Instant Pot Tuna Casserole

This Instant Pot Tuna Casserole recipe is creamy, delicious, and made from scratch using no canned soups. Featuring pasta noodles, creamy cheesy sauce, and crunchy topping, this casserole is perfect for a family dinner that is quick, easy, and budget-friendly.


Instant Pot Tuna Casserole Recipe

Instant Pot Tuna Casserole

This hearty tuna casserole features made-from-scratch creamy, cheesy sauce and a crunchy topping of Ritz crackers and potato chips that takes the classic recipe to the next level and requires no baking. Your family will love this Instant Pot version!

This traditional comfort food is great for serving large groups so you can whip a larger batch up over the holidays or make it for the family during the week. 

Using canned tuna gives you a budget-friendly, nutritious, and protein-rich meal that is also super delicious.  

We hope you try this Instant Pot creamy tuna noodle casserole.

Instant Pot Tuna Casserole
Ingredients Icon

Ingredients For Creamy Tuna Casserole

Tuna  – good quality tuna is key to a good tuna casserole but you can use whatever is affordable for you; pick tuna in brine, spring water or olive oil unless you want to add a fun flavor to the dish. Canned salmon can be used as well.

Pasta – most shorter pasta would work here such as fusilli, penne, shells, or rigatoni; traditional pasta noodles can also be used for a more classic version.

For the sauce – onions, celery, and garlic make the base for the sauce before milk, cream, and cheese are added. You can use Cheddar or any other semi-hard cheese and Parmesan is also a lovely addition here. For cream, we use half and half but you could also use heavy cream or light sour cream. 

Peas – we love adding a few frozen peas for color, texture, and a little something extra but these can be omitted; you could also add pre-blanched broccoli or carrots. Crunchy Topping – Ritz crackers or something similar can be used and good ol’ potato chips. Crumbed together, these make a tasty, addictive topping for any casserole.

Ingredients For Creamy Tuna Casserole

How To Make Tuna Casserole In Instant Pot

You will find the full recipe with ingredients and nutritional breakdown in the recipe card below.

There are two simple parts to making this creamy tuna casserole in the pressure cooker. The first stage is to cook the pasta. The second stage is to make the sauce using the Saute function. You then mix everything together and top with the crunchy crackers and chips. 

Let’s break it down with step-by-step photos and video. You can use a 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot.

Step 1. Add dry pasta, water and salt to the Instant Pot. The water should just cover the pasta.

Step 2. Secure and lock the lid and set the Instant Pot to 5 minutes (see notes for times) on HIGH pressure. The pressure will take about 10-12 minutes to build up and the timer will start. Once the timer is done, do a quick release to depressurize the pot.

Note: Halfway through, the steam jet will get a bit frothy and fizzy, which is pretty normal when cooking pasta. You can hover a towel above the steam jet to catch some of the liquid.

Step 3. Strain the pasta and set aside in the sieve. Return the pot to the Instant Pot base.

Step 4. Turn the Saute on Normal mode. Melt the butter and add onions, celery and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes to soften, stirring a few times. Add the garlic and stir through.

Step 5. While still on Saute, add the flour and and stir through for 30 seconds to a minute. Slowly whisk in the milk in batches, combining it with the flour. Then whisk in the sour cream and, finally, grated cheese, again in batches. Turn the Saute off once the cheese has melted into the sauce.

Step 6. Stir in the peas, chunks of tuna and pepper. Add the cooked pasta and green onions and stir through. 

Step 7. Transfer to a casserole dish and top with crushed Ritz crackers and potato chips, garnish with extra green onions or chives.

Instant Pot Tuna Casserole

Recipe Tips

A popular variation on this recipe is to use egg noodles instead of pasta. This choice usually comes down to preference. Personally, we prefer pasta over noodles.

You can add extra grated cheese on top and bake the casserole for that golden cheese crust finish. Then omit the crumbs or add those on top after.

Good quality tuna makes a big difference to the taste especially if you prefer a less fishy taste.

How To Serve Tuna Casserole

This is a one-pot kind of dish that can be served on its own. If you would like a side dish, we recommend a fresh salad to contrast the creamy, hearty casserole or some steamed or stir-fried broccoli, asparagus, spinach or any other green vegetables. 

Some crusty bread or garlic bread would take the comfort level up a notch. 

A full-bodied white wine like Chardonnay or Viognier is a great wine pairing for this dish.

Storing Casserole

Tuna casserole will last for 2 days in the fridge (for best freshness). 

You can freeze this casserole too. Make sure to cool it completely and cover it tightly or with plastic wrap (make sure the dish is freezer safe). Leave the crunchy topping out before freezing.

The frozen casserole should be completely thawed before baking/reheating to make sure that it cooks completely through. You can add some grated cheese on top. 


MORE INSTANT POT CASSEROLE  RECIPES


Intant Pot Tuna Casserole

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Instant Pot Tuna Casserole Recipe

Learn how to make a delicious, creamy Instant Pot Tuna Casserole recipe from scratch, no canned soups in sight. Featuring pasta noodles, creamy cheesy sauce and crunchy topping, this casserole is perfect for a family dinner that is quick, easy and budget-friendly.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 6
Calories: 568kcal
Author: Instant Pot Eats

Ingredients

For Pasta Cooking

  • 14 oz pasta such fusilli, shells or penne (14 oz/ about 400 g)
  • 1 tsp salt

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion medium, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic diced
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 cup cream or half & half, or light sour cream
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 cup frozen peas thawed out in boiling hot water
  • 10 oz canned tuna drained
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • cup green onions chopped or chives

For the topping

  • ½ cup Ritz crackers crushed into crumbs
  • ½ cup potato chips crushed into crumbs
  • Extra green onions

Instructions

Pressure to cook the pasta

  • Add dry pasta, water and salt to the Instant Pot. The water should just cover the pasta.
  • Secure and lock the lid and set the Instant Pot to 5 minutes (see notes for times) on HIGH pressure. The pressure will take about 10-12 minutes to build up and the timer will start. Once the timer is done, do a quick release to depressurize the pot.
  • Note: Halfway through, the steam jet will get a bit frothy and fizzy, which is pretty normal when cooking pasta. You can hover a towel above the steam jet to catch some of the liquid.
  • Strain the pasta and set aside in the sieve. Return the pot to the Instant Pot base.

Make the creamy sauce

  • Turn the Saute on Normal mode. Melt the butter and add onions, celery and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes to soften, stirring a few times. Add the garlic and stir through.
  • While still on Saute, add the flour and and stir through for 30 seconds to a minute. Slowly whisk in the milk in batches, combining it with the flour. Then whisk in the sour cream and, finally, grated cheese, again in batches. Turn the Saute off once the cheese has melted into the sauce.
  • Stir in the peas, chunks of tuna and pepper. Add the cooked pasta and green onions and stir through.
  • Transfer to a casserole dish and top with crushed Ritz crackers and potato chips, garnish with extra green onions or chives.

Notes

Cooking Times For Pasta Shapes: 5 minutes for Fusilli or Penne, maybe 4 minutes for shells

Nutrition

Serving: 300g | Calories: 568kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 1154mg | Potassium: 593mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 770IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 303mg | Iron: 3mg
CourseMain Course
CuisineAmerican
KeywordInstant Pot Casserole, Tuna Noodle Casserole, Tuna Recipes, Instant Pot Pasta Recipes, Canned Tuna Recipes, Budget-Friendly, Instant Pot Dinner Recipes
Made this recipe?Mention @instantpoteats or tag #instantpoteats!

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By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.

PS. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. 

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