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.
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.
Assemble the Tuna Melt Sandwiches as follows:
- Slice the cheddar and tomato
- Place the English muffin halves on a cookie sheet and toast until lightly browned.
- 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.
- 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 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.
More Easy Salad Sandwiches
- Best Egg Salad Recipe – Classic Egg Salad
- Ham Salad – Great for leftover baked ham!
- BLT Avocado Egg Salad – Family favorite!
- Shrimp Salad – Use a shrimp ring to make it easy!
- The BEST Chicken Salad – The perfect chicken salad recipe.
Easy Tuna Melts
- 1 tomato sliced
- 2 english muffins halved
- 2 ounces cheddar cheese
- 6 ounces white flaked tuna in water drained
- 1 stalk celery finely diced
- 1 green onion sliced
- ⅓ 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.