Best-Ever Tuna Melt

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This sandwich is in a league all of its own. And we just upped the ante!

The flavors of this nostalgic sandwich just go together in ways that are unmatched. But, what really puts this version over the top is the Best-Ever Tuna Salad. Serve this with a side of crosshatch sweet potato chips, a dill pickle spear, and a tall glass of iced tea, and you will be in lunch heaven.

Four halves of tuna melt sandwiches that are stacked on top of each other with the interior of the sandwich visible.

How To Make the Best-Ever Tuna Melt

Making the world’s best tuna melt is actually easier than you might think.

And you can make the tuna salad up to several days in advance! Heck, you’ll want to have one of these incredible sandwiches every day of the week!


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the Ingredients You Will Need

As mentioned, this sandwich is really all about the homemade tuna salad, but, choosing the best ingredients to take the sandwich to the next level is critical.

Here’s What You’ll Need to Have on Hand

Tuna Salad – We can’t stress this enough: Make the tuna salad from scratch. You can easily adapt it to your own tastes!
Butter – Unsalted, for getting an extra crispy, extra buttery exterior toast
Bread – We usually go with thick slices of sourdough, but see if you can find croissant bread. It’s even more buttery, decadent, and insanely good.
Cheese – We recommend good-quality sliced cheddar, sharp or mild. But, you could also go with Gouda, Fontina, Monterey Jack, or Colby.
Tomatoes – Red and juicy! Sliced nice and thick.
Seasoning – Salt and pepper directly onto the tomatoes.

EXPERT TIP: Adding a layer of cheese on the bottom slice of bread and then placing another slice so it touches the top slice of bread helps to hold everything in place once it gets nice and melty.

A person using a spoon to place homemade tuna salad on top of a slice of tomato that is sitting on a piece of bread with a slice of cheese on it.

Tips For Make the Best-Ever Tuna Salad

Use Quality Canned Tuna – We’ve said this in our tuna salad video, but, going with a top-notch tuna really does make a difference. We love Skipjack tuna from Wild Planet.

Season the Tomatoes – Liberally adding salt and pepper brings out their natural sweetness and acidity and works beautifully with the other components of the sandwich.

Don’t Skimp on the Bread and Cheese – Although the tuna salad is the star, the bread and cheese are critical in preparing the best-ever sandwich. For the bread, go with fresh, thick slices. For the cheese, melty and high-quality is best.

EXPERT TIP: Getting the perfectly grilled bread for the sandwich is critical. Toss the butter into the hot skillet and then gently place the prepared sandwich into the pan. Gently move the sandwich around so it fully absorbs the butter. When ready to flip, remove the sandwiches to a cutting board, add more butter to the pan, and flip on the board. Then, return to the skillet.

A close-up view of two tuna melt sandwiches in a skillet being browned in bubbling melted butter.

How To Serve

This sandwich is definitely served best fresh from the skillet.

Use a large sharp knife to cut the sandwich in half, if desired. For a classic look, wrap each half in sandwich waxed paper.

If serving a gathering of friends and/or family, consider grilling multiple sandwiches on a griddle and cutting the sandwiches into thirds.

We love to serve the melts with kettle chips, or homemade sweet potato fries, pickles, and iced tea.

But in the meantime, you’ve just got to make this Amazing Tuna Melt.

A view of several tuna melt sandwiches that have been cut in half. Capers and dried cranberries are visible along with the tuna.

Other Classic Sandwich Recipes to Try

There is just something special about a sandwich that is made with an extra dose of TLC. Here is a collection of some of our all-time favorites that we just know you will love, too!

Best-Ever Chicken Salad Sandwich
Incredible Egg Salad Sandwich
Grilled Honey Mustard Sandwich with Bacon
Crispy Fried Chicken Sandwich
Classic Pastrami Sandwich
Monte Cristo
Grilled Marinated Steak Sandwich
Best-Ever Fried Fish Sandwich
Fried Catfish Po-Boy
Classic Muffaletta

These are all classic and beyond delicious. But, for right now, isn’t this gem calling your name?

A close-up view of a person holding up a tuna melt sandwich that has been sliced in half.

If we had to rank our all-time favorite sandwiches of all time, this classic melt would be a real contender.

We’ve said it before, but the buttery crunchy bread matched with the melty cheese, seasoned tomatoes, and, of course, the best-ever tuna salad just works incredibly well together.

We love to make a double (or triple) batch of the tuna salad and have these sandwiches all week long! They are so good and we never get tired of them!

A tuna melt sandwich with a bite taken out of it sitting ona brown wax paper.

Ready to take the classic tuna melt to new levels of excellence? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A close-up view of a person holding up a tuna melt sandwich that has been sliced in half.

Amazing Tuna Melt

It's time to take this iconic sandwich to heights you just can't imagine. It all starts with the Best-Ever Tuna Salad. Be sure to go with top-notch bread and cheese, and juicy red tomatoes. The rest comes together beautifully. Simple, straightforward, and unbelievably delicious!
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: lunch, Sandwich
Cuisine: American
Keyword: comfort food, how to make a tuna melt
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 562kcal


  • 1 large skillet (12") preferably non-stick


  • 4 cups tuna salad click for recipe
  • 8 slices sourdough bread ¼" thick, or croissant bread
  • 8 slices cheddar cheese
  • 3 tomatoes sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter softened


Do Ahead

  • Prepare the tuna salad (link to full recipes in Ingredients list)
    4 cups tuna salad

Make the Tuna Melts

  • Build the sandwiches by starting with 1 bread slice. Add 1 slice of cheese, then about 1/2 cup of the tuna salad, then 1 or 2 slices of tomato, a pinch of salt and pepper, another slice of cheese, and topped with another slice of bread. Repeat to build 3 more sandwiches.
    8 slices sourdough bread, 8 slices cheddar cheese, 3 tomatoes, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tbsp of the butter. Swirl until completely melted.
    8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Carefully add 1 or 2 sandwiches into the hot skillet. Cook until lightly browned on the bottom, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Use a spatula to lift each sandwich from the skillet and place it on a cutting board. Carefully flip each sandwich over. Add more butter to the skillet. Once melted, use the spatula to place the sandwich in the skillet. Cook until nicely browned on the bottom, another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and repeat with the remaining two sandwiches.
  • Cut in half and serve at once.


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel.
The tuna salad can be made up to 3 days in advance. The recipe can be doubled or tripled, easily. The salad can be frozen for up to 2 months. 


Calories: 562kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 1001mg | Potassium: 401mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1809IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 323mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in May 2018, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in August 2023!


    • Hi Alex! Woo hoo!! We are so so happy you enjoyed the tuna melt! We love it so much, too! In fact, it’s what we’re having for lunch today!! Thank you so much for sharing and for the awesome review. That truly means the world to us!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I grew up in the 70s and 80s where tuna sandwiches (mayo and all) would melt in your locker before lunch into a soggy mess, forever tainting your view of this classic.

    Your take, adding cranberries, capers, vinegar and fresh dill is pure genius! I have since made for friends and family and they ALL ask for the recipe. It also became a springboard for me to follow you and try many more…. You guys are SO talented, fun to watch, and make some of the best stuff I ever tasted! Thank you!!

    • Hi Mike! We can’t even begin to tell you how happy your note makes us!! Thank you so so much! This tuna melt with the homemade tuna salad really is divine! Thank you again for sharing and your amazing review! That means so much to us! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Well, it really was the best tuna melt ever! I would be stoked to have been served this at a restaurant! That good!
    Even my PICKY four and two year old boys decimated their sandwiches, thank you!

    • Hi Moriah!! You have no idea how happy this makes us!! We are thrilled that you and your family enjoyed the tuna melts! And kudos on making the boys happy!!! WIN!! And thank you for sharing and for the wonderful review. That means the world to us! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • well I have to say, I made two versions for my son and yours won hands down! thank you for a delicious and fun recipe!

  • Definitely a great festive tuna melt treat or any other day would be perfect too. I can’t wait to start on my festive baking which has been put off a lot of times due to crazy work

    • Hi Rashmi! Thanks so much! We hope you like this tuna melt! We think it’s pretty awesome. Let us know if you have any questions, and when you make us, let us know how it turned out and what you think!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Kris! Wesley! It was so wonderfully yummy . Thank you for sharing. I hope you are both doing well. I think this is one of my top favorite sandwiches. Later this week we are going to make your Italian paninis. Thank you for sharing all your amazing recipes and video. Laura

    • Yay!!! Laura!! That is so absolutely fantastic to hear!! We are thrilled you liked this tuna melt as much as we do!! And thank you so much for letting us know. And let us know what you think of the Italian Panini! It’s pretty amazing, too…at least we think so!! xo Kris & Wesley

    • Hi Sue!! Woo hoo!! So glad you guys loved the tuna melt! And thank you so much for letting us know! We truly appreciate that! Please stay in touch! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I love this tuna melt recipe and melts in the mouth. Definitely a great festive tuna melt treat or any other day would be perfect too. I can’t wait to start on my festive baking which has been put off a lot of times due to crazy work.
    This is a nutritious and healthy dish – everything is perfect!

  • you guys are soooo funny and amazing, sitting here waiting to go out for mother’s day lunch and I’d happily skip it for this sandwich. But alas, my kids want to go out so we will and make this tomorrow for sure,

    love you

    • Julie!! You just made us so happy!!!! Happy Mother’s Day to you!!!! Please let us know how the tuna melt turns out! We think you’ll like it! (the kids, too!). xoxo Kris & Wesley

    • Thank you, Peggy! That is so wonderful for you to say, and we do agree, too! It’s pretty yummy. So glad you enjoyed it and thanks so much for letting us know!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    That tuna melt looks absolutely amazing! I have never had a tuna melt and will certainly give it a try. Seeing the sandwich wrapped in paper just makes it that much more appetizing. What is it about a sandwich wrapped like that? Quick question. Are you using a little individual induction burner? I’m in the market for one. Do you have a recommendation. Thanks so much and keep the videos and recipes coming. Always excited to see in my inbox that a new one is up.

    • Hi Sherry! Wrapping the sandwiches in the sandwich paper was Wesley’s idea, but I agree, just makes you want to grab it and eat it immediately! You should give this tuna melt a try, it’s so tasty.

      For our videos, we use a hot plate that is very efficient, especially after you get used to it. The brand is: Rosewill Home.

      Thanks again!! xoxo

      • I have all the ingredients now to make the melt. Can’t wait. I found the hot plate on Amazon for a very reasonable price. Thank you for sharing that information.

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