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Open-Faced Tuna Melts

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Go fish.

This recipe for easy, classic tuna melts (open-faced, if you please) is as good as it gets for those who love an easy lunch with a big side of nostalgia.

Tuna Melts

All About This Classic Tuna Melt

There’s a special place in my heart (and stomach!) for food that has a bit of nostalgia. I’ll always take my mom’s pasta with meatballs over a fancy restaurant meal. So it’s no surprise that an old-fashioned tuna melt is one of my favorite lunches.

A classic, open-faced tuna melt may be trendy or new, but it sure tastes good. This recipe combines chunky, well-seasoned tuna salad with crusty toast and slices of melty cheddar cheese for a fantastic little meal that can be ready in about 15 minutes. Read on.

tuna salad in bowl for melts
Mix the tuna salad ingredients together in a bowl while toasting the bread.

How do you make a tuna melt?

Some tuna melt recipes come grilled cheese style: with tuna and cheese sandwiched between buttered bread and pan fried. But I like to be generous with the proportion of tuna and cheese, so I always serve mine open-faced to cut down on the bread.

Here’s how you make this easy tuna melt recipe:

  1. Make the tuna salad by combining chopped celery, mayo, drained tuna, shallot, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and parsley (if using).
  2. Toast a couple pieces of good bread. Rye and whole wheat or whole grain work especially well here, though you won’t go wrong with an English muffin, either.
  3. Preheat the broiler. Divide the tuna salad between the two pieces of toast. Top with cheese and broil until the cheese melts over the tuna.
  4. Enjoy your open-faced tuna melts right away, while the cheese is melted and still warm.
The Best Open-Faced Tuna Melts
Spread the tuna salad over the toast, then top with cheese and broil.

What to serve on the side of your open-faced tuna melt

A classic tuna melt can stand on its own. But if you want to add a little side to the dish, stay in the spirit of simple and old-fashioned — just like the melt. The best tuna melt sides are:

  • Potato chips
  • Dill pickle spears
  • A small salad

Easy Tuna Melt Recipe

Tuna Melt Ingredient Substitutes: Mayo

This recipe is purposefully light on mayonnaise. I like just enough to hold everything together. But if you don’t want the mayonnaise at all, you can substitute Greek yogurt 1:1.

Whether you serve your tuna melts on toast, English muffins, or even flatbread crackers, it’s time to get back to basics with this fun and easy lunch. Enjoy!

Open-Faced Tuna Melts Recipe

Love this recipe for old-fashioned tuna melts? You’ll also love these easy, classic recipes:

Open-Faced Tuna Melts Recipe

Open-Faced Tuna Melts

This recipe for classic open-faced tuna melts combine chunky tuna, good toast, and melted cheese for an easy, old-fashioned lunch. This recipe makes 2 tuna melts, but you could stretch it to 3 if you have to.
Prep Time10 minutes
Course: lunch, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keywords:: easy recipes, fish, how to make a tuna melt, lunch, open-faced tuna melt, tuna melt
Servings: 2 tuna melts


  • 2 slices good, thick sandwich bread, such as whole wheat or rye (English muffins work)
  • 1 5-ounce can of tuna, drained of all possible moisture
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallot (about one small shallot)
  • 1 stalk fresh celery, diced small
  • 2 tablespoons good mayonnaise, such as Hellmann's or Duke's
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I prefer Diamond Crystal brand)
  • 12 turns fresh-cracked black pepper
  • A squirt of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
  • 2 or 3 standard sandwich slices of American or sharp cheddar cheese
  • Soft butter, for spreading on the toast (optional)


  • Preheat the broiler and place the rack about 6" from the roof of the oven.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the drained tuna, shallot, celery, mayo, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and parsley. Stir until fully mixed. Taste for seasoning. It may need a touch more lemon juice to brighten it up, or a pinch more salt.
  • Toast the bread. Optional: Lightly butter the toast on both sides, if you feel like gilding the lily.
  • Place the toast on a baking sheet. Divide the tuna salad between the two pieces of toast. You may not use all of the tuna, depending on how high you want your melt to be.
  • Place slices of cheese on top of the tuna. Broil for about 30 seconds (but this may vary--keep a close eye!), until the cheese melts over the tuna.
  • Slice the melts in half on the diagonal and serve immediately, perhaps with a little salad, potato chips, or dill pickles.


  • 5 stars
    Go-to tuna melt recipe from now on. Perfect.

  • 5 stars
    This is an excellent tuna salad recipe, with just the right crunch from the celery. I did not have a shallot but substituted onion and it tasted great.

  • Francis

    5 stars
    Made this for lunch today. I honestly didn’t get as far as the “melt part.” I just ate the tuna salad right from the bowl with some toast, and it was great. I appreciate that there is not too much mayonnaise. I ill make a melt tomorrow with the rest.

  • Carol Biedrzycki

    Hi Lisa, I must try this tuna melt recipe, sounds so easy & yummy too.

  • Tried your perfect melted cheese sandwich and soup the other day and it was a divine lunch.
    I find I’m turning more and more to food of my early life but with a little something more.
    Will certainly love this tuna melt — I can guarantee it. I don’t think I’ve tried any of your recipes that has disappointed.

    • Unpeeled

      What a lovely note. Thank you so much, and I hope that you enjoy the tuna melt as much as I do.

  • Cannot wait to try this! I LOVE tuna sandwiches and miss them, so this is the first one I will be trying once I get celery in this house! <3

    • Unpeeled

      Hi and I am so glad you are a fellow tuna melt enthusiast! I hope you enjoy. The celery does add a nice bit of crunch.

5 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)

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