Tuna Melt Sandwich

tuna melt sandwich on a plate with chips and pickles
The Spruce / Diana Rattray
Prep: 12 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 32 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 sandwiches
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
646 Calories
39g Fat
36g Carbs
37g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 646
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 16g 81%
Cholesterol 106mg 35%
Sodium 849mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 37g
Vitamin C 12mg 58%
Calcium 413mg 32%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 658mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The tuna melt is an American classic, and there are nearly as many ways to make it as there are American families. This recipe is for closed tuna melt skillet sandwiches, but you could certainly change it up and make paninis or baked open-face sandwiches.

The ingredients are adaptable as well. Use your favorite melting cheese and feel free to change the tuna salad ingredients. Omit the onion or replace it with minced bell pepper or more celery. Instead of sliced tomato, top it off with slices of roasted red pepper. The bread is easy—use what you like. You could even assemble your tuna sandwiches on savory slices of French toast!

For a satisfying lunch or dinner, serve tuna melt sandwiches with crispy potato chips, tortilla chips, or fries, or offer a cup of soup or salad with them.


  • 10 ounces tuna (two 5-ounce cans)

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped celery

  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or pickle juice)

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, optional

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 large tomato (thinly sliced, 8 slices)

  • 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (1 1/2 cups, or about 8 thin slices of cheddar or American cheese)

  • 8 slices bread

  • 3 tablespoons butter (softened)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for tuna melt sandwiches
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Drain the tuna and transfer it to a medium bowl.

    drained tuna in a bowl
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. Add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, red onion, celery, parsley, lemon juice, dill (if using), and pepper to the tuna, stirring until well blended.

    mixing the tuna and other ingredients
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Spread the tuna mixture onto a slice of bread. Top with 2 slices of tomato and about 1/4 cup of the cheese (or 1 to 2 slices).

    layering tomato and cheese on the tuna melt sandwich
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Place another slice of bread on top of the cheese layer and carefully spread about 1 teaspoon of the butter over top. Repeat with the remaining bread, tuna, tomato slices, and cheese.

    buttered sandwich on a cutting board
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. Heat a skillet over medium. Place 1 or 2 sandwiches in the pan, buttered side down. Butter the top piece of bread and cook for about 4 to 6 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Carefully turn the sandwich over and continue to cook for 4 or 5 minutes to brown the other side. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.

    tuna melt sandwich in the skillet
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  7. Slice the sandwiches and serve with potato chips or fries and dill pickle slices.

    tuna melt sandwich on the cutting board
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

What's the Best Bead for Tuna Melts?

The best bread for a tuna melt is the bread you normally use for sandwiches. White bread is classic, but rye bread, whole wheat, sourdough, or a rustic artisan-style bread are excellent options. If you're making an open-face tuna melt, you might choose a thicker slice of bread or English muffins

Can You Reheat a Tuna Melt Sandwich?

While a tuna melt sandwich is best when it's freshly made, leftovers may be reheated in a 350 F oven until the sandwich is warm and the cheese is melted.

What Is a Good Side To Serve With a Tuna Melt?

Potato chips or French fries are excellent choices. A tuna melt sandwich also pairs well with a tossed salad, coleslaw, tomato soup, or sweet potato fries


  • To save time, make the tuna salad mixture up to 1 day in advance.
  • When buttering bread to be grilled, make sure to cover the entire surface of the bread.

Sheet Pan Tuna Melt Sandwiches

  • Closed Tuna Melt Sandwiches: Preheat the oven to 450 F and lightly grease a sheet pan. Arrange the sandwiches on the sheet pan, butter side down. Butter the top of the sandwiches. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip them over and bake for about 4 to 5 minutes longer.
  • Open-Face Tuna Melts: Heat the oven to 450 F and lightly grease a sheet pan. Butter 4 thick slices of bread and place them, butter-side down, on a sheet pan. Top the bread with a layer of cheese, a layer of tuna, 2 tomato slices, and another layer of cheese. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted.

Recipe Variations

  • Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of chopped dill pickle or dill relish to the tuna mixture.
  • Add 1 finely chopped or grated hard-boiled eggs to the tuna mixture.
  • Replace the cheddar cheese with Swiss cheese, fontina, Monterey Jack, or pepper jack cheese.
  • For delicious tuna paninis, cook the tuna melt in a panini press for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • For a little "zing," add a layer of 2 or 3 pickled jalapeño rings to each sandwich.