooms, sliced ¼-inch thick
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3½ cups half-and-half
1½ cups chicken broth
1½ cups frozen peas


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses in a bowl. Pulse the potato chips, bread, ¼ cup cheese mixture, 2 tablespoons butter, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in food processor until coarsely ground, about 8 pulses; set aside.

2. Place the tuna in a fine-mesh strainer and press dry with paper towels. Transfer to a large bowl and flake into coarse pieces with a fork. Microwave the oil, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in small bowl for about 30 seconds. Stir the oil mixture into the tuna and set aside.

3. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water until cool, about 2 minutes. Drain again and set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in now-empty pot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to the bowl with tuna mixture. Add 1 tablespoon butter, the onion, and bell pepper to now-empty pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with tuna-mushroom mixture; set aside.

4. In now-empty pot, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in half-and-half and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Off heat, whisk in remaining cheese mixture until smooth. Stir in pasta, tuna-vegetable mixture, peas, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.

5. Transfer the mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish and top with bread-crumb mixture. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Let casserole cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Note: The casserole can be refrigerated without topping, covered in plastic wrap, for up to 24 hours. Increase the baking time to 25 minutes, adding the topping halfway through baking.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Country)


35 Responses to “Tuna Noodle Casserole (From Scratch!)”

  1. Debra on April 1, 2014 at 12:26 am

    Thank you. I love tuna noodle and I, too, have cut processed food from my diet as much as I can. Nice to see the red pepper in there (a must in my opinion). I wonder if home made potato chips could be crushed for this, or maybe even a bread crumb topping…not going to pick up potato chips just for this – will just wing that part. This and a small salad makes for a very satisfying meal.


    • The Sweet Snazzoo on April 1st, 2014 at 6:51 am

      I am not certain whether the quantity of potato chips is 2 cups of potato chips, crushed or it is 2 cups crushed potato chips. BEB, would you please clarify? I wonder whether topping with a mixture of panko bread crumbs that have been combined with a little melted butter and then adding a little extra shredded cheddar cheese on top might be good. Can you ever have too much cheese? Not in my world. Would it be more healthy? Dunno. Frankly, I’m likin’ those potato chips and if it’s 2 cups, crushed, then that isn’t all that much in relationship to an individual portion size. Can’t wait to try this recipe!


      • Michelle on April 1st, 2014 at 8:58 am

        You would measure the potato chips first and then crush them. If it were the other way around, the recipe would read “2 cups crushed potato chips”. Hope that helps!


      • Debra on April 1st, 2014 at 8:11 pm

        I like your suggestion of a topping. I have nothing against potato chips but the cost of that bag full air. I just don’t buy them. I did grow up with them topping tuna noodle casserole, and it was good. I don’t think I’ll miss them 🙂


    • John on April 1st, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Panko breadcrumbs browned in a little butter would be an acceptable alternative to the potato chips


    • Donna on October 25th, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Usually when a recipe calls for (2 cups of chips, crushed) it means you take 2 cups of chips from the pkg. and then crush. If If was 2 cups crushed chips, it would be 2 cups already crushed.


  2. Hari Chandana on April 1, 2014 at 1:47 am

    Very elegant and beautiful pictures!!


  3. Chichi on April 1, 2014 at 3:58 am

    This looks so delicious.


  4. Reshana on April 1, 2014 at 6:08 am

    YUMMY!!! Well done BEB 🙂


  5. Nancy Long on April 1, 2014 at 7:31 am

    I’ve never cared for tuna noodle casserole, but hubby loves it; so will have to try this for him. I buy Costco’s canned tuna, which are in 7 oz. cans, so 2 of them should be enough. Also liked the idea of Panko in place of chips from another commenter.


  6. Lisa @ Simple Pairings on April 1, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Love Tuna Noodle Casserole! My mom used to make this when I was a little girl. I like that you used Monterrey Jack in yours! You’ve reminded me that I need to make this again – its probably been a decade since I’ve enjoyed this. Yours looks delicious!


  7. Abbie @ Needs Salt on April 1, 2014 at 9:02 am

    This dish looks delicious! My dad used to make tuna noodle casserole for us all the time – it’s definitely not complete without crushed potato chips on top!
    Pinning this! Lovely pictures.


  8. Jen of My Tiny Oven on April 1, 2014 at 10:25 am

    One of my all time favourite comfort meals! Love it!


  9. Linda on April 1, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I got sick after eating tuna salad many years ago and have not it touched since then. Never buy chips and do keep sandwich bread in the freezer to soften hard cookies or brown sugar. Your casserole looks so good but afraid I will pass.


  10. marcie on April 1, 2014 at 11:20 am

    I fall into the category of people that grew up on tuna casserole — we had it often. My mom used cream of mushroom soup, which I loved as a kid, but not so much anymore. I love making it from scratch, and this version sounds terrific with the bell pepper, jack and cheddar cheeses, and potato chips!


  11. AnnMarie on April 1, 2014 at 11:32 am

    This is so different than the one I make that I have to try it! Pinned….thanks!


  12. Janie on April 1, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Your odyssey from not growing up with casseroles to post-college appreciation for them is identical to mine. Can’t wait to try this recipe, one that spells comfort food for sure.


  13. Maria D. on April 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    This looks and sounds delish! Thanks for the fresh recipe


  14. Kelly on April 1, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I grew up in a casserole household, but we didn’t do tuna casserole often if ever. I always scarfed it at potlucks though! Fortunately ours were all scratch except for tater tot casserole. 😉 I haven’t gotten my family to accept all casseroles, but tuna is one they will eat happily. Yours is fancier than mine, with that crunchy topping. I’ll have to give it a try.


    • Cassie on April 2nd, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Kelly – I make tater tot casserole by melting 4 T butter then adding 4 T flour. Cook for a few minutes to get rid of the flour taste then whisk in some milk, maybe 2 cups or so, then cook until thick. Add some chopped fresh mushrooms and voila, “cream of mushroom soup”. The only processed part is the tater tots and the kids won’t miss the nasty canned soup.


  15. StarvingDiva on April 1, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Yes my childhood consisted of a lot of casseroles and Tuna Noodle Casserole was always one of my favorites for dinner. My favorite lunch Fried Balogna. Don’t judge. LOL


    • Debra on April 1st, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      fried bologna with mustard on soft white bread. Nirvana.


    • Michelle on April 1st, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      Fried bologna was one of my grandma’s specialties! It will always remind me of her. I loved it on soft white bread with American cheese 🙂


  16. Martha in KS on April 1, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    This looks delicious! When I was growing up, casseroles were reserved for dinners when dad was out of town (he wanted meat & potatoes). I love tuna casserole and usually make a cheese sauce like yours but my substitute for half & half is fat-free evaporated milk.


  17. Terri A on April 1, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Tuna casserole was a mainstay in our house during lent while I was growing up. Still love it and am excited to try your version.


  18. Lynne on April 2, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Mmm, I love casseroles too. Too bad that so many of them a full of cheese and other fattening ingredients – hard to find a healthy casserole. This recipe looks great (except for peas, yuck) – of course with 2 cups of cheese, 6T of butter, and 3.5 cups of half and half, what’s not to like? It’s heart attack in a casserole 🙂 I’ll stick to healthy choice cream of mushroom soup as I think, in this case, it’s better for me. I make my tuna casserole with tortellini as the noodles and Swiss cheese (only 1 cup!), and no chips. I use onion and celery for the vegetables.


  19. katy on April 2, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Definitely saving this to try soon! I grew up on tuna casserole – my mom’s version was cooked white rice, green peas (usually thawed from frozen), canned tuna, and a can of cheddar cheese condensed soup, layered in a round dish and microwaved until everything was hot. So good. But since we rarely eat processed foods now, I’m so thankful you came up with a scratch recipe! 🙂


  20. Margaret Scandrett on April 2, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I made your tuna casserole recipe for dinner tonight. My husband said it was so delicious he’d order it at a restaurant and then he continued to rave about it throughout the rest of dinner. Thanks for sharing.


  21. Katherine {eggton} on April 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    If this is ANYTHING like your green bean casserole from scratch, I am going to LOVE IT. Horray for casseroles!


    • Katherine {eggton} on April 30th, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      Made this last night and it was AWESOME. I left out the mushrooms because I didn’t have any, and substituted a poblano pepper for the red pepper, and added a little Dijon mustard. I used provolone cheese because it’s what I had. I also used about 20 oz. instead of 15 oz. of tuna. It was fantastic, as usual!


  22. Ann on April 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I put this together this morning for our Friday night Lent supper. My son doesn’t like tuna, so I took out his portion of just cheesy noodles and peas before adding the tuna. I am excited to try it. I also used Jalapeno kettle potato chips. I think they will add a great wow factor to the crust. I cannot wait to bake it up later. Looks delicious!


  23. Kathleen on July 13, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I made this dish for an 80’s party that I attended last night and it was a huge hit! I thought it was a perfect item to remind everyone of the comfort food from days gone by. I did make some alterations, however. I omitted the red pepper, added more chips and used panko crumbs instead of the white bread slices as I never purchase white bread. I also substituted shallots for the onion and cooked it together with the mushrooms in the 4 tablespoons of butter until they were lightly caramelized. Then I sprinkled the flour over, mixed it in and added the liquids. It was a potluck event and there was tons of food so I was even able to bring some leftovers home. Even better today!


  24. DARLENE on August 26, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Microwaving the marinade and then marinating the tuna … INSPIRED. That makes all the difference between this scratch casseroles and any other. The tuna shines (: This is one of my favorites. Thanks so much and keep em coming !


  25. plasterers bristol on August 21, 2015 at 1:28 am

    Was delicious this. Thanks for posting. Top marks.



  26. Susan Yakus on February 2, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    This looks delicious and I definitely will try it. I always like to use Velveeta in mine. It must be a throwback to my Mom’s cooking. I like the half and half idea. I always poured evaporated milk on mine until I got the consistency I wanted. Thanks for sharing!


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