This Classic Tuna Melt Sandwich recipe comes together with seasoned tuna, cheddar cheese, and fresh tomatoes on thick, toasted bread for the ultimate easy comfort food!

Tuna melt sandwich cut in half and stacked on a white round plate.

Pin this recipe now to save it for later

The Best Tuna Melt Sandwich Recipe

On paper, you wouldn’t think tuna salad and cheese would go together, but somehow, it works. If you’ve ever had a tuna melt sandwich, you know that this is absolute perfection between two slices of bread. It’s a little bit messy, and kind of unwieldy if you’re overly generous with the tuna salad in the middle, but oh-so-delicious. 

Basically, this is a tuna salad sandwich taken to the next level. Instead of simply putting a scoop of tuna salad on bread and calling it a day, the tuna melt adds cheese. Then, the whole thing cooks on the stovetop until the bread is toasty, the cheese is melty, and the tuna is nice and warm. So good.

The key to making a good tuna melt sandwich is choosing the right ingredients. Start with a good tuna salad recipe—and we totally have a winner right here. Adding Old Bay seasoning is the little boost of flavor you totally didn’t know tuna salad needed.

Choose a cheese that melts well—cheddar is the classic choice. However, feel free to try Fontina, Havarti, or Monterey Jack, too. Then make sure you have a nice, thick bread to help hold everything together. You don’t want your tuna melt falling apart when you go to eat it!

Place your sandwich onto a hot skillet or griddle like a grilled cheese. Then, lightly toast each side until the cheese has melted and the edges of the bread are golden brown. Slice in half, and serve while still warm for a classic sandwich that never goes out of style.

(If you love tuna melts, you’ll love my Cheesy Tuna Casserole, too!)

Top down image of a tuna melt sandwich cut in half facing up to show the cross section with a side of wavy kettle potato chips.

Ingredients for Tuna Melt Sandwich

To print: see recipe card below

Ingredients to make tuna melt sandwiches.

For the Tuna Salad:

  • 10 ounces tuna (2 cans) – Oil-packed or water-packed tuna are both fine. So, choose whichever you prefer. Just make sure to drain the liquid.
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise – Any kind you like or have on hand.
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 stalk celery – Not a fan of the flavor? Diced water chestnuts will give you the crunch without the taste of celery.
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning – You can skip this if you don’t have it on hand, but I really love it in tuna salad!

To Assemble the Tuna Melt Sandwich:

  • 8 slices thick sliced bread – Like sourdough or Texas toast. Rye and whole wheat bread work well too, or even standard sandwich bread cut into thick slices.
  • 4 tablespoons butter – I recommend using unsalted butter, but salted will also work. Let this soften so it’s easy to spread.
  • 8 slices cheddar cheese – A nice, mild cheddar is what you want here. 
  • 4 tomato slices
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  • Substitute the cheddar cheese with a slice of Havarti, provolone, or Monterey jack.
  • Add dill pickles to the tuna salad for a crunchy texture and tangy flavor.
  • Layer sliced red onions onto the bread after the tomatoes.
  • Spread a layer of Dijon mustard or mayonnaise on each slice of bread. This adds extra flavor and helps hold the sandwich together when you flip it.
  • Add green onions for a slightly tangy taste and a bit of extra crunch.

Directions for How to Make a Tuna Melt Recipe

  1. Prepare the tuna salad: Add all the tuna salad ingredients to a bowl, and stir to combine.
  2. Assemble the sandwich: Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Spread a portion of the tuna salad on half on the unbuttered side of half the bread pieces. Layer the tomato slices and two pieces of cheese on each piece. Top the sandwiches with the remaining bread, buttered side out.
  3. Toast the tuna melts: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add two sandwiches. Heat for two to three minutes on each side or until the bread is golden brown. Repeat this process with the remaining sandwiches, and enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

Tuna melt sandwiches are the perfect comfort food and make a delicious lunch or dinner. Serve them with a side of potato chips, salad, or air fryer French fries for a complete meal.

They also pair nicely with vegetable soup like potato soup for an easy, cozy meal. If you’re not super hungry, omit the top piece of bread, and serve the tuna melt open-faced.

Close up image of the cross section of a tuna melt sandwich sitting on a white round plate.

How to Store Leftover Tuna Melt Sandwiches

Tuna melt sandwiches are best enjoyed right away. However, if you do have leftovers, you can wrap them in foil or place them in an airtight container. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for one to two days.

Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat on the stove. Or, enjoy your sandwich cold!

I do not recommend freezing this recipe as the bread will become soggy and the mayo doesn’t thaw well.

Quick Tip

Use a spatula to press down on the tuna melts while they cook. This will help them hold together and the flavors will really meld, too!

Two halves of a tuna melt sandwich stacked on top of each other.

Tuna Melt Sandwich

A tuna melt sandwich is a diner classic that’s easy to make at home! Seasoned tuna salad is piled onto thick slices of bread with cheddar cheese and toasted to perfection to create the ultimate comfort food sandwich.
4 from 2 votes
Course: lunch, Sandwich
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes



Tuna Salad:

  • 10 ounces tuna, drained 2 cans
  • cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

To Assemble:

  • 8 slices thick sliced bread such as sourdough or Texas toast
  • 4 Tablespoons butter softened
  • 8 slices cheddar cheese
  • 4 tomato slices
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil


  • In a mixing bowl, stir all tuna salad ingredients until mixed thoroughly.
    10 ounces tuna, drained, ⅓ cup mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, 1 stalk celery, 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • Spread the butter on one side of each slice of bread. Assemble each sandwich with a portion of the tuna salad, a slice of tomato and two slices of cheese. The buttered side of the bread should be facing out.
    8 slices thick sliced bread, 4 Tablespoons butter, 8 slices cheddar cheese, 4 tomato slices
  • In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add 2 of the sandwiches. Heat until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining two sandwiches.
    1 Tablespoon vegetable oil


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 631kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 1463mg | Potassium: 355mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1009IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 351mg | Iron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

Did you make this Tuna Melt Sandwich recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

More Easy Sandwich Recipes

Categories: ,

About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.


  1. Michael Baldonieri says:

    4 stars
    In the list of ingredients it says 1 lemon juice if you used all that the tuna salad spread would be too liquid

  2. Tandy McClintic says:

    Tastes even better with Swiss cheese on seeded rye bread, still grilled. sourdough bread is delicious too‼️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.