Classic Tuna Pasta Bake Recipe

(This post has been updated from the original September 2015 version to provide a better experience for you)

This tuna pasta bake recipe is a comfort food classic! Just like my cajun sausage pasta recipe, you have your protein, your carbs and bags of flavour. The perfect weeknight family meal, this tuna pasta bake is cheap, very easy to make and on the table in 40 minutes. Read on for the full recipe, helpful tips and more.

Tuna pasta bake in a large frying pan on a white table cloth with two silver forks

It may surprise you to know that I’ve not always liked tuna pasta bake. In fact, it’s something I’ve only recently begun to eat thanks to my husband. Over the years he’s managed to stop me being a fussy eater and turn me into a food blogger. And as you know, I now eat virtually anything! That’s a pretty huge leap but then, he is a pretty amazing person.

Tuna pasta bake in a large frying pan on a white table cloth with one silver fork

It really is such a wonderful dish. Super quick and easy to throw together with most of the ingredients being store cupboard staples. This means that even if you haven’t got much in, you can almost guarantee you’ll still be able to make tuna pasta bake! 

Tuna pasta bake in a large frying pan on a white table cloth with two silver forks

The pasta is super filling and satisfying, the tuna and tomato sauce is full of goodness and it’s all topped off with oodles of melted cheese. Well, they say a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down… I say melted cheese helps too!

Tuna pasta bake in a large frying pan on a white table cloth with two silver forks

How to make tuna pasta bake

It really is very simple to make a delicious tuna pasta bake. Here’s how…

  1. Boil pasta for 2 minutes under the packet instructions time.
  2. Fry onion and garlic.
  3. Add tuna and break it up with a spatula.
  4. Add tinned tomatoes, herbs and seasoning. Bring to the boil.
  5. Tip in the part cooked pasta and top with cheese.
  6. Bake.

 

Tuna pasta bake in a large frying pan on a white table cloth

What is the best pasta to use?

The beauty of this tuna pasta bake recipe is that you can use whatever you have in the cupboard. Because you part cook the pasta before you add it into the sauce, it doesn’t matter what type or size you use. That being said, my personal preference is fusilli because all those little ridges trap the tuna and sauce inside which is wonderful!

Close up of tuna pasta bake in a large frying pan

Tuna pasta bake recipe equipment

You don’t need any fancy equipment to make a great tuna pasta bake. Here’s the basics.

  • Large Saucepan – this is to pre-boil the pasta. Any type will work well.
  • Sharp Knife – to cut your onion and garlic. Always use a sharp knife (and sharpen before each use) as blunt knives can be very dangerous!
  • Large Oven Proof Frying Pan – where this is handy for avoiding excess pots, if you don’t have one, you can always transfer it to an oven proof dish before baking instead.
  • Wooden Spatula – to move your ingredients around the pan so they don’t catch and burn on the bottom/cook evenly.
  • Cheese Grater – you will need a cheese grater unless you buy pre-grated cheese.

 

Tuna pasta bake in a large frying pan on a white table cloth with two silver forks

Tuna pasta bake recipe ingredients and substitutes

Made from mostly store cupboard staples, tuna pasta bake requires no fancy ingredients.

  • Pasta – You can use any pasta you have in the cupboards for this recipe. I like to use fusilli as it traps the sauce/tuna in it’s ridges and my young daughter finds it easier to eat over more slippery pastas like penne.
  • Onion – Regular white/yellow onion works perfectly here but there’s no reason you can’t use other varieties intead.
  • Garlic – I use large garlic as it adds lots of flavour easily. If you use small, you may wish to increase the amount of cloves to better the flavour.
  • Olive Oil – A good quality olive oil is always nice however it’s not essential in a dish like this, as you won’t taste it in the end result. It’s merely to stop ingredients sticking to the pan.
  • Tuna – A good tuna will make the world of difference in this dish as it’s a key flavour. Use the best you can afford. (Although cheap ones still taste good!)
  • Tinned Tomatoes – Cheap brands of tinned chopped tomatoes will work very well but if you want the best flavour, stretch to a better brand if you can afford it.
  • Oregano – If you don’t have oregano, other varieties will work great too. Try Italian seasoning or dried basil.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – Usually only available in the UK, there’s no easy substitute. However, you could add a little balsamic vinegar instead for a different flavour twist.
  • Mushroom Ketchup (Optional) – I only add this as I have it in my cupboards. It adds a richness to the sauce but is by no means essential. Just leave it out if you don’t have it.
  • Salt & Pepper – I like cornish sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper but honestly, any salt and pepper will season this dish well. 
  • Cheese – Cheddar is always my favourite for this (well, I am English!). You can swap for whatever you have in your fridge to add a different flavour dynamic though.

 

Tuna pasta bake in a large frying pan on a white table cloth with two silver forks

Tuna pasta bake recipe tips

As I’ve said before, tuna pasta bake is very simple to make. That being said, here’s a few helpful tips to take yours to the next level!

  • Prepare your ingredients and read through the recipe before you start cooking. This gives you the best possible chance of getting everything perfect.
  • Season with salt and pepper and taste throughout the recipe. There’s nothing more disappointing than making something from scratch and not enjoying the taste!
  • Remember your frying pan has been in the oven so DO NOT TOUCH THE HANDLE!
  • Don’t have an ovenproof frying pan? Transfer it to an ovenproof dish before baking instead.
  • Keep an eye on your tuna pasta bake in the last 10 minutes of baking. All ovens vary so yours may bake it quicker than the recipe states.

 

Tuna pasta bake in a large frying pan on a white table cloth with two silver forks

Other recipes you might like

Here are some other tasty pasta dishes to tickle your tastebuds!

 

Tuna pasta bake in a large frying pan on a white table cloth

 

Classic Tuna Pasta Bake Recipe

Here is what you will need to serve 4.

(For a printer friendly version, see the recipe card at the end of this post)

  • 300g (3 + 1/2 Cups) Dried Fusilli Pasta
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Large Clove of Garlic, minced
  • 1 x 145g (5.1 oz) Tin of Tuna, drained
  • 2 x 400g (14 oz) Tins of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce †
  • 1 tbsp Mushroom Ketchup (optional) †
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 100g (1 Cup) Cheddar Cheese, grated

 

Essential Equipment

  • Large Saucepan
  • Large Ovenproof Frying Pan *

 

If you can’t get worcestershire sauce or mushroom ketchup, try adding 1 – 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar instead for a deeper flavour.

* If you don’t have an ovenproof frying pan, you can transfer the pasta to a large dish before baking instead.

 

First preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 170°C/356°F.

Then cook the pasta (300g | 3 + 1/2 Cups) in a large saucepan according to the packet instructions, but reduce the time by 2 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, place your ovenproof frying pan over a low heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil (2 tbsp) then throw in the onion (1 x small, finely diced) and garlic (1 x large clove, minced). Fry, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until translucent.

Next, add the tuna (1 x 145g | 5.1 oz tin, drained) to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Break it apart a little with a spatula.

Tuna, onion and garlic cooking in a large frying pan on a hob

Then add in the tinned tomatoes (2 x 400g | 14 oz tins), dried oregano (2 tsp), Worcestershire sauce (1 tbsp), mushroom ketchup if using (1 tbsp) and a generous helping of salt & pepper. Bring it all to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

At this point, give it a taste to check the seasoning. If you think it needs more salt & pepper add it in now.

A tuna pasta bake sauce and tuna simmering in a large frying pan on a hob

When the pasta is ready, drain off the water then add the part cooked pasta to the frying pan. Give it a very thorough mix to ensure all the pasta is coated in the sauce.

Tuna pasta bake in a large frying pan on a hob

Finally, scatter the top with the grated cheese (100g | 1 Cup) and pop straight into the oven. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the cheese has melted and just started to turn golden.

If you aren’t using an ovenproof frying pan, transfer the pasta to an overnproof dish, scatter with the grated cheese and bake as above.

Tuna pasta bake topped with grated cheese in a large frying pan on a hob

All that’s left to do is divide your tuna pasta bake between serving plates and devour. One very important thing to note here (if you used an oveproof frying pan) is don’t forget that your frying pan has been in the oven. In otherwords DO NOT TOUCH THE HANDLE! It will burn. 

Tuna pasta bake in a large frying pan on a white table cloth with one silver fork

Look at that though eh, it’s beautiful isn’t it?! Pure, unadulterated comfort food at it’s finest. You really can’t go wrong with tuna pasta bake can you?

 

Have you made this recipe?

Have you made this comforting tuna pasta bake? I’d love to know if you have! Send me your pics, comments and questions on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram or email me at emma@kitchenmason.com.

 

Like cooking to be as simple as possible?

You need the right equipment! Check out my top products for hassle free cooking!

 

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Tuna pasta bake in a large frying pan on a white table cloth with two silver forks

Classic Tuna Pasta Bake Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Comfort food at it's finest, this tuna pasta bake recipe is the perfect midweek family meal! Using mostly store cupboard ingredients, you really can't go wrong with this delicious dish.

Ingredients

  • 300g (3 + 1/2 Cups) Dried Fusilli Pasta
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Large Clove of Garlic, minced
  • 1 x 145g (5.1 oz) Tin of Tuna, drained
  • 2 x 400g (14 oz) Tins of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce †
  • 1 tbsp Mushroom Ketchup (optional) †
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 100g (1 Cup) Cheddar Cheese, grated

Essential Equipment

  • Large Saucepan
  • Large Ovenproof Frying Pan *

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 170°C/356°F.
  2. Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions but shorten the time by 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat your frying pan oven a low heat. When hot, add the olive oil followed by the onion and garlic. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring often, until translucent.
  4. Add the drained tuna and break it apart with a spatula. Cook for 1 minute.
  5. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, mushroom ketchup (if using) and season well with salt and pepper.
  6. Bring it all to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes stirring often.
  7. When cooked, drain the pasta then add it to the sauce. Stir well so everything is evenly coated.
  8. Scatter the top with grated cheese, transfer to the oven and bake for 20 - 25 minutes. It's ready when the cheese is melted and just beginning to turn golden.

Notes

† If you can’t get worcestershire sauce or mushroom ketchup, try adding 1 – 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar instead for a deeper flavour.

* If you don’t have an ovenproof frying pan, you can transfer the pasta to a large dish before baking instead.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 431Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 350mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 25g

Nutritional information on kitchenmason.com should only be used as a general guideline, I am not a certified nutritionist. Please always check labels for allergens where applicable.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment on the blog or tag me on Instagram.

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As featured on Julia’s Simply Southern Meal Plan Monday #219

6 thoughts on “Classic Tuna Pasta Bake Recipe”

  1. Eva says:

    Delicious!! will have to try it out

    1. Emma says:

      Aww thank you! Emma x

  2. Anne Barratt says:

    What is mushroom ketchup? I’m from Canada, specifically Ontario and I have never seen such a thing. Is there anything to substitute?

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hi Anne. Mushroom ketchup is a rich, watery sauce with a big umami flavour. I live in the UK so I’m not sure what alternatives there are in Ontario or whether you can get the one I can here. This is what I use: shorturl.at/loxZ3 Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful! Kind Regards, Emma x

  3. lydia says:

    very good i also tried your oreo tart fantastic

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Aww that’s great! I’m so glad you like my recipes Lydia. It’s always lovely hearing from my readers 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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Hi, I’m Emma. Let me help you impress with delicious dishes using my easy recipes, step by step pics, tips & videos.

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