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The Classic Tuna Melt: A Quick and Satisfying Comfort Sandwich

10 minutes. Cook
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The Tuna Melt is an American classic that has been delighting taste buds for generations. This comforting sandwich seamlessly combines the rich flavors of tuna salad with the gooey goodness of melted cheese, all served on toasted bread. Whether you’re pressed for time or simply craving a hearty and flavorful meal, the Quick and Easy Tuna Melt Sandwich is the perfect choice. In this article, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of creating this delectable dish, along with a touch of historical context for this beloved recipe.

Historical Context: The origins of the Tuna Melt can be traced back to the mid-20th century when the popularity of canned tuna soared in the United States. It was during this time that inventive cooks started experimenting with ways to elevate the humble tuna sandwich. The genius stroke? Adding a layer of cheese and toasting it to perfection, thus creating the Tuna Melt we know and love today. Over the years, this sandwich has become a diner classic and a beloved staple in many American homes.


Step 1: Prepare the Tuna Salad

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the drained tuna, mayonnaise, diced celery, diced red onion, chopped parsley, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Mix well until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  2. Season the tuna salad with salt and black pepper to taste. Remember that the saltiness can vary depending on your tuna and mayonnaise, so start with a pinch and add more if needed.

Step 2: Assemble the Tuna Melt Sandwiches 3. Lay out four slices of bread on a clean surface. Divide the prepared tuna salad equally among these slices, spreading it evenly to cover the bread.

  1. Place a slice of cheddar cheese on top of the tuna salad on each sandwich.
  2. Top each sandwich with the remaining slices of bread to form a sandwich.

Step 3: Toast the Sandwiches 6. Heat a frying pan or griddle over medium heat. While it’s heating up, spread a thin layer of softened butter on one side of each sandwich. This will ensure a crispy and golden-brown exterior.

  1. Place the sandwiches, buttered side down, in the hot pan. Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes or until the bottom side turns golden brown and the cheese begins to melt.
  2. Carefully flip the sandwiches using a spatula and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the other side is toasted, and the cheese is completely melted.

Step 4: Serve and Enjoy 9. Remove the Tuna Melt sandwiches from the pan and place them on a cutting board. Let them cool for a minute or two to prevent burning your mouth.

  1. Cut each sandwich in half diagonally, if desired, and serve immediately. These sandwiches are delicious on their own or paired with a side of potato chips, coleslaw, or a crisp dill pickle.


prep time
20 minutes.
cooking time
10 minutes.
total time
20 minutes.


  • Mixing bowl

  • Fork for flaking tuna

  • Chef's knife and cutting board

  • Spatula

  • Frying pan or griddle

  • Spreader or butter knife


  • Assemble the Tuna Melt Sandwiches

  • 2 cans (12 ounces each) of tuna, drained

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup diced celery

  • 1/4 cup diced red onion

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • 8 slices of your favorite bread (classic white, whole wheat, or sourdough)

  • 4 slices of cheddar cheese

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened


Toast the Sandwiches
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