Best Tuna Melt

Grilled to golden perfection, this open-faced tuna melt is a sandwich that you won’t soon forget. Chewy sourdough, tender chunks of tuna, sharp onion, creamy mayo, zingy wholegrain mustard and ooey-gooey goodness of melted cheddar cheese – this is the BEST tuna melt recipe you’ll make!  PS. Low-carb/keto tuna melt alternative included.

Best Tuna Melt Recipe
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What Is A Tuna Melt? 

A tuna melt is a type of sandwich that typically consists of tuna salad and melted cheese on bread, which is then grilled or toasted. The tuna salad is usually made by mixing canned tuna with mayonnaise, chopped celery, and sometimes other ingredients like pickles or onions.

The sandwich can be made on any type of bread but is often served on sliced bread, a bagel, or an English muffin. The cheese used for the melt can vary, but cheddar cheese is a popular choice. Tuna melts are a popular lunch or dinner option and are often served with a side of salad or chips.

My Favourite Tuna Melt Recipe

I love making a grilled tuna melt for lunch (or a quick, lazy dinner) and this particular recipe is my most cooked and loved.

This is a grilled, open-faced tuna melt made with sourdough bread, which is a much healthier option in my opinion. You can also use gluten-free or paleo-friendly bread.

I mix the tuna with creamy mayonnaise, wholegrain mustard and sharp onion, which give it a lot of flavour and tanginess. I will typically use grated Cheddar or Tasty cheese (similar to mild Cheddar) but you can also use Swiss, Mozzarella and so on. 

My biggest tip for an incredible tuna melt is a little sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper after it’s cooked. That little bit of extra salt accentuates all of the flavours in the melt sandwich.

With plenty of carbs and fibre, plus high-protein tuna and cheese, this meal is satiating and provides a balance of nutrients. Enjoy!

Grilled tuna melt sandwich recipe
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What You’ll Need

Here is a rundown on ingredients you will need. For all of the measurements I used, check out the recipe card below.

  • Bread: Sourdough bread is the healthiest and tastiest in my opinion, but you can use regular sliced bread, just make sure the slices are thick.
  • Tuna fish: Drained from the can and ready to go! I probably don’t have to tell you that the better quality tuna you get, the better this will taste.
  • Mayonnaise: Make the tuna mixture rich and creamy.
  • Onion: Chopped very finely, this adds sharpness and a little crunch to the tuna melt.
  • Wholegrain Mustard: This has so much flavour and adds tanginess and a little creaminess as well.
  • Cheese: I love grating cheese so it evenly melts over the sandwich but you can use slices as well. Cheddar, Tasty, Greyer or a mix are my favourites. Mozzarella doesn’t have as much flavour but you can use it.
  • Salt and Pepper: Add just a pinch to the mixture and then a few speckles of each on top of the tuna melt after baking for that extra flavour pop.

How To Make Tuna Melt (Open-Faced) 

Jump to the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients, instructions and nutritional breakdown. Here are some visual steps for how to make tuna melt.

I make my tuna melt as an open-faced grilled sandwich using the Grill/Broil setting of the oven. It is possible to make this in an air fryer as well. You can also use the creamy tuna mixture and cheese to make a toastie /grilled cheese sandwich in a frying pan or a skillet.

  • Step 1. Pre-toast the bread on the lowest setting in a toaster. This will keep it crunchy on the bottom.
  • Step 2. Arrange a piece of parchment paper on a flat baking tray. Preheat the oven on the Grill setting while you’re making the tuna melt toppings.
  • Step 3. Combine strained canned tuna with finely diced white onions, mayonnaise and mustard and mash well with a fork. This is your tuna salad component of the melt. Grate the cheese and set aside.
how to make tuna melt steps 1
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  • Step 4. Spread a few tablespoons of the tuna salad mix on each piece of the sourdough toast. Top generously with grated cheese. 
  • Step 5. Pop the tray under a hot grill (medium-high) but make sure it’s not too close to the grill or the edges of the toast will burn before the cheese melts properly. Grill until the cheese has melted and formed a golden crust. It only takes a few minutes.
  • Step 6. Remove and cool slightly before serving. Sprinkle with a few pinches of ground black pepper and sea salt. 
how to make tuna melt with a broiler
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Low-Carb & Keto Tuna Melt

For my readers avoiding carbs or bread, here is an idea for a low-carb or keto tuna melt alternative, which is kind of like a cheesy tuna omelette or frittata.

Prepare the creamy tuna mixture as per this recipe and grated the cheese. Whisk 4 eggs with a little salt in a bowl. Heat an oven-proof skillet or pan on the stove and melt a little butter. Add the whisked eggs and when they just start to cook, remove them from the heat. Spread the tuna mixture on top of the eggs and sprinkle with cheese. Pop under a hot grill for a few minutes for the cheese to melt to golden crust. The egg will finish cooking under the grill.

What To Serve With Tuna Melt

This tuna melt is great on its own but I love serving it with dill pickles or gherkins on the side and a little salad or sliced tomatoes and cucumbers for freshness. 

It’s also lovely with a little soup on the side, especially tomato soup or pumpkin, basically any veggie soup. 

Open Faced Tuna Melt Sandwich Recipe
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Best Tuna Melt Recipe
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Best Tuna Melt Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 4 servings
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: American
Print Pin Save
5 from 7 votes
Calories: 391kcal
Get ready to treat yourself to the ultimate tuna melt experience! This open-faced sandwich is a masterpiece of flavours and textures, featuring chewy sourdough bread, tender chunks of tuna, sharp onions, creamy mayo, zingy wholegrain mustard, and the irresistible ooey-gooey Cheddar cheese grilled to golden perfection. Trust me, this is the BEST tuna melt you'll ever make!


  • 4 slices sourdough toasted, 35-40 g / 2 oz. each
  • 180 g canned tuna in brine or 6 oz. (this is drained weight)
  • 1/4 small white onion or red, finely diced
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
  • 2.5 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 cup grated cheese e.g. Cheddar, Tasty etc
  • A few pinches of sea salt and ground black pepper
  • To serve: gherkins and sliced cucumber


  • Pre-toast the bread on the lowest setting in a toaster, then arrange the pieces on a piece of parchment paper on a flat baking tray.
  • Preheat the oven to Grill setting while you’re making the toppings.
  • Combine strained tuna with finely diced onions, mayonnaise and mustard and mash well with a fork.
  • Grate the cheese and set aside.
  • Spread a few tablespoons of the tuna mix on each piece of toast. Top generously with grated cheese.
  • Pop the tray under a hot grill (medium-high) but make sure it’s not too close to the grill or the edges of the toast will burn before the cheese melts properly. Grill until the cheese has melted and formed a golden crust, it should only take a few minutes.
  • Remove and cool slightly before serving. Sprinkle with a few pinches of ground black pepper and sea salt.



Nutrition Label: If serving as a main dinner meal, you may need 2 slices per person. For lunch, 1 slice might be sufficient, especially if served with a side salad or soup. 
Storing Leftovers/Making Ahead: The mixture for tuna melts is super easy to store and use later. Transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Your cooked tuna melt will stay good for a day or two either wrapped in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container. The bread may get soggy, though. 
Originally posted February 23, 2023 | Updated on March 7, 2024


Serving: 1 slice | Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 724mg | Potassium: 184mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 314IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 243mg | Iron: 3mg
Keywords: Lunch, Sourdough, grilled cheese, Canned Tuna, Tuna Melt Sandwich, Tuna Grilled Cheese, Tuna Toastie, Grilled Sandwich
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookedandloved or tag #cookedandloved

More Recipes With Canned Tuna

  • Canned tuna is very versatile and you can use it in a variety of ways. I often use it to make a quick and easy high-protein lunch meal.
  • Patties – I love these tuna cabbage patties but you can add canned tuna to corn fritters, pea halloumi fritters, and obviously to make fish cakes (this is my salmon recipe but tuna works just as well).
  • Salads – You can make any kind of salad you like and add some canned tuna to turn it into a more satiating meal. I love a creamy tuna salad like this (with sweet potato) or you can try the classic Spanish Russian Salad (also known as Ensalda Rusa).
  • As a topping or stuffing – whether you’re making baked white potatoes or sweet potatoes, tuna can make for an excellent, protein-rich filling or topping. You can be making a batch of Spanish tuna with peppers or mix some fish with mayonnaise, spring onions and mustard.
  • If you’re looking for more grilled cheese recipes, check out this collection from The Pioneer Woman

More Sandwich Recipes

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Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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  1. 5 stars
    Nothing is better than a good tuna melt, and this one looks fantastic. I’m making this for dinner!

    1. I often make these for dinner too. Easy and great for when you don’t have much left in the fridge or just feeling a bit lazy.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this tuna melt for lunch today and it was delicious! My new go to sandwich for lunch!

  3. 5 stars
    This tuna melt was absolutely delicious! It made the perfect lunch and I will definitely making it often in the future.

  4. 5 stars
    WOW! What a flavorful and delicious sandwich recipe to try. Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe.

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