This old-fashioned tuna casserole is made with albacore tuna, pasta, mushrooms, peas, and a quick and easy homemade, creamy sauce. Plus, it's topped with a buttered breadcrumb topping.
This easy and delicious recipe requires only 10 minutes of prep time and 25 minutes of bake time. You can even make it ahead and it freezes well, too!
Why You'll Love It
This old-fashioned tuna casserole is definitely a classic! However, it's been modernized (no canned soup!). Don't worry, it's still the same comfort food you've always known and loved!
Instead of canned cream of mushroom soup, this recipe uses a small amount of flour, milk, and parmesan cheese to create a delicious, creamy, made from scratch roux.
Lastly, we top this tuna casserole with some bread crumbs before baking to add another layer of flavor, texture, and goodness!
Dry rotini pasta - this tasty spiral-shaped pasta holds onto the tuna and sauce better than egg noodles and works very well with this casserole. Elbow macaroni works well, too.
Butter - for sauteing the mushrooms, making the roux (sauce), and for the breadcrumb topping.
Mushrooms - fresh baby Bella mushrooms add a rich, earthy flavor so use them if you can.
Seasonings - dried thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper.
All-purpose flour - do not use self-rising flour - it does not work well for the white roux (the basis for the creamy sauce).
Milk - preferably whole milk, but 2% milk is fine.
Parmesan cheese - use freshly shredded for optimal flavor. You could use cheddar cheese instead.
Canned tuna fish - I like the solid white albacore tuna because of its firm texture and mild flavor.
Green peas - use frozen (use canned if that's what you already have).
Breadcrumbs - (use gluten free if necessary) - we'll use buttered bread crumbs for the topping (yum!).
How to Make It
This old-fashioned tuna casserole is easy, old-school comfort food at its finest!
(1) Preheat oven to 350F. Cook pasta and set aside.
(2) Saute mushrooms and seasonings in butter. Transfer to a bowl.
(3) Melt butter in a pan, then add flour and milk. Whisk to blend well. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, then add parmesan cheese. Taste for flavor and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
(4) Add noodles, tuna, mushrooms, and peas to the sauce. Stir. Add to prepared baking dish. Top with buttered breadcrumbs and bake.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can serve it with rolls or garlic bread and a green salad.
This casserole freezes well! After baking it, let it completely cool off. Then place it in a freezer-friendly container, wrap the container with clear wrap (for extra protection against freezer burn), label it, and freeze it for up to 3 months.
Back in the day, some people added 1 or 2 hard-boiled, chopped eggs to this casserole. Probably to stretch out the meal or to just make it better! No rules here 🙂
Indeed it can! Prepare the casserole (except for the breadcrumb topping). Stored covered in the refrigerator for one to two days. When ready to eat, top with buttered breadcrumbs and bake as directed. You may have to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes since it'll be cold.
Old-fashioned tuna casserole is very versatile!
You can use gluten-free all-purpose flour. You may have to experiment with different brands because not all gluten-free flour performs the same.
Instead of frozen green peas, you could use mixed vegetables.
Instead of buttered breadcrumbs, top with crushed Ritz crackers or potato chips!
Instead of canned tuna, use about 2 cups of rotisserie chicken -- but then it wouldn't be tuna casserole 🙂
More Casserole Recipes
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- 2-quart casserole dish
- Large pot for boiling pasta
- Pasta strainer
- large pan
- measuring cup(s)
- measuring spoons
- 8 oz dry rotini pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour (use gluten free if necessary)
- 1-¾ cups milk (whole or 2%)
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 10 oz solid white albacore tuna, drained
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- ½ cup breadcrumbs (use gluten free if necessary)
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart oven-safe casserole dish with non-stick spray.
- Boil the pasta noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles and set them aside.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add sliced mushrooms, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Stir well and gently simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl or plate.
- Using the same large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until blended. Slowly pour in the milk, and continue to whisk to remove any lumps. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Turn off the heat. Stir in parmesan cheese. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.
- Add cooked noodles, sauteed mushrooms, tuna, and peas to the sauce. Stir to blend. Pour the mixture into the baking dish.
- In a small bowl, stir the breadcrumbs with the melted butter until well combined. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the casserole and bake for 25 minutes.
The nutritional information does not include tequila. Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy to my readers. I'm not a nutritionist and I don't guarantee the accuracy of this data. The data may differ according to the brands I used versus the brands you use. To calculate the data yourself using your brands, try using an online nutrition calculator or app.