A Classic Tuna Melt is one of our favorite lunch recipes ever. A tuna melt is a warm, open-faced sandwich made with tuna salad and topped with tomato and melted cheese. The central ingredient is canned tuna — aka “tuna fish”.

There are some who think the best tuna melt recipes absolutely must be made with American cheese and toasted white bread. (The way many moms used to do.) But I use an English muffin in my tuna melt recipe, because it holds up well and any juices seep in to the little holes for more yum. I think you’ll agree, cheddar makes for a really tasty sandwich.  A little dash of Dijon mustard and lemon juice in the tuna salad also adds some zest to this recipe.

tuna melt with tomato slices on top

How to Make a Tuna Melt

To make the best tuna melt recipe, start by preparing a tuna fish salad! Simply mix the ingredients together (this part can be done ahead of time but if it’s cold from the fridge, it may take longer to bake).

Open Face or Closed?

We’ve always had tuna melts as an open faced sandwich (with no top bread) but you can do it either way.  It’s personal preference. As kids, we’d have this over leftover hot dog or hamburger buns so really, any bread is great with this! English muffins hold up so well to the heavier toppings.

Tuna on English muffins on a pan with tomatoes

Assemble the Tuna Melt Sandwiches as follows:

  1. Slice the cheddar and tomato
  2. Place the English muffin halves on a cookie sheet and toast until lightly browned.
  3. Place scoops of tuna salad on each muffin half, and top each with a slice of tomato (if desired) and a couple of cheddar slices.
  4. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and gooey, and serve.

Tuna melt is pretty much a complete meal in itself. A spear of dill pickle and a handful of potato chips are pretty much all you need on the side. Or, if you want to dress up your plate a bit — say if you’re fixing tuna melt sandwiches for company — then consider a side of carrot salad with raisins, to offset the saltiness of the tuna and cheese.

This simple, tasty sandwich always sparks memories of mom’s home cooking, and maybe that’s why “tuna melts my heart.” I hope it melts yours too!

Tuna Melts on English muffins with cheddar cheese and tomatoes on a baking pan

Tuna Melt Variations

Tuna melt is simple enough that you can have a lot of fun playing with ingredients and inventing variations on the theme. Go ahead and get creative! Here are a few ideas:

  • American Classic:  Tuna fish salad, Wonder white bread, American cheese or Velveeta, fresh tomato.
  • NY Deli: Tuna salad, pumpernickel bagels, dill pickle slabs, NY cheddar.
  • Apple Pie: Tuna salad mixed with chopped pecans & dried currants, fresh apple slices, brioche hamburger rolls, extra sharp cheddar cheese.
  • Hot and Spicy: Tuna salad, canned jalapeno slices, soft wheat taco shells, roasted red pepper (canned or from a jar), pepper jack cheese.
  • Californian: Tuna salad, avocado slices, slivered almonds, asiago cheese, whole grain bread.

Tuna on English muffins with melted cheese and tomatoes on a baking pan

More Easy Salad Sandwiches

tuna melt with tomato slices on top
5 from 34 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Easy Tuna Melts

A classic tuna melt is one of our favorite lunch recipes! This can be made on any type of bread for an easy meal!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 servings
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  • 1 tomato sliced
  • 2 english muffins halved
  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese

Tuna Salad

  • 6 ounces white flaked tuna in water drained
  • 1 stalk celery finely diced
  • 1 green onion sliced
  • cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dijon
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Combine tuna salad ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  • Place the English muffin halves on a baking sheet and broil 2-3 minutes or until they start to brown. Remove from the oven.
  • Divide the tuna mixture over the English muffins. Top with tomato slices and cheddar cheese.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Broil 1 minute if desired.
5 from 34 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 590 | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 921mg | Potassium: 400mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 905IU | Vitamin C: 10.1mg | Calcium: 255mg | Iron: 2.3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Lunch
Cuisine American

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Tuna Melts with cheese and sliced tomatoes



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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. Delicious! Great recipe. I added some diced carrots that I had on hand. Other. Than that, I followed the recipe. My husband loved it.5 stars

  2. I am not a big fan of tuna, but your picture looked delicious, lol! I showed this to my husband, who has been requesting tuna salad, and he agreed we should give it a whirl. This was really good! I’m not a fan of tomato either, so I put only half on mine, but the warm , juicy tomato was perfect! We will definitely make these again; super easy and yummy to boot! ❤️5 stars

  3. As per my Gramma- I add green olives to ours! Yummy! Thanks for the easy recipe- Gramma is gone and I never had her recipe so THANK YOU!

  4. I have tried this amazing tuna melt recipe and i found this recipe really easy to make and very delicious in taste. Thanks for sharing this recipe with all of us. 5 stars

  5. Great go-to dish for quick lunch.
    The tomato really puts this over the top. It cuts the creaminess of the tuna. I used shredded cheese but thats the only change. Putting this into the stay-at-home lunch rotation.5 stars

  6. Thanks Holly! This was wonderfully delicious and very easy to whip together. I usually add or change something with every recipe I find and make, but followed this as is and will again.5 stars

  7. I make tuna melt quesadillas. Spread the tuna mixture on a flour tortilla. Sprinkle with the cheese. You can add jalapenos for spice if you want. Place a second flour tortilla over the top, place on a microwave safe plate and heat in the microwave oven for about 45 seconds. Remove from the oven and slice with a pizza cutter, then garnish with diced tomato and avocado.

      1. Now that quesidilla recipe sounds great! I’mgonna try that! I love tuna melts!5 stars

  8. Made these last night, 10 stars. Whoever created these deserves a medal, used the base recipe, Tor tomatoes, and a 4 cheese blend, absolutely perfect. Thank you for the great recipe, Holly.5 stars

  9. Holly, great sounding and looking recipe, on my list to make and taste soon, I will come back and write a review. Thank you for the great recipe.