This mac and cheese tuna casserole is a simple one pot meal that the whole family (and your budget) will enjoy. With frugal and tasty coming together for this cheesy and easy tuna noodle recipe.
This tuna macaroni casserole mixture is often referred to as "poor man's tuna noodle casserole" because it's a cheaper way of getting similar results to the real deal cheesy tuna noodle casseroles you'd expect
With cheesy goodness in every bite, bursting fresh peas, and bits of tuna, this dish is tasty and very easy to prepare too!
Why This Recipe Works
- It's affordable. I mean, boxed macaroni is cheap, and I think this entire pot costs me less than $5 to make, so I can see how the name might stick.
- It's easy to make. If you're looking for a simple one pot meal, this macaroni and cheese with tuna and peas recipe really hits the spot.
- The whole family can love it. My son may pick out the peas on his plate, but this is a recipe that everyone enjoys to eat. Cheesy, savory, meaty and delicious.
Boxed Macaroni and Cheese- You can use any brand to make this recipe, but I find that Walmart's Great Value Thick and Creamy Mac and Cheese is our favorite.
Frozen Peas- You will want to add in some frozen peas to the plate for added color. If desired, you can use canned sweet peas, but drain them and add them in at the very end.
Onion- For added sweetness and depth of flavor, you'll want an onion.
Butter- This helps to bring the dish together and adds more richness.
Milk- Use milk to thin down the cheese sauce.
Canned Tuna- Adding in canned tuna is what gives us that great taste and adds an affordable protein to the dish.
Cream of Mushroom Soup- This will give us greater consistency and flavor.
Ritz Crackers- This is an optional topping, but I highly recommend it. The buttery crispness just adds so much to the recipe as far as flavor depth and textures go.
For the exact amounts needed, please see the recipe card below.
🍽 Equipment Needed
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Check out how to make mac and cheese tuna casserole with these simple step-by-step instructions:
Cook your macaroni noodles according to package directions until al dente.
Just before draining the water, stir in the frozen peas. Then dump the contents into a colander and rinse under cold water.
Return the empty pot to the stove over medium heat. Add butter and onions to the pot. Cook the butter until melted and the onions are soft.
Add in the drained tuna.
Stir to break up the chunks.
Add in the milk, cream of mushroom soup, and cheese packets.
Stir until well mixed.
Add the drained noodles and peas back into the pot.
Stir until well mixed.
Pour the cheesy noodles into a greased 1 ½ quart or quart casserole dish.
Sprinkle crushed Ritz crackers over the top.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
Serve warm and enjoy!
🍴 Recipe Tips
I've made this mac and cheese with tuna recipe a few times and something we cannot decide upon is whether or not we enjoy it more with or without the canned mushroom soup. Honestly, it tastes great either way but trying it for yourself is the only way to decide which is better.
If you think you would prefer to use canned peas instead of frozen, then simply drain and rinse the peas before use. Add them in at the end, just before serving.
We also really enjoy our tuna noodles with a crushed Ritz cracker crumb topping, so if you're looking for a great way to serve up your stovetop tuna casserole give it a try and see how you like it! 🙂
We've tried this Mac N Cheese Tuna Casserole with different brands and types of macaroni and cheese including Kraft, store brands, "creamy" versions, and shells or shapes. Depending on the different macaroni you use, the flavor and textures change slightly. That said, you really can't go wrong if you use your favorites!
Traditionally, tuna noodle is a dish with noodles, cheese, cream of soups, tuna, and a veggie (usually peas). The toppings (if any) can vary from crushed potato chips to breadcrumbs. This dish is very simple with boxed macaroni and cheese, tuna, cream of mushroom, peas, and onion.
I usually serve the dish alone as-is but sometimes I enjoy serving it up with more veggies like a simple green garden salad or steamed broccoli. Sticking with this that tastes great with cheddar cheese is a pretty safe bet for getting a good tasting meal on your plate.
To heat this dish you can simply place a serving on a plate in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or you can reheat it on the stovetop. To avoid it drying out consider adding a tablespoon of butter or a dash of milk to keep the mix hydrated.
More great casserole recipes to try
- Easy Hashbrown Casserole
- Instant Pot Tater Tot Casserole
- Overnight Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
- Chicken Divan Casserole
Mac and Cheese Tuna Casserole
- 1 small Onion (1 cup), finely diced ($0.40)
- 2 boxes Macaroni and cheese, like Kraft ($1.00)
- 2 cans (5oz) Tuna in water, drained ($1.44)
- 1 ½ cups Frozen peas ($0.47)
- ½ cup Butter ($0.75)
- ½ cup Milk ($0.10)
- 1 can (10.5oz) Cream of mushroom soup ($0.50)
- ½ sleeve Ritz crackers *optional ($0.29)
- Cook your macaroni noodles according to package directions until al dente.
- Just before draining the water, stir in the frozen peas. Then dump the contents into a colander and rinse under cold water.
- Return the empty pot to the stove over medium heat.
- Add butter and onions to the pot.
- Cook the butter until melted and the onions are soft.
- Add in the tuna and stir to break up the chunks.
- Mix in the milk, cream of mushroom soup, and cheese packets until well mixed.
- Stir the noodles and peas.
- Pour the cheesy noodles into a greased 1 ½ quart or quart casserole dish.
- Sprinkle crushed Ritz crackers over the top.
- Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.