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Classic Tuna Melt

An old-fashioned lunch, this Classic Tuna Melt is a quick, diner-style recipe that you can put together in minutes and is absolutely delicious!

A CLASSIC SANDWICH RECIPE

As a kid, we ate a lot of tuna sandwiches. This Classic Tuna Melt was one variation of how we ate those sandwiches. It is super easy to put together and makes a great dinner or lunch option, especially when you’re short on time. This sandwich manages to be filling and yet light at the same time. Serve it by itself or with a side salad, crackers, vegetables and more. It’s a classic recipe for a reason! So if you are looking for a delicious tried-and-true sandwich, then you need to make this Classic Tuna Melt recipe.

Stacked cut Classic Tuna Melt on top of eachother showing layers.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What is a tuna melt?

A toasted sandwich filled with a creamy tuna mixture that is topped with a slice of tomato and melted cheese.

Why is it called tuna melt?

A melt sandwich is literally a toasted sandwich that has melted cheese on it and some other filling (usually meat but sometimes vegetables).

What is a good bread to use?

I like this sandwich with a sturdy bread like rye or sourdough, but it is also delicious with multigrain, whole wheat, or plain white bread. You can adjust the bread to your own taste.  

Can I use another cheese other than cheddar?

While we love cheddar and it’s traditional, you can use other cheeses. Some delicious alternatives would be havarti, provolone, colby jack, swiss, or even American cheese if you prefer.

Can I leave out the celery or substitute something else?

Chopped water chestnuts also work well in this sandwich if you like the crunch. They don’t change the flavor, but they stay crunchy! Some people like to add in chopped dill pickles or relish. You can also leave it out altogether.

Do I have to use tuna in a tuna melt?

No, you can also use canned chicken for this recipe if you prefer and make it a chicken melt!

What do you eat tuna melt with?

These types of sandwiches are almost always served with potato chips and a pickle on the side. You could also serve it with some French fries, onion rings or a side salad.

How do I store leftovers?

Store unused tuna mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. Or you may store it in the freezer for up to a week. If you are storing the tuna melt sandwich, it may be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days. Then, to reheat it, place it in the oven at 350 degrees to heat through. This will take about 5 minutes.  

Two cut slices of the Classic Tuna Melt stacked on top of one another Pinterest image.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (FULL RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)

  • canned tuna
  • mayonnaise 
  • red onion
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • celery
  • green onion
  • cheddar cheese
  • tomato
  • bread
  • salted butter
Ingredients needed: canned tuna, mayonnaise, red onion, lemon juice, salt, pepper, celery, green onion, cheddar cheese, tomato, bread and salted butter.

HOW TO MAKE A CLASSIC TUNA MELT:

After draining the tuna thoroughly, place it into a medium bowl. Use a fork to break it up really well. Mix mayonnaise, onion, lemon juice, salt, pepper, celery and green onion with the tuna.  

Mayonnaise, onion, lemon juice, salt, pepper, celery and green onion with the tuna.

Heat a skillet to medium-low heat. Spread butter on one slice of bread.  

Hand holding up a buttered slice of bread.

Place this piece of bread, butter side down, into the skillet. Add about ½ cup of the tuna mixture and spread it to the edges of the bread.

Tuna mixture spread on slice of bread.

Add slices of tomato and a slice of cheese. 

Tomato slices and cheese placed over tuna mixture.

Butter on one side of another piece of bread. Place this piece of bread (butter side up) on top of the cheese. (The butter goes on the outside of the sandwich so that it will toast nicely.) Then carefully flip the sandwich with a spatula to grill both sides.

Second half of bread placed on top of sandwich toasted.

Cook the sandwich in the skillet at medium-low heat until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted.

Hand holding up one of the sliced portions of the Classic Tuna Melt.

WANT MORE DELICIOUS RECIPES? YOU MUST TRY THESE!

Square image of stacked Classic Tuna Melt.

Classic Tuna Melt

An old-fashioned lunch, this Classic Tuna Melt is a quick, diner-style recipe that you can put together in minutes and is so delicious!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • After draining the tuna thoroughly, place it into a medium bowl. Use a fork to break it up really well.
  • Mix mayonnaise, onion, lemon juice, salt, pepper, celery and green onion with the tuna.
  • Heat a skillet to medium-low heat. Spread butter on one slice of bread.
  • Place this piece of bread, butter side down, into the skillet. Add about ½ cup of the tuna mixture and spread it to the edges of the bread.
  • Add slices of tomato and a slice of cheese.
  • Butter on one side of another piece of bread. Place this piece of bread (butter side up) on top of the cheese. (The butter goes on the outside of the sandwich so that it will toast nicely.) Then carefully flip the sandwich with a spatula to grill both sides.
  • Cook the sandwich in the skillet at medium-low heat until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted.

Notes

  • You can use a variety of breads for this recipe, see my ideas above.
  • If you are not a fan of cheddar cheese, feel free to swap it out, there are more ideas above.
  • The tuna salad itself can be frozen for up to 1 week.
  • Easily double this recipe to serve more people.
Course: Main Course, Sandwiches
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 674kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 29g | Sodium: 1205mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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