Easy old fashioned tuna casserole recipe made from scratch. This casserole has everything you need as a complete meal but also can be served as a side dish to accompany any main course.
This old-fashioned tuna casserole is amazingly delicious and comforting. It's the best tuna casserole recipe made of canned tuna but without canned soup! It's so creamy, cheesy, and tasty!
If you are looking for some easy casserole ideas or don't know what to do with canned tuna, try this homemade tuna and noodles casserole!
Also, check out this easy canned tuna pasta recipe.
Old-Fashioned Tuna Casserole Made Without Canned Soup
Many casserole recipes call for canned soups (such as cream of celery, cream of chicken, or cream of mushroom soup) to create a rich and creamy dish.
Canned soup is a pantry staple and so convenient, but also packed with sodium.
My version of cheesy tuna noodles casserole doesn't contain canned soup. Instead of using canned soup, I made my own white sauce, also known as béchamel.
Béchamel is so versatile. It is so easy to make and at a fraction of the cost of canned goods. You can use this smooth white sauce in just about any recipe that requires canned soup as one of the main ingredients. And since it's not made with canned soup, you can control the amount of salt you put in this recipe.
Classic Tuna Casserole Ingredients:
To make this easy tuna casserole, you will need the following ingredients:
- Canned tuna in water
- Egg noodles
- Yellow onion
- All-purpose flour
- Garlic powder
- Chicken broth
- Whole milk
- Frozen peas
- Cheddar cheese
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
How to Make Easy Tuna Casserole from Scratch:
Step 1. Cook the Noodles until Al Dente
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a teaspoon of salt, then noodles. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook noodles for about 1 minute less than the direction for al dente (cooked through but still firm).
Step 2. Make the Béchamel sauce
Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery, cook until soft and translucent for about 3-4 minutes.
Add flour, cook, keep stirring for about 2 minutes or until it smells toasted.
Whisk in the broth, milk, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Cook, whisking frequently until thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
Adjust seasoning with additional salt or a small amount of bouillon if needed.
Step 3. Combine All Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, add pasta, tuna, cheese, frozen peas, and béchamel sauce. Stir to combine then transfer to a 2 to 2½ qt baking dish.
Mix panko breadcrumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle on top of casserole.
Do not use a 9" x 13" or larger baking dish to avoid dry casserole.
Step 4. Bake
Bake in the oven at 425°F until bubbly and the cheese is melted for about 18 minutes.
Let the casserole cool for 5 minutes before serving.
You can assemble and refrigerate this casserole a day in advance. Don't forget to let it sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before baking it in the oven.
How to Store Leftover Tuna Casserole:
First, let the casserole cool at room temperature but no longer than 2 hours. After it is completely cool, store it in an airtight container and transfer it to the refrigerator.
Properly stored, this casserole can last up to 3-5 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.
How to Reheat Frozen Casserole
I highly recommend defrosting the casserole in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours until completely thawed before reheating.
Here's how to reheat the casserole in the oven:
- Loosely cover the casserole with foil.
- Bake the casserole in the oven at 350°F for about 20-30 minutes or until the casserole reaches 165° F for food safety.
Check Out More Casserole Recipes:
- Corn Souffle
- Green Bean Casserole
- Summer Squash Casserole
- Fresh Broccoli Casserole
- Baked Spaghetti Casserole
- Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
I hope you'll enjoy this recipe and share it with friends! If you try it and don’t mind, please leave me a comment and/or give this recipe a rating. Be sure to subscribe to receive weekly recipes and follow me on Pinterest.
Old-Fashioned Tuna Casserole
- 8 oz egg noodles
- 10 oz (2 x 5-oz cans) canned tuna in water, (drained)
- 9 oz frozen peas
- 1 cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter, (melted)
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt into boiling water. Cook noodles for 1 minute less than the direction for al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft.
- Add flour, cook, keep stirring for 2 minutes or until it smells toasted.
- Whisk in the broth, milk, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Cook, whisking frequently until thickened (as thick as condensed soup), about 5 minutes.Adjust seasoning with additional salt or a small amount of chicken bouillon if needed.
- In a large mixing bowl, add pasta, tuna, cheese, frozen peas, and béchamel sauce. Stir to combine then transfer to a 2 to 2½ qt baking dish.
- Mix panko breadcrumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle on top of casserole.
- Bake until bubbly and the cheese is melted for about 18 minutes.
I made this as directed with the exception of leaving out the peas because I didn't have any on hand. Even so, this was a seriously delicious lunch. Thank you for sharing this great recipe. I'll never use canned soup again!
Yes!! Thanks Lauren, I loved reading your comment and hearing that you'll never use canned soup again.