This Sriracha Tuna Melt recipe is the perfect answer to lunchtime boredom. It’s a quick, easy sandwich that’s warm and toasty from the oven!

sriracha tuna melts on a sheet pan

Easy Sriracha Tuna Melt

Working from home for many years now, I’ve become quite the refrigerator forager when it comes to lunch. I can turn random leftover bites of this and that into some pretty tasty meals. In other words, I hate to waste and throw away food!

But sometimes there’s just not much in the fridge to work with. Know what I mean?!

So today I’m sharing my quick and easy Sriracha Tuna Melt recipe with you.

This meal was conceived from my own lunchtime boredom many years ago, and continues to be a favorite quick, hot meal. The open-faced sandwich is warm and toasty from the oven, and packed with fabulous flavor!

tuna melt sandwich with sriracha drizzle

What is a Tuna Melt?

A melt sandwich is a kind of hot sandwich consisting of bread, cheese, and a filling such as meat or vegetables. The sandwich is then heated until the cheese is melted. It can be served open-faced, consisting of 1 slice of bread with fillings on top – or closed-faced, with 2 slices of bread that sandwich the fillings in between them.

A tuna melt is a very common type of melt sandwich, made with a filling of tuna plus a creamy component such as mayonnaise.

Other popular filling choices include ham (my ham salad recipe would make a great melt sandwich!), roast beef, turkey, chicken, and one of my favorites >>> the patty melt. Oh, how I love that hamburger patty + cheese + caramelized onions! It’s an American diner staple!

ingredients for a tuna melt - tuna, bread, butter, mayo, pickle relish, cheese, sriracha, cilantro, black pepper

Ingredients for the Best Tuna Melt

This lunchtime favorite comes together easily, with just a few ingredients that we always have on hand in the pantry and fridge.

  • bread – Use whatever you like, such as plain soft loaf bread, homemade sourdough, or crusty Italian – it all works!
  • butter – Use unsalted butter, and then add salt to the tuna mixture if needed.
  • tuna – I tend to use tuna packed in water the most, but tuna in olive oil is also nice.
  • mayonnaise – But please promise me you won’t use Miracle Whip!
  • Sriracha
  • pickle relish – Or mince up some pickle!
  • black pepper
  • cheese – I prefer a medium or sharp cheddar for this sandwich, but use what you like.
  • fresh cilantro
buttering bread

How to Make a Tuna Melt Sandwich

Such an easy recipe, here we go!

Butter both sides of the bread slices. The tuna mixture makes enough for four regular size open-faced tuna melts. Either butter four slices of bread and use all the tuna mixture or butter two sliced of bread and save half the tuna mixture for later.

sliced of toasted bread on a sheet pan

Toast both sides of the bread. I like a crispy toasted texture to my tuna melt sandwich. So I first toast one side of the bread under the broiler. And then I flip the bread over and just lightly toast the second side.

toasted bread topped with tuna salad and shredded cheddar

Top the lightly toasted side with the tuna mixture and shredded cheese. For the tuna salad mixture, in a small bowl stir together tuna, mayo, Sriracha, pickle relish, and black pepper. Then spread the mixture onto the lightly toasted bread. Leave the edges of the bread just slightly exposed, for additional toasting.

tuna melts on a sheet pan

Broil. With the broiler on low, let the tuna salad mixture and cheese get thoroughly heated, nice and slow. Once cheese is melty, turn the broiler to high to blister the cheese just a bit.

overhead photo of sriracha tuna melt sandwiches

Add Sriracha. Remove from oven and add a drizzle of Sriracha. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Then enjoy while it’s hot!

tuna melts with cheddar cheese and sriracha

Tips for the Best Tuna Melt

This simple recipe may seem too easy to be true. But that is the absolute beauty of it! Here are some tips for you:

  • Use canned solid tuna. (Not chunk light tuna – it gets mushy!) I most often have tuna packed in water on hand, so that’s what I use. But the tuna packed in olive oil is very nice. Either way, just be sure to drain excess liquid before making the tuna salad mixture.
  • Spread the bread with butter for the best flavor and golden toasty crispness. For example do not use butter “spreads”, etc.
  • Drain the pickle relish. Use a slotted spoon to leave excess pickle juice behind. Because too much liquid will give the tuna salad mixture a loose consistency.
  • Add Sriracha accordingly. If you prefer just a slight hint of Sriracha, reduce the measurement.
  • Don’t rush the melt! During the final broiling step, take care to let the sandwiches toast nice and slow. Let the tuna get thoroughly warmed, the bread toasty, and the cheese melty. Then give the cheese a quick blast under the high broiler, if you like.
hot tuna sandwich

Tuna Melt Variations:

  • Switch up the bread. Everybody has bread favorites, so I say use what you like. Most times, I just use plain ol’ sandwich bread, shown in the photo above. It’s extra fun when I have a crusty loaf of sourdough or some good English muffins!
  • Use a different protein. Of course it wouldn’t be called a tuna melt, but you could always substitute canned shrimp or canned chicken.
  • Substitute the mayo. I always prefer mayo for a sandwich like this, but plain Greek yogurt would be a great substitute.
  • Swap the Sriracha. Not a Sriracha fan? Use any hot sauce of your liking. Barbecue sauce would also be good.
  • Don’t have pickle relish? Then chop up some of your favorite dill or sweet pickles. I also like to chop up pickled red onions and add them to tuna salad and egg salad – SO GOOD!
  • Add some mustard. A little bit of Dijon mustard would be welcome in the tuna mixture
  • Include some lemon. Squeeze some fresh lemon, then try adding a teaspoon of the juice. Or just add some of the zest!
  • Like celery? Many people like to add a bit of diced celery to their tuna salad mixture. This adds flavor plus a nice crunchy texture.
  • Add green onion. I always appreciate what a little chopped fresh green onion can do to a dish. So I like to add some to the tuna salad mixture – or sprinkle some over the top, after it comes out of the oven!
  • Add tomato and/or roasted red pepper. These ingredients add color and fresh flavor. Add a thin slice of tomato or a few strips of roasted red pepper over the tuna salad mixture, then sprinkle with cheese and melt.

Like this easy recipe? Save it to Pinterest!

Pinterest image for sriracha tuna melt

More Tuna Recipes for you!

tuna melts drizzled with sriracha

Sriracha Tuna Melt

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This Sriracha Tuna Melt recipe is the perfect answer to lunchtime boredom. It's a quick, easy sandwich, made warm and toasty by a few minutes in the oven!

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bread
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 (5-ounce) can Chicken of the Sea® Solid White Tuna, drained well
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha, plus more for drizzling over the finished toasts
  • 2 teaspoons pickle relish, drained well
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, if needed
  • 1 cup shredded sharp or medium cheddar
  • chopped fresh cilantro, optional garnish

Instructions

    1. Butter both sides of the bread slices and place bread on a sheet pan. The tuna mixture makes enough for four regular size open-faced tuna melts. Either butter four slices of bread and use all the tuna mixture OR butter two sliced of bread and save half the tuna mixture for later.
    2. For the tuna salad mixture, in a small bowl stir together tuna, mayo, Sriracha, pickle relish, and black pepper. Add salt if needed.
    3. With broiler on high, toast first side of the bread under the broiler, and then flip the bread over and very lightly toast the second side.
    4. Remove sheet pan from oven. Top the lightly toasted side of the bread with the tuna mixture and shredded cheese. Leave the edges of the bread just slightly exposed, for additional toasting.
    5. With the broiler on low, place sheet pan back into oven. Let the tuna salad mixture and cheese get thoroughly heated, nice and slow. Once cheese is melty, turn the broiler to high to blister the cheese just a bit, if desired. Take care to not let the bread burn.
    6. Remove sheet pan from oven and drizzle Sriracha over the top of the finished melts. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Then enjoy while it’s hot!

Notes

from a farmgirl's dabbles

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 520Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 463mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 20g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

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tuna melts drizzled with sriracha
tuna melts on a pan with pouches of tuna
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tuna melt ingredients

The tuna pouches from Chicken of the Sea are so handy for this recipe. Their 2.5-ounce size is just the right amount to make two open-faced cheesy Sriracha tuna melts. (Adjust/reduce other ingredients quantities in the recipe accordingly.) The Premium Light Tuna pouch boasts 14 grams of protein. Fuel for my day!

Chicken of the Sea logo

Chicken of the Sea’s tuna and salmon pouches are MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified. The little blue label in the top left corner of the pouch means that Chicken of the Sea meets the rigorous standards for sustainable fishing practices. They are one of the largest brands to commit to these strict standards, playing a leading role in helping to protect our global seafood supply for the future. Read more about that here.

Connect with Chicken of the Sea on their website and social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

I updated photos and portions of this post in 2021. Originally published in 2017, this post is sponsored by Chicken of the Sea. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make this site possible.