This Air Fryer Tuna Melt Recipe is made with our homemade tuna salad (so good!), your favorite bread, and lots of extra melty cheddar cheese! These tuna melts are perfect for a quick lunch in the air fryer!
We love easy air fryer recipes and this one is nice and simple! We’re starting with a simple tuna salad recipe that’s loaded with flavor thanks to the pickles, onion, and mix of seasoning, and then we sandwich that between a couple of pieces of bread with plenty of cheddar and thick slices of tomato.
I love the way the air fryer toasts the bread perfectly while melting the cheese and it’s pretty hands off!
Serve these with a side of your favorite potato chips and you’ll feel like a kid again! Or am I the only one whose mom served these up for lunch all summer?
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
For the tuna salad:
Tuna – We’re starting with canned, drained tuna. It’s easy and it works great for making tuna salad! Pouches of tuna work great too!
Mayo & Mustard – We keep it creamy and flavorful with a combo of mayo and dijon mustard.
Pickles & Onion – I’m using minced dill pickles and minced red onion in this tuna salad mixture. They have great flavor and texture. I’m also using some of the dill pickle juice! I didn’t add any chopped celery but that is a common tuna salad ingredient that you could add to this which will add a bit more of the crunchy texture.
Seasoning – To season the tuna salad we’re using a simple mix of dried parsley, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. The red pepper is optional, and you can use more or less to taste. It adds just a little spicy kick to the tuna melts! You can also add salt and black pepper to taste.
The tuna salad in this recipe has lots of great flavor and you can use it in all sorts of other recipes. But you can also swap it out with tuna salad you’ve already prepared or store bought tuna salad if you’d like to make this recipe even simpler!
For the melt:
Bread – We’re just using regular sliced white sandwich bread but you could use wheat bread, sourdough bread, or whatever you like!
Butter – This is our favorite for getting the bread nice and toasty, but mayo also works in place of butter!
Tomato – We love to top these tuna melts with tomato slices! The tomato flavor goes perfectly here and it’s a classic topping for a tuna melt sandwich.
Cheese – These tuna melts are made with cheddar cheese! We use two cheese slices per sandwich. It gets perfectly melty in the air fryer and we love the combination of flavors. Cheddar is definitely our favorite for a classic tuna melt but feel free to use other types of cheese such as American, Pepper Jack, Colby Jack, Havarti, or Swiss cheese.
How to Make Tuna Melts in the Air Fryer:
- Combine – To get started add the drained canned tuna to a large mixing bowl along with the mayo, Dijon mustard, pickle juice, minced onions and pickles, and the seasoning.
- Stir: Stir all that together until it is well combined! Add any salt and pepper to taste. This is a quick and easy tuna salad recipe that you could serve up by itself!
- Assemble – First up you’ll prepare the bread. Butter one side of each slice of bread and then arrange two slices, butter side down, in your air fryer basket. You can use a parchment liner here to reduce the mess too if you have them. Top each of the slices in the air fryer basket with the tuna mixture, a slice of tomato, and two slices of cheddar cheese for each melt! We like the extra cheddar, but you can use less if you want. Top the sandwich with the other two slices of bread with the butter side up.
- Air Fry –Let tuna melts air fry for about 4 minutes at 360 degrees before slipping them once and cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the bread is as golden brown as you like!
Shop our Favorite Air Fryers!
We’ve tested loads of air fryers over the years and narrowed it down to the best of the best! Whether you’re looking for a basket style air fryer that fits nicely on your countertop or you want the toaster oven style air fryer, we’ve got the recommendation for you!
What to Serve with Air Fryer Tuna Melt:
These tuna melt sandwiches are perfect for lunch! Try it with any of these on the side:
- Air Fryer Potato Chips
- Air Fryer Tortilla Chips
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries
- Homemade Tomato Soup
- Air Fried Pickles
- Air Fryer Blooming Onion
If you’ve got your own favorite tuna salad recipe, or if you’ve just got leftovers, feel free to use them in this recipe! We like to make the tuna salad fresh and customize it just right for these tuna melts but there is no reason you can’t use any tuna salad recipe to make them. Even store bought tuna salad would be fine!
If you’re going to make the tuna melts ahead of time I’d probably just make the tuna salad mixture first and refrigerate it until you are ready to assemble and air fry the melts. That way you can serve them fresh, hot, and melty right from the air fryer!
If you’ve got leftover tuna melt sandwiches you can keep them stored in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days! You can heat them back up or enjoy them cold. If you’ve got leftover tuna salad it can be stored separately and should last in the fridge in an airtight container for about 4 days. The tuna salad mix can be used in other recipes too!
They’re basically the same thing except that a melt is a hot sandwich made with cheese that has been melted!
Air Fryer Tuna Melt
- 5 ounces canned tuna drained
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon minced red onion
- 1 tablespoon minced dill pickles
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dill pickle juice
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 slices bread white sandwich bread or sourdough
- 2 tablespoons butter room temperature
- 2-4 slices tomato
- 4 slices cheddar cheese
- Add the tuna, mayonnaise, red onion, pickles, dijon, pickle juice, parsley, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes to a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper to suit your preferences.
- Butter one side of each slice of bread.
- Arrange 2 slices of bread butter side down in your air fryer basket. Top with the tuna salad, sliced tomato, and cheddar. Place the remaining slices of bread, butter side up, on the sandwich.
- Air fry at 360 degrees for 4 minutes, flip, and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes or until bread is as golden brown as you’d like.
- Serve hot.