Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna Noodle Casserole is a creamy and comforting classic American dinner full of noodles, a creamy mushroom sauce, tuna, and peas.

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As I’ve gotten older my palate has become more adventurous, preferring flavors that surprise and excite my tongue. But I grew up in the midwest in the ’80s when creamy casseroles were a dinnertime staple, so I still have a soft spot for classic dishes like this Tuna Noodle Casserole. It might not be as flashy as many of my other creations, but it’s filling, creamy, and totally comforting! I did update this classic a bit to fit my current cooking style by making this tuna noodle casserole from scratch, with no canned condensed soup.

Overhead view of tuna noodle casserole in a square dish with a wooden spoon

What is Tuna Noodle Casserole?

This classic casserole dish starts with a creamy mushroom sauce combined with delicate egg noodles, peas, and tuna, then topped with a buttery breadcrumb, cracker, or potato chip topping. The classic version of tuna noodle casserole uses a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup for the sauce, but in the recipe below I’ve whipped up a homemade creamy mushroom sauce instead. It does take a little more time, but it’s totally worth it, IMHO!

Make it Cheesy

One of the most popular variations of this classic casserole is to add cheddar cheese. So if you like your tuna noodle casserole extra cheesy, feel free to stir in a cup of shredded cheddar when combining the sauce, pasta, and tuna. It will get nice and melty as the casserole bakes! Parmesan is another great option.

What to Serve with Tuna Noodle Casserole

This casserole can be a bit on the heavy side, especially if you prefer to make the cheesy version, so I like to pair it with a really light and simple side salad. The delicate flavor and texture of the salad perfectly balance the creamy tuna casserole and it helps you get a little more green on that plate. Plus, it only takes five minutes to make! A simple Three Bean Salad might also be nice.

close up of tuna noodle casserole on a plate with salad
Side view of tuna noodle casserole being scooped out of the casserole dish

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna Noodle Casserole is a creamy and comforting classic American dinner full of noodles, a creamy mushroom sauce, tuna, and peas. 
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $6.85 recipe / $1.14 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 1.3 cups each
Calories 432kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, diced $0.32
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided $0.44
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced $1.69
  • 3/4 tsp salt, divided $0.04
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.40
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth $0.13
  • 4 oz. cream cheese $0.75
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas $0.25
  • 8 oz. wide egg noodles $0.70
  • 2 Tbsp breadcrumbs $0.08
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.22
  • 12 oz. chunk light tuna, drained $1.79

Instructions

  • Finely dice the onion and add it to a skillet with 1 Tbsp butter. Sauté the onion over medium heat until softened.
  • While the onion is cooking, slice the mushrooms. Add them to the skillet with the onion and ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper. Continue sautéing over medium heat until the mushrooms have softened. Remove the mushrooms and onions from the skillet and set aside.
  • Add the flour and an additional 2 Tbsp butter to the skillet. Cook and whisk over medium heat as the butter melts. Continue whisking as the butter and flour bubbles and foams for about one minute.
  • Add the milk, broth, and cream cheese to the skillet. Whisk to combine with the butter and flour mixture. Continue cooking over medium, whisking until the cream cheese has fully melted in and the sauce begins to simmer, at which point it will thicken.
  • Add the frozen peas and the cooked mushrooms and onions back to the sauce. Stir to combine, then season with more salt and pepper (about ½ tsp salt and another pinch of pepper). Set the sauce aside.
  • Begin to preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the noodles. Once boiling, add the egg noodles and boil for about 7 minutes, or just until tender. Drain the noodles in a colander.
  • While the noodles are boiling, prepare the breadcrumb topping. Melt 1 Tbsp butter, then stir in the breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
  • Combine the creamy mushroom sauce, cooked and drained noodles, and drained tuna.
  • Transfer the casserole mixture to a 3 quart casserole dish, then top with the breadcrumb topping.
  • Bake the casserole for about 25 minutes or until heated through and golden brown on top. Serve hot and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1.3cups | Calories: 432kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 20g | Sodium: 811mg | Fiber: 3g
Side view of tuna noodle casserole being scooped out of the casserole dish

How to Make Tuna Noodle Casserole – Step by Step Photos

Onion and butter in skillet

Start by finely dicing one yellow onion. Add it to a skillet with one tablespoon of butter and sauté over medium until the onions are soft.

Sautéed mushrooms in the skillet

While the onions are sautéing, slice 8oz. of mushrooms. Add the mushrooms, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper to the skillet with the onions and continue to sauté until they are tender. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to a clean bowl.

butter and flour added to the empty skillet

Add two more tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour to the skillet. Continue to cook over medium, whisking the butter and flour together as the butter melts. Continue to cook and whisk for about one minute after the butter and flour mixture begins to bubble and foam. The butter and flour mixture helps thicken the sauce.

milk, broth, and cream cheese added to the skillet

Add 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of vegetable broth, and 4oz. cream cheese (cut into chunks) to the skillet. Continue to cook and whisk these ingredients together over medium heat until the cream cheese has fully melted and the sauce begins to simmer.

Peas and mushrooms added to the sauce

Add the cooked onions and mushrooms and ½ cup frozen peas to the creamy sauce. Stir to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper (I added another ½ tsp salt and a pinch of pepper). Set the sauce aside.

Cooked egg noodles in a pot, pasta spoon in the center

Begin to preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add 8oz. wide egg noodles. Boil for about 7 minutes, or just until tender. Drain the noodles in a colander.

Parmesan breadcrumb topping in a bowl

While the pasta is boiling, mix together the Parmesan breadcrumb topping. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a small bowl, then stir in 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan.

pasta and tuna added to creamy sauce

Finally, combine the creamy mushrooms sauce, cooked and drained egg noodles, and one 12oz. can of tuna (drained). If you wanted to add cheddar, this is the point where I’d stir it into the mix.

Tuna noodle casserole in the dish ready to bake

Transfer the casserole mixture to a 3-quart casserole dish and top with the Parmesan breadcrumb topping.

baked tuna noodle casserole

Bake the casserole for about 25 minutes in the preheated 350ºF oven, or until heated through and golden brown on top.

close up of tuna noodle casserole being scooped out of the dish

Serve hot and enjoy the creamy goodness!

overhead view of tuna noodle casserole on a plate with salad

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One Pot Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff

Guess what time it is! Comfort-food-o’clock. And what makes better comfort food than a rich creamy pasta dish, like this One Pot Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff? This is yet another “better than the box” meal. It cooks in one easy pot, just like hamburger helper stroganoff, but it’s homemade. You’re going to want to tuck […]

The post One Pot Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Guess what time it is! Comfort-food-o’clock. And what makes better comfort food than a rich creamy pasta dish, like this One Pot Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff? This is yet another “better than the box” meal. It cooks in one easy pot, just like hamburger helper stroganoff, but it’s homemade. You’re going to want to tuck this recipe into your back pocket for those nights when you’re super tired and need an extra comforting meal. :)

Originally posted 2-17-14, updated 5-20-21

overhead view of a skillet full of beef and mushroom stroganoff

Use All Beef, No Beef, or Both!

I used half ground beef and half mushrooms to stretch my pennies a bit further, but you could do all mushrooms or all beef if you prefer. If you’re doing a vegetarian version with all mushrooms, use mushroom or vegetable broth to replace the beef broth.

Tips for “One Pot” Success

One pot recipes can be a bit tricky for some, so here are some pointers:

  • Use heavy, thick cookware to help the ingredients heat evenly.
  • The broth does not need to fully cover the noodles for them to cook, so resist the urge to add extra water or broth.
  • Make sure the liquid is simmering the whole time the pasta is cooking. If the heat is too low, the pasta will just get gummy.
  • Stir the pot occasionally to prevent sticking, but not too often or your risk breaking down the pasta.
  • Use your judgment. If your pasta looks close to being cooked through, but there is too much liquid left in the skillet, let it finish simmering with the lid off. If the liquid is gone but your pasta is still not tender, add a splash more water or broth and continue to simmer.

Every piece of cookware and every range top is different, so one pot recipes are a bit like riding a bike. You have to feel it out and find the sweet spot for the equipment you’re using.

Use Good Broth

The broth brings a lot of flavor to this beef and mushroom stroganoff, so make sure you’re using a nice and flavorful broth that has adequate salt. I like to use Better than Bouillon to make broth for recipes because it’s super flavorful, I can mix up any amount I need, and the jar stays good in the refrigerator for months, so there are no leftovers to go to waste. If you still find your stroganoff to be on the bland side in the end, an extra pinch of salt can really help the flavors pop.

Side view of a bowl full of beef and mushroom stroganoff

 

Want more One Pot Recipes? Check out our One Pot Recipe Archives!

Overhead view of a bowl full of beef and mushroom stroganoff

One Pot Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff

This super easy one pot Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff is a delicious and comforting weeknight dinner that requires just a few ingredients.
Total Cost $5.54 recipe / $1.39 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 about 1.5 cups each
Calories 476kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.22
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.50
  • 8 oz. mushrooms $1.49
  • 1/8 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.01
  • 2 cups beef broth $0.26
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard $0.02
  • 8 oz. wide egg noodles $0.60
  • 1/3 cup sour cream $0.15
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional) $0.10

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic. Add the garlic and butter to a large pot or skillet and sauté over medium heat for about one minute, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant.
  • Add the ground beef and continue to sauté until it is fully browned.
  • While the beef is browning, slice the mushrooms. Add the sliced mushrooms and some freshly cracked pepper to the pot with the beef. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms are soft (about five minutes).
  • Add the uncooked egg noodles to the pot along with the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard. Stir to combine. The liquid will not fully cover the noodles, but that's okay.
  • Place a lid on the pot and allow the liquid to come up to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as it reaches a boil, give the pot a stir, replace the lid, and reduce the heat to low. Allow the pot to simmer on low heat for about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and replacing the lid every couple of minutes. After 7-10 minutes the pasta should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed.
  • Once the noodles are tender, add the sour cream and fold it into the noodles until everything is rich and creamy. Give the noodles a taste and add extra salt or pepper, if needed. Roughly chop a handful of parsley leaves and sprinkle over top. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5Cups | Calories: 476kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 24g | Sodium: 614mg | Fiber: 3g

Overhead view of a bowl full of beef and mushroom stroganoff

How to Make Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff – Step by Step Photos

garlic sautéed in butter in the skillet

Begin by sautéing 2 cloves of minced garlic in 2 Tbsp of butter until soft (1-2 minutes). You can use a large pot or large skillet, as long as it is big enough to hold all of the pasta AND has a lid (the lid will be used later).

browned ground beef in the skillet

Next, add 1/2 lb. ground beef and continue to sauté until it is fully browned.

Sliced mushrooms on a cutting board

While the beef is browning, slice 8oz. mushrooms. White button mushrooms are fine, but if you can get these baby bella mushrooms they are even more awesome (shout out to ALDI for carrying these at an affordable price).

Mushrooms in the skillet with beef

Once the beef is browned, add the mushrooms and some freshly cracked pepper. Continue to sauté until they are soft (about five minutes).

noodles added to the skillet, beef broth being poured in

Add ½ lb. wide egg noodles to the skillet along with 2 cups beef broth, 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, and ½ tsp Dijon mustard. Stir to combine. The broth will not fully cover the noodles, but that’s okay. The steam in the skillet will help cook them and they’ll be stirred to make sure even cooking.

Cooked noodles with beef in the skillet

Place a lid on the skillet and bring the broth up to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, give it a quick stir to loosen the noodles from the bottom, return the lid quickly, and turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer, stirring occasionally and always replacing the lid, for 7-10 minutes or until the noodles are tender and there is only a small amount of thick sauce left in the skillet. 

Sour cream added to beef and noodles in the skillet

Finally, add ⅓ cup sour cream and fold it into the noodles until everything is creamy and delicious!

Finished one pot beef and mushroom stroganoff topped with parsley

Top off the beef and mushroom stroganoff with a little chopped parsley for color (because stroganoff is kind of boring to look at) and it’s time to dive into that skillet full of creamy goodness! You might want to give it a taste at this point to see if you want a little extra salt or pepper (again, depending on the salt content of your broth), but other than that it’s time to eat! And only one dish to clean. :)

close up side view of beef and mushroom stroganoff in the skillet

The post One Pot Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. Not only is it incredibly easy, but even just the smell of it simmering away is soothing and totally gives me hygge vibes. While I’ve had a stove top version of this Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup for years, I thought […]

The post Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. Not only is it incredibly easy, but even just the smell of it simmering away is soothing and totally gives me hygge vibes. While I’ve had a stove top version of this Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup for years, I thought it was high time to show just how easy and hands-off it is to make with a slow cooker (or crock pot). This is the perfect winter Sunday recipe to have going while you tend to other chores or just catch up on Netflix. :)

Homemade Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Overhead view of a slow cooker containing freshly cooked homemade chicken noodle soup

What Size Slow Cooker Do I Need?

I would suggest using a 6 quart slow cooker. I used a 5 quart slow cooker and it was filled dangerously close to the top, so 6 quart would be a much better fit. If you have a smaller slow cooker you can cut the recipe in half by changing the number of servings in the box next to servings in the recipe card below. This will adjust the amounts of all the ingredients for you. It will still need to cook for the same amount of time.

What Are “Split” Chicken Breasts?

Split chicken breasts are one whole chicken breast that has been split down the breast bone into two pieces (right and left breast) with the bones, rib meat, and skin still attached. Also known as bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Using this type of chicken breast is key to getting the best flavor in your chicken soup. The bones, connective tissues, and dark rib meat are where all the flavor’s at. Bone-in chicken thighs are also a great option.

Can I Use Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast?

Technically you can, but your soup will have a lot less flavor. You may find that you need to use pre-made chicken broth in place of the water listed in the recipe below to get more flavor in your soup.

Overhead view of a bowl full of slow cooker chicken noodle soup

Can I Use Frozen Chicken?

It’s not recommended to add frozen meat to slow cookers. It takes too much time for the meat to thaw and come up to a safe temperature, leaving it in the temperature “danger zone” where bacteria can flourish for too long. If you have frozen chicken that you’d like to use, make sure to thaw it fully using a safe method before adding it to the slow cooker.

To Use Chicken Skin or Not to Use Chicken Skin

I remove the chicken skin from the split chicken breasts before adding it to the slow cooker, but you don’t have to. There is a lot of fat and flavor in the skin, so if you want an extra rich soup you can leave it on. You’ll just remove the skin at the same time that you debone the chicken meat.

Can I Freeze Chicken Noodle Soup?

Yes! This recipe makes a huge batch, so you’ll probably want to freeze half of it. Make sure to divide the soup into single portions just after cooking (so it cools quickly), cool it completely in the refrigerator over night, then transfer to the freezer the next day. You can freeze in quart-sized freezer bags or reusable freezer safe food storage containers.

Overhead view of a ladle lifting chicken noodle soup out of the slow cooker

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Slow cooker chicken noodle soup is an incredibly easy and soothing winter recipe that will fill you up and warm you from the inside out!

  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($0.24)
  • 1/2 lb. carrots (about 4 medium) ($0.30)
  • 4 ribs celery ($0.43)
  • 2 split chicken breasts* (2-2.5 lbs. total) ($6.30)
  • 1 tsp dried basil ($0.10)
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley ($0.30)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
  • 1 bay leaf ($0.15)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.05)
  • 8 cups water ($0.00)
  • 6 oz. wide egg noodles ($0.68)
  • 1 Tbsp salt (or to taste) ($0.10)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional) ($0.20)
  1. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, peel and slice the carrots, and slice the celery. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery to a 6 quart slow cooker or crock pot.

  2. Remove the skin from the bone-in split chicken breasts, then place them on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker. Add the basil, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and pepper to the slow cooker.

  3. Pour 8 cups of water over the ingredients in the slow cooker. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

  4. After cooking on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board and discard the bay leaf. Add the egg noodles to the slow cooker, stir to combine, and replace the lid, with the heat turned on to high.

  5. Use two forks to remove the chicken meat from the bones, shredding the meat as you go. Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the soup. The noodles should be tender after about 8-10 minutes of being in the soup (this may take a few minutes longer if the slow cooker was previously set to low).

  6. Once the chicken has been returned to the soup and the noodles are tender, begin seasoning the soup with salt. The true flavor of the soup will not be pronounced until it is properly salted. Start with 1 tsp salt, adding more until the soup is bold and flavorful. I use about 1 Tbsp (3 tsp). Finally, stir in a handful of chopped parsley for garnish just before serving.

*Split chicken breasts have bones, rib meat, and skin attached.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up side view of a bowl of slow cooker chicken noodle soup

How to Make Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup in a Slow Cooker – Step by Step Photos

Diced onion, carrot, celery, and minced garlic in the slow cooker

Dice one yellow onion, peel and slice 1/2 lb. carrots (about four), slice four ribs of celery, and mince 3 cloves of garlic. Add all four to a 6 quart slow cooker or crock pot.

Chicken and herbs added to the slow cooker

Remove the skin from two split chicken breasts (leave bones and rib meat attached). Place the chicken in the slow cooker along with 1 tsp dried basil, 1 Tbsp dried parsley, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1 bay leaf, and some freshly cracked black pepper.

Chicken noodle soup ready to cook

Add eight cups of water to the slow cooker, place the lid on top, and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.

Remove cooked chicken from slow cooker

After cooking on high for four hours or low for eight hours, remove the cooked chicken to a cutting board and discard the bay leaf (it usually floats on top).

Add egg noodles to slow cooker

Add 6 oz. wide egg noodles to the slow cooker, stir to combine, and replace the lid. Let the noodles continue to cook on high heat while you shred the chicken.

Chicken meat shredded with forks, bones on the side

Use two forks to remove the chicken meat from the bones, shredding it as you go. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker. The noodles will be tender after being in the pot for about 8-10 minutes (this may take a few minutes longer if your slow cooker had previously been set to low).

Season chicken noodle soup with salt

Once the noodles are tender and the shredded chicken returned to the pot, begin seasoning the soup with salt. Start with 1 tsp and keep adding more until the soup tastes vibrant and delicious. I use about 1 Tbsp (3 tsp). Finally, add 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish just before serving.

Finished Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

As with any soup or large batch recipe, it helps to divide the soup into smaller portions before cooling in the refrigerator. This helps the food cool faster, which is a better food safety practice.

Front view of a ladle lifting some chicken noodle soup out of the slow cooker

Add some crackers on top and enjoy this totally from-scratch homemade chicken noodle soup, just like grandma used to make. :)

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