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Homemade Tuna Casserole


Not your grandma's tuna casserole. Rejoice for no canned cream of mushroom soup!
From: Macheesmo thanks to HuffPost

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Rate this recipe 4.2/5 (6 Votes)


  • 8 ounces fusilli pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 ounces Cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 cups purple kale, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 6 ounces flaked tuna fish
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • Unsalted butter, for pan


Adapted from


Step 1

To start putting the Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole together, make the pasta according to the package (I like fusilli), but it’s okay to very slightly undercook the pasta. It will finish cooking in the casserole. Whatever you do, don’t overcook the pasta or it’ll just be a big pot of mush and your casserole rebirth efforts will be thwarted.

For the sauce, we need to start by cooking the veg. In a large pot, add a drizzle of olive oil and the sliced mushrooms. Cook them over medium-high heat until they brown slightly and lose some of their liquid.

Then add in the minced shallot, jalapeno, and garlic and continue to cook. A pinch of salt at this point wouldn’t hurt.

Next add in the kale. The important thing about the kale is that it needs to be really diced finely. It’s kind of hard to see in the photo but I almost treated like I would an herb. You just don’t want any huge kale chunks in your finished casserole, but it gives the finished version some nice color.

Making the Sauce

Let this cook down a bit and the kale will start to wilt. Now for the fun part. Add the flour straight into this veggie mix and turn the heat down to medium-low. This will obviously make the pan really dry as the flour cooks, but make sure the flour is stirred into the veggies.

Once the flour is well-incorporated, it’s time to add the liquid. Very slowly stir in the broth and milk and bring it to a simmer. This will thicken pretty quickly as it heats and eventually you’ll be left with a thick gravy.

You can stir in your sour cream and thyme at this point also.

Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole Cream sauceCream sauce!
Next, stir in the cheddar and flaked tuna. Once you add the tuna, try not to stir the sauce vigorously. You want it to stay in nice, big flakes.

Also, one note on tuna: There are various kinds of canned or packaged tuna and for a dish like this, please spend the few extra bucks on a very nice brand. Line-caught, Albacore tuna stored in water is best for this dish.

If you buy cheap tuna for this dish, it will make your finished casserole taste really fishy so splurge on a packet or two of quality stuff.

Homemade Tuna Noodle CasseroleAll together now.
Once the cheese and tuna is stirred in, add the pasta!

Ya need noodles for Homemade Tuna Noodle CasseroleYa need noodles.
At this point, I recommend tasting this and try to see if it needs anything. It might need a pinch of salt and pepper.

A Quick Bake

Then transfer everything to a large, buttered 2 1/2 quart baking dish (or a 9×13 baking dish) and cover it with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole Ready to bake!Ready to bake!
Bake this whole thing at 350 degrees for just 20 minutes until the crust starts to brown and it is bubbling around the edges.

Then serve it up!

Some of these flavors might seem incompatible (Cheddar? Tuna?), but if you spend some time and love on the dish, it really does work. Betsy and I were both shocked by how good this Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole turned out and had no problem eating it for more than one meal.

The best part about the dish is that it isn’t overpoweringly fishy. The tuna is subtle and almost not even the star of the dish.

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