It's Easy To Skip Canned Soup In Your Next Tuna Noodle Casserole

If you've ever relied on tuna noodle casserole for a last-minute dinner to feed your family, you know how it goes: You dump a can of soup (typically cream of mushroom) in a casserole dish with milk and a few other pantry ingredients, including tuna, then throw the whole thing in the oven. While this method requires the least ingredients possible, there is a way to give your tuna noodle casserole a tasty upgrade while still adhering to an easy recipe. If you have a few extra minutes on your hands and want to see how delicious this dish can really be, try swapping the soup for gravy.

While making a creamy gravy requires more ingredients than a can of soup, you'll still only need a few things: butter, flour, milk, and seasonings like salt, pepper, and onion powder. The whole thing comes together in 15 minutes or less, and can be made a day in advance. You'll get all the creamy, rich, savory flavors that would come from a can of mushroom soup, but in a fresher sauce without all the added preservatives.

How to make tuna noodle casserole with gravy

While making gravy from scratch is a quick and easy task, it does require a little concentration. You're going to want to make a roux, which is a mixture with the same amount of flour as fat (in this case, butter). The key to a successful roux is stirring small bits of flour at a time into melted butter — and when you later add in the milk, you'll want to do the same. Make sure to keep stirring the whole time so the mixture doesn't burn. If you do notice some burning is starting to occur, or if your butter is browning, turn the heat down.

Once your roux is complete, stir in any seasonings you're using — beyond the basics, you can add garlic powder, lemon juice, and herbs like parsley, dill, and thyme. If you'd like to thin it out a little more and add some umami flavor reminiscent of a mushroom soup, feel free to whisk in some chicken or vegetable broth here. While your gravy is on the stove, you can also stir in grated parmesan or cheddar so it melts into the sauce — just make sure to leave some out so it can go on top of the dish. Once everything is combined, you can add the rest of the ingredients (tuna, noodles, veggies) and toss it all into your casserole dish to bake.