No-Soup Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna Noodle Casserole with Homemade Sauce

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 1 casserole
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
569 Calories
33g Fat
44g Carbs
25g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 569
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 42%
Saturated Fat 12g 61%
Cholesterol 83mg 28%
Sodium 641mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 11mg 56%
Calcium 159mg 12%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 504mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Tuna noodle casserole is a classic meal that offers comfort and convenience. Although the variations on the dish are many, and most of us have a family tweak that makes it extra special, most home cooks use canned soup, which is an ingredient that because of its high sodium content isn't suitable for everyone. Our recipe instead uses an easy homemade creamy sauce to achieve the perfect texture of a soft and decadent casserole, just the way we remember it.

The casserole can take on many vegetables of your liking; we used meaty mushrooms and peas, but broccoli florets or chopped spinach also make a great pair, adding texture, color, and nutrition. For the tuna, go with solid white albacore canned in water, and choose broad egg noodles unless a dietary restriction or egg allergy prevents it—in that case use any short pasta of your liking and skip the mayonnaise in the sauce as it also contains eggs. Serve with a simple salad with a bright lemon vinaigrette for an easy and flavorful meal.

1:35

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Ingredients

For the Noodles:

  • 8 ounces broad egg noodles

  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups milk

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed

  • 2 (5- to 6-ounce) cans tuna in water, drained and flaked

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped pimientos, drained

  • Unsalted butter, or cooking spray, for the baking dish

For the Topping:

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic tuna casserole ingredients

    The Spruce

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Cook the noodles in boiling salted water following package directions until al dente.

    Cook noodles in salted boiling water
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  3. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the noodles from cooking further. Reserve.

    Drain cooked noodles
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  4. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

    Melt butter in saucepan
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  5. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until golden brown and tender.

    Cook mushrooms until golden brown
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  6. Add the flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes.

    Stir in flour to mushrooms in saucepan
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  7. Gradually add the milk and continue to cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened.

    Add milk to flour and mushrooms
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  8. Stir in the mayonnaise, frozen peas, drained tuna, and drained pimientos. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking, stirring, for 1 minute longer.

    Stir in the mayonnaise, frozen peas, tuna, and pimiento
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  9. Combine the sauce mixture with the noodles and stir to blend ingredients thoroughly.

    Combine sauce with noodles
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  10. Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish or spray with cooking spray.

    Lightly butter baking dish
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  11. Turn the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

    Add pasta and sauce to baking dish
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  12. In a small bowl, make the topping by combining the breadcrumbs with the melted butter.

    Add butter and breadcrumbs in bowl
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  13. Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs over the casserole.

    Cover tuna casserole with breadcrumbs
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  14. Bake for 25 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly and the topping is browned. Serve and enjoy.

How to Make Your Own Breadcrumbs

If you have a loaf of bread that has become stale, making homemade breadcrumbs is very simple. Simply tear the loaf into pieces and process in a food processor until finely ground. Freeze the crumbs in a food storage bag and use them as needed.


For toasted breadcrumbs, spread the crumbs out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a preheated 325 F oven for 12 to 14 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks.

How to Store Tuna Casserole

Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

  • To reheat the tuna noodle casserole, use a microwave or place in a 350 F oven until hot.
  • Freeze tuna noodle casserole to have it ready for a last-minute meal. Cook the pasta and sauce and assemble everything except for the breadcrumbs. Cool, wrap tightly, and freeze for up to three months. Cook directly from frozen in a 350 F oven, for 25 minutes, covered in tin foil. Take out of the oven and top with the buttery breadcrumbs. Place back in the oven and bake, uncovered, for an extra 25 minutes until the topping is crunchy.

Other Toppings, Spices, and Add-Ons

Our casserole makes a great template for you to add other ingredients of your liking:

  • Substitute the breadcrumbs for French fried onion rings or crushed potato chips.
  • Sauté 1/2 cup of thinly sliced celery or a combination of celery with 1/4 cup of chopped onion, and use instead of mushrooms.
  • Add 1 cup of shredded cheese to the thickened sauce before you add the mayonnaise.
  • Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the breadcrumb mixture, or a dash or two of tabasco to the sauce.
  • Add 1/4 cup of Parmesan or Pecorino cheese to add extra tang and make the topping extra crunchy.


Salt and pepper can add additional flavor to this dish but if using canned breadcrumbs or potato chips as a topping, go lighter on the salt as these ingredients will already include salt.