Midwest Tuna Noodle Casserole (no soup)

Tuna and noodles topped with creamy cheese and buttery cracker topping is a Midwest classic casserole the whole family loves!

Your pantry has all the ingredients for this flavorful and satisfying casserole that is easy on a budget without sacrificing flavor. Perfectly cooked egg noodles, veggies, tuna, cheese, and cracker topping without using canned soup. Just the way Grandma made it!

Do you love Midwest casseroles with easy pantry ingredients? Try Dorito Pie, Chicken Spaghetti Casserole, and One Pan Enchilada Pasta ... just some of my family's faves.

Cheesy Midwest Tuna Casserole made without soup
The ingredients for cheesy midwest tuna casserole

Key Ingredients:

  • Egg noodles. All of the classic tuna casseroles require egg noodles. It's a thing :).
  • Veggie broth. You can sub chicken broth if you prefer.
  • Tuna. I often use salmon, instead. Get the tuna canned in water.
  • Ritz crackers, crushed. You can use other varieties of crackers but make sure they are buttery.
  • Shredded cheese. Cheddar cheese is the classic for tuna casserole but I prefer Monterey Jack.
  • Dried dill. If you aren't a dill fan try using thyme or parsley, instead.
  • Corn. Frozen corn tastes the best but use canned if that is what you have on hand.
  • Onion & celery. Just a bit of freshly chopped onion & celery goes a long way in adding great texture and flavor.

Variations

  • Use potato Chips instead of crackers for the topping.
  • Sub French Fried Onions instead of crackers...skip the buttering step.
  • Swap frozen peas for the corn.
  • Mix the cheese into the casserole instead of putting it on top.
  • Try canned salmon or chicken instead of tuna.
Making tuna noodle casserole

Why is my tuna casserole so dry?

If your tuna noodle casserole came out dry, there are a couple of possible culprits aside from baking it too long. If you used a pan that was too big or if you simmered your sauce for longer than two minutes, you may have cooked out too much of the liquid, leaving you with a dry disappointment. Don’t stay sad, though. Just mix in a little broth or milk to make it better. 

Is tuna casserole supposed to be served hot or cold?

Guess what. Tuna noodle casserole can be served hot or cold. So, you don’t even have to bother warming those leftovers up if you don’t want to. Makes it a great option for a packed lunch!

How to make Cheesy Tuna Casserole

  1. Cook the egg noodles according to the package al dente directions.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery to the butter and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking. Remove to a small dish.
  3. Melt butter, add the crushed Ritz crackers & cook. Remove and set aside. Place more butter in the same saucepan and melt, stir in the all-purpose flour until you form a brown roux.
  4. Whisk the milk into the roux, and then add the broth and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for two minutes, then remove from heat.
  5. Place the cooked egg noodles in a casserole dish, then stir in the vegetables (including the corn), tuna and dill sauce (will still be quite thin).
  6. Top with shredded cheese and then the Ritz crackers.
  7. Bake it up!! Yummy

How to store leftover tuna casserole

Like most any casserole, store your leftover tuna noodle casserole in an airtight container for about three days. If you want it to keep longer, put that airtight container in the freezer for up to three months. 

This recipe is fantastic to separate out and freeze for future meals.

What to serve with tuna casserole

Tuna noodle casserole is great with a simple side salad and some biscuits. It also pairs great with just about any steamed or roasted veggie, but peas and broccoli are a favorite around here. If you’re serving it in the summer, try it with this Easy Green Pea Salad with Bacon!

Midwest Tuna Casserole Recipe

| 8 servings
Prep Time | 30 mins
Cook Time | 46 mins
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Tuna and noodles topped with creamy cheese and buttery cracker topping is a Midwest classic casserole the whole family loves!
Cost: 20

Ingredients
 

  • 1 lb egg noodles cooked al dente
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 stalks of celery diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2-5 oz can tuna
  • 1 cup shredded cheese I prefer cheddar or Monterey jack
  • 1 cup Ritz crackers crushed
Check out our Kitchen Reference Guide for help with unfamiliar terms.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Cook the egg noodles according to package al dente directions.
  • In a medium-sized saucepan, melt 1 Tablespoon of the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and celery to the butter and cook until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute until fragrant.
  • Remove vegetables to a small dish.
  • In the same pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the crushed Ritz crackers and cook for two minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • Place 2 Tablespoons of butter in the same saucepan and melt. Stir in the all-purpose flour until you form a brown roux.
  • Whisk the milk into the roux, and then add the broth and spices. Increase heat to medium-high until boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for two minutes, then remove from heat.
  • Place the cooked egg noodles in a casserole dish, then stir in the vegetables (including the corn), tuna and dill sauce (will still be quite thin).
  • Top with shredded cheese and then the Ritz crackers.
  • Bake for 35-30 minutes, until the sauce is set and the cheese is completely melted.

Nutrition

Calories: 409kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 15gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 517mgPotassium: 279mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 505IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 151mgIron: 2mg
This was easy to put together. We really liked all the veggies. Will be making this again. I can easily see splitting and freezing half.
Recipe Tester Beverly

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