Tuna, Cheese, and Rice Casserole

Tuna, cheese, and rice casserole in a yellow casserole dish

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
760 Calories
41g Fat
59g Carbs
37g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 760
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 41g 53%
Saturated Fat 24g 118%
Cholesterol 126mg 42%
Sodium 1052mg 46%
Total Carbohydrate 59g 21%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 37g
Vitamin C 6mg 30%
Calcium 705mg 54%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 434mg 9%
*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.)

This cheesy and delicious tuna and rice bake is your mealtime answer when you're not sure what to make for dinner and don't have much in the pantry. It's also pretty savvy in that it uses other ingredients you may have in the fridge, too; it's a great use for leftover cooked rice.

This casserole will please the whole family, and it stops short of using one pantry staple: no canned soups. A tuna casserole with rice with a homemade cheesy sauce tastes so much better than one with a canned cream soup. The diced pimento adds extra color and flavor, but feel free to leave it out.

Serve this casserole with a big green salad, a three-bean salad, or steamed green beans.


For the Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 1/4 cup minced onion

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped celery

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 cups milk

  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

For the Casserole:

  • 1 (7-ounce) can tuna

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked frozen or canned peas, drained

  • 2 tablespoons diced pimento

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 4 cups hot cooked rice

  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 400 F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

Make the Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat; add the onion and celery and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, pepper, and dry mustard and continue to cook, stirring, until smooth and bubbly.

  3. Add the Worcestershire sauce and gradually stir in the milk. Cook, stirring, until thickened. Add 1 cup of the shredded cheese to the sauce mixture and stir until melted.

Assemble the Casserole

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add the flaked tuna and peas to the sauce. If desired, stir in the pimento. Taste and add salt, as needed.

  3. Spoon half of the hot rice into the prepared baking dish and spread 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese over the rice. Top with half of the sauce, then repeat the layers, finishing with the remaining shredded cheese.

  4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and toss with the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the casserole.

  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the breadcrumb topping is lightly browned and the casserole is bubbly around the edges.

  6. Let cool slightly and serve. Enjoy.

Can I Use Uncooked Rice in This Tuna Casserole?

No. Make sure you use cooked rice in this casserole. Baked dishes that include a liquid such as broth will cook properly when raw rice is added, but since this dish doesn't have any liquid, it is necessary to use previously cooked rice.

How to Store and Freeze Tuna, Cheese, and Rice Casserole

This casserole will keep up to 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator, covered. If you are reheating leftover tuna, cheese, and rice casserole and find that it seems a little dry, add a small amount of broth before heating it up. You can reheat the whole thing in the oven, covered in foil, at 350 F for about 15 to 20 minutes, or you can use the stovetop or the microwave.

You can freeze this casserole to enjoy later; let cool completely, cover with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, and store in the freezer for up to three months

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