Tuna Macaroni Casserole

Tuna Macaroni Casserole in a white casserole dish

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
460 Calories
25g Fat
35g Carbs
23g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 460
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 13g 64%
Cholesterol 74mg 25%
Sodium 1179mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 23g
Vitamin C 5mg 26%
Calcium 242mg 19%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 318mg 7%
*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 casserole is an easy and delicious one-dish meal that you can prep and serve in just one hour. With the perfect balance of elbow pasta, a creamy sauce, the irresistible flavor of tuna, and some veggies, our recipe is simply perfect and a complete meal. Quickly prepare and place in the oven, forget, and come back in 45 minutes to a cheesy golden perfection on top. Serve with a tossed salad and some crusty bread for a wholesome and balanced meal.

Our casserole can be prepared ahead of time and baked when it's dinner time, which makes it an ideal dish for busy families that like to meal prep a couple of times a week. Great for a lunch of leftovers, the cooked casserole can be kept for up to three days in the refrigerator. Although the classic version always calls for elbows, any short pasta will be perfect, such as mezze rigatoni, fusilli, farfalle, or conchiglie.

For the perfect result, cook the pasta until just al dente, as it will continue cooking in the oven and if too tender it will become too mushy when baked.

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, divided

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni

  • Kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons finely minced onion

  • 2 tablespoons finely minced green bell pepper

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 (10.5-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, or cream of celery soup

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

  • 7 to 10 ounces canned tuna, drained and flaked

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Tuna macaroni casserole ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. With a teaspoon of butter, grease a 2-quart casserole.

    white casserole dish

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water according to package directions just until al dente, drain, and quickly rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

    elbow macaroni pasta in a white colander

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté over low heat for about 3 to 4 minutes, until tender.

    butter, onions and bell pepper in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Add the flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring, for about 1 to 2 minutes.

    onion, bell pepper and butter cooking in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Add the milk and condensed soup and stir over low heat until the sauce is smooth and thickened.

    Stirring sauce with wooden spoon

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Add the cooked macaroni, peas, flaked tuna, and about half of the cheese to sauce mixture, stirring constantly.

    Stirring tuna casserole mixture

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Pour the pasta into the prepared casserole. Top with remaining shredded cheese.

    Uncooked tuna macaroni casserole topped with shredded cheese

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with the breadcrumbs and work the mixture until you've achieved a sandy texture.

    butter and breadcrumbs in a small bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Scatter the crumbs over the cheese layer.

    Uncooked tuna macaroni casserole with breadcrumbs on top

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  11. Bake the casserole for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crumb topping is nicely browned.

    Baked tuna macaroni casserole in a white casserole pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  12. Enjoy.

Additions and Substitutions

This casserole is very forgiving and can take on any of your favorite cheeses and vegetables. Here are a few ideas on how to make tasty variations on the dish:

  • Use tuna in oil instead of canned tuna. Tuna in oil usually comes in bigger chunks and has a beautiful texture and flavor. Drain thoroughly before flaking, but do add 1 tablespoon of the jar's oil into the sauce before adding the pasta.
  • Add any other vegetable of your liking. Either use the same amount of peas and carrots instead of just peas, or add 1 cup of broccoli florets. One cup of chopped spinach or kale added into the sauce also gives a nice green color and a bright flavor.
  • Sauté 1 pint of sliced mushrooms with onions and peppers. Use baby Bella or portobello for an earthy addition of flavor.