Grown-Up Tuna Melts

I haven’t made tuna melts in years. Over 10 years, would be my best guess. But my son remembers them and he loved them. They weren’t fancy. It was the cheapest tuna, mixed with mayonnaise and pickle relish, spooned onto plain white bread, and topped with an American cheese slice. I baked them in the oven on a baking sheet until the cheese melted. The same way my Dad made them when I was a kid.

Sunday Supper this week was all about “Retro Recipes”. And that’s when I decided to finally give into my son. But rather than going completely old school with them, I decided to try something new — I made what I call Grown-Up Tuna Melts.

Grown-Up Tuna Melts

My Grown-Up Tuna Melts are made with solid white albacore tuna, chopped red onion, chopped celery and chopped banana peppers. The bowl I used was one of the silver metal bowls that my Dad used to always make tuna salad in when I was younger. Seeing this bowl always reminds me him making his tuna sandwiches, so using it in my kitchen for tuna is my little tribute to him.

I also mixed in mayonnaise and lemon juice, plus seasoned it with freshly ground salt and pepper.

Grown-Up Tuna Melts

Rather than plain white bread, I used a San Francisco style sourdough bread. The mixture was divided among 4 slices of sourdough, which were placed on a baking sheet. I added 2 tomato slices to each tuna melt and then 2 slices of provolone cheese to each.

Grown-Up Tuna Melts

The Tuna Melts are baked in oven until hot, melted and starting to brown.

When I pulled them out of the oven, I was happy. They looked so good and after I tasted them, I decided that the changes I made not only had me enjoying these tuna melts, but had me  happy enough with them to put them on the menu  more often.

Grown-Up Tuna Melts

Grown-Up Tuna Melts
  • 12 ounces solid white albacore tuna, packed in water and drained
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise (may wish to use more or less)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  • ¼ cup finely chopped banana pepper rings
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 8 slices tomato
  • 8 slices provolone cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine tuna, mayonnaise, onion, celery, banana peppers and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Lay bread on baking sheet. Spoon and divide tuna mixture on the bread slices. Top each tuna melt with two slices of tomatoes and then 2 slices of provolone cheese.
  4. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is hot, bubbly, and starting to brown. Serve immediately.
--You may wish to use more, or less, mayonnaise. I have actually found ⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons to be the amount our family likes best.

Grown-Up Tuna Melts

I shared my retro recipe re-do, and there is lots of other food bloggers participating in Sunday Supper who are also sharing retro makeovers OR some are sharing the original retro recipe. Either way, you’ll find lots of blasts from the pasts in this list below — check them out and tell them I sent ya!

Sunday Supper Retro Appetizers:

Sunday Supper Retro Salads:

Sunday Supper Retro Breads and Sandwiches:

SundaySupper Main Dishes:

Sunday Supper Retro Sides and Veggies:

Sunday Supper Retro Desserts and Cocktails:

Linked to: Delicious Dishes Recipe Party


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  1. says

    I have to be honest: the phrase “tuna melt” doesn’t always bring forth images and memories of deliciousness, but your version?!?! They have me drooling. They look so bubbly, golden, and perfect. I might just be a believer now. Want!

  2. says

    I am still one to make a tuna melt on a night when I am too busy to really cook. Your grown up version looks delicious-I’ll have to remember the recipe the next time I’m making these!

  3. Danyelle Franciosa says

    Seems like it tastes good and I really love the awesome look of this dish, I really love to try this. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  4. says

    I love this post! I think we all have childhood meals that our parents threw together because they were quick, easy and cheap. Sometimes they still taste amazing now and bring back all those nostalgic feelings, and sometimes you wonder “how in the heck did I love this as a kid?” Your grown up, gourmet version of the tuna melt looks phenomenal! I love all the changes you made and would happily eat this.

  5. says

    You reminded me that I haven’t had tuna melt in forever! Maybe not quite 10 years though 😉 I’m also a creature of habit and make the same dishes over and over again. When I find something I love eating, I eat it until I abuse the recipe. I had to stop eating greek yogurt because I ate it for a year straight with my lunch (not kidding either! At least they had a variety of flavors). Anyway, thanks for reminding me that tuna melts do exist and that I’ll be buying bread, cheese, and tuna soon.

  6. says

    I love that you jazzed up a boring tuna melt. This is fancy schmancy! I may have to lift my pinkey while eating it. But I am making this dish for sure!

  7. says

    The first tuna melt I ever had was at the restaurant around the corner from where I worked way back in the 80’s. Since then I’ve always loved tuna melts. And I have a confession…I’ve never made them. That means I haven’t had one in forever. I need to make this retro dish for the first time. I’m loving your recipe with the banana peppers in the mix. Yum!


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