Crispy, gooey, and satisfyingly savory. This air fryer tuna melt is my go-to budget-friendly lunch made from your pantry staples!
I know that a can of tuna isn't always the sexiest food, but I'm here to prove it can make an affordable AND tasty meal.
As grocery prices surge, I've been looking for ways to save money like everyone else. Tuna is a great budget-friendly protein option, and it comes ready-to-eat!
With a little love and TLC, we can whip it into this delicious air fryer tuna melt.
Now, this isn't your typically sad-looking tuna salad sandwich. We're NOT skimping on flavour, and I even have an amazing "tunacado" option for you to try.
It's also a pretty balanced lunch! The tuna salad is a great source of protein and healthy fats, and you can add some fibre and colour by some veggies or serving with a chopped side salad.
Once you try this air fryer tuna melt, I already know you'll find yourself reaching for that can of tuna, time and time again.
- Can of tuna
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Dijon mustard
- Pickle juice
- Black pepper
- Green onions
- Red chili flakes
- Olive oil
- Tuna salad (use my recipe, or your own!)
- Cheese slices
- Tomato slices
In a medium bowl, add all of the tuna salad ingredients.
Mix until well combined.
Spread a thin layer of olive oil on one side of each slice of bread. Place the bread onto your work surface, olive oil side down.
For a classic tuna melt, spread your tuna salad evenly on one piece of bread. Top with cheese. Place the second piece of bread on top of the sandwich, olive oil side up.
For a ‘tunacado’ style tuna melt, spread a thin layer of pesto on one slice of bread, and mashed avocado on the other slice.
Add your tuna salad and tomato slices. Finish by closing your sandwich together.
Place your sandwich in the basket of your air fryer and bake at 390F for about 8 minutes, flipping the sandwich halfway through cooking.
Cook times may vary depending on your air fryer, so keep an eye on it. The sandwich is done when the top is golden brown and the cheese is melted!
Substitutions and Variations
To make gluten-free: Use gluten-free bread to make your sandwich. My favourite is from Queen St. Bakery.
To make dairy-free: Use dairy-free cheese slices and swap mayo/yogurt for dairy-free versions.
Missing an ingredient? Try these:
- Mayo/Yogurt: I like using a combination of mayo and yogurt for the best balance of richness and creaminess, but you can always use just one or the other. As long as it equals 3 tbsp, you're good!
- Olive oil: If you don't want to use olive oil, butter and margarine work well.
- Green onion: Chives, diced red onion, whatever allium you enjoy.
If you have a tuna salad recipe you like, feel free to use it! This is the recipe I like best, but this air fryer tuna melt will be delish either way.
You can store the tuna salad portion in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. When you're ready to make your sandwich, assemble as normal.
I like using olive oil on the outside of my sandwich for its flavour, but if you want the best crisp, you can try adding a thin spread of mayo instead! Since mayo has egg yolks, it gives it a more golden tone. Both options work, so it's totally your preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
I know there are tons of different tuna brands and types, but just choose whatever you prefer and it should work fine! I usually choose Clover Leaf solid white albacore (I purchase the low sodium version packed in water). If you choose a variety packed in oil, just be mindful that you may need to cut down some of the mayo in the recipe to account for the extra richness.
Any bread will work for this tuna melt! I personally like a really fresh, white sandwich bread for the classic diner-style crisp. If you're looking for a higher fibre option, go for a whole grain bread.
More Air Fryer Recipes
- 10-Minute Air Fryer Omelette
- Air Fryer Quesadilla
- Best Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan
- Easy Air Fryer Pizza Bites
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make this air fryer tuna melt, don't forget to snap a photo and tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked it!
Air Fryer Tuna Melt
- 1 can tuna drained
- 2 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon pickle juice
- Sprinkle of black pepper
- 2 green onions diced
- Large sprinkle of red chili flakes optional
Tuna Melt (per sandwich)
- 2 pieces of bread
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup of your favourite tuna salad mine is above!
- 4 rectangular slices of cheese of choice or 1 large slice of square cheese
- ½ an avocado mashed
- 4 thin slices of tomato
- 1 tablespoon pesto
Make your tuna salad
- In a medium bowl, add all of the tuna salad ingredients and mix well until combined.
Make your sandwich
- Spread a thin layer of olive oil on one side of each slice of bread. Place the bread onto your work surface, olive oil side down.
- For a classic tuna melt: spread your tuna salad evenly on one piece of bread. Top with cheese. Place the second piece of bread on top of the sandwich, olive oil side up.
- For a ‘tunacado’ style tuna melt: spread a thin layer of pesto on one slice of bread, top with tuna salad and finish with a layer of cheese. On the other slide of bread evenly spread your mashed avocado, top with tomato slices. Finish by closing your sandwich.
- Place your sandwich in the basket of your air fryer and bake at 390F for about 8 minutes, flipping the sandwich halfway through cooking. Cook times may vary depending on your air fryer, so the sandwich is done when the top is golden brown and the cheese is melted!
The BEST!!! I’ve eaten this 3 days in a row and can’t get enough.