Everyone has a superpower, and quite frankly, one of mine is sandwich-making. I know what goes into a spectacular sandwich; I love putting them together, and I love serving them to my favorite eaters. Sandwich making starts with fabulous ingredients, including fantastic bread and delicious cheese. And in the case of a tuna melt, it starts with my totally delicious tuna salad, and I’m here to share two tips that will change how you make tuna salad.

Tuna “Salad Days”: Delicious Nostalgia

I made tuna salad weekly in my household when my kids lived with me. For us, it was a main food group! We regularly ate it straight from the Mason jar on crackers. It was the perfect snack. I served tuna salad on repeat for my children’s entire childhood!

Muscle Memory: The Ultimate Tuna Salad Tips and Tricks

While it’s wonderful to be able to reach into the fridge and grab a jar of tuna salad, there’s nothing like a homemade tuna melt. It’s crispy, salty, and briny, and it’s warm. With the pickle and the Marinated Red Onions, it’s the perfect griddled sandwich.

Teri’s tips for the perfect Tuna Melt:

  1. Often, tuna salad can be too mushy. The trick is to squeeze the living daylights out of the tuna. That means you open the can, then either put the lid back on it or just put your fingers over it, turn it upside down, and press until every bit of water is gone. Make sure your tuna is quite literally dry.
  2. The next tip is to crumble the tuna. You don’t want giant tuna chunks, so use your hands to crumble it.

Once you have dry, crumbled tuna in your hands, then it’s ready for the chopped celery, onion, and other goodness. I frankly don’t like big pieces of celery in my tuna salad, so I cut the celery, onion, and possibly chives into smaller pieces.

Elevate Your Dish: From Tuna Salad Sandwich to Tuna Melt Perfection

When I want to take it to the next level, I add giardiniera, which is a Chicago spicy pepper blend. There are so many more ingredients you could add, but I believe in a simple tuna salad. Use high-quality mayonnaise, a touch of mustard, a sprinkle of salt, some black pepper, and gently combine.

Some Like It Hot: Sizzle On The Griddle

I like to griddle a tuna melt. Build your sandwich with a couple of ounces of cheese along with your tuna, put it in a skillet, and cook until the cheese is melted and gooey.  I then remove it from the heat, open it, and on the non-cheese side, add lettuce, pickle, and of course, I finish it up with my Marinated Red Onions. There’s something about each of those elements warmed together that creates gooey, delicious, magic sandwich heaven.

At first, I was a little hesitant to heat the tuna. In the past, I’d always warmed the bread and cheese and added the tuna afterward, but trust me: the heated tuna will turn your sandwich into something you’ll want to eat every day. The truth is, it’s not a gorgeous sandwich, but adding a bit of lettuce will give you some color along with the crunch.

If you’re using bread, griddle it. Cooking it in a pan with butter or olive oil makes the bread so crunchy and good!

Hands-Off Heating: Bake in the Oven

If you’re using a gluten-free baguette (or a regular baguette), bake it in the oven. It’s the kind of sandwich you’ll be thinking about for days and wondering how you can stop everything else you’re doing to make another perfect tuna melt.

Tuna Melt reviews are already coming in! Let’s see what people are saying about this fabulous sandwich!

“For some reason, restaurant versions can be disappointing, but your tuna melts are always perfect. The pickle brightens it up and makes it so over the top delicious!”

— Lily, a favorite eater

If you make yourself one of these Tuna Melt Sandwiches, be sure to leave a comment and let me know. If you’re looking for more inspiration, sign up for our Friday Favorites newsletter, and follow along on PinterestInstagram, and TikTok to join in all the fun!

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Crack the Code of the Ultimate Tuna Melt Sandwich!

Tuna Melt Sandwich – Two Ways

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  • Author: Teri Turner
  • Yield: 2 sandwiches
  • Category: Sandwiches
  • Method: Griddled
  • Cuisine: American


Tuna melt sandwiches are perfect for any occasion and Teri has two ways to make them! Baked or cooked on the griddle, we can’t get enough!


  •   2 (5-ounce) cans solid white albacore tuna in spring water, drained well
  •   ½ cup finely chopped celery
  •   ½ cup finely chopped onion
  •   2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  •   ½ cup mayonnaise
  •   ½ teaspoon yellow mustard
  •   Kosher salt
  •   Freshly ground black pepper
  •   4 tablespoons finely chopped giardiniera
  •   4 slices of sourdough or 2 baguettes (or 1 long baguette cut into two), regular or gluten free
  •   4 ounces cheddar cheese
  •   2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil, depending on the method
  •  Baby romaine lettuce
  •  Pickle slices
  •  Marinated Red Onions


Griddled Instructions

  1.   Make sure the tuna is drained well and almost dry. Using your hands, crumble the tuna in a medium bowl, leaving some bigger and some smaller pieces.
  2.   Add the finely chopped vegetables. Large chunks are not going to work.
  3.   Add the mayonnaise and the mustard and mix well. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to add more mayonnaise if desired. Stir in the giardiniera. Cover and refrigerate.
  4.   Build your sandwich by assembling a slice of bread, topping it with a generous amount of the tuna mixture, two ounces of cheese on top, and closing with a second slice of bread. Repeat with the other sandwich.
  5.   In a heavy pan over medium heat, melt two tablespoons of butter. Add the sandwiches, cheese side up, and fry until brown and crispy, about 6 minutes. Flip and fry for about 5 minutes until brown and crispy. If they are browning too fast, turn the heat down to medium-low. With a spatula remove your sandwiches and plate.
  6.   Open the sandwiches and add lettuce, pickles, and marinated onions. Cut in half and enjoy!

Baked Baguette Instructions

  1.   Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2.   Make sure the tuna is drained well and almost dry. Using your hands, crumble the tuna in a medium bowl, leaving some bigger and some smaller pieces.
  3.   Add the finely chopped vegetables. Large chunks are not going to work. Add the mayonnaise and the mustard and mix well. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to add more mayonnaise if desired. Stir in the giardiniera. Cover and refrigerate.
  4.   Slice your baguettes in half lengthwise, but keep the two halves still attached so that they open like a book. Brush the cut sides with a little olive oil and put them on a baking sheet in the oven. Toast until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  5.   Take the bread out of the oven, and add a generous amount of the tuna mixture on one half and 2 ounces of cheese on the other. Return them to the oven until the cheese melts, 5-8 minutes.
  6.   Take the sandwiches out of the oven and place each on a plate. Stuff the sandwiches with lettuce, pickles, and marinated red onions.
  7.   Close the sandwiches, cut them in half, serve, and enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 1 sandwich
  • Calories: 1658
  • Sugar: 19.8 g
  • Sodium: 4114.4 mg
  • Fat: 75.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 158.1 g
  • Protein: 85 g
  • Cholesterol: 200.9 mg

I’m a big fan of recipes with tuna; here are a few more of my favorites you should try!

It’s always a good idea to keep a few cans of high-quality tuna on hand in your pantry. They don’t take up a lot of room, but they pack a big punch when it comes to mealtime.

tuna pasta salad in a large bowl

Roy’s Tuna Pasta Salad

As many of you know, Roy is the pasta master. Nobody makes pasta like Roy, and that includes his pasta salads! This Tuna Pasta Salad is perfect for Spring. It’s delicious, easy, and great to bring to a party. And don’t worry, gluten-free friends, I came up with a version made with rice so that we aren’t missing out on any of the goodness!

tuna nicoise sandwich on a wooden board

Tuna Nicoise Sandwich

You know my salads, and you know my sandwiches, so now it’s time to combine them! This is my fabulous Tuna Nicoise Sandwich. I love all of our recipes, but nothing makes me quite as excited as a delicious sandwich like this. It’s next-level amazingness. It is a bit of work, but it is absolutely worth it.

Do you have a copy of the No Crumbs Left cookbook yet?

Food is my love language, and this book is a guide to getting you in the kitchen with me, rolling up your sleeves, and reigniting your passion for everyday cooking. Woven throughout the book are my Teri’s Tips as well.

This cookbook is a love letter to my mother because it offers the recipe for a well-lived life.

Click here to grab your copy!