Whether you’re at the new bistro, your favorite diner, or making lunch at home, there’s just something magical about the Classic Tuna Melt! The tuna is sweet and savory, elevated with tangy mayo and sour pickles, brightened with lemon juice and red onion, and all stacked on flavorful rye bread! Then it’s toasted in butter so the bread is crisp and golden-brown and the cheese inside is melted… and voila! Lunchtime perfection! There’s a reason the Classic Tuna Melt became a classic!


  • 3 (6-ounce) cans solid, water-packed tuna, drained
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup cornichons (dilled gherkin pickles), finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 slices rye or sourdough bread, cut 1/2-inch-thick
  • 8 sandwich slices extra-sharp cheddar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more, to taste


Step 1 –Place a large skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat.

Step 2 –In a medium bowl, add the tuna and flake it gently with a fork.

Step 3 –Add the mayonnaise, the cornichons, the red onion, the lemon juice, the dill, the mustard, the salt, and the pepper to the tuna and mix until well-combined.

Step 4 –On 4 slices of the bread, spoon an even amount of the tuna salad, heaping it in the middle of each slice.

Step 5 –Place 2 slices of the cheese on top of each scoop of the tuna mixture, tearing and arranging the cheese as needed to fit neatly.

Step 6 –Place 1 slice of the remaining bread on each of the cheese-topped tuna scoops, pressing down slightly, forming 4 sandwiches.

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Step 7 –Generously spread about 1/2 tablespoon of the butter on the top-side of each of the sandwiches.

Step 8 –Place 2 sandwiches, buttered-side down, in the preheated skillet and cook until the bread becomes golden-brown, about 3-4 minutes. While they cook on one side, spread the top of each of the sandwiches with another 1/2 tablespoon of the butter.

Step 9 –Reduce the heat to low.

Step 10 –Flip the sandwiches and cook until golden-brown on the bottom and the cheese melts, about 3-4 minutes.

Step 11 –Transfer the toasted sandwiches to a plate.

Step 12 –Repeat the toasting process with the remaining sandwiches and the remaining butter, adding more of the extra butter, as needed.

Step 13 –Serve.