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Open Faced Tuna Melt with Bacon

Open Faced Tuna Melt with Bacon has toasted English muffins topped with the BEST tuna salad, Swiss cheese, and bacon. For a delicious lunch or light dinner, this tuna melt is made open face in the toaster oven or conventional oven and topped with cheese, bacon, and chives with just the right balance of creaminess and crunch.

What if I told you tuna salad should not just be tuna and mayonnaise on bread. Nope, that isn’t enough. Life is too short. We need to help the mayo with a touch of sour cream and add texture and crunch with onion and celery (yes celery). Then we need to pile this BEST EVER tuna salad recipe on toasty English muffins, then – wait for it – melt cheese on top and finish with BACON. A quick recipe for when you want something easy but super tasty and satisfying.

close, side view of open faced tuna melt on bake sheet topped with bacon and chives

Why you will love this recipe

So there are 2 reasons why fixing an open faced tuna melt needs to be a must-do. First, this is a VERY easy recipe. We mix, layer, and toast. That’s it: mix the tuna salad, put on toasted English muffins, layer cheese and bacon, then put in the toaster oven or regular oven to melt the cheese.

Then what really wins with this recipe is the TASTE. This tuna salad recipe is the BEST I have ever had. Typically, tuna salad is just tuna and mayo, but with a couple little additions, the humble tuna salad becomes SO much better.

Each ingredient is important – so don’t skip any! …or do, whatever. There are no tuna police.

finished tuna melt on bake sheet

Ingredients

  • Solid white albacore tuna in water. Using albacore tuna is a must because chunk light tuna is gross.
  • Red onion and celery. These give crunch to our open faced tuna melt because the recipe needs some texture.
  • Mayonnaise and sour cream. Both are necessary and both need to be full on, full fat, regular sour cream and mayonnaise. Mayo is the foundation of a good tuna salad, so get a good one – Hellman’s or Dukes. Preferably Dukes. Sour cream adds a bit of intangible YUM – we don’t use much, but it adds just something special to elevate the humble tuna salad.
  • English muffins. Plain or whole wheat – up to you, whatever your preference. I used plain/original because I was cooking for my mother, and she likes plain. If I were cooking for just me, I would use whole wheat since I prefer them.
  • Swiss cheese. If you want a substitute, go with Muenster, provolone, or white American.
  • Bacon. Just because.
  • Chives. We added red onion but a little touch of chives on top perfects our open face tuna melts both in taste and for aesthetics. Both the onion and chive serve to “cut” the fat of the mayonnaise.
collage of 4 photos showing assembly of recipe: tuna salad on 4 halves of English muffins; topped with cheese; topped with bacon; topped with chives

Instructions for the best open faced tuna melt of your life

Make the tuna salad

Just like any tuna salad you have ever made, mix the ingredients in a bowl. Strain off as much water from the tuna as you can (I use the tuna can lid and press onto the tuna in the can over the sink or into a separate bowl to give the tuna water to my cat). Add the drained tuna to a clean bowl with the mayonnaise, sour cream. red onion, and celery. Mix with a fork.

[give tuna water to cat]

How to cook a tuna melt in a toaster oven

Fork split the English muffins, then toast until golden.

Transfer the toasted English muffins to the little pan that comes with the toaster oven and top with tuna salad and cheese. Put the pan in the toaster oven set to broil and cook until cheese starts to melt.

Once the cheese starts to melt, take the pan out quickly, sprinkle crumbled bacon over top, and return to the toaster oven. Once the cheese is nice and melty, top with chives immediately and serve.

How to cook a tuna melt in a conventional oven

Conventional oven directions are essentially the same as toaster oven, but we are toasting in a toaster and using the oven broiler to warm the melts and melt the cheese.

Fork split the English muffins, then toast in a toaster until golden. Turn on the oven broiler

Transfer the toasted English muffins to a pan or bake sheet. Top with tuna salad and cheese. Put the pan in the oven a couple inches under the broiler and cook until cheese starts to melt.

Once the cheese starts to melt, take the pan out quickly, sprinkle crumbled bacon over top, and return to the toaster oven. Once the cheese is nice and melty, top with chives and serve.

tuna melts on bake sheet topped with bacon
Get the cheese a little melty before topping with bacon so it stays on top.

TIP: The reason for getting the cheese to melt a bit, then topping with bacon is to get the bacon to stay on the cheese. If the cheese is cold and not yet melty, the bacon will fall right off.

Check out my Best Ever Salmon Melt recipe too! There is just something I love about toasty sandwiches with fish and melty cheese.

FAQs

Do I have to drain the water from the tuna and what is the best way to do so?

Yes. Open the can of tuna then use the lid from the can to press onto the tuna in the can over a sink or bowl to strain out the tuna water. Into a bowl is preferable, because then you can give the tuna water to your cat.

Can I use reduced fat mayonnaise and sour cream?

No.

Can I use chunk light tuna or flavored (ranch, garlic and herb, buffalo) tuna?

No.
I’m kidding of course – flavored tuna packets will work great to suit your taste. But I highly DO NOT recommend chunk light tuna. Ever.

Can tuna packed in oil be used?

Yes. Follow the recipe directions just the same.

What is a substitute for English muffins?

Any bread, roll, or bagel will work in place of the English muffins. I opted for English muffins because I wanted the crunch and they were on sale.

portion of prepared recipe on plate with fork
close, side view of open faced tuna melt on bake sheet topped with bacon and chives

Open Faced Tuna Melt with Bacon

Erica
Open Faced Tuna Melt with Bacon has toasted English muffins topped with the BEST tuna salad, Swiss cheese, and bacon. For a delicious lunch or light dinner, this tuna melt is made open face in the toaster oven or conventional oven with just the right balance of creaminess and crunch.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 3 people
Calories 593 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the tuna salad

  • 2 (5 oz) cans solid white albacore tuna in water drained and flaked
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 medium rib celery chopped
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream

For the tuna melts

  • 3 English muffins split
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese
  • 3 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 3 Tbsp fresh snipped chives

Instructions
 

Make the tuna salad

  • Combine the ingredients for the tuna salad in a bowl with a fork. Set aside or refrigerate until use ready to proceed.

Make the tuna melts

  • Toast the English muffins until golden. Transfer to a bake sheet.
  • Set toaster oven or conventional oven to broil.
  • Top the English muffins with tuna salad and cheese.
  • Place bake tray/sheet in oven (*see Notes*) and cook until cheese just starts to melt. Top with bacon and continue to cook until cheese is melty and melt is warmed through.
  • Top with chives and serve.

Notes

In a toaster oven, just place the toaster bake pan on the rack in the toaster oven. In a conventional oven, cook the melts a couple inches under the broiler.
Watch the melts while cooking because the cheese will melt quickly. This is especially true in a conventional oven.
Serving sizes are based on using English muffins. If larger delivery vehicles are used – bread, bagels, etc – this may reduce serving size to 2, with those servings being more generous.

Nutrition

Calories: 593kcal (30%) | Carbohydrates: 28g (9%) | Protein: 40g (80%) | Fat: 38g (58%) | Saturated Fat: 13g (81%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 107mg (36%) | Sodium: 808mg (35%) | Potassium: 337mg (10%) | Fiber: 2g (8%) | Sugar: 2g (2%)

Calorie count is purely an estimate calculated using an online application to serve as a guide and not to be taken as accurate nutritional information. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Keyword best tuna melt recipe, open faced tuna melt, toaster oven tuna melt, tuna melt with bacon
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment below and let me know!

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