On the way back from San Francisco, my husband and I shared a tuna melt in the airport before boarding our flight. As is typical with me, I’ve been craving it ever since. But for me, the thing about a tuna melt is that it has to be done just right.For starters, a tuna melt must sit atop an English muffin. I prefer the dense whole wheat ones with extra fiber, but pick your favorite. Second, I like a tuna melt with some texture and more than just tuna taste, so I add green onions, celery, and dill pickles. It also makes it more colorful and not so monotone as you can see in this picture.Finally, a tuna melt needs high quality cheese on top. No slice of American for me – rather, I opt for a nice semi-thick slice of sharp cheddar. (Did you know that if you eat cheese with stronger flavor you can eat less of it and still be satisfied? Not that I do eat less – but I could!)You can either bake your tuna melt for 5-10 minutes to let the cheese melt (my preference), which sort of warms up the whole sandwich, or you can stick it under the broiler for a couple of minutes if you want that cheese to melt quickly before the rest of the sandwich gets warm.

One note about portion sizes: a can of tuna says that it has 2.5 servings and 70 calories per serving (packed in water), so I made this recipe assuming I could eat the whole thing. One English muffin and 175 calories worth of tuna – sounds like a single serving to me. But once you add the crunchy extras to the tuna, plus the mayo, and not to mention the cheese, this tuna melt is richer than you think it will be. I should have only eaten half!

Classic Tuna Melt
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 2
  • 1 can tuna packed in water, drained
  • 1 small stalk of celery, minced
  • 1 dill pickle, minced
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 2-4 tablespoons mayonnaise, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 English muffin, split and toasted lightly
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese
  1. Mix tuna with celery, pickle, onion and mayo, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide evenly between the two English muffin halves, top each with a slice of cheddar cheese, and either bake for 5-10 minutes or place under the broiler for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese. Serve warm.