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Instant Pot Tuna Casserole


This instant pot tuna casserole is the perfect quick weeknight meal to make when you’re short on time. The whole cooking process is almost hands-off and takes under 30 minutes. To make this delicious comfort food casserole, you’ll need minimum ingredients, most of which come from the pantry.

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white bowl filled with pasta, peas and green garnish

Why you will love it

  • This pressure cooker tuna casserole recipe is made with minimum preparation in advance and only a couple of steps.
  • The basic recipe is made under 30-minutes, with less stress and fewer dirty dishes after dinner.
  • It’s a balanced, delicious family meal that can feed the whole family, including picky eaters.
  • This dish could be easily called a “pantry meal” since the main ingredients, pasta and canned tuna, are pantry staples and almost always available.
  • This recipe makes tuna casserole without cream of mushroom soup or other canned soup while still keeping it tasty with simple and flexible ingredients.

Key Ingredients

ingredients to make tuna casserole in the instant pot

Ingredient Notes

Canned tuna. I like to get canned tuna in bulk from Costco; it’s wild albacore tuna packed in water by Wild Planet company, and it’s delicious.

Pasta. Choose your favorite kind; I used gluten-free elbow macaroni pasta made with brown rice for this recipe.

Peas. I used frozen peas left at room temperature for about 15 minutes, but fresh peas would also work.

Shredded Cheese. If possible, grate your cheese; it’s always tastier this way. I like to grate a large block of cheddar cheese from Costco.

Broth. Make sure you use a flavorful broth since it’s a key to having a delicious meal at the end. Chicken broth, beef broth, or vegetable broth would work the best for the flavor.

Mayo. When making tuna casserole with mayo, I like to get mayo made with avocado oil; it gives a creamy texture and adds a hint of zing.

How to Make Tuna Casserole In The Instant Pot – Step by step

Step 1. Gather the ingredients. Open canned tuna, drain and mince with the fork while still in the can. In the instant pot, add chicken broth, add dry uncooked pasta, add drained tuna mixture on top. Don’t stir.

instant pot insert with canned tuna and broth inside

Step 2. Place a lid on the instant pot, seal it and turn on high-pressure cook time for 4 minutes. Once time is up, and you hear the beeping sound, following the instant pot instructions do a manual quick release by turning the knob and safely releasing the air.

instant pot with set timer on 4 minutes

Step 3. Once the pressure is released, open, add mayo, spread cheese, and stir to combine.

close up show of instant pot with pasta and cheese

Step 4. Add peas and gently stir one more time without crushing them. Garnish with dill, and add some crunchy toppings if desired before serving.

instant pot with pasta and green peas

Recipe Notes

Avoid the burn. When making tuna casserole in an instant pot, add the chicken stock to the pot first before adding the rest of the ingredients. Don’t stir the mixture.

Keep it creamy. Don’t forget to use quality mayo and plenty of shredded cheese. 

Flavor. The mayo adds enough salt to this easy tuna casserole; you might want to add more salt when tasting it at the end. If serving to adults, I like to add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard for an extra flavor kick.

More protein. If you would like to have more protein, add three cans of tuna instead.

Avoid too liquidy mixture. Ensure that pasta, broth, and protein rations are correct when making this recipe.

Storing. Store leftovers in the air-tight glass container in the fridge, reheat before serving.

Variations

There are many variations of the recipe for Instant Pot Tuna Casserole. You can add different ingredients to make it your own.

Some people like to add different spices and seasonings. You can also use different types of tuna, such as chunk light tuna, albacore tuna, or even canned salmon or canned chicken.

There are many possibilities, so feel free to experiment and see what you like best.

Make This Basic Tuna Casserole even more flavorful

Give one or more of these additions a try the next time you make tuna casserole! Whatever additions you choose, they’re sure to take your tuna casserole to the next level:

  • For extra zing: add diced dill pickles and diced green olives.
  • Add spices: powdered garlic powder, powdered onion, garlic, dill weed.
  • One great way to add extra flavor and nutrients to tuna casserole is to add sliced Baby Bella mushrooms. They add a meaty texture and earthy flavor that pairs perfectly with the creamy sauce and salty tuna.
  • Use extra-sharp cheddar or try different cheese combinations for an extra boost of flavor.
  • You can also try adding some shredded, cooked chicken for an extra protein boost.
  • Another option is to stir in a few cups of steamed broccoli florets for some added green goodness.
  • Another good way to add extra flavor to your tuna casserole is by adding some diced fresh onion, green bell peppers, and chopped celery.
  • Use 1/4 cup of sour cream, in addition to mayo, to make it even more creamy.
  • Feel free to add extra veggies before pressure cooking, like a mix of carrots or green beans.
  • When serving, add crispy toppings: crushed potato chips, tortilla chips, or toasted breadcrumbs will do the trick.

Noodles choice.

To make it more nutritious, use pasta made from chickpeas, it’s widely available now, and you can even get it at Costco. You can also use Gluten-free pasta or gluten-free noodles. Or, if you want to make the instant pot tuna noodle casserole recipe, use wide egg noodles.

What to serve with

Some good side dishes to serve with tuna casserole include boiled or mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, or a simple green salad.

You could also serve some bread, like dinner rolls or biscuits.

If you’re looking for something a little more indulgent, try serving garlic bread or cheesy garlic toast alongside your casserole.

Storage Tips

This casserole is best enjoyed fresh, but you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. The casserole will last in the fridge for up to three days.

Reheating Tips

The best way to reheat tuna casserole in the instant pot is by using the sauté function. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the inner pot and set it to medium heat.

Once the oil is hot, add the casserole and cook it for 3-5 minutes; use a wooden spoon to stir occasionally. If the casserole is too thick, you can add some water or broth to thin it out. Serve hot!

best herbs to use for a tuna noodle casserole

Many herbs can be used in tuna noodle casserole, but some are the best options. Fresh parsley, thyme, and rosemary work well with the creamy sauce and tuna.

If you want to add extra flavor to the dish, consider using red pepper flakes, basil, dill, or even tarragon. These herbs will elevate the taste of your tuna noodle casserole and make it absolutely delicious.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can you freeze tuna casserole?

Yes, you can freeze tuna casserole. Just make sure it is fully cooked before freezing and stored in an airtight container or freezer bag. It will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.

To reheat, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat the following day.

Why is the tuna casserole dry?

One possible reason why tuna casserole is dry is that there are not enough liquids for the pasta to soak up, which will lead to a dry dish. To avoid this, make sure to use enough broth to cover the pasta.

Best Pressure Cooker for This Recipe?

I used a large 10-quart-sized Instant Pot. It’s the perfect family-friendly size.

two white bowls with pasta and peas

More Instant Pot Recipes

Did you try this recipe? I love hearing from you! Don’t forget to rate and leave a comment below.

two white bowls with pasta and peas

Instant Pot Tuna Casserole

Natalia-Flavorful Home
This easy instant pot tuna casserole is the perfect quick weeknight meal to make when you're short on time. It only takes a few minutes to cook in the Instant Pot, and it's a filling and delicious meal.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • instant pot

Ingredients
  

  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 12 oz pasta uncooked, your favorite kind
  • 2 cans tuna , drained and minced
  • 2 cups shredded cheese , cheddar
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 cups peas , frozen
  • 1/2 tsp salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • dill to garnish

Instructions
 

  • Gather the ingredients. Open canned tuna, drain and mince with the fork while still in the can. In the instant pot add broth, dry uncooked pasta, add drained canned tuna. Don't stir.
  • Place a lid on, close, and seal the pressure cooker. Turn the Instant Pot on high pressure for 4 minutes. Once you hear the beeping sound, following the instant pot instructions do a manual release by turning the knob and releasing the air.
  • Once the pressure is released, open, add mayo, and stir. Spread cheese, stir once more.
  • Add peas, gently stir one more time without crushing them and serve. Garnish with dill if desired.

Notes

Avoid the burn. When making tuna casserole in an instant pot, add the chicken stock to the pot first before adding the rest of the ingredients. Don’t stir the mixture.
Keep it creamy. Don’t forget the quality mayo and shredded cheese. 
Flavor. The mayo adds enough salt to this easy tuna casserole; you might want to add more salt when tasting. If serving to adults, I like to add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard for an extra kick.
More protein. If you would like to have more protein, add three cans of tuna instead.
Avoid too liquid mixture. Ensure that pasta, broth, and protein rations are right.
Storing. Store leftovers in the air-tight glass container in the fridge, reheat before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 434kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 21gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 871mgPotassium: 350mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 738IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 2mg
Tried this Recipe? Leave us a Comment!
Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments to Instant Pot Tuna Casserole
Cheryl

5 stars
What a lovely surprize!! This is a keeper!!! And I dont say that often about internet recipes. I used Barilla Plus (high protein) penne pasta… and 4 cans of tuna because our cans were only 4.4 oz vs the old 5 oz size. and we like alot of tuna in ours. My broth was Sams Choice organic chicken broth and I used frozen mixed veggies – again – because thats what I had. This is absolutely delicious! Flavorful from the get go.. did I mention it was FAST?!?!?! This is going to be an oft used recipe from here on out — THANK YOU!!!!

04/13/22 @ 11:42 PMReply
Natalia Thompson

I am so glad you liked it! Thank you for your kind words! This is my go-to recipe when life gets busy.

04/15/22 @ 10:16 PMReply
Ryan

You stir in 2 cups of frozen peas right before serving the casserole? Surely that’s an error and you cooked them on the stove or something? Salt and pepper before cooking or after?

04/15/22 @ 7:13 PMReply
Natalia Thompson

I add peas right after the casserole finishes cooking while the casserole is still hot. The peas are defrosted by that time and they add a fresh flavor to the casserole. I add salt and pepper after cooking, tasting it first since canned tuna, broth and mayo might have added enough salt already. Thank you for your questions! I hope you like it!

04/15/22 @ 10:28 PMReply
Angel

Do you have recommendations for using brown rice instead of noodles? Or do you think it wouldn’t work with that?

04/18/22 @ 4:52 PMReply

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