An Open Faced Tuna Melt is a blend of creamy tuna, gooey melted cheese and crunchy toasted bread. It’s the perfect hearty lunch or easy dinner and ready in only 15 minutes.
Tuna Melts are a classic sandwich that you’ll find in retro diners, delis and sandwich shops. But did you know they are super easy to make at home? And sooo much cheaper.
I’m sharing tips to help you get the best results with this recipe. If you don’t need the tips, scroll to the bottom for the full recipe, including a printable recipe card.
Even if you’re a fan of canned tuna, it can be hard to come up with new recipes outside of tuna salad. But this recipe is one that will really knock your socks off!
The key to an amazing tuna melt is in the bread selection. Anytime you have a creamy sandwich you want to make sure you use a hearty, quality bread that is good for toasting. This adds a nice crunch and brings all of the flavors together.
What You Need To Make an Open Faced Tuna Melt
Tuna – use tuna packed in water, either canned or in a pouch is fine. Remember to drain the excess water.
Mayonnaise – use more or less depending on how creamy you like your tuna melt.
Celery – this adds a little more crunch, but if you can also use celery seed if you just want the celery flavor.
Bread – My favorite is sourdough, but you can also use ciabatta rolls, french, rye, or English muffins.
Cheese – choose a good melting cheese like mozzarella, cheddar, or Swiss.
Lemon juice – I always recommend using fresh lemon juice. But if you don’t have fresh lemons on hand, I highly recommend Italia Garden Italian Lemon Juice – it’s the next best thing. I find it in the produce section of my local grocery store.
Other Ingredients – onion, parsley, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and butter.
How To Cook Open Faced Tuna Melts
You can easily make this in your oven by using the bake or broiler function. If you want to turn these into full-blown sandwiches I recommend baking. For a true open faced tuna melt broiling is the way to go.
Toast your bread on both sides using the broiler, then add the tuna salad and top with tomato and cheese. Return back to the broiler until the cheese melts.
Butter the bread and toast on 400 degrees. Then add the tuna mixture, tomato, and cheese. Top with an additional slice of bread if desired. Bake until cheese is melted.
Tips for Making
- If you don’t want to toast your bread in the oven, you can use the toaster.
- You can prepare the tuna salad ahead of time. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
- For a lower-carb option, use one slice of bread or serve on lettuce leaves.
- If you aren’t a fan of tomatoes, you can leave those off and your melt will still taste great.
What to Serve With Tuna Melts?
While this dish is a great and an easy stand-alone option these are a few of our favorite side dishes.
Open Faced Tuna Melts
- 4 cans (5 ounces each) tuna packed in water, about 20 ounces total, drained & flaked
- 1/4 cup celery, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons red onion, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise, **see notes
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 slices bread
- 8 slices cheese
- 1/4 cup butter, softened (optional)
- 2 small tomatoes , sliced thin, 2 slices per sandwich
- Add drained tuna to a large bowl.
- Add celery, red onion, and parsley and stir to mix.
- Add mayonnaise, mustard and lemon juice and stir until well combined.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Open-Faced Sandwich Instructions (Broiler)
- Preheat oven to broil.
- Place bread slices on a parchment lined baking sheet. Broil until golden brown. Flip bread slices and toast the other side. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Build your sandwich: add prepared tuna salad to 1 toasted bread slice. Top with 1 slice of cheese.
- Return to oven and broil until the cheese is gooey & melted. Watch closely so they don’t burn.
- Remove from oven and top with tomato slices. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
Oven Baked Instructions
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Butter one side of each bread slice (if desired) and place butter-side-up on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip bread slices and toast the other side. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Build your sandwich: add prepared tuna salad to 1 toasted bread slice. Top with tomato and 1 slice of cheese.
- Return to oven and bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
- Adjust the mayonnaise to your preferences – use more for a creamier salad and less for a drier tuna salad. Light mayo also works well in this recipe.
- Toasting both sides of the bread keeps it crispy.
- Bread options: I recommend using good quality bread (ie sourdough, french, rye) or English muffins.
- Lower carb option: serve open-faced with a single slice of bread or serve the tuna salad in lettuce leaves.
- These are best eaten immediately but you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.