Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe with a crunchy, buttery, Ritz cracker topping! It’s classic comfort food, perfect for a family dinner.
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Why I Love This Recipe
Growing up in Minnesota, a casserole was called a hotdish. Instead of calling it tuna noodle casserole, we it tuna fish hotdish. Our favorite topping was crushed potato chips or shoestring potatoes! Once, my mom forgot to add the tuna, and none of us even noticed because we loved this dish much!
The best thing about tuna fish casserole is that it can be customized to fit your family and what you have on hand in the panty. Over the years, I’ve made a few changes to my mom’s old fashioned tuna noodle casserole recipe. I added sour cream to make it more creamy, garlic powder for added flavor, and peas for color and texture.
- Cream Soup: Cream of chicken soup is the base of the sauce. Cream of mushroom and cream of celery would also work, or you can use a combination of soups.
- Milk: Use whole milk for a creamier sauce.
- Sour Cream: Adds flavor and makes the sauce creamier. You could substitute the sour cream with softened cream cheese.
- Seasoning: Black pepper and garlic powder add flavor.
- Tuna: Use light tuna in water and drain it before adding it to the sauce.
- Veggies: Peas are the classic choice, and they add flavor and color.
- Topping: Top with crushed Ritz crackers and melted butter.
How To Make Tuna Noodle Casserole
Start by mixing together the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, milk, black pepper, and garlic powder.
Then, stir in the drained tuna and frozen peas.
Add the cooked egg noodles and gently stir until coated.
Spread the mixture in a greased 9×13 dish.
Then, mix together crushed Ritz crackers and melted butter until moistened.
Sprinkle the Ritz cracker topping over the casserole and bake at 350˚F or until the topping is golden and the sauce is bubbling.
Toppings For Tuna Casserole
For this easy tuna casserole recipe, I used original Ritz crackers because they are crunchy, salty, and buttery. There are many different flavors of Ritz crackers available, including vegetable, bacon, and garlic butter.
- Of course, you can always use bread crumbs or panko instead of crushed crackers. Mix them with melted butter and sprinkle over the casserole.
- Or go with the classic we enjoyed as kids: tuna casserole with potato chips or shoestring potatoes! Potato chips can be added before or after baking.
- Another delicious option is French fried onions. They give the casserole additional onion flavor. Add them during the last 5 minutes of baking so they don’t get overcooked.
Other Ways To Make It
Stovetop Tuna Noodle Casserole
You can also make this casserole on the stovetop rather than baking it in the oven!
- Combine the sauce ingredients in a large pot over medium heat.
- Stir in the frozen peas and tuna.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cooked egg noodles.
Crockpot Tuna Casserole
Another option is to make it in a crockpot. This is an easy, hands-off option for busy days!
- Cook the egg noodles for 1-2 minutes less than called for on the package.
- In a large crockpot, combine the sauce ingredients. Stir in the frozen peas, tuna, and noodles.
- Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until hot.
Tuna Rice Casserole
Rice is a great alternative to pasta in this casserole. To make tuna rice casserole, substitute the cooked egg noodles with three cups of cooked rice. Otherwise, follow the recipe as directed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Peas and sliced mushrooms are the old-fashioned choice, but other vegetables would work as well. You can also try corn, sliced carrots, green beans, broccoli, chopped onions, or diced bell peppers.
When making tuna noodle casserole, egg noodles are the classic choice. The wide, wavy noodles are tender, yet they allow the sauce to cling to the waves.
Other kinds of pasta would also work. Try using medium shells, bowties, elbow macaroni, penne, or rotini. If you are looking for a low-carb option, try zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. Or you can make it without noodles.
Yes, you can replace the canned tuna with canned chicken, shredded chicken, or cubed chicken. Or, if you don’t want meat in your casserole, you can skip the meat and replace it with additional vegetables.
Yes, you can freeze tuna noodle casserole! For leftovers, allow them to cool completely and then store them in a freezer-safe, airtight container for up to two months.
To freeze before baking, prepare the casserole in a metal pan, but don’t add the topping. Wrap the pan in plastic wrap and foil. Thaw in the fridge overnight before baking. Remove from fridge 30 minutes prior to baking and add the topping.
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- Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole is my niece’s favorite meal!
Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 21 oz condensed cream of chicken soup two 10.5 oz cans
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 10 oz light tuna in water, drained two 5 oz cans
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 5 cups cooked egg noodles
- 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
- ¼ cup butter melted
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Mix together the cream of chicken soup, cream of celery soup, milk, sour cream, black pepper, and garlic powder.
- Stir in the drained tuna and frozen peas.
- Add the egg noodles and stir until evenly coated. Spread in a greased 9×13" pan.
- Mix together the crushed Ritz crackers and melted butter. Sprinkle over the casserole.
- Bake at 350˚F for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and heated through.