{One Skillet} Cheesy Tuna Pasta

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A simple, one skillet dinner meal! Cheesy tuna pasta with fresh garden peas.
Easy One Skillet Cheesy Tuna Growing up, one of my favorite dishes my mom made was a creamy tuna and pea dish. It was a bit different than this one – cream of mushroom soup was the base and we usually had it over rice. But the creamy tuna with plenty of peas and cheese was what I loved most about the dish!

I would ask for this dish all the time. Luckily everyone else also loved it and the dish was easy to prepare (so mom loved it). Needless to say, we ate that creamy tuna and rice dish very frequently.

Easy One Pot Cheesy Tuna Pasta

I wanted to make a dish close to that one, but with more of a focus on cheese and less on the cream. This dish is a more flavorful mac and cheese with tuna mixed in, but it is also very similar to my childhood favorite dish! Now, that’s new school!

Also, this dinner is made in just one skillet with very little preparation required, which is great for a busy night. With school starting up again, I’m sure every mom could use a dinner recipe like this one! I always remember how crazy things got when school started back after a long summer break. This is just the meal to get you back into the swing of things.

To ensure that all of the ingredients get cooked together evenly, you’ll want to use small pasta. I used miniature penne pasta (even though the pictures almost make it look regular sized!). I also tested this recipe with small shells and elbows – both of which worked great as well.

Just check on the pasta box to see if the pasta can be done in 6-8 minutes and that pasta should work in this dish!
ONE skillet cheesy tuna pasta

Cheesy Tuna Pasta -- ONE Skillet!

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Cheesy Tuna Pasta

5 from 7 votes
A simple, one skillet dinner meal! Cheesy tuna pasta with fresh garden peas.
Print Recipe

Cheesy Tuna Pasta

5 from 7 votes
A simple, one skillet dinner meal! Cheesy tuna pasta with fresh garden peas.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword Cheesy Tuna Pasta
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 498kcal
Cost $5.76


  • 2 cups small pasta * I used miniature penne pasta
  • 2 cans (5 ounces EACH) Albacore White Tuna
  • 2 cups milk 1% fat content or higher
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika optional
  • 2 cups shredded cheese**
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas
  • Fresh cracked salt and pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot sauce optional
  • Fresh parsley optional


  • In a large nonstick skillet: pour in 2 cups of the uncooked pasta; 2 cans of drained, rinsed, and dried tuna; 2 cups milk (MUST be cow’s milk - 1% or higher milk fat. Skim milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc. were not successful in my recipe testing), the water, the butter, and dry mustard. Add in the paprika as well if desired.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, stir, and then place on the lid. Reduce the heat to low or medium low.
  • Allow to simmer until the pasta is completely cooked through and the liquid evaporated (about 10-15 minutes depending on your stovetop heat).
  • During the cooking time, stir the ingredients occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom.
  • Once the liquid is absorbed, stir in the shredded cheddar cheese (I like freshly shredded as the bagged cheeses sometimes create a waxy texture when melted) and the fresh peas.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste as well as hot sauce if desired.
  • For a pretty garnish add fresh chopped parsley if desired.

Recipe Notes

*Make sure whatever pasta you used can be cooked in 6-8 minutes per instructions on the box **The cheese is a big part of this dish so choose a very flavorful cheese you love. I used sharp cheddar, but you can use a plain cheddar or a mix of cheeses such as cheddar and Monterey jack

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 498kcal


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Nutrition facts in cheesy tuna pasta


One Skillet Cheesy Tuna Pasta


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Recipe Rating


  1. This pasta definitely brings me back to my childhood, Chelsea! I loved tuna casserole but didn’t eat it all that often because my mom didn’t like it. I love this one skillet version! Looks fantastic and so full of flavor!

    1. 5 stars
      Hehe I totally agree! I made it today and me and my bf couldnt get enough! It was so yummy! 🙂

  2. Super random, but this recipe actually reminds me of camping.. I have a campfire tuna recipe that is very similar to this, but I haven’t made the at home version in a while, but I think I’ll just try yours instead! Thanks for sharing Chelsea!

  3. I’m going to try this with gluten free pasta, as we are a family of celiacs and gluten intolerant.

  4. I know many are comparing it to tuna casserole, and while it’s similar, this is more like our family’s version of tuna mac growing up. And your childhood inspiration recipe also sounds more like what I grew up with. We would take plain old boxed mac and cheese (with the powder cheese, it worked best), prepare it and add a can of cream of mushroom soup, a can of mushrooms, and a can of tuna. Man it was delicious. I still make it from time to time if I’m feeling super unhealthy and really want some childhood comfort food.

    This sounds like a much healthier version, lol. I’m going to give it a try. Maybe swap out the peas for mushrooms, to really get my nostalgia going. 🙂

    1. We used to have one basically the same as you described! 🙂 And yes, SO delicious!! I hope you love this healthier version though! Thanks Krystal!

  5. Can’t wait to try this- reminds me of my childhood. We financially struggled for a few years and I remember my mom often making the cheap Tuna Helper and adding peas to it. I always loved it, but now as an adult with my own family I’d love to make a homemade version myself.

  6. 5 stars
    Made this exactly to the recipe (excluded optional paprika) and my family loved it!

    Tuna mac & cheese is a fav at our house and the recipe I normally use takes twice as long and is not as good as this.

    It is simple to make, quick and super flavourful!

    Thank you!

  7. I’ve made this five or six times, now. Dinner, lunch, whatever I need done and out in about half an hour. It has been a reliable winner, so I turned to it tonight. Tonight, it failed me, and I am at a loss why. Rather then the sauce thickening from simmering and adding cheese, the sauce stayed thin and milky, and the cheese adhered to the tuna, creating large mats amidst the noodles. It was weird! I’m hoping letting it sit overnight in the fridge will do something.

    1. Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that! Did you change up any of the ingredients this time? I’m hoping it will set up for you!

  8. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I used the mini penne pasta as suggested and left out the paprika, and it was perfect. Such a creamy comforting dish! FYI – I used soy milk and didn’t have any issues.

  9. 5 stars
    This was a hit! Made it for my husband and two boys (4 & 2). I have no left overs! We all loved it! I did add the paprika and it was delicious. This is the fastest and most flavourful tuna pasta I have made! Looking forward to trying some of your other recipes! Thank you so must for the recipe!

    1. SO happy to hear that! 🙂 Thank you so much for the comment and I hope you love whatever you try next!

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