Tuna Noodle Casserole

This Tuna Noodle Casserole is just like you remember from childhood…except better!

This Tuna Noodle Casserole is just like you remember from childhood...except better!Growing up, our family dog loved Tuna Noodle Casserole.  As many children of the 80’s remember, tuna casserole was a staple dinner dish.  A box of tuna noodle helper was always hanging out in our pantry, and it made frequent appearances on busy weeknights.  And every so often, my sister or I would sneak a spoonful down to the family dog.

This Tuna Noodle Casserole is just like you remember from childhood...except better!Oh, who am I kidding?  We didn’t actually feed tuna noodle helper to our dog.  I was that good kid who cleaned his plate every night.  The appeal of an Oreo cookie (our reward for the ‘clean plate club’) is quite real, folks.  Heck, I might even still eat a plate of tuna noodle helper if it meant an Oreo was waiting for me afterwards!

This Tuna Noodle Casserole is just like you remember from childhood...except better!Tuna Noodle Casserole

While we no longer stock our pantry with boxes of tuna noodle helper, I can say that this Tuna Noodle Casserole hit all of those favorite childhood flavors…except it was even better than the boxed version!  This casserole is childhood comfort food at its best.

This Tuna Noodle Casserole is just like you remember from childhood...except better!One of the features I enjoy most about this casserole is the addition of frozen veggies.  Boxed tuna noodle helper doesn’t include veggies, and we enjoy adding peas and broccoli to help bulk up this dish.  I could see cauliflower working well, too, as it would pair with the creamy sauce in this casserole.  You could also use fresh veggies, but since they are getting baked in a casserole, it’s easy to use frozen veggies.  Plus, using frozen vegetables means you can always keep the ingredients on hand for this recipe.

This Tuna Noodle Casserole is just like you remember from childhood...except better!If you need an easy + tasty dinner, then put this Tuna Noodle Casserole on the list.  It’s reminiscent of the flavors in the boxed version…but it tastes way better!  Enjoy!

Did you make this Tuna Noodle Casserole at home?  Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!

This Tuna Noodle Casserole is just like you remember from childhood...except better!

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This Tuna Noodle Casserole is just like you remember from childhood...except better!
5 from 5 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 596kcal

Ingredients

For the Tuna Noodle Casserole

  • 8 oz. wide egg noodles
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup diced yellow onions
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • tsp minced garlic
  • cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese I used Cabot's Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 5-oz. cans tuna fish, rinsed, drained and flaked apart with a fork
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 12 oz. frozen broccoli florets

For the Topping

  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp dried parsley

Instructions

For the Tuna Noodle Casserole

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Spray a 9”x13” casserole dish with nonstick baking spray; set pan aside.
  • Cook egg noodles to al dente according to package instructions; drain cooked noodles and set aside.
  • Using a large, deep skillet, add butter and place over medium heat. Once butter has melted, sprinkle flour into pan; stir until well combined.
  • Add diced onions and celery; stir until well combined. Cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add garlic; continue cooking, stirring often, for 1 more minute.
  • Add chicken broth, milk, parsley, salt and black pepper; stir until well combined. Let mixture simmer over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  • Remove skillet from heat and add cheese, tuna, peas, broccoli and cooked egg noodles (from above); stir until well combined. Transfer mixture into prepared casserole dish.

For the Topping

  • Using a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, melted butter, grated Parmesan and dried parsley. Spread mixture evenly on top of casserole dish.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until topping turns golden brown.

This Tuna Noodle Casserole is just like you remember from childhood...except better!

Looking for more casserole recipes?  Check out these other favorites, too:

Looking for the ultimate winter comfort food meal?  This Crispy Tot Chili Casserole starts with a classic ground beef chili...and then gets topped with crispy tots!Tater Tot Chili Casserole

This Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole is a classic Southern recipe - bulked up with veggies and creamy Monterey Jack cheese!  Serve as a side dish or main course!Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole

This Ham and Cheese Croissant Casserole is packed with flavor, and it makes for a unique and delicious meal any time of the day!Ham and Cheese Croissant Casserole

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18 Comments

  1. Cant wait to make this soon for the casserole can i use vegan butter / vegetable broth / almond milk / vegan cheese and mushrooms and for the topping can i use vegan butter and parmesan cheese i never had tuna noodle casserole before perfect for my after office meals love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work

    1. Hey Ramya! Yes, I do think you can use vegan options for this casserole. It’s a classic one that lots of kids here in the States ate growing up…but this homemade one is SO much better! I hope you give this one a try!

  2. i have to ask – what on earth is tuna noodle helper? Mum did occasionally buy the blue Kraft box of mac and cheese. I wonder if you can still get it here? For that matter, she used to buy that kraft cheese in a blue box. Oh my! the memories…

    1. So Tuna Noodle Helper was similar to the box of Kraft mac and cheese. I think Betty Crocker made (still makes) it, and it was basically everything you needed in a box. You still had to add some milk, butter and canned tuna, but the pasta and seasonings were already there in the box. It was a staple childhood meal. It was also a bit underwhelming. This homemade version, though? Amazing!!

    1. Oh, I think your kids are doing just fine without tuna noodle helper! 🙂 But with that said, I do highly recommend making this homemade version for them sometime. It’s reminiscent of what we used to eat as kids…but SO much better!!

  3. You’re bringing me back, David! I actually really liked Tuna Casserole as a kid, so the dog never got any. And I think my mom actually did throw in some veggies, though it’s been so long my memory is a bit hazy at this point… Anyway, you’ve inspired me to give it another try, for old times sake!

    1. Haha – poor dog! Seriously, though, making this casserole really took us back, too. It was very reminiscent of what we ate as kids…but it tastes SO much better. I hope you give it a try!

  4. 5 stars
    What a blast from the past — my parents didn’t buy Tuna Helper, but I’ll lump it with the likes of Shake and Bake and KD 😉 Your version looks soooo much better!

    1. Haha – shake and bake! Now there’s a blast from the past, too. We never did shake and bake much as kids, but I bet that’s another one you could put a homemade twist on and make it SO much better than the original. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    Oh this looks tasty!
    I discovered the combination of pasta and tuna relatively recently (~10 years ago), and I totally loved it! Indeed, I think my childhood was incomplete without a tuna casserole haha. I occasionally enjoy pasta with tune sauce, but baked pasta / casserole would be my favourite way to enjoy it. I also like to add some sun-dried tomatoes because they add something extra special to a dish.

    1. You make a good point about tuna and pasta, Ben – it does go well together! I’ve seen some fancy tuna + pasta dishes, but this one isn’t that. This one is comfort food. It’s the kind of recipe you want to make on a cold day. It’s truly delicious! And I like your idea of adding sun-dried tomatoes…I’ll do that next time I make this!

  6. 5 stars
    Tuna Noodle Casserole is one of my childhood favorites too, David. I always ask my mom to make it when we’re on our yearly girl’s getaway. Love, love the idea of a baked version and can’t wait to try it!

    1. Oh, you totally need to try the homemade version of Tuna Noodle Casserole, Marissa – the boxed version does bring back memories of childhood, but the homemade version tastes SO much better! (And it still brings back memories of childhood, too…haha!)

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