Try my crispy, cheesy, and oh-so-delicious tuna melt air fryer recipe! It's an easy and satisfying meal option for just one or two people.
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Using the air fryer to crisp up the bread and melt the cheese, this recipe brings a new texture and flavor to a familiar favorite. The combination of flaky tuna, tangy mayo, melted cheese, and crunchy bread creates a mouthwatering experience that's both comforting and exciting.
Reasons to Love
- Quick and easy. You can have a delicious, melty sandwich ready in just a few minutes. It's a great option for a fast and satisfying meal, especially when you're short on time or don't feel like cooking an elaborate dinner.
- Healthier option. The air fryer uses hot air to crisp up the bread and melt the cheese. This means you can use less oil or butter to reduce the fat and calories.
You'll need some essential ingredients to make a delicious air fryer tuna melt. These items are canned tuna, mayonnaise, cheese, and sandwich bread.
My recipe adds to the basic recipe for a much more flavorful sandwich. Here's what you'll need:
- canned tuna packed in water
- grated mozzarella cheese
- red onion
- sweet pickle relish
- lemon juice
- garlic powder
- ground mustard
- dill weed
- salt and pepper
- mild cheddar cheese
- unsalted butter
- bread slices
Scroll down to the recipe card for quantities used.
Preheat your air fryer to 370°F (188 °C) and set it to 10 minutes. Then, follow these simple step-by-step directions.
In a large shallow bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder, ground mustard seed, dill weed, cayenne (if using), kosher salt, and ground black pepper.
Mix the ingredients together well into a smooth dressing.
Add tuna, celery, red onion, and sweet pickle relish in the same bowl. Mix well.
Mix in freshly grated mozzarella cheese. Toss gently. Set aside.
Place two slices of bread onto the air fryer basket or tray. Spread softened butter on both sides. Air fry for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the cooking chamber.
Spoon a generous amount of tuna salad over toasted bread slices.
Top with cheese slices.
Cover with 1 slice of bread on each. Spread softened butter on each bread.
Air Fry until top bread slices are crisp and golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly, then slice each sandwich diagonally into half.
Hint: Always place the tuna mixture on the bottom slice of bread, followed by cheese and any additional toppings. This way, the cheese melts over the tuna.
Giving the visitor ideas on how they can change this recipe to better suit their dinner guests, or their cultural cuisine, is a great way to increase the chances they make the recipe
- Tomato - add a slice of tomato between the tuna and cheese.
- Bacon - crispy bacon in the sandwich adds crunch and smoky flavor.
- Avocado - adding sliced avocado will make it a more filling meal.
- Cheese - try different types of cheese such as pepper jack or Swiss.
You can also change up the meat. Sometimes, I like to use leftover slow cooker chicken taco meat instead of tuna salad.
Top tip: Be sure to spread the fillings evenly between the bread slices. Distributing the tuna mixture, cheese, and any additional toppings evenly will ensure a balanced flavor in every bite.
- Avoid overstuffing. While loading up on fillings is tempting, be mindful not to overstuff the sandwich. Overfilling can lead to uneven cooking and difficulties in sealing the sandwich.
- Check for doneness. Keep an eye on the tuna melts during the cooking process. They are done when the bread is golden brown, and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Adjust cooking time. Air fryers can have varying cooking times, so be ready to adjust based on your specific appliance. It's better to check periodically and avoid overcooking.
- Serve immediately. Tuna grilled cheese sandwiches are best enjoyed fresh and hot. Serve them immediately to savor the crispy texture and gooey cheese.
Store the wet ingredients (lettuce, tomato, onion) separately from the dry ingredients (buns) in the fridge, and recombine when ready. Good for 2-3 days.
These ingredients do/don't stand up well to freezing for X days/weeks/months.
Absolutely! You can use your favorite type of bread for the tuna sandwich. Whether it's whole wheat, sourdough, or rye, choose a bread that complements the flavors of tuna and cheese.
Keep an eye on the sandwich while it's in the air fryer. When the cheese is melted and bubbly with a golden-brown crust on the bread, your tuna melt is ready to be enjoyed.
Definitely! If you prefer not to use mayonnaise in your recipe, consider Greek yogurt a healthier alternative. It still provides creaminess and helps hold everything together while adding a tangy flavor.
Want to try more easy lunch recipes for one or two people? Here are a few more of my favorites:
- Carne asada quesadilla is the perfect way to use up your leftover steak.
- Chili for two in a crockpot is so easy to prepare it practically cooks itself.
- Personal pizza is so simple to make with a quick no-yeast crust.
- Chicken wet burrito is a simple dish when you crave Mexican food.
- Crock pot mac and cheese is an excellent choice to make your meal ahead.
Air Fryer Tuna Melt
- 1 canned tuna (142 grams no salt added can drained)
- ¼ cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
- ½ small red onion finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
- 1 rib celery
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- ¼ teaspoon dill weed
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne optional
- kosher salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 4 ounces chunk mild cheddar cheese cut in 6 slices
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 4 slices bread
- Pre-heat Air Fryer at 370°F (188°C). Set at 10 minutes.
- In a large shallow bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder, ground mustard seed, dill weed, cayenne (if using), kosher salt, and ground black pepper. Mix well.
- In the same bowl, add tuna, celery, red onion, and sweet pickle relish. Mix well.
- Mix in freshly grated mozzarella cheese. Toss gently. Set aside.
- Place two slices of bread onto the Air Fryer tray. Spread softened butter on both sides. Then slowly insert tray into the middle cooking chamber, near the rotisserie catch. Air Fry for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the cooking chamber.
- See tips or notes when closing the door.
- Spoon a generous amount of tuna salad over toasted bread slices and top with cheese slices. Cover with 1 slice of bread on each. Spread softened butter on each bread.
- Return Air Fryer tray into the middle cooking chamber, near the rotisserie catch. Air Fry until top bread slices are crisp and golden, about 3 to 5 minutes.