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Tuna Noodle Casserole

by Dana Bean, RD
Published: Updated:

A cheesy pasta classic with either tuna or chicken, this Tuna Noodle Casserole is a great balanced weeknight meal.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

A cheesy pasta classic with either tuna or chicken
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Course: dinner


  • 1 skillet
  • 1 9×13 pan unless using oven safe skillet for baking
  • 1 Non-stick pan


  • 1/2 lb bowtie pasta
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 10.5 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1.5 c shredded cheese
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 10 oz bag frozen peas
  • 3 regular 5 oz cans of tuna or chicken drained
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 c plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan


  • Preheat oven to 350 if following optional step 4. Boil pasta according to directions on the box.
  • Heat a large skillet on medium/low heat and add butter and flour to make a roux. Add milk and whisk. Add cream of mushroom, cheese, pepper, garlic powder, and peas. Mix until cheese is melted and peas are thawed. Add tuna or chicken and cooked pasta to the skillet if it's oven safe (cast iron) or add everything to a 9×13 pan and mix.
  • Heat non-stick skillet and add oil and breadcrumbs. Heat for about 2 minutes until breadcrumbs are slightly crispy and add to the skillet or pan.
  • (optional) Bake 3-5 minutes. See note 1
  • Add grated parmesan after baking and enjoy!
tuna noodle casserole on a white plate with white towel under.

I sometimes consider Tuna Noodle Casserole to be the forgotten comfort meal! It’s similar to homemade mac and cheese in that it has cheesy, creamy pasta and breadcrumbs, but it has the added elements of the tuna (or chicken), the green peas, and the mushroom sauce. With the added protein and fiber, the meal isn’t missing anything unless we want to add a side!

And since it doesn’t take too long to make, it really is a great weeknight meal.

landscape photo of tuna noodle casserole on a white plate.

Pasta: We opted for bowtie, but any short pasta works!

Roux: The butter and flour are important for getting the right texture in the sauce.

Milk, Cream of Mushroom, & Cheese: The cheesy creaminess lies in these ingredients!

Seasoning: Can’t forget the garlic powder and ground pepper. I’ve omitted salt as we get that flavor from the canned tuna and cream of mushroom.

Peas: Yum! no thawing ahead necessary.

Tuna or Chicken: Adding some easy protein here!

Breadcrumbs: These help to give the saucy noodles some variety in texture.

Parmesan: Grated parmesan to top it off!

The tuna isn’t super overpowering in this dish, but if you still don’t love it, try canned chicken instead! Simply swap the tuna for the same amount of canned chicken. Make sure to drain the cans before adding.

Tuna Noodle Casserole in a black cast iron skillet.

Yes! The breadcrumbs won’t be as crispy, but otherwise this is a great leftover-for-lunch situation (like most of my recipes).

  • We need a variety of nutrients! Carbs, protein, fat, and fiber all offer essential elements to our bodies.
  • Eating comfort food is part of having a healthy relationship with food.

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