If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-follow creamy tuna pasta bake recipe, this is the one! Absolutely easy, cheesy and loaded with veggies!
This easy creamy tuna pasta bake is a timeless dish that never seems to fall out of favour.
Pasta bakes are super easy and quick to make, a lifesaver when you need to cook something simple and tasty on a weeknight.
This one features tuna, sweetcorn and frozen peas, smothered in tasty cheesy white sauce. An easy tuna pasta bake everyone will love.
It’s totally family-friendly (picky eaters anyone?), super creamy and so easy to put together.
It’s also one of those fantastic dishes that are great for freezing. I personally prefer to bulk cook on the weekend, freeze into portions, and enjoy the rest of the week.
Whenever I need a quick comforting meal, I just get this pasta bake out of the freezer and BAM, dinner is ready in a blink.
This classic pasta recipe is very simple to make and will leave you feeling full and satisfied, whilst providing you with a wide range of nutrients – all the good reasons to give it a try!
Simple ingredients are the key
There are only a few ingredients you need to make this comforting pasta bake, so I totally recommend choosing the best ones you can find.
I like to use tuna fillets sold in jars, but canned tuna will work just as well.
One thing to note is that canned tuna in (good) extra-virgin olive oil has so much more flavour than tuna in spring water.
When it comes to sweetcorn, I prefer to use the frozen variety over canned sweetcorn.
I personally find frozen sweetcorn fresher, and ultimately, I feel it has a better, crunchier texture too.
Same goes to the peas, I recommend frozen peas all the way. they’re handy, sweet and flavorful, and my freezer is never out of them.
To make my tuna pasta bake extra creamy and full of flavour, my secret ingredient is Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese), which I mix to cheddar cheese and add to the white sauce.
The main reason for the addition of parmesan is that it has a unique umami flavour that takes this classic dish seriously to the next level. Give it a try and let me know!
Extra veggies and spices
This fish pasta bake is also very versatile, so feel free to add extra veggies if you want, these are some great options:
- Baby spinach
- Green beans
- Roasted sweet potato cubes
- Roasted bell peppers
You can also add some extra spices if you like, such as mustard powder, to give an extra kick of flavour to your pasta.
Recipe and tips
Homemade tuna pasta bake only takes around 5 minutes to prepare and around 20 minutes to cook.
Once you have your ingredients ready, putting the whole dish together is really simple.
The first step is heating your oven to 180C/160C (fan) or gas mark 4.
Take a look at the instructions on your pasta packaging.
See how long it tells you to boil the rigatoni for, and drain the pasta three minutes before this time.
For the white sauce, melt 50g of butter in your saucepan and stir in 50g of plain flour to make a “roux”, which is basically the base of the sauce.
Once you have cooked the roux for a minute (don’t let it brown), slowly stir in 600ml of milk, and gently stir until the sauce thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
Cooking tip: If the sauce starts bubbling, turn the heat to low and continue to stir until the sauce has reached a silky creamy consistency.
Turn the heat off and season with sea salt, freshly-cracked black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste.
I strongly suggest warming the milk before adding it to the hot roux.
Cooking tip: Hot milk is the key to get bechamel sauce just rich, creamy and silky. Plus, it will help the sauce cook faster.
Once the white sauce is ready, stir in 2/3 of the cheddar and 2/3 of the parmesan cheese, and set the sauce aside.
By this time, your rigatoni should be ready and super al dente.
Drain the pasta, place it in a large bowl, mix it with the tuna, sweetcorn and peas (picture top left).
Stir in ½ of the white sauce and mix until combined (picture top right). You can also add some chopped parsley if you like.
Transfer the tuna pasta into a baking dish (picture bottom left), and top with the remaining white sauce.
Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and parmesan cheese on top, and your pasta is ready to hit the oven (picture bottom right).
Bake for around 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese on top is golden brown.
Baking tip: If you want some nice crunchy brown spots, set the baking dish under the grill for 2-3 minutes extra.
Can you freeze it?
You can safely freeze tuna pasta bake.
I love to make a big batch store it in individual freezer-friendly containers in the freezer.
They keep well for about 1 month (but usually disappear earlier than that).
Just take care when you reheat it to stop the pasta from drying out.
Some people use a single large plastic container, but some feel it’s better to use several smaller ones to protect the quality of the food.
Can you reheat it?
You can totally reheat tuna pasta bake.
I personally prefer to reheat it in a hot oven for 4-5 minutes, rather than in the microwave, as it keeps its crunchy texture much better.
How long does it keep in the fridge?
Store your tuna pasta bake in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should normally keep well for a couple of days.
More pasta bakes ideas:
If you’re looking for something meaty, try making a pasta bake using traditional bolognese sauce, bechamel sauce and some mozzarella cheese.
And if you’re looking for a veggie-packed pasta, try this vegetarian lasagna instead, which features a no-cook white sauce.
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook! Looking at your pictures always makes me happy *and super hungry*!
Easy Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake
- 400 g rigatoni pasta
- 50 g butter
- 50 g all-purpose flour
- 600 ml fresh whole milk warmed
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- a generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 125 g strong cheddar grated
- 125 g Parmesan cheese grated
- 220 g tuna fillets in jars (or canned tuna chunks) drained and flaked
- 200 g frozen sweetcorn drained
- 200 g frozen peas
- handful fresh parsley chopped
- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C (fan) or gas mark 4.
- Look at the instructions on your pasta packaging.
- See how long it tells you to boil the rigatoni for and drain the pasta three minutes before this time.
- For the white sauce, melt the butter in your saucepan and stir in the plain flour to make a “roux”, which is basically the base of the sauce.
- Once you have cooked the roux for a minute (don’t let it brown), slowly stir in 600ml of milk, and stir, gently but continuously, until the sauce thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
- If the sauce starts bubbling, turn the heat to low and continue to stir until the sauce has reached a silky creamy consistency.
- Turn the heat off and season with sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste.
- Once the white sauce is ready, stir in 2/3 of the cheddar and 2/3 of the parmesan cheese, and set the sauce aside.
- By this time, your rigatoni should be ready and super al dente.
- Drain the pasta, place it in a large bowl, mix it with the tuna, sweetcorn and peas.
- Stir in ½ of the white sauce and mix until combined. You can also add some chopped parsley if you like.
- Transfer the tuna pasta into a in a 6x8 inches baking dish, and top with the remaining white sauce.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and parmesan cheese on top, and your pasta is ready to hit the oven.
- Bake for around 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese on top is golden brown. If you want some nice crunchy brown spots, set the baking dish under the grill for 2-3 minutes extra.