Dilly Tuna Casserole Recipe

Tuna casserole is an American comfort food classic, a dish recipe developer Michelle McGlinn describes as "a beloved favorite of Midwestern families for ages." (The 1950s, in particular, may have been its heyday.) She says that tuna casserole — and, indeed, any casserole — is something that is meant to be "cheap, easy, and delicious," adding that tuna casserole is a particularly simple dish because "it uses cheap non-perishables, so it is easy to make at any time." That being said, she's chosen to make a version of it that she says is "a little more grown-up" than the standard version.

What McGlinn has done here, she says, is to start with the standard recipe made from canned tuna plus canned soup plus noodles and dress it up with Dijon mustard and fresh dill, elements that she says "gives it a very French flavor profile without being too fancy or meticulous to prepare." She also simplifies the preparation a bit by using dry noodles instead of pre-cooking them. As she tells us, "I notice a lot of recipes cook the pasta first, but it is not necessary," explaining that "they soak up the water and cook into a soft noodle."

Assemble the ingredients for the tuna casserole

To make this casserole, you'll need condensed cream of celery soup, water, water-packed tuna, salt, pepper, Dijon mustard, frozen peas, egg noodles, fresh dill, and the kind of crunchy fried onions that come in a can or a pouch.

A few notes on ingredient swaps: McGlinn says, "You can swap the fresh dill for dried for similar results" and recommends using 1 ½ teaspoons sprinkled over the top before baking the casserole and another 1 ½ teaspoons once it's done. She also says that you can use cream of mushroom, chicken, onion, or any other cream-based condensed soup in place of the celery, she just uses it because she finds it to be "a nice base for the Dijon, dill, and onion flavors here" and because she doesn't particularly care for the mushroom soup that is used in most recipes.

Mix the casserole ingredients

Begin preparations by preheating the oven to 400 F, then stir the soup and water together in a 9x13-inch pan. You can use a smaller pan if you prefer, but McGlinn advises that it's best not to use anything bigger.

Stir the tuna, salt, pepper, and mustard into the soup, then break apart the peas and stir those in, as well. Add the dried noodles, making sure to submerge them in the liquid as much as possible. Sprinkle half of the dill fronds over the top. McGlinn points out that the dill fronds are "the little, tiny stems branching off from the thick main stem." She says she leaves them as they are, explaining that dill is "a very delicate flavor, so I don't mind leaving larger pieces on the dish," but says that you can chop up the fronds if you wish.

Bake the tuna casserole

Check to make sure the oven has achieved the proper temperature. Once it hits the mark, put the casserole in and bake it for 20 to 25 minutes. When it's done, the egg noodles should be soft and most of the liquid should be absorbed.

Top the casserole with crunchy onions and extra dill

Take the casserole out of the oven, but don't turn off the heat. Sprinkle the onions over the casserole, then bake it for another 5 to 10 minutes until the topping is crunchy and golden brown. Now take the casserole out of the oven and this time you can go ahead and turn it off. Sprinkle the rest of the dill over the onion topping.

McGlinn notes that this casserole can be frozen before you bake it, but in that case she recommends leaving out the water and noodles until you're ready to make it. She does say, though, that you can freeze the casserole after it's been cooked, as well. Leftovers can also be refrigerated for up to 5 days, although she recommends reheating it in the oven instead of the microwave as this "makes for crispier onions that way."

Dilly Tuna Casserole Recipe
5 from 48 ratings
This dilly tuna casserole is the elevated, grown-up version of what you enjoyed as a child.
Prep Time
Cook Time
tuna casserole on white plate
Total time: 30 minutes
  • 1 (10 ½-ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 (5-ounce) cans tuna in water, drained
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups dry egg noodles
  • 14 fresh dill fronds, divided
  • 1 cup crispy fried onions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Mix the condensed soup and water in a 9x13-inch casserole dish.
  3. Mix in the tuna, salt, pepper, and mustard.
  4. Break apart the frozen peas and stir them into the tuna mixture along the noodles, making sure to submerge the latter in liquid..
  5. Top the casserole with half of the dill fronds.
  6. Bake the casserole for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the noodles are soft and most of the water has been absorbed.
  7. Top the casserole with the crispy onions and bake it for another 5 to 10 minutes, until they are crispy and golden brown.
  8. Top the cooked casserole with the remaining dill.
Calories per Serving 342
Total Fat 11.6 g
Saturated Fat 3.4 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 45.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 39.4 g
Dietary Fiber 3.9 g
Total Sugars 2.1 g
Sodium 760.1 mg
Protein 21.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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