I live for this sharp cheddar tuna melt. It’s so flavorful and crunchy, with a pickle-y tuna salad, melty cheddar and greens. Best lunch ever!

This sandwich is EVERYTHING.

sharp cheddar tuna melts

This tuna melt is packed with the most flavorful tuna mixture, melty sharp cheddar cheese, pickled onions, lots of fresh greens and super golden, toasty, buttery crunchy sourdough bread.

UM yes please.

tuna salad

I have never been a huge sandwich person buuuut… I’m kind of turning into a sandwich person. 

And it’s all because of this tuna. And lettuce. 

sharp cheddar tuna melts

Sounds weird but hear me out. I’ve never loved sandwiches because I don’t love deli meat. Growing up, my mom always made tuna or chicken salad or something like that. She would make a lot of fried egg sandwiches for us. I loved those! But I never wanted anything with ham or turkey and I couldn’t stand peanut butter and jelly after eating it everyday in my early years. 

When I got older and toast became a big thing, I was all about toast. I mean, I’m still all about toast. So, yes, basically an open-faced sandwich. Those I can get behind and even eat one every single day. Give me an array of toppings, a variety of condiments and I am sold. 

sharp cheddar tuna melts

P.S. this tuna melt isn’t THAT different from my tuscan tuna melts. But here we have lots of thick, crunchy sourdough slices and very sharp cheddar. And creamier tuna. 

sharp cheddar tuna melts

So, back to the whole tuna and lettuce thing. This kind of tuna, made with lots of pickles and sweet relish is my love language. I prefer it over any heavy mayo-based tuna salad, for sure. Tuna salad, my egg salad – those are both sandwiches I love to make. I’ll eat this tuna on a sandwich or with crackers. Even with endive cups which are so crisp and refreshing and delicious.

sharp cheddar tuna melts

The other thing that has really got me into sandwiches lately is a dressed lettuce situation. Kind of like the lettuce you put on the tiktok famous grinder sandwich. Shredded lettuce, lots of red wine vinegar, a touch of mayo, some seasonings. That, on a sandwich, is an absolute dream! And while it’s not on this particular sandwich, it’s definitely helped my love of sandwiches grow.

Just like my egg salad, I’m picky with my tuna. I want to make it. I will never order it from a deli, ever. There better not be any celery. And it should be briney and tangy but slightly sweet too. I am a very high maintenance tuna person and I accept it. 

sharp cheddar tuna melts

So on to THIS exact sandwich since I’m rambling like a lunatic.

Here’s how you do it!

The tuna. I add in sweet relish, dill relish, dijon and a (very) little bit of mayo. 

Sourdough bread is key here. Preferably homemade. Big slices that can get extra crunchy. 

The sharpest cheddar you can find. Go for it. 

Pickled onions, because I love them on everything. Keep them in your fridge every week! 

And some greens, like a handful of arugula or spinach. This adds a bit of crunch even though it will cook down as the sandwich heats. 

sharp cheddar tuna melts

I layer that in between my bread slices. Cook it in a skillet in butter until it is SO golden, SO crispy and crunchy with cheese melting out of the sides. 

This is the ultimate tuna melt. One that is so satisfying and decadent. It feels fancy but it’s easy. And it makes lunch feel extra special! 

sharp cheddar tuna melts

Sharp Cheddar Tuna Melts

The Tuna Melt Of My Dreams

I live for this sharp cheddar tuna melt. It's so flavorful and crunchy, with a pickle-y tuna salad, melty cheddar and greens. Best lunch ever!
5 from 10 votes
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  • 10 ounces tuna packed in water, drained
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sweet relish
  • 1 tablespoons dill relish
  • 1 teaspoon dijon
  • ¼ teaspoon dried dill
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • thick-sliced sourdough bread
  • 4 to 6 slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • pickled onions
  • arugula or baby spinach
  • softened butter for spreading


  • In a bowl, combine the tuna with the mayo, relish, dijon, dill and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Mix until combined. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  • To make the tuna melts, spread the outsides of the bread with softened butter. Place the cheddar slices on the insides of the bread, top with a few spoonfuls of the tuna mixture, then top with pickled onions and greens.
  • Cook in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until the bread is golden and toasty and the cheese is melted. Serve!

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sharp cheddar tuna melts

That perfect bread crunch!