How to Make the Ultimate Tuna Noodle Casserole

Casseroles don’t get enough credit. People are all about one-pot meals and easy dinner hacks, but when you utter the word “casserole,” they picture a Pyrex baking dish filled with beige mush prepared by a corner-cutting grandma who still cooks with a Virginia Slim dangling from her lips. I am a proud Millennial (an old one, but stay with me here) and I think casseroles are great—tuna noodle casserole in particular. It’s creamy and satisfying and probably the second best way to turn a can of tuna into dinner (niçoise salad being the first—see, I can be a food snob, too). But casseroles are only as good as their ingredients. That’s why we rounded up all the components you need to make the best tuna noodle casserole this side of the 1970s.

best canned tuna

The Tuna

American Tuna with Sea Salt

If you use crummy tuna, you’re gonna have a crummy tuna noodle casserole. Simple as that! Given that your canned tuna will be marinatin’ in bubbly, hot cream of mushroom soup, you need a good, firm, meaty tuna. American Tuna with Sea Salt is just the stuff. “This tuna doesn’t taste like it’s packed in water so much as it tastes like it was packed in the natural juices of the fish itself,” Sporked contributor Danny Palumbo wrote. “It’s a really fresh, excellent product.” Most importantly, it doesn’t taste like a can! Nothing ruins a casserole like can.

Read the full ranking of the best canned tuna (pouches, too!)

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart




best cream of mushroom soup

The Soup

Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup with Roasted Garlic

During our cream of mushroom soup taste test, I could not stop eating this soup—and that’s saying something when you have to taste, like, 12 different varieties of cream of mushroom soup. The garlic flavor gives it a little extra “oomph” without causing it to stray too far from classic Campbell’s cream of mushroom territory. This is the casserole binder you know and love, but just a little bit tastier and better. 

Read the full ranking of the best cream of mushroom soup

Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart




best canned peas

The Peas

Kroger Garden Variety Sweet Peas

A lot of people use frozen peas in their tuna noodle casserole, but ours is going to be just as good with only pantry ingredients. That’s cool, right? These Garden Variety peas from Kroger are plump and firm and taste fresher than any other canned peas we tried. These will add lovely little pops of sweetness to an otherwise salty casserole.

Read the full ranking of the best canned peas

Credit: Merc / Ralphs




best trader joe's seasonings

The Seasoning

Trader Joe’s Onion Salt

If you’re giving your casserole a bread crumb topping, Trader Joe’s onion salt is a really easy way to turn unseasoned bread crumbs into seasoned ones. It’s not just granulated onion and salt, see. It’s also got dehydrated green onion, chives, and some granulated garlic, too. It’s a real all-in-one hero of a seasoning blend and it’s perfect for most casseroles. 

Read the full ranking of the best Trader Joe’s seasonings

Credit: Merc




Bonus Item: Great Value Wide Egg Noodles

Full disclosure: We’ve yet to taste test egg noodles here at Sporked, but if you’re a frequent reader, you’re probably aware that we really like Great Value products. They taste good. They’re cheap. And they’re sold at Walmart, so they’re (very) available nationwide. Basically, we’re willing to guess that they make egg noodles that are worthy of the ultimate tuna noodle casserole.

About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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  • I was hoping to see a tuna salad recipe or tuna casserole recipe at the end of your best ingredient article. Could you please send me a basic recipe that you recommend for each? Thank you very much!

  • Where is the recipe?

  • Where’s the recipe?

    • I looked and looked and didn’t find the recipe

      • Hi Carol! We don’t do recipes, but we hope we can direct you toward the best ingredients for whichever recipe you choose!

      • You don’t need a recipe
        1can tuna
        1 can soup
        1/2 can milk
        1 can peas
        1/2 to full pack cooked noodles
        Mix all ingredients together sprinkle in paprika pepper garlic and onion powder you can add fresh onion and bell pepper for more flavor
        Place in casserole dish, sprinkle with paprika and crush potatoe chips
        Bake at 350 for 30-45 minute till top is brown and crispy