How many calories is in tuna casserole?

Tuna casserole is a classic American dish that typically consists of canned tuna, egg noodles, peas, cream of mushroom soup, and cheddar cheese. It’s a hearty and filling meal that has been popular for decades. But with its combination of carbs, protein, fat, and dairy, tuna casserole can also be high in calories. So how many calories are actually in tuna casserole? The total will depend on the specific ingredients and portion size, but a typical serving ranges from 300 to 700 calories.

Calories in Main Ingredients

To determine how many calories are in a serving of tuna casserole, we need to look at the calorie counts for the main ingredients:


Canned tuna is a lean source of protein but still contains calories and fat. A 3 ounce serving of canned tuna packed in water has around 70-90 calories. Tuna packed in oil has about 120-150 calories per 3 ounce serving. A typical tuna casserole will use around one 5 ounce can of tuna which equals 150-250 calories.

Egg Noodles

Egg noodles can have between 110-200 calories per cup cooked, depending on the brand. A tuna casserole usually calls for around 2 cups of cooked egg noodles, totaling 220-400 calories.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream soups like cream of mushroom are high in calories since they contain dairy and thickeners. A 1 cup serving of prepared condensed cream of mushroom soup contains around 405-500 calories. Tuna casserole recipes normally use around 1 can (10 ounces) of soup, or 1 1/4 cups prepared, equalling 500-625 calories.

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese adds a savory flavor and creamy texture to tuna casserole. A 1 ounce serving of cheddar cheese has about 110-120 calories. If a recipe uses 1 cup of shredded cheddar, that’s 4 ounces and 440-480 calories.


Frozen or canned peas provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals in tuna casserole. A 1/2 cup serving of peas contains 60-80 calories. Since most recipes use around 1 cup of peas, that contributes 120-160 calories.

Total Calories in a Serving

Adding up the calorie ranges for each standard tuna casserole ingredient gives us the following totals for a single serving:

Ingredient Calories
Tuna (5 oz) 150-250
Egg Noodles (2 cups) 220-400
Cream of Mushroom Soup (1 1/4 cup) 500-625
Cheddar Cheese (1 cup) 440-480
Peas (1 cup) 120-160
Total Calories 1430-1915

So a single serving of tuna casserole can range from about 1430-1915 calories, depending on the brands of ingredients used.

Most tuna casserole recipes make about 6 servings. Assuming each serving is around 1675 calories (the midpoint of our range), the entire 9×13″ pan of tuna casserole would contain around 10,050 calories.

Variables that Affect Total Calories

While the calorie totals above are typical, the actual amount can vary considerably based on these factors:

Ingredient Choices

Lower calorie options like tuna packed in water, reduced fat cheese, low fat soup, and whole wheat noodles will decrease the totals. Using higher fat ingredients like tuna in oil, full fat cheese, and regular egg noodles and soup will increase the calories.

Portion Sizes

The bigger the serving dished up, the more calories it will contain. An especially large portion could have up to 1000 calories from a single serving.

Cooking Method

Baking tuna casserole tends to add less calories than frying or topping with buttery breadcrumbs or crushed potato chips. The crispier the topping, the more fat and calories it contributes.

Extra Add-Ins

Mixing in extra ingredients like diced onions, bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, or seasonings doesn’t significantly affect calories. But adding higher calorie items like bacon, chili sauce, sour cream, or olives will increase the total.


Any uneaten leftovers that are refrigerated or frozen won’t have a major effect on overall calories beyond small amounts possibly lost through evaporation. However, the calories can increase if the leftovers are then fried up into a tuna casserole frittata or mixed with mayo to make tuna casserole salad.

Lower Calorie Tuna Casserole Options

To lighten up tuna casserole, you can:

– Use tuna packed in water and reduce the amount to 3-4 ounces per serving

– Substitute broth and milk for some of the cream soup

– Use low-fat milk and cheese

– Increase veggies like peas, broccoli, spinach

– Add brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta instead of egg noodles

– Mix in chopped chicken breast for extra protein

– Use Greek yogurt instead of mayo or cheese for a tangy flavor

– Skip the crispy topping and bake uncovered

– Portion out reasonable servings instead of over-filling plates

With some simple adjustments, it’s possible to enjoy tuna casserole as a 500-600 calorie meal instead of one with well over 1000 calories.

Healthier Preparation Methods

These preparation and cooking methods can also increase the nutrition of tuna casserole:

– Use fresh or low sodium canned tuna and vegetables

– Choose whole grain egg noodles or pasta

– Steam fresh broccoli, peas, carrots to mix in

– Add spices like garlic, onion, paprika, parsley

– Include slivered almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds

– Bake on lower heat for longer to avoid burning

– Skip frying and use just a sprinkling of breadcrumbs

– Let casserole rest 5 minutes before serving

Taking steps like these will maximize flavor while keeping calories moderate and retaining nutrients.

Nutrition Facts Panel

Here is an example nutrition facts panel for a typical tuna casserole made with reduced fat ingredients that totals 500 calories per serving:

Nutrition Facts Serving Size 1/6 casserole (227g)
Servings Per Recipe 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 500
Total Fat 13g
Saturated Fat 5g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 45mg
Sodium 720mg
Total Carbohydrate 44g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 35g
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20%
Saturated Fat 25%
Cholesterol 15%
Sodium 30%
Total Carbohydrate 15%
Dietary Fiber 14%

This shows that even a lighter tuna casserole still provides a good amount of protein and important vitamins and minerals. The tradeoff is higher sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol than some other entree choices. But overall, with careful preparation, tuna casserole can be a reasonably healthy addition to your diet in moderation.


Tuna casserole is a comfort food favorite that typically contains around 300-700 calories per serving. By choosing lower calorie ingredients and keeping portions in check, it’s possible to enjoy tuna casserole without going overboard on calories. To make it even healthier, include plenty of vegetables, use whole grains, and opt for lower fat dairy and oils. With some simple tweaks, tuna casserole can provide a satisfying meal that doesn’t derail your nutrition goals. Focus on quality ingredients and mindful eating for the best calorie balance.

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