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Twisted Tuna Casserole Recipe

Twisted Tuna Casserole is creamy, rich, and flavorful with a sauce made from scratch and a crunchy breaded topping with melted cheese for the perfect amount of flavor and texture. The sauce is found in our homemade alfredo and chicken lasagna recipes, and is well loved by everyone that makes it. It has a delicious depth of flavor and a silky smooth consistency.

You can change up the ingredients in this recipe to fit your preferences and nutritional needs. The noodles can be swapped out for a gluten free option, or omitted completely and made into a tuna veggie casserole. The breaded topping can be left off if you prefer, and the sauce can be made into a lower fat option by using plain yogurts and skim milks.

Casseroles are some of the best meals because they are so very versatile and can be made however you need.

Twisted Tuna Casserole Scooped Out Of The Casserole
Perfect easy weeknight dinner for the family.

Why Is my tuna casserole so dry?

Dry Tuna casserole is most often the result of an improper sauce to noodle ratio. The noodles will absorb a lot of liquid during the baking process. Tuna casserole needs to have lots of liquid before baking to compensate for the noodle absorption. For this recipe we use a homemade sauce that fits the noodle to sauce ratio perfectly.

Sometimes baking the casserole too long or uncovered can also result in a dry meal. Make sure you follow the correct baking times and temperatures for the casserole. It’s best to leave the casserole covered at least 30 minutes. If you want the top browned, remove the tinfoil and bake an additional 5 minutes. The top should be slightly brown with a crunchy texture.

Do you eat tuna casserole hot or cold?

It is best when eaten immediately after cooking, it can however be eaten hot or cold. Fresh cooked tuna casserole is delicious and filling. Cold tuna casserole makes a great option for a potluck or picnic dish. Just make sure to follow safe food guidelines if the casserole is kept out of the refrigerator for long periods of time

Twisted Tuna Casserole

Can this casserole be frozen?

Yes! this casserole can be unbaked or fully baked, and will last up to 7 days in the fridge. Just make sure you are storing your leftovers in an airtight container. Make sure to put them in the fridge or freeze them less than 2 hours after cooking. It should not be left out for long periods of time at room temperature.

Freezing it unbaked

  1. Make the casserole according to instructions
  2. The noodles should still be slightly firm, not all the way cooked through.
  3. Place all ingredients in baking dish
  4. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap
  5. Cover with tinfoil
  6. Label the casserole with the date
  7. Place in freezer
  8. This casserole can be frozen for up to 3 months
  9. Thaw and bake

Freezing it baked

  1. Let casserole cool to room temperature
  2. Place leftovers in freezer
  3. flash freeze for 3 hours until frozen solid
  4. Remove from freezer and place leftovers in a freezer safe container
  5. Label the container with the date
  6. Place in freezer

To serve. Completely defrost before baking as directed in the recipe.

To bake frozen: Add 1/2 Cup water (or milk) over the topping and keep tightly wrapped with foil while baking. Add about an extra 30 minutes to the baking time. Serve when bubbling.

Tuna casserole with egg noodles

Noodles are by far the most popular option for this casserole, and egg noodles are the usual pasta of choice. They are quick cooking, budget friendly, absorb the flavor of the casserole very well, and make a tasty dish of comfort food.

We love to get creative with the ingredients of traditional dishes, so we aren’t afraid to change up the noodles; which is how we came up with this ‘twisted’ version. It’s also very budget friendly to use what you have on hand if it isn’t necessary to use specific ingredients in a dish.

At the bottom of this post we’ve added a gluten free option for you from a reader of Homemade Food Junkie. Any way you make it this is a good recipe. It’s easily adjusted to your families tastes and nutritional needs! Do what you need to make this tuna casserole best for you.

Twisted Tuna Casserole Recipe

How to make tuna casserole

Making this recipe from scratch allows you to personalize the recipe. We really like a creamy tuna casserole with lots of flavor. We jazzed this one up so it’s much creamier and has that nice crunchy top.

Sauté the veggies first. We use avocado oil for high heat cooking. Avocado oil is an excellent, heart healthy high heat oil.

Homemade white sauce instructions

While the noodles are cooking, and your veggies are simmering, make your white sauce.

  1. Melt butter in a pan.
  2. Whisk in some butter and spices.
  3. Heat it to a boil and when it gets thick, slowly add milk or chicken broth.
  4. whisk away until it smoothes and thickens to your desired consistency.

This sauce is very easy and very fast to make. Just watch it so it doesn’t scorch!

Homemade Alfredo Sauce
Delicious Italian flavor. This sauce is made completely from scratch.

While the sauce is simmering and building flavor, follow the steps for how to make tuna noodle casserole as directed below.

  1. Flake your albacore tuna into the sauteed veggies
  2. Add the white sauce and stir it up
  3. Drain the noodles and add the sauce and veggies
  4. Stir ingredients together and add to a casserole dish

Making the topping for this cheesy tuna casserole is as follows

  1. Shred your cheese and crush the croutons
  2. The croutons are a must for this delicious, crunchy crust
  3. After your casserole filling is in your ovenproof dish, spread the cheese on top
  4. Sprinkle the crushed croutons over the cheese
  5. Bake it

If you are looking for gluten free options, here are some reader suggestions for you to try.

Thank you Angie for taking the time to let us know how you made this recipe gluten free

Twisted Tuna Casserole
Yield: 10 servings

Twisted Tuna Casserole

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Twisted tuna casserole is moist, rich, flavorful comfort food with a white sauce made from scratch and a tasty, crunchy topping.


  • 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 1 8 ounce package noodles
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper (optional for a spicier casserole)
  • 1 7.5 ounce can Albacore tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
  • 1 cup frozen peas or corn, thawed
  • 1 clove garlic, or 1 garlic shallot, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the sauce
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • For the Topping
  • 2 cups seasoned croutons, crushed
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with oil or cooking spray
  3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion, pepper, celery, and garlic, and cook 5 minutes, until tender. Continue to cook and stir until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside
  6. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, and whisk in flour, until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk, and continue cooking 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened.
  7. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  8. Stir together tuna, peas or corn, veggie mixture, sauce, and cooked noodles. Transfer to the baking dish.
  9. Top with cheese, and crushed croutons.
  10. Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, covered, until bubbly and lightly browned.
  11. Remove cover and bake an additional 5 minutes to melt cheese


NOTES Use Gluten free flour and noodles and bread crumbs for a gluten free version of this recipe.This casserole make 10 SMALL but filling servings.

Nutrition Information



Amount Per Serving Calories 322

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Mrs. Hoke

Thursday 13th of December 2018

Dear Diane,

This looks like a great recipe but I am finding it hard to read it through all the ads and photos... do you have a printable version?

-Interested yet frustrated


Thursday 13th of December 2018

Hello Mrs. Hoke, We certainly do have a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. If you scroll past the recipe tutorial and nutritional information you will find the printable recipe card. I hope you enjoy this meal. Happy Holidays and have a great day,

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