This Simple Tuna Melt Sandwich recipe is hot and crunchy and cheesy and the perfect lunch option for cooler days.
When my kids were little, I was always on the lookout for fast lunch ideas that didn’t include a drive through window.
The first time I made this tuna melt recipe I knew I had a winner!
Sometimes a hot sandwich just hits the spot, right?
You make a tuna melt sandwich just like you do a grilled cheese sandwich. But you add a thick layer of tuna salad and maybe a slice of tomato along with the cheese.
They can be as plain or as fancy as you want!
These Simple Tuna Melt Sandwiches are hot and toasty and ooey-gooey cheesy. Perfect for kids and kids at heart!
The sandwiches go together quickly and are perfect by themselves, with chips and some Old Fashioned Sour Dill Pickle chips, or with a bowl of soup.
And the perfect bread to make these with is Molasses Whole Wheat Bread!
The whole wheat makes a sturdier sandwich and gives it a subtle nutty flavor that’s just awesome!
A cast iron skillet is just perfect for grilling any kind of sandwich. You can find my favorite cast iron skillet here.
Classic Tuna Melt Sandwiches
- 1 can tuna (5 or 6 ounces), drained and flaked
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip salad dressing
- 2 Tablespoons red onion or white onion, minced
- 2 Tablespoons dill pickle, minced
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Sliced cheddar cheese, enough for 4 sandwiches
- 8 slices of bread
- 2 Tablespoons butter for frying
- Tomato slices, optional
In a small bowl, use a fork or mixing spoon to mix the tuna, mayo or Miracle Whip, onions, dill pickles, and salt and pepper.
To Make Tuna Melt Sandwiches on the Stove Top
Spread the tuna salad mixture evenly on four slices of bread.
Then layer the sliced cheddar cheese over the tuna mixture.
Top with tomato slices, if using.
Butter one side of the remaining bread slices and put them butter side up on top of the sandwiches.
Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add 1 Tablespoon of butter.
When the butter is melted and sizzling, place the tuna melt sandwiches in the pan butter side down.
Now, butter the side of the bread that is on top.
Toast the sandwiches, until golden brown on the bottom, then flip them over and cook the other side. That will take three to five minutes per side.
Depending on the size of your skillet, you may have to cook them in batches.
To make Tuna Melt Sandwiches in the Oven
Turn the broiler on in your oven to high.
Line a cookie sheet or sheet pan with parchment paper. This helps with clean up, and I’m all about that!
Layer your tuna melt sandwiches on the pan in this order:
- 1 slice of bread
- tuna mixture
- tomato (if using)
- sliced cheese
- and top it off with the second slice of bread that has butter on the top.
Put the sandwiches in the oven and watch carefully. It won’t take long for the bread to get toasty.
Remove the pan, flip the sandwiched over, and butter the slice of bread that’s now on the top. Return the pan to the oven and let the other side toast under the broiler.
To serve, cut the sandwiches in triangles. Cuz triangles are cool.
Eat these easy tuna melt sandwiches with potato chips and some carrots or alongside a bowl of soup.
They’ll be a hit either way.
Tuna Melt Recipe Variations
If you like a little more crunch to your sandwich you can add sliced celery along with the onion and pickles.
For a little more flavor, try adding chives, dried or fresh parsley, or even tarragon to the tuna mixture.
Many people add diced hard boiled eggs to their tuna so it’s more like tuna salad.
I’ve even seen sliced avocados in place of the tomatoes.
Basically, your kitchen, your rules. Make it in whatever way makes you happy!
Frequently Asked Questions About Tuna Melt Sandwiches
Yes you can! I like to make them up ahead of time to freeze for later. Just don’t add the butter to the bread until you are ready to put them in the frying pan.
Then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or put in a zip top freezer bag and toss in the freezer. They should keep in the freezer for about 3 to 5 months.
To cook, allow the sandwiches to thaw for about 20 to 30 minutes, then butter the bread and cook them in the frying pan or under the broiler, following the listed directions.
Whatever your favorite is! But really, cheeses that melt well are the best choices. So cheddar cheese, swiss cheese, and mozzarella cheese are most popular. But, I’ve also used gouda and Havarti with good results.
A denser bread that toasts well is perfect for this recipe. I’ve used sourdough bread, various whole wheat breads, and even rye bread.
Easy, peasy! In the frying pan, butter a slice of bread, add the cheese first, then the tuna mixture and cook until the bread is toasted.
Under the broiler, put the cheese on top so it gets nice and melty.
Making these sandwiches as a panini sandwich might smoosh the filling out, but here’s how to do it if you really want to.
Just make them in the same way as the stove top method, but add a weight on top of the sandwiches like a heavy pan.
Simple Tuna Melt Sandwich
- 1 can tuna drained and flaked
- 2 to 3 Tbsp of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip salad dressing
- 2 Tbsp onion minced
- 2 Tbsp dill pickle minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sliced cheddar cheese enough for 4 sandwiches
- 8 slices of bread
- 2 Tbsp butter for frying
- Tomato slices optional
- In a small bowl, mix the tuna, mayo or Miracle Whip, onions, dill pickles, and salt and pepper.
- Spread the tuna mixture evenly on four slices of bread.
- Put the sliced cheddar cheese over the tuna mixture.
- Top with tomato slices, if using.
- Butter one side of the remaining bread slices and put them butter side up on top of the sandwiches.
- Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add 1 Tbsp of butter.
- When the butter is melted and sizzling, place the sandwiches in the pan butter side down.
- Now, butter the side of the bread that is on top.
- Cook the sandwiches, until golden brown on the bottom, then flip them over and cook the other side. That will take three to five minutes per side.
- Depending on the size of your skillet, you may have to cook them in batches.
- To serve, cut the sandwiches in triangles. Cuz triangles are cool.