Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole made from scratch with shell noodles, peas, tuna, celery, a delicious creamy white sauce, and crushed crackers on top. This easy recipe is always a hit at our dinner table; my kids love it!
Let me start off by saying this is not you average “hamburger helper” style tuna casserole. Yes, it’s a casserole, and yes, it has crushed crackers on top. But the similarities end there!
Let’s talk FLAVOR. This tuna noodle casserole is leaps and bounds tastier than any old memories you have of tuna casserole.
Rather than a canned “cream of soup” we make a really simple white sauce from scratch with just flour, butter, chicken broth and milk. Peas, celery and onion are sautéed to give the tuna casserole a boost of flavor as well. I used medium shell pasta for the noodles because I think they are a nice sized pasta and I love how each shell fills with creamy sauce. You could substitute egg noodles or another type of bite-size pasta.
It also really makes a flavor difference to use high-quality tuna in this casserole recipe. Go for a good quality solid white albacore white tuna; it may cost a dollar more than the cheaper brands, but trust me, your tastebuds will thank you!
How to make homemade tuna noodle casserole:
- Cook the noodles.
- Saute the veggies. Saute celery, onion, peas and garlic in melted butter.
- Make the sauce. Melt butter, add flour and stir. Whisk in the chicken broth and milk. Stir constantly until it thickens and is bubble. Add salt, dill, lemon juice, parsley, and parmesan cheese.
- Toss. Add pasta, vegetables, and tuna to the sauce and stir to combine.
- Pour the mixture into a baking dish.
- Top with cheese and crushed ritz crackers.
- Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
We like tuna noodle casserole with crushed crackers on top, but you could also try it with crushed potato chips, cornflakes, or breadcrumbs.
My family likes this casserole best served warm, right from the oven. I think the cold leftovers from the fridge are also yummy, but the sauce wont be as creamy as when it’s just been baked.
Some sides to serve with Tuna Noodle Casserole include:
Storing and Freezing Tuna Noodle Casserole:
- Store tuna noodle casserole covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- You can also freeze tuna noodle casserole. If you are preparing it as a freezer meal, under cook the noodles just slightly. Make the dish, pour it into a freezer safe dish (I like to use disposable tinfoil dishes) but don’t top it with ritz crackers. Allow it to cool completely then cover it tightly with tin foil and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- If freezing leftovers, freeze them in your casserole dish until frozen, then take the frozen tuna casserole out of the dish and place it in a freezer safe dish or ziplock bag.
Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Top it with crushed ritz crackers and cheese and bake it at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes or it’s until hot and bubbly.
Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 8 ounces medium-size shell pasta
- 4 Tablespoons butter , divided
- 1 rib celery , diced
- 1/4 cup onion , diced
- 3/4 cup frozen peas 1
- 1 clove garlic , miced
- 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 14.5 ounce cans low-sodium chicken broth (just under 2 cups), warmed
- 1 cup milk , warmed
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice , more if desired
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley leaves , minced
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese , divided
- 5 ounces canned albacore white tuna, packed in water , more if desired
For the Topping:
- 1/2 cup Ritz crackers , crushed
- 1 Tablespoon butter , melted
- Cook the noodles just until al dente, according to package instructions.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet. Add celery, onion, peas and garlic and saute for a few minutes. Remove vegetables from pan and set aside.
- Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter to the pan. Once melted and the flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk, stirring constantly until smooth. Bring mixture to a low simmer.
- Stir constantly until thickened and bubbly, 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add salt, dill, lemon juice, parsley, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Taste sauce and season with additional salt, pepper, or lemon juice, to taste.
- Remove from heat and stir in the pasta, vegetables and tuna. Pour mixture into a 9x13’’ or similar size baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.
- Crush ritz crackers and add melted butter. Sprinkle mixture over the casserole.
- Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes
Have you tried this recipe?!
RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.