Fancy Tuna Melt

A fancy tuna melt is definitely the best kind of tuna melt. Swiss (or Gruyere) cheese, cucumber, tomato, and a splash of lemon juice, all served on a warm baguette. This isn’t your Mama’s tuna sando.

A halved fancy tuna melt with tomato and cucumber on a baguette on a piece of parchment.

When you’re shopping for canned tuna, look for the “sustainably fished” logo. The cucumber adds a gorgeous freshness.–Clodagh McKenna

How do I improve my tuna melt?

A tuna melt is a tuna melt is a tuna melt, right? Uh, not exactly. We beg to differ with that simpleminded sentiment after tucking into this fancy-schmancy recipe, which bears all the hallmarks of the classic—creamy tuna-y goodness in warm and toasty sandwich form—yet with a few tweaks that mom never thought to include. Witness nubbins of cucumber for crunch. Cheese that’s not of the presliced, shrink-wrapped variety. And bread from a foreign land (although if you’re not the messy sort, think twice about that baguette, seeing as the crunchy exterior means some of the tuna salad may plop into your lap. In other words, we consider this godsend a welcome departure from the classic tuna melts we choked down each and every Friday of our childhood. P.S. You can just as easily make half the amount for a tuna melt for one.

Fancy Tuna Melt

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 15 M
  • 25 M
  • Makes 2
5/5 - 2 reviews
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Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).

Using a fork, flake the tuna into a bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise, celery, onion, cucumber, and lemon juice and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix again.

Cut the baguettes in half lengthwise and divide the tuna mixture between the bottom pieces. Place 2 slices tomato on each sandwich, if desired. Top with a cheese slice and the baguette lids, pressing down gently to settle the filling.

Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the sandwich is warmed through and the cheese begins to melt and turn ooey gooey. Alternatively, you can warm the sandwich in a griddle or sandwich maker.

Serve the sandwiches immediately, preferably with napkins galore. Originally published April 15, 2013.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This fancy tuna melt is a lovely take on the classic tuna melt. Although I like tuna, I must say that I never really think to make tuna melts. I had all the ingredients, though, so I decided to give it a go. I’m so glad that I did; this was really good! I liked the flavor and the addition of the lemon—well, I like lemon in general, so the lemon in this recipe was a good thing.

The surprising element of this recipe, which I never would’ve thought of, was the cucumbers. It added a nice textural element to the sandwich that I really liked. I followed the recipe as written; however, instead of using the baguette, I opted to make this an open-faced sandwich. I used some artisan whole wheat bread. It was so very good!

This is a perfect quick weeknight meal. It only takes about 7 minutes to melt the cheese and warm the tuna. It was so good I ate it for dinner the first night with a salad and for lunch the next day.

In all of my many, many years, I’ve never had a tuna melt. This delightful sandwich is now in my life to stay. I love the way the red onion, lemon, and cucumber added brightness and crunch. My sandwich took 10 minutes for the filling to heat through and the cheese to melt.

Note of caution: My first bite left much of the salad oozing out the sides. Just go with it. A little ooze never hurt anyone.



  1. You know what would be really nice? It’s a take on what we used to have for Friday lunches in public school. They were called Friday burgers. Just simply tuna salad in a hot dog bun topped with a slice of cheese and baked. I have made those long past high school… just because it was a nice way to make toasted tuna with out a big mess.

    What if you you got some kind of gourmet “bun” and filled it and baked it? YUM

    1. Carrie, I know those hot tuna sandwiches well. Had ’em every Friday during lent as a kid. But to improve upon the classic, a nice brioche-like bun, something a tad sweet yet still sufficiently sturdy, could be really lovely here. I’m thinking our Beautiful Burger Buns recipe is just the thing….

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