This Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole with panko topping is a classic recipe made from scratch. My tuna casserole is the go-to recipe for a quick, easy family meal that not only tastes good but also has that ‘comfort food’ appeal.
Creamy Tuna Casserole Recipe
This recipe from scratch, featuring a crispy panko topping, goes beyond the average staple ingredients for a bit more of a mature taste. You will also know that your ingredients are better, healthier, and free of additives or preservatives as well as extra sodium.
Of course, my daughter certainly enjoys it just as much as my cheesy tuna casserole version. She isn’t too picky and that’s a lucky thing for me!
How To Make Tuna Noodle Casserole From Scratch (no condensed soups!)
Preheat your oven to 350 ºF ( 175 ºC ). You will need a large casserole or baking dish, or a Dutch oven with a 2.5 – 3 qt capacity.
Bring a saucepan to medium high heat with the first 1/4 cup portion of butter. Melt the butter with the minced garlic, then add the chopped celery and onion to cook with the butter and garlic for approximately 2 – 3 minutes.
Once the onion has become translucent and both the onion and celery are tender, add seasoning: salt, pepper, and dill. Add more to taste, if desired.
Add the chicken broth next and gradually whisk in the all-purpose flour. Alternatively, you can whisk the flour in the cold chicken broth prior to adding to the saucepan.
Allow the sauce to thicken while heating, stirring frequently. The sauce will thicken quickly once it starts, so watch it closely.
Continue stirring and add the heavy cream. Stir until it is combined well with the sauce. Add a half cup each of the shredded Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses, and continue to stir until the cheeses are melted.
Add the albacore tuna to the sauce, stir it in, then remove from heat. Set aside.
Transfer the drained and rinsed noodles to a large casserole dish ( 2.5 – 3 qt ) or Dutch oven, and add the thawed frozen peas. Pour the cheesy tuna sauce mixture over the noodles and peas, then stir to combine all of the ingredients thoroughly.
For the topping, melt the second portion of butter in a small to medium sized microwave safe bowl. This should only take 30 seconds on high.
Next, add the panko bread crumbs to the bowl of melted butter, and stir using a fork. Mix until the breadcrumbs are all coated with butter and you have a crumble appearance to the breadcrumbs.
Spread the breadcrumb topping over the combined casserole ingredients in your baking dish. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the breadcrumbs.
Transfer your casserole to the center rack in the center of your oven and bake at 350 ºF ( 175 ºC ) for 40 minutes. The casserole is done when the topping is golden browned and the casserole is bubbling around the edges.
If the topping has browned before the casserole is cooked, loosely cover with tin foil to prevent burning. Continue to cook the casserole until done.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 1/2 cup butter (2 portions of 1/4 c or 4 Tbsp (57 g) each)
- 2-3 cloves garlic (crushed or minced)
- 1/4 cup celery (chopped, include the greens)
- 1/2 cup onion (1/2 small onion, finely chopped or minced)
- 1 tsp each, salt & pepper (to taste)
- 1/2 Tbsp dill
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
- 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese (grated)
- 2 5 oz cans albacore tuna (in water) (drained)
- 16 oz egg noodles (16 oz package of noodles, cooked and rinsed)
- 12 oz sweet peas (frozen peas, thawed)
- 1 cup panko (or breadcrumbs)
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese (grated)
- Start with half of the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat, add the garlic while the butter is melting. Melt the butter and add the chopped celery and onion, cooking for 2-3 minutes or until onion becomes slightly transparent and both celery and onion have softened. Season with salt, pepper, and dill (add more to taste if needed).
- Add chicken broth and gradually whisk in the flour (these can be combined in the measuring cup prior to adding to the broth, if desired). Allow the sauce to warm and thicken, stirring frequently as it will thicken quickly once it starts.
- Add the heavy cream to the thickened sauce and mix thoroughly. Add a 1/2 cup each of cheddar and monterey jack cheeses, stir to combine and melt into the sauce. Add the albacore tuna, combine, then remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large casserole dish or dutch oven, combine the drained and rinsed egg noodles with the package of frozen peas. Pour the tuna sauce mix over the noodles, then stir until thoroughly combined.
- Melt the 2nd portion of butter in a small microwave safe bowl, heated in the microwave in a 30 second increment. Add the panko crumbs in with the melted butter and use a fork to combine until crumbly in appearance.
- Top the casserole ingredients with the buttered panko breadcrumbs, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake in the center of a preheated oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 minutes. The topping should be nicely golden with the sauce bubbling around the edges of your dish.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma’s kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!