Get my ebookwhen you subscribe to my free newsletter, Lynn's Kitchen Adventures.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Homemade Cheesy Tuna Helper

So far in my homemade favorites series I have shared a homemade version of Cheeseburger Helper and a homemade Stroganoff Style Hamburger Helper. Today I am sharing yet another homemade version of a favorite skillet meal, Homemade Cheesy Tuna Helper.

When I made this a few week’s ago, my family loved it. I had planned on there being enough for my husband’s lunch the next day, but no, my kids had scraped the pan clean. That is how much all three of my kid’s enjoyed this.

The homemade tuna helper took me awhile to get just right. Or at least how my family enjoyed it. Now, I will say that it has been years since I had any versions of the boxed tuna helper, so I am not sure the taste on this is exactly the same, but it is close.

In fact, I think it is better not just in taste, but in ingredients. I controlled what went into it and that always makes me feel better about a meal.

If you have never made a homemade version of hamburger or tuna helper I encourage you to give it a try. You may never go back to the box again. Homemade versions are so easy and so good!

And I am having a lot of fun coming up with new “helper” style meals so look for more homemade helper recipes coming up over the next few months.

What homemade helper versions do you want to see?



Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I bet small bits of cooked broccoli florets would be good in place of the peas as well.

  2. love more of these “helper” meals, please post!

  3. My Betty Crocker cookbook has a similar recipe using uncooked elbow macaroni and adding curry powder. Baked in the oven with plenty of liquid, so no need to precook the noodles.

  4. Another great recipe! Thank you for doing all the work in figuring out these recipes! My little girl loves that she now gets to have Hamburger Helper, lol!

  5. christine fortea says

    I used milk and butter instead of the evaporated milk because i didnt have any at home. Came out delicious. My husband said it was better than the box. Thank you!

  6. We love all the “Helper”s, beef, tuna, and chicken, but they have so many artificial ingredients. How about Beef Pasta flavor? I love making homemade Helper dishes, but I can’t seem to get that one right. Years ago, our favorite Hamburger Helper was one called Rice Oriental. When it was discontinued, I had to figure out my own version, which we now like even better than the original.

  7. I just made this for my twins for lunch, it was delish! All the other recipes I found use cream of mushroom soup. I loved your take on it.

  8. How many oz is a can of chicken broth?

  9. Tried this recipe in a “large pan”, and with No Yolk Egg Noodles, and there just wasn’t enough liquid to boil the noodles in, and they came out hard and uncooked. Good recipe, just don’t try it with larger noodles that need more water

  10. Albert Buckenberger Jr says

    What happened to the Cream of Mushroom soup, milk, sliced mushrooms, chopped onions, and bread crumbs on top?

  11. Thanks! This recipe was a hit!

  12. I made this using two boxes organic mac n cheese and subbed half n half for the evap milk. I only added 1 cup cheese in addition to the cheese packets. It was super creamy and delicious, and my kids loved it. I really think the key to this recipe is cooking the pasta in the broth/milk mixture at a simmer, rather than the usual boil in a big pot of water. The texture of the pasta was better than when I usually make mac n cheese, and the broth gave it extra flavor. Thanks so much for your recipes!

  13. How many servings does this make

    • It serves my family of 5 with usually enough for my husbands’ lunch the next day. So I would say 5-6 servings. I hope that helps.

  14. Wendessa cabrera says

    Omg this is the best thing known to man. I was a box style girl for so long but I have been freed!!!
    I used whole wheat egg noodles instead
    I also added 1TBS of parsley, salt, pepper, and 1 TBS Butter- not vegetable spread.

    15-16 oz chicken broth
    1/2 TBS Parsley
    1TBS Butter
    Few dashes of salt
    Few dashes of pepper
    6-8 oz evaporated milk
    1-1.5 cups shredded mild cheddar
    2 (5oz each) cans of tuna
    3-4 large hand fulls of whole wheat egg noodles

    • I am so glad that you enjoyed it! I love helping people make the homemade version of their favorite foods! I have several other homemade helper recipes on my site, so you might enjoy those as well. Thanks for sharing the changes that you made.

  15. This recipe is FANTASTIC, and every bit as easy as the boxed stuff…. but, MUCH better! My only mods were 1 c. half n half and 2 T butter instead of the evaporated milk. I used cavatappi noodles. I added 1 c. frozen peas. Not a spec was left! Thank you!

  16. Anastasia Beeler says

    If you don’t have evaporated milk on hand, but have dry milk, try using 1 and 1/4 cups of water and 1 cup of dry powdered milk together and whisk until dissolved. Then use in the recipe.

  17. wowza just tried this recipe (tho i used milk and butter instead of evaporated milk and altered the proportions based on what i had on hand) and it miraculously worked really well i guess this recipe is p hard to screw up which is nice

    i used
    2 cups milk
    1 cup vegetable broth
    2 tbsp butter
    2 cups pasta (in this case some expired gluten free rotini that had been sittin on my shelf for 3 yrs)
    2 and a half cups freshly shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
    a good amount of salt

    and it was tooo good
    thank goodness this recipe exists and can be used by someone as lazy and incompetent as me

    that kinda sounds like im being facetious… or insulting this recipe…

    but like honestly i am very pleased would recommend haha

    • I am so glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing how you changed it up! And no insult at all to the recipe. I love sharing quick and easy recipes like this because so many people need quick, easy, and delicious meals!

  18. Patti Beverlin says

    I made this for supper last night using Tinkyada gluten free brown rice shells. The flavor was good, but I didn’t have nearly enough liquid and about halfway through cooking, I had to add substantially more milk. It still stuck to the pan and was pasty in texture so I probably should have added more. I may have had the burner too high. I’ll try this again but keep the heat lower and see how it goes. It was really simple and quick to make. And only one pan to wash! That doesn’t happen in my world very often! So worth trying again! Lol.

    • I am glad that you enjoyed it, but sorry that you had some issues. Some gluten free pastas do take extra liquid. They all seem to cook slightly different. It has been awhile since I used Tinkyada because my family prefers the gluten free corn rice blend type of pastas now. But I would suggest more liquid and to watch the heat. I hope that helps. And yes I love one pan type of meals. 🙂

  19. Just tried this, love it! Better than the boxed stuff and just as easy and quick. Very versatile too, kudos!

Share Your Thoughts


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.