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Tuna Noodle Casserole is one of those classic pasta dishes that is just comfort in a bowl. It's a dish that many of us grew up having for dinner, that's not only an easy dish to make, but it's also a hearty dish that's even better the next day for lunch. If you are looking for an easy weeknight dinner recipe, this recipe is definitely one to bookmark. What really sets off this Tuna Casserole recipe though is the crushed potato chips on top!
How to Make Tuna Noodle Casserole with Potato Chips
Growing up I don't remember my Mom ever putting potato chips or panko on top of this casserole when she made it. However, that's one of the great things about changing up recipes as we get older. We can adapt, omit/add, and change up flavors as our tastes change. I mean, I can remember a time I
hated, loathed, peas. Now, I actually like them. Of course, when I make any casserole with them, I don't add as much as the recipe calls for since I am the only one in my family that really does.
If you are looking for other easy dinner ideas that the whole family will love, make sure to check out our Easy Pasta Skillet. This hearty pasta dish is full of pasta, sauce, and flavorful meatballs. Our Barbacoa Street Tacos take Taco Tuesday to a whole new level. The great thing about this recipe is that you can start the roast in the slow cooker in the morning so it will be cooked to perfection when you are ready for dinner!
Another easy dinner recipe is our Oven Baked Chicken Thighs. If you are looking for a recipe for moist, juicy, and flavorful chicken thighs, this is one to try!
Here’s Why This Recipe Works
This recipe is one that works because it's:
- Hearty - it's a filling dish thanks to the pasta and all of the ingredients.
- Simple - this recipe doesn't require a lot of ingredients and you already have them in your pantry.
- Budget-friendly - it's cost-friendly to make.
- Large portion - you will have leftovers for lunch the next day.
Expert Tips, Ingredient List and Suggestions for Recipe Success
You will find a complete list of the ingredients needed to make this recipe in the recipe card below, however, this is just a list of a few key tips as well as the main ingredient suggestions.
- Egg noodles - I used wide, however, you can use extra wide. It's totally up to you.
- Tuna - make sure to use Solid White Albacore.
- Milk - I used 2%, but you can use whole if you prefer.
- Cheese - I combined mozzarella and cheddar.
- Potato chips - these were roughly crushed. I just used up some that were in the pantry. Any flavor is fine.
- Frozen peas - totally up to you.
- Onion - I diced up a little bit of onion for additional flavor and texture. Then again, totally up to you to add.
- When cooking the pasta, since you will be baking this further in the oven, boil the pasta to al dente. Make sure to not over cook the pasta or it will be over cooked after it's baked.
- Provide additional crushed chips so everyone can add additional chips to their serving if they wish.
- You do NOT need to thaw the peas. Actually they hold up better when you don't thaw them as they will naturally thaw while the dish is baking.
- Make sure to DRAIN the tuna before adding it to the casserole. You don't want the extra oil in the dish.
Can You Freeze This Dish?
Yes, you totally can freeze it before it's baked! In a foil 8 x 8 baking pan or a 9 x 13 pan if you have doubled the recipe, wrap the pan tightly with plastic wrap, such as Saran Wrap, then cover with foil. You can leave this in the freezer for UP to 3 months. To keep track of the date you made this casserole, use a sharpie marker to write the use by date on it so you can use it while it's still fresh.
When you are ready to enjoy this casserole. Remove it from the freezer and place it in the fridge and allow it to thaw overnight. Then follow the baking directions below.
How Do I Store the Leftovers?
Place the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Can This Be Made Ahead?
Yes, you can make this dish up to a day ahead. Just wrap it with foil or plastic wrap and place it the fridge until you are ready to bake it. Then follow the baking directions in the recipe card below.
Step by Step Directions
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2: Prepare casserole dish.
Step 3: Cut, dice, and cook the onion if adding to the dish.
Step 4: Bring the water to a rolling boil. Fix the noodles according to the package. Cook until they are al dente. Drain, do not rinse.
Step 5: In a large bowl, add in the cream of mushroom and the milk and stir until combined. Then add in the egg noodles, tuna, onions, peas, salt and pepper. Stir until noodles are coated.
Step 6: Next pour everything into the prepared dish. Then add the remaining cheese to the top of the casserole then add on the potato chips.
Step 7: Put into the oven and bake until it's hot and bubbly, which will take approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Then set the oven to broil (low) to let the top become golden brown (optional).
Step 8: When the casserole is finished, remove the pan from the oven. Let it cool down briefly.
Step 9: Enjoy!
Cook the pasta about a minute shorter than the earliest time on the bag or box. Then taste it. It should still be firm. If it tastes gummy, then it's too done.
Since you are already using peas in the casserole, your family may definitely frown on additional veggies. So serve up a nice side salad with lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, cheese, and a variety of dressings. Another great idea is a nice crusty bread or Croissants.
Yes, you should add a tablespoon of salt per lb of pasta BUT only use kosher or sea salt. Do NOT use regular table salt that is iodized.
Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole with Potato Chips
- 12 oz. wide egg noodles
- 1 10.5 oz. can condensed cream of mushroom soup
- ½ cup 2% milk
- 2 5 oz. cans solid white albacore tuna drained
- ½ cup frozen peas DO NOT THAW BEFORE USING
- ½ cup yellow onion diced (optional)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup potato chips roughly crushed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly spray an 8 x 8 baking dish. If you have doubled the recipe, spray a 9 x 13’baking dish, set aside.
- If you are adding onion to the dish, dice the onions and lightly sauté them in a non-stick pan with a little bit of olive oil or butter until they are translucent and then set aside.
- Salt the water and bring it to a boil in a large pot. Prepare the noodles according to the directions on the bag or the box. BUT make sure to cook just until they are al dente (NO LONGER). Then drain. DO NOT RINSE.
- While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl, add in the milk, and cream of mushroom soup and combine together thoroughly. Add in the cooked egg noodles, the drained albacore tuna, the onions, and the frozen peas and the salt and pepper. Stir all of the ingredients together and make sure the noodles are completely coated.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the cheese all over the top of the casserole then sprinkle on the potato chips.
- Place the dish into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly and hot inside. Turn the oven to boil (low) and let the top become golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool briefly before serving.
This tuna casserole is so versatile - My mom made it when I was a youngster and I continue to make this dish, now well into my senior years. For me, Mix-ins and toppings have changed over the years. Always trying something new, but topping wise, I always go back to the French Fried Onions.
That's a great idea. I hadn't thought about using French Fried Onions! I will use that the next time I make it. Thanks for the tip!