A classic in my family, we make this old fashioned tuna noodle casserole recipe at least a few times a year. Oh, and don't forget the crushed potato chips on top!
I'm gonna get a little old school here and share this family favorite, easy dinner recipe.
Growing up, tuna noodle casserole was my favorite dish. My friend's mom, Mrs. Foster, made it as a treat for me when I'd stay for dinner. I'm guessing they ate tuna noodle casserole a lot more than they had intended.
I still vividly remember asking Mrs. Foster if she could share the recipe with my mom.
What kind of eight year old does that, anyway?
Oh, that would be me.
And this was the time before photo copies, before cell phones....I'm sounding old but I proudly carried that handwritten, penciled recipe home on a 3 x 5 index card.
My mom still has it in her recipe box. She wasn't willing to give up the original, handwritten copy of the recipe, but she did let me make a copy so I could continue to make it for our family.
Why You'll Love this Tuna Fish Casserole
It's a classic - I always say cooking is love made visable and this recipe is full of love! It evokes childhood memories with every tasty bite! This version is baked while this other Tuna Casserole cooks in the Instant Pot.
Convenient - We're using the convenience of canned tuna. There's no precooking required, no shredding. Just a quick trip to the pantry for some shelf stable basics, including cream of mushroom soup.
Comfort food - truly, this is comfort food at its best, don't you agree?
Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole
I love this comfort food classic! For one, it's just like a casserole recipe should be - creamy and carb loaded.
So, just in case you're wondering, I won't claim this to be health food. But all things, in moderation - right?
The other reason I love this (besides needing non-meat dishes for Lent every year) is that I can pull almost all the ingredients from my pantry.
In fact, I keep a can of cream of mushroom soup on hand just for this recipe.
Truly, this recipe and green bean casserole are the only times I use cream of mushroom soup.
I can't help myself. Some things you just can't make better.
Tuna Noodle Casserole with Potato Chips
Here's what you need to make old fashioned tuna noodle casserole. Yes, the whole she-bang is topped with crushed potato chips. It is like the cherry on top.
- egg noodles - I like these because they're tender and cook fast.
- canned tuna
- lower sodium cream of mushroom soup - if you're short on groceries, you can substitute cream of whatever you have in your pantry
- shredded cheddar cheese
- onion and green pepper - picky eater alert! You can leave this out if your kids or spouse will have a tantrum.
- crushed potato chips for the topping
How to Make Tuna Casserole
The instructions couldn't be any easier, too!
Step 1: Boil the noodles and set aside.
Step 2: Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Fold in the noodles and pour into a 9 x 12 casserole dish.
Step 3: Bake
Step 4: Top with potato chips - or don't. It's your call. I like to use wavy crushed potato chips on top of my tuna casserole. They give just a little bit of texture and crunch to offset the cream mushroom sauce and melted cheddar cheese.
Pop it back in the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.
There you have it! A delicious, cheesy tuna noodle casserole!
Change up your tuna noodle casserole
There are so many ways you can vary this recipe to suite your family's taste buds!
- Get crunchy - If crushed potato chips aren't your thing, you can use crushed Ritz crackers, French fried onions, or leave them off all together. Or, you can add chopped celery and bake it into the filling. Last idea...for a fancy-pants casserole use flaky panko crumbs or bread crumbs.
- Get cheesy - The flavor will change based on what shredded cheese you use. Sharp/extra sharp will give more tang while a mild cheddar is well, mild. Want a little bite? How about using some pepper jack cheese! You could even dust the top with Parmesan cheese before baking
- Mix it up - you can use canned chicken instead of canned tuna. I do that sometimes, but having this tuna variation works perfect for us during the Lent season!
- Omit onion and green pepper if you have super picky eaters
How long does it take to prep your tuna noodle casserole recipe?
Not long, really. The hardest part is boiling the egg noodles, and because they're thin they happen to cook quite fast! I'd allow 10 minutes for the noodles, and the rest can be done in 5-10 minutes!
How to store tuna casserole
Cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. And seriously, be sure to cover your pan or the noodles get crunchy. Unless that's your thing.
To reheat the casserole, cover it with foil and bake at 325 for 30 minutes or so until it's warmed through. Or, you can microwave individual portions.
I’ve been known to eat the leftovers for breakfast...don't judge.
Can I freeze this casserole for later?
Yes, you sure can! In fact, this is a great way to have food on hand for a family or friend in need of a cozy dinner.
Freeze the casserole, unbaked, wrapped tightly in foil. Thaw and bake as instructed.
Can I make this ahead of time?
This tuna casserole recipe can be assembled and refrigerated until ready to bake. You'll have to add 20 minutes or so to the baking time to account for the cooler temperature.
How do you make a tuna noodle casserole without mushroom soup?
You can use cream of celery or even cream of chicken soup if mushroom isn't in your family's wheelhouse!
What to serve with old fashioned tuna noodle casserole?
Sadly (or is it weirdly?) our eldest daughter doesn't care for tuna noodle casserole but she does understand the importance of this casserole dish in my childhood.
In fact, this year Mrs. Foster was a high school substitute in my 16 year old daughter's class.
Of course, Ava said, "Are you the Mrs. Foster who makes tuna noodle casserole?" So the legend of Mrs. Foster's casserole - it lives on 😉
Other Comfort Foods You'll Love
If you make this tuna noodle casserole, just like mom used to make, leave a review or comment below!
This post was originally published in March 2020 and was updated with enhanced instructions and photos in September 2021.
Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 8 ounces cooked egg noodles
- 2 5 ounce cans tuna drained
- 2 15 ounce can lower sodium cream of mushroom soup
- 10 ounces milk
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 Tablespoons onion chopped
- ½ green pepper chopped
- 2 cups potato chips crushed
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13 casserole pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add warm cooked egg noodles, well drained tuna, cream of mushroom soup, milk, shredded cheddar, onion and green pepper. Gently stir to combine.
- Pour into prepared casserole dish and spread evenly throughout.
- Cook for 15 minutes. Add crushed potato chips to the top and cook 15 minutes more, until the edges begin to bubble.
- Allow to sit 5-10 minutes, then serve.
Shared on Meal Plan Monday