Try this easy, one-dish slow cooker tuna casserole that is full of flavor in a rich, creamy combo of egg noodles, veggies, and tuna. With an extra tasty topping of crushed potato chips, you are sure to find a new favorite or a reason to revisit a timeless classic.
The tuna casserole or “tuna pasta bake” has roots generations back as an economical and simple family favorite. Many modern chefs have put their own spin on this timeless comfort food and now, you can try it out in a delicious slow cooker method.
Made in just a few hours, this is not a slow cooker dish to leave all day. However, it is simply perfect for when you just need to grab a few items from the pantry and make something delicious in time for dinner.
- Tuna – But, what kind? For this recipe, choose an albacore tuna which will have a rich but not too “fishy” flavor and slightly higher fat content than other varieties. Choose a can of either chunk or solid and packed in water (not oil).
- Chicken broth – For extra savory flavor
- Half and half – Bringing in the creamy element
- Frozen peas and carrots – You can buy these as a combo or in separate packages
- Seasonings – Use an herb and garlic seasoning blend along with salt
- Flour – A small portion will be mixed with water to create a slurry to thicken the recipe
- Butter – Enhancing the rich taste
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese – Fresh really elevates the taste
- Egg noodles – Egg noodles tend to cook fairly quickly which works well for this recipe timeline.
- Potato chips – This is the tasty extra topping that couldn’t be more simple and delicious!
How To Make Slow Cooker Tuna Casserole
Start off your meal prep by draining the tuna from the can and adding it to the slow cooker.
Note: If you purchased a “solid” variety, be sure to break up the pieces and spread out evenly.
Then, add all the remaining ingredients – except the potato chips – to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours (the high setting is not a great option for this recipe due to the noodles).
Slow cooker tuna casserole is a relatively fast recipe when it comes to slow cooking, so stir occasionally within the shorter cooking time to ensure that the noodles cook evenly.
Finally, as soon as the noodles are cooked, crush the potato chips and sprinkle across the top of the casserole. Vent the lid by propping it open just a bit and turn it on high for 15-20 minutes to ensure all ingredients are heated through.
Best Sides To Serve With Slow Cooker Tuna Casserole
With a creamy pasta dish, a great side would be one with a little extra texture and crunch. Think fresh vegetables, like a crispy garden salad with a tangy dressing, or a bowl of citrusy fruit.
Oven-roasted broccoli or Slow Cooker Buttery Dill Corn on the Cob would be great options for flavor and variety.
To spruce up your meal with an extra course, add some classic vanilla ice cream and a zesty treat such as Slow Cooker Lemon Cookie Bars.
Tuna Casserole FAQs
- What is the best type of canned tuna to use in tuna noodle casserole? I prefer albacore tuna for a milder flavor. The best type to use for a casserole is tuna that is packed in water, not oil because it will be easier to drain and won’t add the oil to your casserole.
- Why is my tuna casserole so dry? Casseroles can dry out during the cooking process if there is not enough liquid at the onset, and also by overcooking. If you notice that the casserole is becoming dry when you stir the noodles, add a few tablespoons at a time of either half and half or chicken broth. Be sure to turn the setting to “warm” once cooked to keep from drying out.
- Can this recipe be made gluten-free? Gluten-free lovers, there is a variation for you! Use dried gluten-free egg noodles and reduce broth and half and half to ¾ cup each. Also, be sure to swap out gluten-free flour or cornstarch for the flour to make the slurry.
Recipe Substitutions and Additions
Sometimes you need a few options to change up a staple recipe! You can add shredded cheddar cheese or another favorite variety to the top with or without potato chips. (Maybe even a Manchego or Asiago if you’re feeling fancy!)
Try different chip flavors or even French-fried onions (just like your favorite green bean casserole).
If tuna won’t pass the family-favorite test, you could also make this same dish with cooked canned chicken. For another option, try any frozen mixed veggie variety you like – frozen green beans and corn would also be tasty!
Can Tuna Casserole Be Made In The Instant Pot?
If you’d like to prep tuna casserole on a tighter timeline, the Instant Pot is a great option as well.
Combine all the ingredients – except the crushed potato chips. Edit the original recipe by reducing both the broth and the half and half to ¾ cup each.
Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. Add the crushed potato chips as a topping on individual servings.
Slow Cooker Tuna Casserole
- Slow Cooker
- 2 – 5 oz cans albacore tuna
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
- 2 teaspoons herb and garlic seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons flour mixed with an equal amount of water to make a slurry
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 6 oz egg noodles
- 4 oz potato chips crushed
- Drain tuna and add to slow cooker
- Add remaining ingredients except chips to slow cooker and stir to combine
- Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours
- Stir occasionally to ensure noodles cook evenly
- As soon as noodles are cooked, add crushed chips to the top
- Vent the lid and turn on high for 15-20 minutes to heat through all ingredients
- Store in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. You can freeze this casserole, but leave the crushed potato chip topping off of the dish. Keep in mind that the noodles will soften and change texture after being frozen.
- Microwave in short increments or reheat in the oven until warmed through. If removing from the freezer, be sure to allow time to defrost in the refrigerator before reheating.