Casseroles are wonderful comfort foods and tuna noodle casserole is a classic. Most use canned cream soup, however, and that is an ingredient I avoid. I decided to update this vintage classic with a homemade sauce. Delicious!
Tuna Noodle Casserole – Updated Vintage Classic
Believe it or not, I had never made a tuna noodle casserole before I developed this recipe. Once in a great while, my mom made the “Hamburger Helper” boxed version but my dad doesn’t like tuna so this was rare. For some reason, I just never thought to make it.
I always have a few cans of tuna in my pantry and most of the rest of the ingredients are staples, as well. I decided this might be a good dish to add to my repertoire.
Replacing canned, cream soup in a recipe is generally a matter of creating a simple white sauce and adding whatever flavoring you desire. If you aren’t familiar with what a white sauce is, it’s simply a thickened sauce containing butter, flour and milk. It’s a handy sauce to master because it is so versatile.
This basic casserole can easily be adjusted to your tastes. I used frozen peas which is the traditional choice but you could use frozen corn or mixed vegetables instead. If you don’t like tuna, substitute chicken. I think you could even make a very tasty vegetarian version by skipping the tuna and adding more vegetables.
I used crushed potato chips on mine but buttered bread crumbs are another option. Or perhaps those crispy fried onions so popular on green bean casserole.
The possibilities are endless but let’s start with the basic version.
Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 4 ounces egg noodles
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
- 1 cup milk, half and half, cream (or combination) I used half 2% milk and 1/2 heavy cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 can tuna, drained and flaked
- 1-2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
- 1 cup plain potato chips, crushed
- garlic powder, onion salt, black pepper, Creole seasoning - to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 2 quart baking dish.
Cook noodles according to package directions but do not overcook.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet or medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
Add onion and seasonings, cooking until onions are translucent.
Stir in flour and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously.
Gradually stir in milk/cream and continue to cook, stirring, until thickened.
Stir in mayonnaise, tuna and frozen peas, bring to a simmer and cook another minute or two. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Combine with cooked, well-drained noodles mixing well. Pour into prepared baking dish.
Top with shredded cheese, then crushed potato chips. Lightly sprinkle with black pepper and/or paprika if desired.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and top is lightly browned.
This made about 4-6 servings but it can easily be doubled and baked in a 9×13 (or larger) baking dish.
I served it with a green salad, homemade cranberry sauce and lightly sautéed asparagus with red bell pepper and onion. It also reheats well the next day.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which help pay for website costs and my Earl Grey obsession.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more here.
This post is linked up at Miz Helen’s Full Plate Thursday. Take a look at all the great recipes!