Tuna Melt Recipe For Air Fryers

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This recipe for an Air Fryer Tuna Melt is so simple and takes just minutes to cook. It’s also lower in fat thanks to the use of an air fryer.

Everyone loves a good sandwich. I recently made this for my son and my contractor who was doing some work on my house. Both of them fell in love with this sandwich, and I think you will too.

A long view of a half of a tuna melt laying on a cutting board.

Can You Really Make A Good Tuna Melt In An Air Fryer?

Absolutely! In fact, it’s actually better tasting than when you fry it in a skillet. It uses less fat and the bread still gets nice and crispy. It’s a fantastic way to make a sandwich like this one.

Can I Use Any Kind Of Tuna Salad For An Air Fryer Tuna Melt?

Technically, yes. But I highly recommend giving the recipe below a try first. If you don’t like it, you can always adjust it or add to it.

What Should You Serve With These Air Fryer Tuna Melts?

You can pretty much serve this with anything. Some suggestions are:

  • Chips
  • Raw vegetables and dip
  • French fries
  • Side salad
  • Fresh fruit
  • Roasted veggies
  • Soup

How Do You Make Melts In An Air Fryer?

The trick is to butter the outside area of both sides of your sandwich. You don’t need a lot, but some butter will help crisp up your bread the way you would expect it to in a sandwich like this.

Why Is My Tuna Melt Soggy?

This shouldn’t be a huge problem when using an air fryer. But if you notice a little bit of sogginess, it’s probably because of the bread you used. Using a thin or lightweight bread won’t work for a recipe like this.

A closeup of a half of an air fryer tuna melt sandwich on a cutting board.

What Bread Should I Use For This Tuna Melt Recipe?

You want a hearty piece of bread for this. I used Food For Life brand Ezekiel bread. It’s a hearty, whole-grain bread that holds up well in a recipe like this. I find it in the freezer section of my local grocery store. Many health food stores carry it as well.

You can also use a whole-grain English muffin if you prefer. As long as the bread is hearty, it will do well here.

How Long Does It Take To Melt Cheese In An Air Fryer?

This will depend heavily on your air fryer. Each appliance will cook a bit differently. But generally speaking, it will take approximately 4-6 minutes. With a recipe like this one, it will take the full 6 minutes.

Can I Put Aluminum Foil In An Air Fryer?

You can! But with a recipe like this, you shouldn’t need to. In fact, it’s best if you don’t use it because you need as much airflow around the sandwich as you can get. Air fryers cook with forced hot air. So if you restrict that airflow, this will take a lot longer to cook properly and the bread may not crisp up the way you want it to.

Recipe Tip

Taste your tuna salad before you make the sandwich. If the salad tastes good to you, then the sandwich will be delicious. Season the tuna salad any way that works best for you. This recipe is just a suggestion. A place to start.

Can I Add Veggies To My Tuna Melt?

Absolutely! Here are some tasty suggestions:

  1. Bell Pepper: Finely chopped bell pepper, whether it’s red, green, or yellow, can provide a similar crunch and add a hint of sweetness to the tuna mixture.
  2. Cucumber: Diced cucumber works well as a replacement for celery, offering a refreshing and crisp texture.
  3. Carrots: Grated or finely chopped carrots can add a touch of sweetness and crunch to the tuna mixture.
  4. Pickles: If you enjoy a tangy twist, try adding chopped pickles or relish instead of celery. It will provide a zesty flavor to the tuna mixture.
  5. Celery: 2 tbsp. celery, finely chopped
A side view of a half of a tuna melt on a cutting board.

Can I Use Canned Chicken Instead?

Absolutely! This recipe works just as well with either canned chicken or canned salmon.

Can I Make This Without And Air Fryer?

Of course! You can cook it in a skillet or you can bake it in the oven. It’s up to you. The oven should be set to 400 F. and you should flip the sandwich at least halfway through the baking time. Bake for about 20 minutes, then check it and continue baking until it’s done. Time will vary by oven and the thickness of your sandwich and bread.

Optional Additions

If you like, you can add some extras to your sandwich before cooking either by layering them on or by mixing them into the tuna salad. Try:

  • Tomatoes (tomato slices)
  • Black pepper
  • Dijon mustard
  • Greek yogurt (instead of mayonnaise)
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Dill pickle relish

About The Ingredients

Tuna Salad Ingredients

Water-packed tuna – Drained

Mayonnaise – No sugar added.

Dried dill – You can use fresh dill instead if you prefer that. Measure with your heart.

Salt – I used pink Himalayan salt, but use whatever you normally cook with.

Red onion – If you don’t have red, yellow will work.

Black pepper

Sandwich Ingredients

Sharp cheddar cheese slices – It must be sharp cheddar to get the right flavor here.

Butter – I used salted butter.

Whole grain bread slices – See notes on the bread above.

How To Make An Air Fryer Tuna Melt

Prep

Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for a few minutes, if it has a preheat function, and gather all your ingredients.

Tuna Salad Instructions

Tuna in a glass mixing bowl, broken apart by a fork which rests in the bowl.
Adding chopped red onions to tuna in a mixing bowl.
Adding mayo to a bowl of tuna and red onions in a mixing bowl.
Adding dill to a glass bowl filled with tuna salad ingredients.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the drained tuna, mayonnaise, dill, salt, red onion, and black pepper.

Pepper added to tuna salad ingredients in a glass mixing bowl.
Mixed tuna salad for air fried tuna melts.

Mix well until all the ingredients are well mixed.

Sandwich Instructions

Butter spread on two slices of bread.

Butter the outside sides of each piece of bread. I used a bit too much here for my tastes, but use as much as you feel is good for you.

A slice of bread laying in an air fryer basket.

Lay the first slice of bread in your air fryer basket, butter side down.

A slice of cheese laying on a slice of bread in an air fryer basket.

Now lay down a cheese slice.

Tuna salad spread over cheese on top of a slice of bread in an air fryer basket.

Add a quarter of the tuna salad and spread it over the bread and cheese evenly.

A top layer of cheese added to a tuna melt in an air fryer basket.

Add a second slice of cheese.

The second piece of bread topping an air fryer tuna melt in the air fryer basket.

Finally, put down the top bread slice, butter side up.

An air fryer tuna melt cut in half and laying on a wooden surface.

Air fry the tuna melt in the air fryer for 6 minutes total, flipping the sandwich every 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden brown. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning. Once cooked, carefully remove the tuna melts from the air fryer using tongs or a spatula. Allow them to cool slightly before serving. Cut in half and serve.

Storing Leftover Tuna Melts

If you have leftovers, it’s best to store the tuna salad and the bread separately. If it’s already cooked, then wrap it well in plastic wrap or put it into an airtight container and store it in the fridge. Either way, it will last 3 days at the longest. If you are storing the full sandwich, it may get soggy.

Freezing

Freezing is not recommended for this recipe.

Reheating

While this sandwich is delicious cold, if you want to reheat it, simply place it back into your air fryer for 2 minutes. Check to see if it’s warmed through. If not, continue cooking in 1 to 2-minute intervals until the sandwich is fully reheated to your liking.

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A long view of a half of a tuna melt laying on a cutting board.

Tuna Melt Recipe For Air Fryers

A delicious lunch straight from your air fryer.
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Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes
Servings: 4 sandwiches
Calories: 648kcal

Ingredients

Tuna Salad Ingredients

  • 2 cans water-packed tuna (drained)
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (no sugar added)
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • ¼ tsp. salt (plus more as needed, to taste)
  • ¼ cup finly diced red onion
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

Sandwich Ingredients

  • 8 slices whole-grain bread (no sugar added)
  • 4 tbsp. butter (½ tbsp. per slice of bread)
  • 8 slices sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for a few minutes, if it has a preheat function.

Tuna Salad Instructions

  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the drained tuna, mayonnaise, dill, salt, red onion, and black pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are well mixed.
    Pepper added to tuna salad ingredients in a glass mixing bowl.

Sandwich Instructions

  • Butter the outside sides of each piece of bread.
    Butter spread on two slices of bread.
  • Lay the first slice of bread in your air fryer basket, butter side down.
    A slice of bread laying in an air fryer basket.
  • Now lay down a cheese slice.
    A slice of cheese laying on a slice of bread in an air fryer basket.
  • Add a quarter of the tuna salad and spread it over the bread and cheese evenly.
    Tuna salad spread over cheese on top of a slice of bread in an air fryer basket.
  • Add a second slice of cheese over the tuna.
    A top layer of cheese added to a tuna melt in an air fryer basket.
  • Finally, put down the top bread slice, butter side up.
    The second piece of bread topping an air fryer tuna melt in the air fryer basket.
  • Air fry the tuna melt in the air fryer for 6 minutes total, flipping the sandwich every 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden brown. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
    Once cooked, carefully remove the tuna melts from the air fryer using tongs or a spatula. Allow them to cool slightly before serving. Cut in half and serve.
    An air fryer tuna melt cut in half and laying on a wooden surface.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 648kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 1130mg | Potassium: 365mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 986IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 515mg | Iron: 3mg

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