What Happened to Tuna Helper Pot Pie? Investigating the Discontinuation of a Beloved Casserole

Tuna Helper Pot Pie was a cherished staple in many households. This tuna casserole with a crispy, flaky crust offered a quick, easy, and affordable family dinner. So when General Mills unexpectedly discontinued it years ago, fans were left disappointed and wondering – what happened to Tuna Helper Pot Pie?

In this article, I’ll explore the history of this product why it was likely discontinued and possible substitutes home cooks have come up with in an attempt to recreate this treasured recipe. As someone who grew up lovingly preparing Tuna Helper Pot Pie for my family, I was determined to get to the bottom of the mysterious demise of this classic American dish.

A Brief History of Tuna Helper Pot Pie

Tuna Helper Pot Pie first hit grocery store shelves in the 1960s when the Hamburger Helper line was launched The concept was simple – a packet of seasoning and pasta that you combined with protein and milk to create a full casserole in minutes. Early flavors included the tuna pot pie along with cheeseburger macaroni, creamy chicken, and others.

By providing an easy, budget-friendly meal, Tuna Helper became a staple for families across America throughout the 1970s and 80s. The tuna pot pie flavor combined comfort food favorites – tuna, peas, pasta and a crispy topping – all in one pan. Kids and parents alike enjoyed this staple weeknight dinner for decades.

So loyal fans were crushed when General Mills quietly removed Tuna Helper Pot Pie from its line-up in the late 2000s, with no farewell or replacement flavor.

Why Tuna Helper Pot Pie Was Likely Discontinued

While General Mills has never provided an official reason there are some likely factors that led to Tuna Helper Pot Pie getting the axe

Lack of Popularity – By the 2000s, Tuna Helper saw a decline in sales and relevance. More families sought fresh, healthy options over highly processed box meals. Other flavors may have been more popular.

High Manufacturing Costs – Producing the crispy, flaky crust topping likely made Tuna Helper Pot Pie more expensive to manufacture than other skillet meals. This reduced profit margins.

Food Trend Changes – In the era of all-natural and gluten-free eating, a made-from-scratch tuna casserole may have seemed too processed and unhealthy for modern tastes.

Competitive Pressure – More competitors entered the skillet meal kit space and chipped away at Tuna Helper’s market share. Discontinuing lower performing options helped streamline the business.

Supply Chain Issues – Sourcing inexpensive quality tuna as oceans faced pressure likely became challenging, making the tuna pie flavor difficult to profitably produce.

Of course, General Mills has never confirmed if any of these factors played a role. But looking at larger food industry changes provides some context on what may have sealed Tuna Helper Pot Pie’s fate. Much to the dismay of longtime fans!

Home Cooks Attempt to Recreate the Magic

After Tuna Helper Pot Pie was pulled from shelves, devotees began experimenting to try recreating the dish at home. Food blogs, forums, and Facebook groups were dedicated to cracking the code of the perfect Tuna Helper Pot Pie dupe. Some of the most common DIY tricks include:

  • Using a can of creamed soup like Cream of Mushroom to mimic the sauce consistency.

  • Adding an egg wash and panko breadcrumbs to homemade biscuit dough for the crust.

  • Mixing crispy fried onions into the filling for some crunch.

  • Subbing in different shaped pastas like rotini, farfalle or wagon wheels for fun.

  • Sprinkling the casserole with crushed potato chips or corn flakes before baking for a crispy topping.

While home cooks have come close, most agree nothing perfectly replicates the buttery crust and simple comfort of the original Tuna Helper Pot Pie. Some devoted fans still call for General Mills to bring back this staple!

Where to Find Similar Store-Bought Options

For those still longing for the ease of a boxed tuna pie kit, there are a few alternatives on the market:

  • Voila Tuna Pot Pie Skillet – Comes with tuna, peas, pasta and a crispy seasoned topping to mix with milk and butter. The closest option to the classic.

  • Hungry Jack Tuna Pie with Cheese Sauce Mix – Contains tuna and a cheese sauce powder to combine with veggies, egg noodles and puff pastry.

  • Zatarain’s Tuna Casserole Mix – A 5-ingredient pouch with pasta, tuna flavoring, dried veggies and crispy onions. Provides crunch but no crust.

  • Knorr Casserole Mixes – The Cheesy Tuna and Rice bake provides a similar creamy tuna meal but no topping.

While not exact dupes, these products come close to delivering the convenience and comfort of Tuna Helper Pot Pie.

Recreating This Retro Recipe at Home

If you want to completely DIY it, here is a homemade recipe that aims to emulate the beloved classic:


  • 1 lb egg noodles
  • 2 cans (5 oz) tuna, drained
  • 1 can (10 oz) peas, drained
  • 1 can (10 oz) cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup crushed corn flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain.
  3. In a bowl, mix tuna, peas, soup, milk, butter, salt and pepper.
  4. Add noodles and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle top evenly with crushed corn flakes.
  7. Bake 30 minutes until hot and crispy.
  8. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

While it requires more effort than a box mix, this recipe comes close to replicating the crust and filling we loved from the original Tuna Helper Pot Pie. Adjust ingredients to match your tastes.

The Legacy Lives On

While we may never know exactly why this popular meal kit was pulled from shelves, the legacy of Tuna Helper Pot Pie lives on in the memories it created and the recipes it inspired. This blast-from-the-past dish represents the comfort, convenience and fun family meals of a bygone era. With a bit of creativity in the kitchen, we can still whip up this retro favorite to transport us back to simpler times.

What are your favorite memories of enjoying Tuna Helper Pot Pie growing up? Have you found a homemade version that satisfies your craving for this discontinued classic? Share your own tips and nostalgia around this beloved staple casserole!

Tuna Helper Tuna Pot Pie 80s Commercial (1988)


What was the original pot pie?

Would it surprise you to know that the pot pie has been around since Ancient Greek and Roman times? Around 500 BC the Ancient Greeks made meat pies called artocreas. These pies had a bottom crust but no top crust. Once the Romans started making artocreas they added a top crust made from oil and flour.

What’s the difference between a pot pie and a meat pie?

And if you’re wondering what the difference is between a pot pie and a meat pie—a pot pie is the American version of the European meat pie. A meat pie has both a top and a bottom crust. And who doesn’t want more buttery, flaky pastry in their life?

Leave a Comment