This tuna noodle casserole is the best… it’s my mom and grandma’s recipe! A creamy, cheesy sauce coats egg noodles, dotted with green peas and flake tuna, topped with melty cheesy and buttery breadcrumbs. This classic recipe is rich and creamy, made from scratch but so quick and easy to throw together. No canned soups here! A true budget meal but indulgent at the same time.
Why This Recipe Is The Best
- Growing up, we ate my mom’s tuna noodle casserole recipe all the time, and it’s still one of my favorites. Mom’s been making it for over 40 years, and her mom made it for her when she was a kid. As Catholics, they had it every Friday (It was that or fish sticks, ha!).
- Even now, whenever I need a quick and cheap comfort food meal from the pantry and freezer, this one comes to mind. I upgraded it to be super creamy and saucy with some veggies.
- This recipe doesn’t use any canned soups like most tuna noodle casserole recipes. No cream of mushroom, just real roux, milk, and cheese!
How To Make My Mom’s Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Cook the egg noodles in heavily salted water for the shortest time the package recommends. (For example, if the package recommends 8-10 minutes, cook them for 8.)
- Drain the noodles and add to a baking dish. Set it aside.
- Melt 5 tablespoons of butter over low heat in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook for 1 minute. Stir constantly until the mixture bubbles and turns golden. Slowly add the milk to the mixture, whisking constantly. Keep whisking and turn the heat up to medium. Cook until thickened and bubbly. Stir in the salt and pepper, garlic powder, and parsley, then remove from heat. Add a cup of shredded cheese and stir until it melts.
- Pour the sauce you just made over the noodles. Add the tuna and green peas, and stir to combine. Bake for 15 minutes.
- While the casserole is baking, melt the remaining butter in the microwave in a small bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs and a large pinch of salt.
- After the casserole has baked for 15 minutes, sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese over the casserole. Then sprinkle the buttery breadcrumbs on top. Put the baking dish back in the oven and bake until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
- Remove and garnish with chopped parsley, if you desire.
Top Tips For Making This Classic Tuna Noodle
- For a gluten free version, substitute the egg noodles with an equal weight of gluten free noodles. Use the same amount of gluten free flour.
- You can use gluten free breadcrumbs if you can find them, but if not, it’s super easy to make some out of gluten free bread. Or just leave them out! They are totally optional.
More Delicious Dinners
- Dreamy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- Crockpot Chicken and Rice
- Whole30 Casserole with Chicken, Broccoli, Rice, and Mushrooms (Paleo, GF)
- Vegetarian Enchiladas with Goat Cheese
- Healthy Authentic Seafood Gumbo (Gluten Free, Whole30, Paleo, Low Carb)
- Cranberry Rosemary One Pan Chicken (Paleo, Whole30 Option)
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Mom’s Best Tuna Noodle Casserole
This tuna noodle casserole is the absolute best with no canned soup, just a creamy sauce, egg noodles, green peas, and flake tuna, all topped with melty cheesy and buttery breadcrumbs.
- 1 (5-ounce) can chunk light tuna drained and flaked
- 8 ounces egg noodles
- 6 tablespoons butter divided
- 5 tablespoons flour See note for gluten-free
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt plus extra to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley optional
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
- 3/4 cup frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- fresh parsley chopped, for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350º F. Cook the egg noodles: Cook according to package directions in heavily salted water, for shortest amount of time recommended. Drain and transfer to baking dish. Set aside.
Make the sauce: Melt 5 tablespoons butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Add flour. Stir until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly until mixture bubbles and turns golden. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir in salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried parsley. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup shredded cheese, stirring until melted
Pour sauce over drained noodles. Add tuna and green peas and stir to combine. Bake in oven 15 minutes.
While casserole is baking, melt remaining tablespoon butter in small bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs and large pinch of salt. After casserole bakes 15 minutes, sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese on top. Then sprinkle buttery breadcrumbs over cheese. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes or until bubbly. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.
- Gluten free: Substitute egg noodles with equal weight gluten free noodles. Use equal parts gluten free flour instead of regular flour. Use gluten free bread crumbs, make some out of gluten free bread, or omit.