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Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole

November 19, 2013


5 from 1 vote

Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole - 2Teaspoons Tap any photo to Pin


Chris and I arrived in Minnesota at the beginning of November for a visit with his family. True to its Minnesota fame, it immediately started snowing.

In Connecticut, the winter sky likes to eject freezing rain more often than fluffly little snowflakes, so I did the usual Connecticut thing and put my windshield wipers up to keep them from freezing to the windshield. I guess no one does that here, at least not anyone in my husband’s family.

“Your car give up already?” Chris’ Dad teased when he got home from work, holding his hands in the air like mock windshield wipers and saying in a wimpy-esque voice, “No no I can’t take it anymore”.

“Nope” I said. “My car is tough. It’s the boy-scout of cars. You know, Be prepared.”

He laughed, and I left my windshield wipers up.

With the situation handled (the snow, not my father-in-law) I decided that the first thing to make in Minnesota just had to be a creamy, comforting casserole. Or hot dish. Whatever name you call it, it is delicious!


Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole - 2Teaspoons


This yummy tuna noodle casserole was originally created by Pinch My Salt. Nicole adapted the traditional version she loved as a kid to better suit her adult taste buds.  Instead of using the canned cream of mushroom soup, this recipe uses simple ingredients that have a surprisingly fantastic effect in the casserole.  You can taste the individual flavors of each ingredient, while still getting that creamy, comforty, combined texture of the traditional version. Delicious!!!!


Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole - 2Teaspoons


I used cremini mushrooms (aka baby bellas) for this casserole, which gave a great mushroomy flavor to the dish.  I know that white mushrooms and cremini are often used interchangeably in recipes, but have always had a preference for the slightly stronger tasting cremini.  I wondered what made these two mushroom types so similar yet still different enough to justify my preference.  So I investigated!


Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole - 2Teaspoons


My effort paid off when I found out that white, cremini, and even portabella mushrooms are actually all the same type of mushroom! They are just grown to different ages. The white mushrooms are the youngest, while the portabella mushrooms are the oldest. This makes the cremini mushrooms the middle child and explains why they are also called “baby bellas”, which is just short for “baby portabellas”!


Definitely make this yummy dish for yourself, or your in-laws.

Even Chris’ Dad was impressed.


Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole - 2Teaspoons


Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole

5 from 1 vote
Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole, made without canned soup. A delicious upgrade to the creamy, comforty, casserole you enjoyed as a kid!
Course Main
Servings 8
Author Pinch My Salt adapted by 2Teaspoons


  • 12 ounces egg noodles
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 8-10 * ounces cremini or white button mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 5 ounce cans of tuna drained and fluffed into small pieces
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter two 1 ½ quart baking dishes or one 13x9-inch baking dish.**
  2. Cook noodles: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
  3. Heat milk in microwave or on stove top until just warm then set aside.
  4. Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, and celery with a generous amount of salt, and cook until all the water from the veggies has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add thyme and cook stirring constantly until fragrant, just a few seconds. Add flour and cook stirring constantly for about 1 minute. At this point everything should be coated in flour and mixture may be very dry.
  5. Slowly pour in milk, whisking until there are no clumps. Stir constantly until sauce thickens then turn off heat. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cook peas: Microwave peas until defrosted, about 2 minutes.
  7. Toast breadcrumbs: Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet on low heat. Add breadcrumbs and stir slowly and constantly until toasted, 5-10 minutes.
  8. Assemble casserole: Pour the sauce, peas, and tuna over the noodles and stir until everything is fully coated in sauce. Add cheese and stir until cheese is pretty equally distributed. Pour noodles into casserole dishes and top with breadcrumbs.
  9. Cook and enjoy: Bake until casserole is fully heated and bubbly, about 20 minutes for half a batch or 30 for full batch. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*I used an entire 10 ounce package of mushrooms, but I’ve seen some packages come in 8 ounces, which I’m sure would work great too.

**I used two 1 ½ quart baking dishes, baking one casserole that day for dinner then baking the second fresh the next day. If you’d like to bake the entire recipe in one dish it will fit into a 13x9-inch baking dish.



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Recipe Rating

  1. Avatar for Kate


    5 stars
    LOVED this recipe! I made a batch for my elderly neighbor. He kept commenting how “home made” it tasted! This is a keeper! Not only that – the sauce itself can easily be turned into home made cream of mushroom soup! Did I mention, I LOVE this recipe? 🙂

    • Avatar for Karen


      Hi Kate! I’m delighted you and your neighbor enjoyed this recipe!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. Avatar for Hillary


    This looks amazing! I’m so happy to find a recipe that doesn’t call for canned soup. Does this casserole freeze well?

    • Avatar for Karen


      Hi Hillary!
      Thanks you so much! Yes, this casserole does freeze really well. I made it ahead of time and served it as an easy meal around the holidays. I just baked the casserole from frozen for an extra 30-45 minutes covered (it will depend on the size and shape of your casserole dish, just uncover it once the casserole is not frozen anymore). I also waited to prepare/add the breadcrumbs until right before I cooked it. Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  3. Avatar for Jessica


    Could you please post what cheese you used and in what amount? I didn’t find it in the list of ingredients. Many thanks!

    • Avatar for Karen


      Hi Jessica! Thanks for noticing the missing cheese! I just added it to the recipe. I used 6 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese 🙂

  4. Avatar for kim


    what a cute pyrex bowl!

    perhaps you can help a fellow food blogger out and vote for my mac n cheese recipe? i’d really appreciate it!:

    • Avatar for Karen


      Thanks! I borrowed the pyrex bowl from my mother-in-law and when she saw the photos she was like “Wow! I didn’t realize my bowl was that pretty!” 🙂

Hi! I'm Karen, the recipe creator, photographer, and food fanatic here at 2Teaspoons. I love delicious food and I love sharing it with great people like you. Welcome to my dinner table, pull up a chair! Read More… →

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