This Tuna Noodle Casserole is a classic comfort food that the whole family will love. It’s made with tender egg noodles smothered in a cream of mushroom sauce, loaded with mushrooms, peas, and white cheddar, then topped with buttery Ritz crackers.
Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe
I love this easy tuna casserole recipe. It’s creamy, it’s cheesy, it’s packed with the best combination of flavors and textures, and it’s so simple to make right at home!
To make this recipe, you just cook up some egg noodles, put together a simple cream sauce, layer it into a casserole dish with canned tuna, then top it off with crushed Ritz crackers and bake.
This recipe serves a ton, makes great leftovers, and is a family favorite! It’s big flavor with minimal effort.
How to Make Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch
You’ll find the exact measurements and full instructions in the recipe card near the bottom of the page.
Our delicious tuna noodle casserole is simple to prepare and bakes in about 30 minutes. It’s warm, cheesy, and has the best crunchy topping.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the noodles of your choice until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium heat on the stove, then add in the mushrooms, butter, and seasonings. Cook until the mushrooms shrink and soften.
- Add in the cream soup and half-and-half. Mix until well-combined and stir in 1 cup of cheese.
- Add the cooked noodles, thawed peas, and tuna. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
- Cover the casserole with foil and bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes.
- In a bowl, combine crushed crackers and melted butter. After 20 minutes, uncover the casserole, sprinkle the top with the cracker mixture, then bake uncovered until the crackers are golden brown.
Tips and Notes
- Cook the noodles al dente. They will continue to cook slightly when the casserole bakes, so initially cooking them al dente helps prevent them from being too mushy.
- Bake covered first. For the first 20 minutes of baking time, I recommend covering the casserole with foil. This allows it to heat all the way through without burning on the top.
- Let it rest before serving. I give the tuna casserole 5-10 minutes to rest before I serve it up. Just a few minutes gives it time to thicken up a bit.
- If you don’t have a large oven-safe dish, use a 9×13-inch baking pan for the casserole and cook the filling in a separate skillet.
Leftover tuna casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can I Freeze Tuna Noodle Casserole?
Tuna casserole freezes well for about 2 months. Make sure to cool completely before placing the casserole in the freezer.
The cracker topping may not be as crispy after the casserole thaws and is reheated. Remove the crackers from the top of the casserole if desired.
When you’re ready to enjoy your casserole again, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator if it’s frozen, set it out on the counter for 30 minutes, then reheat in the oven at 350ºF until heated through.
You may need to cover the baking dish again to make sure the top doesn’t burn.
Can You Make Tuna Noodle Casserole Ahead of Time?
To assemble tuna casserole ahead of time, follow the instructions for cooking the filling and putting together the casserole, but leave off the cracker topping and don’t bake.
Instead, let the casserole cool completely, then cover it and store it in the fridge for 1-2 days. Alternatively, wrap the casserole tightly in plastic wrap and foil and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months.
When you’re ready to bake, thaw the casserole overnight in the fridge, let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes, then add the topping and bake as directed!
What Kind of Tuna is Best for Tuna Casserole?
You can use whatever variety of canned tuna is your favorite.
The one thing I do recommend using is flaky tuna packed in water to avoid any excessive oiliness in the casserole! Chunk light tuna in water is our pick.
Why is My Tuna Noodle Casserole Dry?
This casserole is far from dry. So, if yours ended up a little bit too dry, then it’s likely over-cooked.
To prevent this from happening, make sure that you cover the baking dish with foil or a lid for the first 20 minutes of baking time.
This traps the heat in and keeps the casserole nice and moist! You can also add an extra splash or two of half and half, milk, or chicken broth if the filling appears dry.
Should You Serve Casseroles Immediately?
You absolutely can, but you also don’t have to! The beauty of casseroles is that they are so easy to prepare ahead of time.
You can bake and store your casserole as directed above under “storage” OR you can assemble the casserole in advance to bake later on.
For the Filling:
- 6 ounces egg noodles, or other medium-sized pasta noodles
- ½ pound mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 21 ½ ounces cream of mushroom soup, 2 (10 ¾ ounce) cans
- ½ cup half and half
- 2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese, divided
- 15 ounces chunk-style tuna, well drained; 3 (5 ounce) cans
- 10 ounces frozen peas, thawed
For the Topping:
- 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
- 2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the noodles to al dente (about 1 to 2 minutes less than the package instructions). While the noodles cook, work on the rest of the dish.6 ounces egg noodles
- Heat a large, oven-safe dish over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, butter, garlic powder, salt, celery salt, and pepper. Cook the mushrooms until they shrink in size and soften. They should release some moisture and not be watery, about 5 to 7 minutes.½ pound mushrooms1 tablespoon unsalted butter½ teaspoon garlic powder½ teaspoon salt½ teaspoon celery salt⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- To the sauteed mushrooms, add the cream of mushroom soup and half and half. Mix until well combined and bubbling.21 ½ ounces cream of mushroom soup½ cup half and half
- Stir in 1 cup of cheese until melted. Drain the noodles then add those to the pan along with thawed peas and tuna. Combine all the ingredients and top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.15 ounces chunk-style tuna10 ounces frozen peas
- In a small bowl, combine the crushed Ritz crackers and melted butter. Set aside.1 cup crushed Ritz crackers2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
- Cover the casserole and bake for 20 minutes or until the filling is bubbly. Remove from the oven, uncover and top with the cracker mixture. Bake for an additional 5 to 6 minutes or until the crackers turn golden brown.
- Let the casserole cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- Scroll up and see the post for tips, FAQs, and recommendations.