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Tuna Melt Recipe

You can’t beat a hot, oven baked Tuna Melt sandwich! This recipe is so easy to make with the best tuna salad and hot, melted cheese on top of buttery toasted bread.

A hand taking the top Tuna Melt from a stack of 3 on a white plate with melted cheese.

Tuna Melt Recipe

Talk about a classic. You just can’t beat a piping hot Tuna Melt! (With a pickle and a side of chips, of course!)

Many recipes call for making this in a skillet, but in this recipe, we bake it in the oven to ensure it’s evenly hot and melted throughout. (Plus, it’s not easy to flip a tuna melt in a skillet without making a mess!) We do toast some buttery bread in a skillet first though, for that grilled cheese effect!

The filling for this sandwich comes from my amazing Tuna Salad recipe. The flavor and texture is perfect.

Be sure to check out my PRO TIPS below!

How to Make It

Note: This is an overview. See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Combine the tuna salad ingredients and toast the bread in melted butter in a skillet. Spread the tuna over the bread.A plate of toasted bread next to a plate with tuna salad spread on top of bread.

Top with cheese, then top with bread. 

Making Tuna Melts by adding cheese and toasted bread.

Slice in half diagonally and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Fold the foil over the sides and top, leaving a crack exposed at the top for airflow. Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted. Serve!

Tuna Melts on top of a foil lined baking sheet before and after folding foil over the top.

Pro Tips

  • Make Ahead: The Tuna Salad can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to make. 
  • Be sure to drain the tuna very well so that the filling holds up nicely. A tuna can strainer makes this easier!
  • I recommend tuna that’s packed in water vs. oil, as the mayo in this recipe already contains oil.
  • Break the tuna apart well so that there is a lot of surface area, this allows it all to absorb the mayo and other ingredients well, so that every bite is balanced and flavorful. 
  • Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Bread  holds up well for this!
  • Option additions to the filling include: Hard boiled eggs, avocado, a hint of honey, finely diced cucumbers, diced apples, toasted walnuts, almonds, capers, cranberries, grated carrots, diced bell peppers and jalapenos. 
  • Be sure to try my Tuna Pasta Salad and Tuna Noodle Casserole recipes next!

Storage

  • These are best enjoyed fresh once the sandwiches have been assembled and baked.
  • If you do have leftovers: Let them cool completely and wrap in plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate for up to 1 day. Reheat in a 350° oven for 15 minutes or so, until heated through. 

Slices of Tuna Melts stacked on top of each other on a white plate with melted cheese and grilled bread.

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A stack of Tuna Melts with grilled bread and melted cheese on a white plate.

Tuna Melt Recipe

5 from 2 ratings
Nothing beats a hot, oven-baked Tuna Melt sandwich! This recipe is so easy to make with delicious tuna salad, and melted cheese with buttery toasted bread.

Ingredients

Tuna Salad

  • 2 (5-oz.) cans albacore tuna
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons white onions, minced (can sub yellow onion)
  • 1/3 cup mayo, can sub Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon dill or sweet relish, I use dill
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon EACH: salt, garlic powder, dry dill weed, freshly cracked pepper

For Tuna Melts

  • 6 slices bread
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese, or American

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.

Make the Tuna Salad

  • Drain the tuna very well. Shred/break it apart thoroughly to create a lot of surface area. Combine the tuna salad ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined.

Butter and Toast the Bread

  • Melt a generous tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add a slice of bread and allow one side to become evenly coated with the butter. Toast until golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Flip and allow the other side to firm up and toast slightly, about 1 minute. Remove and set aside. Repeat for all slices, adding another tbsp. of butter each time.

Assemble

  • Spread the tuna on 3 slices of bread. Top each with 2 slices of cheese, followed by another slice of bread. (Ensure the more golden sides are facing out.)
  • Optional: Use a sharp knife to carefully cut the sandwiches diagonally before they are baked. It’s easier to do this than when they’re hot.
  • Use a spatula to transfer them to a foil-lined baking sheet. Push the two halves together as if they’re still 1 whole sandwich. Pull the foil up over the sides and top, leaving a crack open at the top for airflow. (See process shots for a visual.)

Bake

  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted. This is an indication that the middle is sufficiently heated through as well. Serve with potato chips and a pickle!

Notes

  • Cheese: You want an even coating of cheese over the top of each sandwich. If your slices are equivalent in size to deli slices of American or Cheddar, 2 slices is perfect. If you're slicing cheddar cheese from a smaller block, use enough to create 1 even layer over the top. Swiss cheese may also be used.
  • Make Ahead: The Tuna Salad can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to make. 
  • Be sure to drain the tuna very well so that the filling holds up nicely. A tuna can strainer makes this easier!
  • I recommend tuna that's packed in water vs. oil, as the mayo in this recipe already contains oil.
  • Break the tuna apart well so that there is a lot of surface area, this allows it all to absorb the mayo and other ingredients well, so that every bite is balanced and flavorful. 
  • Option additions to the filling include: Hard boiled eggs, avocado, a hint of honey, finely diced cucumbers, diced apples, toasted walnuts, almonds, capers, cranberries, grated carrots, diced bell peppers and jalapenos. 
  • Be sure to try my Tuna Pasta Salad and Tuna Noodle Casserole recipes next!

Nutritional information is an estimate and is per sandwich. There are 3 sandwiches in this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 627kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 46g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 107mg, Sodium: 1092mg, Potassium: 291mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 919IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 115mg, Iron: 4mg
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4 comments on “Tuna Melt Recipe”

  1. Mmmm good !! Added 2 hard boiled eggs chopped. Perfect recipe dont change a thing

  2. Best tuna melt I have ever had hands-down! I especially like the way you doctor up the tuna. I can’t wait to have it in a cold sandwich tomorrow for work.

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