Transforming Tuna Casserole: A Journey to Perfect Comfort Food Recipe

Are you stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of disappointing tuna casserole recipes? Have you been scouring cookbooks and the internet in search of the perfect blend of flavors and textures? I’ve been there! After years of experimenting with countless types of cheese and an array of additional ingredients, I finally cracked the code. The result? A deliciously satisfying tuna casserole that is easy to whip up, perfect for busy days or lazy weekends, and is a joy to share with friends, family, and loved ones.

The Endless Quest for the Perfect Tuna Casserole Recipe

Like many of you, my relationship with tuna casserole was fraught with trials and tribulations. I danced from one recipe to the next, hoping to find one that struck the perfect balance. Too often, I found myself staring down at a dish that was too dry, overwhelmingly bland, or simply unpalatable. I was on the brink of abandoning the idea of ever crafting a good tuna casserole when inspiration struck. Why not experiment with different types of cheese?

The Secret Ingredient: Velveeta Cheese

And thus began the turning point of my culinary journey. In the realm of cheeses, I discovered the secret weapon to elevate my tuna casserole recipe: Velveeta cheese. This cheese contributes an irresistibly creamy texture and imparts a level of cheesy delight that harmonizes with, rather than overpowering, the tuna flavor. My excitement at unearthing this gem of a recipe knew no bounds, and I couldn’t resist sharing this discovery with the world.

From Kitchen Experiments to Heartwarming Gestures

As it happens, the universe provided an excellent opportunity to share my newfound culinary masterpiece. A dear friend of ours welcomed a new baby into their lives, and in the midst of the joyful chaos that follows, we saw a chance to lend a helping hand.

We made a big batch of our favorite tuna casserole recipe, packed full of creamy Velveeta and hearty tuna. To simplify things further, we opted for a disposable aluminum pan from the dollar store, ensuring they wouldn’t have to deal with washing up afterward.

Rather than baking it ourselves, we left the dish ready-to-bake with straightforward instructions: preheat the oven to 350 degrees, bake for 30 minutes, and allow a few moments to cool before serving. This gift of a meal was greeted with gratitude, providing them with a comforting, hearty dinner during those busy first few weeks of parenthood.

The Recipe: The Star of the Show

Now that you have a taste of my journey to the perfect tuna casserole, it’s time to delve into the recipe. Simple, straightforward, and packed full of flavor, this is a recipe you’ll come back to time and time again.


  1. Pot For cooking pasta
  2. 1 9 x 13 Pan or Casserole Dish For Baking Casserole


  1. 1 box elbow macaroni noodles (16 oz regular sized box)
  2. 10 Slices Velveeta cheese
  3. 2 cans white albacore tuna drained
  4. 1 1/2 cup cream of chicken soup
  5. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  6. 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  7. 1 sleeve Ritz crushed
  8. 1/4 cup melted butter optional

Instructions (Tuna Casserole Recipe)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook the pasta in a pot of water according to the directions on the box
  3. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot
  4. Tear the Velveeta slices into smaller pieces and add them to the pasta while it’s still hot. Stir intermittently to ensure the cheese melts thoroughly.
  5. Add the drained tuna, mayonnaise, cream of chicken, and lemon juice to the pot, stirring until the ingredients are well combined.
  6. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with a non-stick spray.
  7. Transfer the mixture from the pot to the baking dish, spreading it evenly.
  8. Crush the Ritz crackers while still in the sleeve, and distribute them evenly across the top of the casserole.
  9. If desired, drizzle melted butter over the top of the crackers.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, or until bubbles begin to form at the edges. And voila! You have yourself a delightful tuna casserole.

The Tuna Casserole That Keeps on Giving

This now-perfected tuna casserole recipe has firmly established itself as a staple in our home. Its simplicity and deliciousness are a winning combination, paired with the bonus of being a great way to utilize common pantry items. This recipe is more than just a dish—it’s a source of comfort and familiarity, bringing warmth and joy to our table every time.

The Art of Adaptation

What’s beautiful about any recipe, including this tuna casserole, is that it serves as a springboard for your creativity. You can add more ingredients according to your preference. Fancy some heat? Add hot sauce or crushed red pepper flakes. Craving a bit of crunch? Top it off with extra Ritz crackers before baking. This is your chance to let your culinary creativity shine! Also, I found that this asparagus recipe of mine goes so well with this tuna casserole.

A Testament to Tuna Casserole Recipe

From hectic weeknight dinners to generous potluck contributions or a thoughtful meal for a friend in need, this tuna casserole is a versatile, crowd-pleasing recipe. The flavors are reminiscent of comfort and nostalgia, yet they manage to surprise and delight every time. It’s a dish that not only satisfies the palate but also warms the heart.

Wrapping It Up

This journey through the evolution of a simple tuna casserole into a beloved favorite recipe has been one of trial, error, and eventual triumph. It’s my hope that this recipe and the stories shared around it, inspire you to create, experiment, and discover the joy of sharing delicious food. Happy cooking and bon appétit!

Tuna Casserole Recipe topped with Ritz crackers and baked to perfection

Baked Tuna Casserole

Cole @ HandyCookbook
This tuna casserole recipe delivers a comforting medley of flavors, combining the creamy, rich cheesiness from Velveeta and the savory, heartiness of white albacore tuna, all layered within tender elbow macaroni noodles. The addition of cream of chicken soup and mayonnaise brings depth and creaminess, while a hint of lemon juice adds a subtle zestiness that cuts through the richness, and a crispy, buttery Ritz cracker topping provides a satisfying crunch for contrast.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 383 kcal


  • 1 Pot For cooking pasta
  • 1 9 x 13 Pan or Casserole Dish For Baking Casserole


  • 1 box elbow macaroni noodles 16 oz regular sized box
  • 10 Slices Velveeta cheese
  • 2 cans white albacore tuna drained
  • 1 1/2 cup cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crushed
  • 1/4 cup melted butter optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cook the pasta in a pot of water according to the directions on the box
  • Drain the pasta and return it to the pot
  • Tear the Velveeta slices into smaller pieces and add them to the pasta while it is still hot. Periodically stir them in to the middle of the pasta to help them melt fully.
  • Add the drained tuna, mayonnaise, cream of chicken, and lemon juice to the pot and stir until combined.
  • Spray a 9×13 baking dish with a non stick spray
  • Pour the mixed ingredients from the bowl and spread it evenly across the dish
  • Crunch up the Ritz while the are still in the sleeve, and then pour them evenly across the top of the casserole
  • Drizzle melted butted over top of the Ritz (optional)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until you see bubbles starting to form at the edges


Velveeta cheese can be substituted for solid block Velveeta cheese if you shred it. 10 Slices are equal to approximately 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
I do not recommend substituting for a different type of cheese. 
This is a great meal to make for another family. We like to prepare it in a throwaway 9×13 dish from the dollar store. We will stop right before adding the Ritz crackers. Put the crushed-up Ritz into a baggie and give them the casserole and the baggie of Ritz with the instructions to spread the Ritz over top and then cook at 350º for 30 minutes or until bubbles start to form. Adding the melted butter over top is optional so we don’t include that in the instructions when preparing this for another family. 


Serving: 236gCalories: 383kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 19gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 833mgPotassium: 293mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 410IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 164mgIron: 1mg
Keyword pasta, tuna, velveeta
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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