Creamy delicious goodness is what you get with this easy recipe for Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole. Made with a simple homemade cheese sauce, sea shell pasta, tender albacore tuna and a crunchy panko topping, you’ll not find any canned cream soup in this updated version of a classic family favorite!
What You Need To Make Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- large sea shell pasta
- solid white albacore tuna
- cream cheese, sharp white cheddar, Parmesan cheese
- chicken broth
- half & half
- minced garlic
- dried parsley, onion powder, mustard powder
- salt & pepper
- panko bread crumbs
I remember the first time I encountered this dish. The time tested combination of seafood and pasta baked up in a cheesy cream sauce just cannot be denied. It’s just good. In all the ways that comfort food should be. Mouthwateringly delicious, savory, loaded with layers of flavor with just enough classic to feel like home.
And like most comfort food, it’s honest food. With simple ingredients. Meant to nourish the heart and soul. And while a good tuna noodle casserole makes the perfect weeknight family meal, it’s also an A#1 bake and take choice to share with a neighbor who might need a little extra attention. There’s no better way to spread a little love than good food that gathers people around a table.
Wondering What to Serve with Tuna Noodle Casserole?
Any side salad will do, but you might also like:
- Sauteed Green Beans with Mushrooms & Bacon
- Short Cut Pull Apart Rolls
- Broccoli Slaw with Apples & Brussel Sprouts
Tips for Making the Best Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Always use white tuna packed in water and drain it well. I prefer Solid White Albacore Tuna. Albacore Tuna is larger fish with a firmer, meatier texture and milder flavor than regular tuna.
- Shred or grate your own cheese for the best, creamiest sauce. For a full explanation of why you shouldn’t use packaged grated cheese when making a sauce, see this Ultimate Pepper Jack Mac & Cheese recipe.
- Don’t overcook the pasta. Keep your shells al dente. They will hold loads of cheesy sauce and not break down when tossed and stirred while preparing this recipe.
Other Comfort Food Casseroles You’ll Love
- Cheesy Beef Noodle Casserole
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
- Meat & Potatoes Ranch Au Gratin
- Easy White Ravioli Casserole
- Cheesy Rotel Chicken & Spaghetti
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE, BE SURE TO LET ME KNOW!
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Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 16 oz large sea shell pasta
- 1/2 stick butter
- 18 oz solid white albacore tuna in water, drained and broken up with a fork
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 C diced celery
- 1 C diced onion
- 1/4 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 C chicken broth
- 2 1/4 C half & half
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 4 oz cream cheese, cubed
- 2 C grated sharp white cheddar
- 2 C grated Parmesan
- 1/4 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder
- 1/4 tsp each salt & pepper
- 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 1/2 C panko bread crumbs
- Turn on oven broiler to preheat and grease large casserole dish.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente- about 6-8 minutes. Drain pasta and return to warm pot with 1/2 stick butter. Set aside to let butter melt.
- While water is coming to a boil and pasta is cooking, shred cheeses.
- In large sauce pan over medium heat, melt 1/2 stick butter. Add celery, onion and garlic. Cook until translucent, stirring frequently. Turn heat down to low, whisk in broth and half & half. Whisk in beaten egg. Add cream cheese & whisk while melting.
- Add white cheddar & Parmesan cheeses to the cream cheese mixture one cup at a time, whisking until melted before adding the next cup. Add herbs and spices. Whisk until smooth. Remove from heat.
- Toss pasta in the butter that has been melting in its pot. When coated, add tuna and toss. Pour cheese sauce over tuna and pasta. Stir until all the pasta is coated. Spoon into large casserole dish.
- Top with bread crumbs. Pour melted 1/2 stick of butter over bread crumbs. Place under broiler just long enough to brown bread crumbs to a golden brown. Remove from oven and serve!
MAKING IT EASY TO HOST & SERVE
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How about chicken instead of tuna?
Hi, Jennifer! Sounds great. I would definitely give it a try!
Is it necessary to use an egg in this recipe tuna casserole?
Hi, Rhonda! You are welcome to leave it out, if you like! But yes, all of the ingredients are necessary to exactly recreate the texture and taste of the dish, along with how well it maintains those attributes over time or when reheated.