Home > Dinner > Creamy Tuna Pasta Creamy Tuna Pasta November 15, 2017 | 44 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. Creamy Tuna Pasta combines tender and saucy noodles with sweet peas and tuna. Cook everything together in one pot for a seriously creamy and unforgettable dish the whole family will love! Love Tuna? Try some of our other popular tuna recipes like this one-pan Tuna Casserole, these cheesy Tuna Melts, or this Tuna Macaroni Salad (the best creamy tuna pasta salad recipe!). Creamy Tuna Pasta As soon as the weather starts cooling down, all I crave is hearty comfort food! Soups, stews, a good pot roast, and a personal favorite: Creamy Tuna Pasta. My mom frequently made creamy tuna over rice growing up–it was a family favorite. This recipe is adapted from hers but uses pasta instead of rice. And instead of having to wash a few different pots, we’re preparing it all in ONE pot — hooray for whoever is on dish duty! QUICK TIP So, how do we make Creamy Tuna Pasta without cream? Because we’re cooking it all in one pot! We make this creamy tuna pasta with milk, broth, and a little water– and then let the starches from the pasta thicken everything up nicely. How To Make Creamy Tuna Pasta The full recipe is down below; here are our top tips for this recipe! Cook in a nonstick pot. Pasta has a tendency to stick to the bottom of a cast-iron pot. Use room-temperature cheese and milk. If you think about it, set out the cheese and milk about 30 minutes to an hour before making this recipe. Warmer cheese melts nicer than cold cheese and warmer milk will form into a nice, thick sauce quicker. Stir often. To ensure even cooking, give this recipe a good stir every few minutes. Don’t forget to season. Typically, pasta is boiled in salted water. Since we aren’t cooking it separately, don’t forget to generously season this dish — you may need more salt than you think! Creamy Tuna Pasta Ingredients A few notes on some of the ingredients worth mentioning: Tuna. We recommend tuna that is packed in olive oil for the best flavor. My personal favorite is Genova’s® albacore tuna. Tuna packed in olive oil is richer and has a fresher flavor. Whole milk. The higher the fat content of the milk, the smoother (and richer) the dish will be. Chicken stock. Stock has more flavor than broth, but either will work. We love and highly recommend Swanson® chicken stock in this recipe. Small pasta shells. The pictures can appear a little deceiving, but we do use small shells for this recipe. Any larger and the timing (and liquid amounts) will be off. Dijon mustard. We love the complementary flavor and tang this addition adds to this recipe, but if you don’t like Dijon, I’d recommend leaving it out. Alternatively, try adding 1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard powder instead. Adding Cheese? Here are some tips Use good quality, fresh cheese. Good cheese will melt better, won’t clump, and creates a luxuriously smooth creamy tuna pasta sauce. Grate the cheese yourself: Although this recipe is supposed to be as easy as possible, we do recommend freshly grating the cheese to avoid a grainy or greasy meal. Pre-shredded cheese has a cellulose coating that doesn’t melt as well in recipes like this one. Add cheese off the heat. If the cheese is added while the pot is still on the stovetop, it can easily become grainy. With all the heat, the proteins in the cheese clump and change the texture of the sauce. Number 1 Tip: Take the pan off the stovetop as soon as the pasta is cooked al dente. Al dente means there is still a good firm bite to the pasta — it shouldn’t be mushy! The pasta will continue to cook and absorb liquid off the stove as we stir in the cheese. It’s better to take the pot off the stove a little early than too late (undercooked pasta is easy to fix; mushy pasta can’t be saved). Variation Ideas Part of the “fun” of this canned tuna pasta (besides having hardly any dishes to wash!) is how customizable it is. Think of this recipe as a canvas for your own creation! Creamy Tuna Pasta With Mushrooms: Sauté mushrooms in olive oil and a little butter before beginning the recipe. Transfer to a plate and set aside; proceed with the recipe. Mix through the sautéed mushrooms at the end. How to make Creamy Tuna Pesto Pasta: Leave off the cheese at the end and instead scoop a generous amount of fresh basil pesto on individual plates. Gently mix it through, add a few squeezes of lemon, and enjoy! More crunch: Add coarsely crushed buttery crackers or potato chips to individual plates to add in some texture. More veggies: Stir in a cup of frozen peas and carrots (instead of just peas) or a cup of frozen corn! More Seafood Favorites Mediterranean Tuna Salad with a lemon vinaigrette Honey Garlic Shrimp with broccoli Tuna Salad Wrap with creamy avocado and crisp veggies Shrimp Tacos with a cilantro-lime sauce Tuna Salad with pickles and red onion FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Creamy Tuna Pasta 4.89 from 17 votes - Review this recipe Creamy Tuna Pasta combines tender and saucy noodles with sweet peas and tuna. Cook everything together in one pot and serve up a seriously creamy and unforgettable dish the whole family will love! SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Creamy Tuna Pasta 4.89 from 17 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Creamy Tuna Pasta combines tender and saucy noodles with sweet peas and tuna. Cook everything together in one pot and serve up a seriously creamy and unforgettable dish the whole family will love! Course Dinner, Main Course Cuisine American Keyword Creamy Tuna Pasta Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Total Time 35 minutes Servings 4 -6 servings Calories 450kcal Author Chelsea Cost $8.42 EquipmentNon-stick pan Ingredients1 tablespoon olive oil1 yellow onion, finely chopped (1-1/2 cups; 185g)1 teaspoon minced garlic1 cup (235g) + 2 tablespoons 2% or whole milk, separated2 cups (435g) water2-1/4 cups (510g) chicken stock (or broth)1 pkg. (16 oz.; 454g) small pasta shells (Note 1)1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (Note 2)1 large lemon2 cans (5 oz.; 142g EACH) tuna packed in olive oil, drained1 cup (135g) frozen peasFine sea salt and pepperOptional: 2 cups freshly shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, fresh parsley InstructionsPREP: Remove 1 cup of frozen peas from the freezer to begin thawing. Grate the cheese, measure, and set aside 2 cups to get to room temperature. Measure milk and set aside to get to room temperature.ONION AND GARLIC: Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet set to medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add in the onion. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until golden and add in the garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.COOK PASTA: Add in 1 cup of the milk, the water, broth, and UNCOOKED pasta shells. Add some salt and pepper to taste (I add 1 tsp fine sea salt and 1/2 tsp pepper). If desired, add in 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic and onion powder (optional, but nice). Still over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a simmer (bubbling at the edges) and then lower the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring often until the pasta is al dente (about 5-7 minutes). The pasta will continue to cook a bit over the next few minutes, so don’t overcook it here (Note 4).ADD TUNA: Reduce heat to low. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons milk, Dijon mustard, and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Add the drained tuna and mix gently until combined. Season with salt and pepper. (I add another 1/4 up to 1/2 teaspoon of each.) Stir in the frozen peas. Remove pot from heat and let stand for 2 minutes.CHEESE: Off heat, add freshly shredded cheese, and gently stir through, letting the residual heat melt the cheese. Let the pasta rest, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and gets nice and creamy. Taste once more, adding additional seasoning if needed. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired and enjoy immediately. Video Recipe NotesNote 1: Small pasta shells: The pictures can appear a little deceiving, but we do use small shells for this recipe. Any larger and the timing (and liquid amounts) will be off. Note 2: Dijon mustard: We love the complementary flavor and tang this addition adds, but if you don't like Dijon, reduce or leave it out. Alternatively, try adding 1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard powder instead. Note 3: Pot: The skillet shown in the post was used only for photos to better show the dish -- use a nonstick pot for this recipe. Note 4: Cooking: Take the pan off the stovetop as soon as the pasta is cooked al dente. Al dente means there is still a good firm bite to the pasta — it shouldn’t be mushy! The pasta will continue to cook and absorb liquid off the stove as we stir in the cheese and as the starches from the pasta thicken everything. It’s better to take the pot off the stove a little early than too late (undercooked pasta is easy to fix; mushy pasta can’t be saved). Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 67.6g | Protein: 28.3g | Fat: 6.3g | Cholesterol: 27.3mg | Sodium: 830.2mg | Fiber: 3.9g | Sugar: 7.8g We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.