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 or grandma’s 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 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 and chicken broth and milk. Peas, celery and onion are sautéed to give them a boost of flavor as well. I used medium shell pasta for the noodles because I think they’re fun 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 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 casserole:
First cook the noodles. While the noodles are cooking, melt the butter in a skillet and add celery, onion, peas and garlic and saute. Set them aside. Add a little more butter to the pan and once it’s melted, add flour and stir. Then whisk in the chicken broth and milk.
Bring the mixture to a low simmer and stir it constantly until it thickens and is bubble. Add salt, dill, lemon juice, parsley, and parmesan cheese. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the pasta, vegetables, and tuna.
Pour the mixture into a baking dish, sprinkle the top with cheese, crushed ritz crackers. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
We like tuna 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 this Noodle Casserole include:
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.