Here I’ll show you some tips and tricks to making the best Tuna Melt in the world!
A tuna melt is a thing of beauty isn’t it? With so many different variations it’s tricky to know the best way to make it though. Thankfully I’ve done A LOT of testing, just so you don’t have to 😏 Follow me…
Sure, you could just mix tuna and mayo together – but where’s the fun in that? The tuna mayo is the star of the show after all so it’s important to let it shine!
What kind of tuna to use?
You’ll want to use canned tuna chunks. I don’t recommend using flaked tuna, in my experience it’s always fairly mushy (and that’s before you mix everything in). I usually go for tuna in spring water because it’s got the most ‘neutral’ flavour, which works as more of a blank canvas to season to your liking. Tuna in brine will be more salty, whilst tuna in oil adds a little more flavour with a slightly more glossy texture.
Level up the mayo!
Firstly, the mayo has gotta be full fat. Reduced fat mayo has no place in a tuna melt. In with the mayo I recommend throwing in a few extra goodies to spruce it up. Here I add dijon mustard and lemon juice, along with a pinch of salt, black pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper (optional for a little heat).
Alongside the tuna and the pimped up mayo I also like to throw in some fresh parsley and spring onion for an extra layer of flavour.
Process shots: add mayo ingredients to small pot (photo 1), stir to combine (photo 2), drain tuna and add into a mixing bowl with mayo, spring onion and parsley (photo 3), stir to combine (photo 4).
The Best Way to make a Tuna Melt
Alrighty, tuna mayo done and dusted, let’s talk sandwich.
Best Bread for a Tuna Melt?
You want something fairly firm like a Sourdough. The filling is fairly wet, and a soft bread bread won’t contain it particularly well. French bread is also a popular choice.
Best Cheese for a Tuna Melt?
I usually go for half Cheddar and half Mozzarella. Cheddar offers the cheesy flavour you’re after, whilst the mozzarella provides that epic cheese pull. You could sub the mozzarella for Swiss if you want extra flavour.
Best Fillings for a Tuna Melt?
Alongside the cheese & tuna I like adding Tomato and Pickles. If you’re adding these I recommend patting them dry. You want to avoid adding excess moisture to a tuna melt to avoid it going soggy!
Process shots: add bread butter side down (photo 1), add cheddar (photo 2), add tuna (photo 3), add tomato (photo 4), add pickles (photo 5), add mozzarella (photo 6), add bread butter side up (photo 7), fry both sides (photo 8).
Tuna Melt FAQ
Can you make a tuna melt ahead of time?
I don’t recommend making the full sandwich ahead of time, but you can absolutely make the tuna mayo and tightly cover in the fridge until needed. Just give it a stir before adding to the sandwich and preferably bring it out the fridge 15mins before needed, just to take the chill off it.
What else can I add to a tuna melt?
I’ve added a note on this in the recipe card below, but subs and additions include: avocado, jalapeños, celery and red onion.
What side goes with tuna melts?
- Crisp/Chip Recommendation: I prefer Ready Salted with this sandwich as the filling is already quite tangy.
- Side Recommendation: I love serving this with a batch of Garlic Parmesan Fries or Spicy Wedges!
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this Tuna Melt shall we?!
How to make the best Tuna Melt (Full Recipe & Video)
A Tuna Melt sent from heaven
- Small Pot (for mayo)
- Small/Medium Mixing Bowl (for tuna mayo)
- Non-Stick Pan & Spatula/Turner
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- 2x 5oz/145g cans of Tuna Chunks, drained
- 1/3 cup / 80g Mayonnaise
- 1 heaped tbsp finely diced Fresh Parsley
- 1 Spring Onion, finely diced
- 2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 tsp EACH: Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder (or to taste)
- 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper, optional (or to taste)
- 6 slices of Bread (something firm like a Sourdough)
- 4 1/2 square slices of Cheddar or as needed to neatly fit in bread
- 4 1/2 square slices of Mozzarella or as needed to neatly fit in bread
- 2 Beef Steak Tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds & patted dry (2-3 per sandwich)
- Bread & Butter Pickles, to preference & patted dry (see notes)
- Butter, as needed
- In a small pot combine mayo, mustard, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper (optional).
- Add drained tuna to a mixing bowl then add in parsley, spring onion and your mayo mix. Use a fork to mix everything then place to one side.
- Spread one side of each of your slices of bread with butter. Place 2-3 of them butter-side-down in a pan with the heat OFF. Add cheddar, followed by tuna, topped with tomato, then pickles and finish with mozzarella. Top with bread butter-side-up then turn heat to a low-medium and fry both sides until golden, with the cheese nice and gooey.
- If you can only fit in 2 sandwiches, prep the third to one side as you fry the others. Slice in half, serve up and enjoy!
- Sub Pickles for Avocado slices or even BACON!
- Sub Mozzarella for more Cheddar or Swiss.
- Sub the Spring Onion for finely diced Red Onion for more texture and a more intense flavour.
- Add finely diced Celery for more texture.
- Sub Cayenne Pepper for Chilli Flakes or omit for no spice.
If you loved this Tuna Melt recipe be sure to Pin it for later! Already made it or got a burning question? Give me a shout in the comments below!