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Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch in an oval white casserole dish

Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch

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Every year, when Lent arrives, the hubby begs for tuna casserole. I’ve ditched the canned soup and bargain basement tuna, and whipped up a darned tasty Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch.

Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch in an oval white casserole dish

Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch

Bill grew up on the same tuna casserole that my mom made and served with a canned tuna, canned cream of mushroom soup and a topping of crushed potato chips. It was one of only two seafood items that he would eat when we got married. The other was made from a can of salmon.

Quite the seafood connoisseur, eh? I couldn’t handle all the sodium and finally drew the line and only made tuna casserole on rare occasions during Lent. That is, until I started making a tuna noodle casserole from scratch AKA tuna casserole without canned soup!

Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch close view in casserole dish

No Soup Tuna Casserole

Ironically, when my parents were newlyweds, my mom made her tuna casserole many, many times. Being Catholic, back in the day, they had to abstain from meat every single Friday. Eager to please his new wife, my dad threw her a compliment or two and she made this dish nearly every Friday from then on.

He finally couldn’t bear it anymore and told her to cease and desist! Thank goodness there are many more Lenten dinner options available to home cooks these days. I bet my dad would have enjoyed this no soup tuna casserole chock full of mushrooms and veggies.

Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch in a white ceramic casserole

Tips for the Best Tuna Casserole from Scratch:

  • Buy the best tuna you can afford. I purchase jarred tuna in olive oil instead of cans. It’s a little pricey, but the quality is definitely a notch or more better.
  • Ditch the soup and instead make a creamy sauce from scratch. I use Wondra flour as it’s way less likely to make a lumpy sauce, cream for added richness, then two types of grated cheese to push it over the top.
  • Since we’re not using cream of mushroom soup, I like to add sliced mushrooms to the mix. Frozen peas, and diced red bell pepper add some color to a dish that would be awfully bland looking without them.
  • Feel free to top with crushed buttery crackers or buttered bread crumbs before baking if that’s your preference.
  • I used this lovely Emile Henry Oval Baker to bake and serve.

Tuna Casserol from Scratch pinterest collage


More Lenten Entrees You’ll Love:

Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch | Tuna casserole without soup but instead a delicious creamy cheese sauce!

Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch

 I’ve ditched the canned soup and bargain basement tuna, and whipped up a darned tasty Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Yield 6


  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons white wine, I use vermouth if I don't have a bottle open
  • 2 (6.7 ounce) jars tuna filets in olive oil, drained
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 ounces egg noodles, about 4 cups
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, I used Wondra
  • 1 cup heavy cream, warmed
  • 2 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth during Lent)
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup frozen peas


Melt 2 tablespoons butter in  a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until they start to soften, then add bell pepper and mushrooms. Season with  ¼ teaspoon salt a few grinds of black pepper and cook until liquid evaporates. Add white wine and cook until that evaporates. and mushrooms are browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add mixture to a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, add drained tuna and lemon juice. Using a fork, break the tuna into bite-sized pieces and gently mix so the lemon juice is distributed. Set aside.

In the same pan, melt 2 more tablespoons butter. Add flour and whisk to combine and cook for about a minute. Whisk in warm cream and cook until flour is incorporated, then add chicken broth and continue to cook until mixture thickens. Whisk in both cheeses.

Cook pasta in well salted water until just al dente. Drain and add to bowl with vegetables. Add peas and tuna. Gently toss to combine.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Preheat oven to 350º.

Place in a greased. 2-quart baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake for about 25 minutes or until heated through. Uncover and broil for 2 minutes or until top just starts to brown. Serve hot.


Taste before adding additional salt as some brands of broth are very salty.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1107Total Fat: 98gSaturated Fat: 29gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 136mgSodium: 851mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 18g


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24 comments on “Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch”

  1. What a great story about your parents as newlyweds, Liz. It gave me a good chuckle. Your tuna casserole looks fabulous! I don’t know about every Friday, but I could certainly eat it often.

  2. This is a childhood favorite of mine Liz (being form a Catholic family too) – thank you so much for bringing this recipe to my life, especially without the canned soup! Bravo!!! I love it with plenty of peas – woohoo!

  3. I like this idea for a fresher version of the classic dish!

  4. Just reading through the ingredient list, I know this is very delicious!

  5. I would never eat canned soup anymore, so this DIY version of a dish everyone loves is amazing. I love tuna in oil in jars – it saves so many busy weeknight dinners. And Emile Henry bakeware is hands down the best! I can burn fruit juice onto the bottom of my pie pan and it comes clean in a flash.

  6. looks delicious! I hope to make this soon

  7. A little vodka, hmmm. Sounds good to me!

  8. I had never had tuna casserole until I started dating JT, his mom always made it with crushed potato chips on top too! Back then, it was our excuse to buy a bag of chips! These days, I’ll only make it with homemade sauce and fresh mushrooms, like you do. We only buy albacore tuna but making it with Italian tuna in oil sounds wonderful. I love the addition of the peas, a beautiful burst of colour and pop of flavour!

  9. This dish fits Lent perfectly plus looks absolutely mouthwatering

  10. I remember making Tuna Noodle Casserole… Wonder why I ever stopped? Yours sounds like a nice healthy meal:@)

  11. this plate looks really delicious Lizzy;) 🙂

  12. This is going on to my supper menu this week! Yum. My granddaughter loves pasta and mushrooms!!! She will love this dish.

  13. Now thats my kind of comfort food.. This looks wonderful!

  14. This definitely appeals to me much more than the canned soup versions!

  15. Tuna casserole is always a hearty, family favorite.

  16. Such healthy treats, dear! xoxo

  17. I love tuna casserole and I’m anxious to try this homemade version.

  18. This looks rich and delicious! I am not a canned soup fan. This is so much better than the typical one.

  19. I haven’t had tuna noodle casserole in a long time! This looks good.

  20. This takes me way back!!! My sister loved making a tuna noodle casserole and I loved eating it. Hers was different, but I think I might like yours better Will definitely be making this because now I have a craving,

  21. This really brought back childhood memories. No meat Friday’s year-round felt like torture back then. Tuna casserole with crushed potato chips on top was also a Lenten staple. Thank goodness for this no canned soup version!

  22. This is very good with the right proportion of tuna to noodles. The sauteed mushrooms make it more flavorful than my previous recipe.

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