Kitchn Love Letters

The One-Pan Canned Tuna Dinner That Leaves Everyone Fighting for Seconds (I Make It Every Week!)

published Mar 9, 2024
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Overhead view of casserole in a dark green pot with a scoop taken out.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Lauren Radel

Despite growing up eating a lot of canned tuna (my dad’s Tuna Royales are famous and the one meal I know I will eat when I visit my parents), I’m not someone who always has some in their pantry. It’s not that I don’t like it, I just kinda forget about it. It’s not a protein I think to turn to every week, despite its convenience. So when our editor Christine Gallary published this recipe for a one-pot tuna noodle casserole — that has serious Tuna Helper vibes (if you know, you know) — I was instantly reminded that I have been missing out. 

What Makes This Tuna Casserole Recipe So Good

When you’re making a creamy pasta, seafood might not be the first protein you think of, but tuna weirdly works so well when tossed with noodles and a sauce of sautéed onions, garlic, thyme, and Dijon for flavor. It gets creaminess from milk (no heavy cream necessary) and has the perfect velvety texture when tossed with the noodles. To mimic the components of a tuna melt (and because who says no to more cheese?!), you stir in grated sharp cheddar just until melty.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Lauren Radel

Why This Recipe Really Works

If you’re someone who relies on easy one-pan dinner ideas most nights of the week (so, all of us?), this recipe checks all the boxes for convenience: You don’t dirty more than one pan, the noodles don’t require a pot for boiling (you cook them right in the skillet!), and at the end you stir in tuna, cheese, and frozen peas (which brilliantly only need one minute to cook).

Also worth shouting out that you add a little sour cream at the very end for a subtle tang. If you have yogurt on hand, you can totally use that too. While this isn’t an essential ingredient in the dinner, it adds depth of flavor that you won’t second guess. Add a little salty crunch of crushed Ritz on top and you have a brilliant one-pan dinner you’ll always want to keep in your rotation.

Get the recipe: One-Pot Tuna Noodle Casserole