Classic Tuna Melt

Tuna Melt recipe, Classic Tuna Melt, Tuna, egg, capers, celery, tuna salad

Tuna Melt

Coming in the form of the Classic Tuna Melt, this is my recipe for Tuna Salad. Spring and its warm weather is upon us, so it’s time to break out those cold sandwich salads. 

With nearly 500 recipes posted on The Saucy Southerner to date, I realized that I have never shared my recipe for Tuna Salad. It’s one of those foods that everyone has a recipe for making to suit their own tastes, so I never thought about including it before now. But, it’s time!

I know it probably won’t shock you to know that I’m pretty picky about my tuna salad. The tuna I prefer is solid white albacore, packed in water. Not only does tuna packed in water retain more omega-3 fatty acid, it has fewer calories (I’m not a calorie counter, but why have unnecessary ones in your food).

Then, instead of using pickles, or pickle relish, I add capers to mine. Capers add a very subtle briny flavor to the tuna salad that I just love. The smallest, rated as nonpareil, are the perfect size.

Of course, there must be hard-cooked eggs, celery, and onions. My onion choices vary; I prefer shallots for their mild onion flavor. But I will use red, or green, depending on what I have on hand. Finally, the dressing must be mayonnaise.

For a Tuna Melt Sandwich, I love an open-faced sandwich, rather than the pressed-grilled-on-both-sides type of sandwich. By having an open face sandwich with the tuna, you’re able to put the cheese-topped tuna under a broiler for just long enough to melt the cheese, while leaving the tuna salad underneath still cold.

When making a Tuna Melt, I toast the bread, in this case I used a Telera roll. English muffins, ciabatta rolls and even baguette make a perfect base for a Tuna Melt also. Once the roll is toasted, I add leaf lettuce; you could add a dressing to the toasted bread, but I don’t.

Then, using a tomato slice, I stack the tuna salad on it, and top the tuna with cheese. This goes under a hot broiler just long enough to melt the cheese. By using the tomato as the vehicle for putting the tuna melt into the oven, the lettuce layer won’t wilt. Once the cheese is melted, the sandwich is ready for final assembly. Using a spatula, remove the tuna-stacked tomato to the waiting lettuce. And done.

If you’ve never had a Tuna Melt, you must try them! Melted, cheesy deliciousness on top of tuna? Yes, please! I hope you’ll give my recipe for tuna salad a shot, too.


Classic Tuna Melt
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 - 7 ounce can albacore tuna, packed in water, drained
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot (or onion of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Toasted buns
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Tomato slices
  • Cheese slices (I use Swiss)
  1. Place the drained tuna in a medium-sized bowl and flake with a fork to separate the chunks.
  2. Add the cooked egg, celery, shallot, capers and mayonnaise and stir just until combined.
  3. Cover and chill.
  5. Preheat the broiler element in your oven and move an oven rack to the top.
  6. Toast the halves of the roll of your choice and place one half on each plate.
  7. Place the leaf lettuce on the rolls.
  8. On a baking sheet, place a tomato slice for each sandwich you are preparing.
  9. Spoon on tuna salad and place a slice of cheese on top.
  10. Place the baking sheet into the oven and broil for about 1 minute, or just until the cheese is melted.
  11. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and using a spatula, remove each tuna-stacked tomato slice to the prepared bun.
  12. Serve immediately.


About P ~ The Saucy Southerner

I started cooking when I was ten years old. For me, the process of cooking, from inception of a dish, to the execution, to the washing of the pots is sheer delight. I am now retired from a business I still own, in partnership with my husband. I used to work six days a week and still cook every night. Now, I'm gardening, still cooking, always having fun and hoping to share my joy with you. Thank you for reading...and commenting! P~
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