This creamy, cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole is a delicious weeknight dinner made without the use of canned soups! It’s quick, easy, and full of savory goodness.
A Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole Made from Scratch
This easy weeknight dinner is packed with veggies, tuna, cheese and egg noodles. It’s covered in a crispy ritz cracker topping that ties the dish together. There are so many mouth-watering flavors in this casserole, and it bakes in under 30 minutes!
A lot of tuna casseroles use pre-canned soups, but this version is made completely from scratch to keep it extra fresh and flavorful.
You can also change up the recipe by adding your favorite veggies or substituting the tuna for another meat. If you’re in the mood for comfort food, but you want to keep it homemade, this casserole is perfect for you!
- Dry Egg Noodles: I usually go for wide or extra wide noodles when I’m making this casserole.
- Red Bell Pepper
- Yellow Onion
- Minced Garlic
- All-Purpose Flour
- Ground Mustard: If desired, you can use dijon mustard instead.
- Salt & Pepper
- White Tuna in Water: Drain your tuna and flake it into chunks of your desired size.
- Cheddar Cheese
For the Crispy Topping
- Crushed Ritz Crackers: You could also use panko crumbs.
How to Make Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Prepare for Baking: Preheat your oven to 375˚F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook Noodles: Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package.
- Drain Noodles: Drain the noodles and return drained noodles back to the pot; set aside.
- Melt Butter: Melt the butter in a large saucepan or large, 12-inch skillet set over medium heat.
- Cook Veggies: To the melted butter, add celery, peppers and onions; cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Season: Stir in the garlic and cook for 20 seconds. Then, stir in the flour, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Add Milk & Pour over Noodles: Add the milk, cook and stir until bubbly and slightly thickened. Once thickened, pour your sauce over the noodles.
- Add Tuna & Cheese: Add flaked tuna and cheese to the noodles. Gently fold and mix until everything is thoroughly combined. Transfer the tuna mixture to the baking dish and set aside.
- Make Topping: In a mixing bowl, combine crushed ritz crackers and butter and sprinkle the topping over your casserole.
- Bake: Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, or until heated through.
- Let Cool: Remove your casserole from the oven and let it stand for 5 to 8 minutes before serving.
Tips for the Best Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Don’t Overcook Pasta: Avoid overcooking your egg noodles before adding them to your casserole. If they’re too soft, they may get mushy after the casserole bakes. It’s better for them to be slightly undercooked than overcooked.
- Broil for Extra Crunch: To make your topping extra crispy, set your oven to broil for the last couple minutes of baking.
- Serve Warm: You definitely want to let your casserole cool for at least 5 minutes before you serve it, but don’t let it get cold. This dish is supposed to be warm and comforting!
- Serve with Dinner Rolls: Basic dinner rolls are a great side dish for this casserole. But if you want to make things more interesting, try these homemade Macedonian Dinner Rolls with Feta Cheese.
- Make it Gluten-Free: You can make this casserole gluten-free by substituting the egg noodles with gluten-free noodles and the all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour. Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or crackers for the topping.
- Add More Seasonings: If you want to level up the flavor of your casserole even more, throw in some crushed red pepper, thyme, or another spice of your choice. You can also add different veggies to satisfy your cravings.
- Use Another Meat: I love this tuna casserole, but not everyone is a huge tuna person. You can make this dish with cooked salmon, chicken, turkey, or any other meat you like.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Store leftover tuna casserole in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last for about 5 days.
- To reheat your casserole, preheat your oven to 350°F and bake until the casserole is warm.
Can I Freeze This Casserole?
- This casserole is 100% freezer friendly! You can freeze it for meal prep purposes or store your leftovers in the freezer to make them last longer.
For Meal Prep
- Prepare your dish as directed with the exception of the topping. Once cooled, freeze your prepared casserole in an airtight container or a freezer bag.
- Thaw it in the fridge overnight and assemble it with the ritz cracker topping before baking!
- If you want to freeze your leftovers, I recommend flash-freezing what’s left of the casserole in the baking dish first. Just make sure it’s completely cooled. After a few hours, once the casserole is solid, transfer it to a freezer bag or airtight container.
- Thaw your leftovers overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Tuna Noodle Casserole
For the Casserole
- 4 cups dry wide egg noodles
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard, or 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 1/4 cups milk
- 12 ounces can white tuna in water, drained and flaked into chunks
- 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
For the Topping
- 1 cup finely crushed ritz crackers, or panko crumbs
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package.
- Drain noodles and return drained noodles back to the pot; set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan or large deep skillet set over medium heat.
- To the melted butter, add celery, peppers and onions; cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 20 seconds.
- Stir in flour, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Add milk; cook and stir until bubbly and thickened. Sauce will be thick.
- Pour the sauce over the noodles.
- Add flaked tuna and cheese to the noodles.
- Gently fold and mix until everything is thoroughly combined.
- Transfer tuna mixture to the baking dish; set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine crushed ritz crackers and butter; sprinkle over the casserole.
- Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, or until heated through.
- Remove from oven and let stand for 5 to 8 minutes before serving.