Grocer to Table | Salads & Sandwiches

Best Damn Grilled Tuna and Cheese

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No kidding! The best damn grilled tuna and cheese sandwich you will ever eat. This tuna melt is done in less than 20 minutes.

Halved tuna melt with dripping cheese and a wooden knife sticking into it.Pin

Ok, so I know what you are thinking. Has this woman lost her mind?

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Anyone can make a grilled tuna and cheese sandwich, aka a tuna melt! I know that a grilled cheese sandwich is not rocket science, but this is the best damn tuna salad you will ever eat.

We have an easy sandwich for dinner a few times a month. They are great when you are tired after a busy day. They are also so tasty and delicious.

This classic tuna melt sandwich is great for a super easy weeknight dinner or a weekend lunch!

As with most grilled sandwiches, it is done in less than half an hour. This is also packed with veggies so there’s no need to make a salad.

Halved tuna melt with dripping cheese and a wooden knife sticking into it.Pin
Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

What you need for a tuna melt

  • Tuna: We like albacore, but chunk light tuna will work, too.
  • Mayonnaise: A good quality mayo like Duke’s or Hellmann’s
  • Carrot: Small diced carrots.
  • Celery: Use small diced celery. If you get to the heart of the celery, use the tops, too. They have great flavor.
  • Chives, scallions or green onion, shallots or white or red onion
  • Celery seed: This is a key ingredient. You can also use celery salt, but we prefer seed. If you use celery salt, eliminate the salt.
  • Freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Salt: Just a pinch of sea salt or kosher salt.
Ingredients for the tuna salad. See details in recipe below.Pin
Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.
  • Good quality white or brioche bread.
  • Cheese: Use your favorite melty cheese, such as mild cheddar, American, or Gouda. We use a combination of mild cheddar for its melting properties and sharp cheddar for its taste.
  • Soft or melted butter, you can also use mayonnaise instead of butter.
Ingredients for the sandwich. See details in the recipe below.Pin
Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

How to make Grilled Tuna and Cheese

Step One:

Mix the ingredients for the tuna salad in a medium bowl.

Tuna fish with carrots and celery in a bowl.Pin
Make tuna salad. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Two:

Brush one side of the bread with melted butter. Place it in the pan over medium heat.

Brushing the bread with melted butter.Pin
Brush the melted butter onto the bread. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Three:

Brush the second side with melted butter.

Two pieces of bread in a cast iron skillet.Pin
Brown the first side. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Four:

When the first side is golden, reduce the heat and flip.

Browned bread in the skillet.Pin
Brown and flip. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Five:

Top one of the bread slices with sliced cheese.

One of the browned bread topped with cheese.Pin
Top one piece of bread with cheese. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Six:

Add a generous amount of tuna on top of the cheese. Top with the other slice of bread.

Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil. Brown until the bread is golden and the cheese is nicely melted.

Tuna salad added to the top of the sandwich.Pin
Top the cheese with tuna. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Usually, when you stop hearing the bread sizzling, the bread is nicely browned and ready to flip over.

Keep a close eye on them so that they do not burn. Carefully flip over so that you don’t lose the filling.

Tuna melt cut in half with a pickle sticking in the top with a toothpick.Pin
Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Health Benefits of Tuna and Celery Seed

Canned tuna contains high-quality protein, selenium, and potassium, not to mention Omega-3 fatty acids and B complex vitamins. Make sure that you buy line-caught tuna to help protect dolphin populations!

Also, canned tuna has been shown to contain mercury, a heavy metal. Make sure you buy light tuna rather than white tuna, as that has been shown to contain lower amounts of mercury.

Celery Seed has been shown to have multiple health benefits. Celery seed can help reduce blood pressure, improve cognitive function, and improve joint function.

The Secrets to the Best Damn Grilled Tuna Sandwich

  • Use high-quality, sustainably caught tuna fish, either canned in water or vacuum packed.
  • Use a good quality mayonnaise, not salad dressing.
  • Quite a bit of celery seed is important.
  • Good quality bread is essential, either homemade or store-bought.
  • Toast bread on both sides so that it stays crispy.
  • You can substitute the butter for mayonnaise on the outside of the slices of bread. This will give the bread a great crust, and it’s easier to spread with fewer dirty dishes.
  • When you hear the bread stop sizzling, it is usually the perfect golden brown
Tuna melt cut in half with a pickle sticking in the top with a toothpick.
Pin

What type of bread to use for your tuna melt

You can really use your favorite bread for these tuna melts. Some of our favorites are;

photograph of sliced zucchini, green onion, cheesy quick bread, use to make tuan and grilled cheese sandwichesPin

What to do With Leftovers

You can store leftover tuna salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Wrap sandwiches in aluminum foil. You can heat them in the oven or air fryer for 5-10 minutes until they are warmed back up. They are infinitely better fresh, so we suggest just saving the leftover tuna salad and making a fresh sandwich.

What to Serve it With

You can serve your sandwiches with your favorite sides. Some of our favorites are;

Other delicious sandwiches

Tuna sandwich cut in half with cheese dripping.Pin
Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

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Tuna melt with dripping cheese and pickle garnish.

Best Damn Grilled Tuna & Cheese

Easy delicious for lunch or an easy dinner! 
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sandwich
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 sandwiches
Calories: 593kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $6

Ingredients

  • 2 cans tuna fish packed in water
  • 3 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chives snipped, fresh
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 8 slices cheddar cheese
  • 8 slices bread of your choice
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients together, except for bread, butter and cheese.
  • Thinly and evenly spread softened butter on slices of bread, on both sides. Or melt butter and brush on.
  • Place 2 pieces of bread, buttered side down in a frying pan over medium heat. Toast on first side and then flip to second side.
  • Top bread with 2 slices cheese, then top cheese with 1/4 of the tuna mixture. 
  • Place second piece of bread on top of the sandwich, with buttered side up, toasted side towards tuna. Place sandwiches in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Top pan with lid so that cheese melts nicely.
  • When sandwiches are golden brown, carefully flip with spatula, so you don't lose ingredients. Be careful not to burn the bread. 
  • Repeat until you have 4 sandwiches.
  • Let cool slightly before serving.
  • Can be kept warm in the oven on low heat, until all sandwiches are toasted.
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Video

Notes

When you hear the sizzling stop in the pan, it indicates that the sandwich is ready to flip.
Best if eaten fresh.
Tuna can be refrigerated 1 day.
Do not freeze.
See post above for bread and accompaniment suggestions.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 593kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 997mg | Potassium: 471mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 5785IU | Vitamin C: 2.6mg | Calcium: 528mg | Iron: 4.4mg
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23 Comments

  1. Yum!!! I used to make these all the time as a kid, and this version looks so fancy and delicious! Saving to make soon!

  2. 5 stars
    My goodness, this sandwich looks amazing!! I will have to make it soon, looks perfect for lunch or dinner.

  3. 5 stars
    Great tuna sandwich!!! During this virus pandemic and shelter in home, there’s no running out to the grocery store for missing ingredients. Sooo, I didn’t have shallots nor celery, but I had onions and carrots! It was STILL delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe! I’ve shared it with my sister-in-law too! My daughter is vegetarian, so grilled cheese with sautéed veggies for her and her hubby!😀 Stay safe and well!

    1. Aw! Thanks for letting me know! I am so glad you liked it! It is tough out there. I don’t even want to go out to the store! Stay safe!

    1. I totally had a tuna kick going last week! I go through spurts. I won’t eat it for 6 months and then I have to have it!!! Usually for 4 or 5 days! Cheap and easy! Yeah! Thanks Sarah!

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve never had tuna and cheese together, but now that I think about it, I’ve never had hot tuna before! I love grilled cheese, though!

  5. 5 stars
    I honestly have to say, I’ve never grilled a tuna sandwich before nor have I tried one with cheese! It sounds and looks like a winner!

    1. It’s really crazy good! I can’t believe you have never one. It must be a US thing! Every Greek diner in America has them on the menu!

  6. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness… That sandwich looks delicious! Especially with that cheese dripping off the edge. 😉

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