Air fryer tuna melt sandwiches are killer! Make as open faced sandwiches in air fryer or with two crunchy slices layered with melted cheese. If you loved our air fryer monte cristo sandwich this will make your mouth water too.
You love fast easy lunches right? Sometimes cold cuts just don’t cut it, especially on colder days. 😉 Air fryer tuna melts are the answer. Yes you can serve it as is but with crispy bread and melted cheese in between takes it from good to OMG amazing. Just one easy air fryer recipe on our site. (affiliate links present)
Tuna Melt in Air Fryer
Ok so I can’t be the only one who grew up on these sandwiches. It was an inexpensive way to make a healthy lunch. Of course we didn’t have one of these handy dandy hot air machines so typically the heated cheesy version was fried up in a pan. Just as good but took longer and didn’t get the bread this crispy.
Now that I am a mom I go “way back” and often make meals for my girls that I enjoyed as a kid myself, so they too grew up on these. Biggest difference between the two is how they’re cooked AND what can I choose.
What is the best tuna fish for tuna melts? For anything you MUST buy chunk albacore in water. NO. Other.
OR if you previously made our tuna steak air fryer recipe and made it well done, you could dice that up for real homemade.
If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- My Favorite Air Fryer is a Cosori or for a dual machine, the Foodi.
- You can find more easy air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
- This is the best air fryer cookbook. It’s important to know and remember how to preheat air fryer for best results.
- Here’s a printable free air fryer cooking time chart here for your fridge.
- It has temp. and times for making the best frozen foods for air fryer too.
- Then join our Facebook page below where you can share and find more ideas you’ll love.
Ninja Foodi Tuna Melt
Whether you make this as a Cosori air fryer tuna melt or in any other brand the timing and instructions will remain the same. The biggest difference between any of them is the look of the outside of course and the size and/or shape of the basket itself. Some are much larger than others so you can make fewer batches.
Square vs. round air fryer baskets make a big difference if you ask me. I mean there aren’t many things you’ll want to cook that are round so…….?? I suggest square if you do have a choice or looking for a newer model.
Open Faced Tuna Melt in Air Fryer
I have done this too when I want a low carb meal of sorts. Half the bread helps and you can really load up the filling. Lay a piece of cheese right on top and it will really melt and get golden brown and bubbly this way.
What is the difference between tuna and tuna melt?
I mean I kinda’ think this is obvious but one is cold and the other is warm. It’s melted because of the cheese inside. Sometimes it is served open faced meaning there is only one slice of bread instead of 2. If you wanted a lower carb version I would go with that. You would still cook the same way without adding the top piece.
You’d still want to warm the mixture so after you add that to the top just close the basket and heat for the last 2 minutes or so.
How do you prepare tuna to eat?
There are tons of ways to make this. I have a basic recipe I follow but often times will add this or that depending on what I have on hand. Basically you just;
- Drain cans of tuna packed in water (my preference over oil)
- Dump into a bowl
- Mash with the back of a fork to break up larger pieces
- Add enough mayonnaise so it is moist
- Fold in other ingredients you love like
- sweet or dill pickle relish
- diced celery or red onions
- some like a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- some like chopped up water chestnuts
I actually love diced up hard boiled eggs inside too but didn’t have any done this day. If you wanted to add some heat you could easily use some of our sriracha mayo instead of plain.
Air Fryer Sandwich Melt
You really could add any type of lunchmeat inside and make sandwiches in the air fryer this way too. Use leftover ham, turkey, salami, cold cuts, whatever you love on white or rye bread.
Ninja Air Fryer Tuna Melt
I can fit 2 typically in any of my machines at a time. It doesn’t take very long from start to finish, including prep, so making them to order is the best idea. You want it crispy from the get go and sitting on a plate will begin to make the inside of the bread a bit wet.
How do you melt in an air fryer?
Super easy. You can easily make cheese toast in air fryer like you see here below. I basically explain it below but you would stop before adding the tuna.
- Basically 380 degrees F for about 2 minutes works perfectly. It is best if you preheat your machine first so it cooks and melts evenly the whole time.
- You could use 400 degrees for 1 minute alternatively.
If you only have a block of cheese you need to shred it or it not melt evenly. A slice of processed Kraft cheese will work just as well to create toast with cheese as well.
Tuna Melt Air Fryer Time
Once you have the melt part done, you’ll want to add your tuna mixture on top. 1/2 a cup is perfect to cover the slice. If you want open face then don’t add the top piece. For a traditional sandwich lay another on top with the buttered side facing up so that can melt and add more flavor into the mix.
- I always suggest that you first preheat your air fryer. Set to 380 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Drain cans of tuna fish, dump into a bowl and mash with a fork until broken up into smaller pieces.
- Add mayo and relish. Blend until incorporated.
- Sprinkle in salt and pepper, taste, adjust if necessary.
- Spread room temperature butter on one side of each piece of bread. Lay bread in the air fryer for your bottom pieces, with butter side facing down. Sprinkle shredded cheese or slice of cheese on top.
- Close and cook fro 1 minute so cheese melts.
- Open the drawer or lid and add 1/2 cup of your tuna mixture on top.
- Spread out to cover bread. Lay second slice of buttered bread with butter facing the top on top.
- Close drawer and air fry for another 2 minutes cook time to crisp top piece
Add 30 more seconds at a time if you want it more golden brown. Super quick and easy! You can jump to recipe below and get started! If you have a “secret mixture” you swear by when it comes to this canned fish let us know so we can try it the next go around. 😉
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Air Fryer Tuna Melt
- 2 cans tuna this will make about 6 sandwiches, can half if you're serving less
- 3/4 c mayonnaise
- 1/3 c relish
- salt and pepper to taste
- 12 slices bread
- 1/4 c butter softened
- 1.5 c cheese shredded
- Preheat air fryer to 380 degrees F for 5 minutes. Drain cans of tuna, dump into a bowl and mash with a fork until broken up into smaller pieces.
- Add mayo and relish. Blend until incorporated. Sprinkle in salt and pepper, taste, adjust if necessary.
- Spread softened butter on one side of each piece of bread. Lay 1-2 pieces with butter side facing down into preheated air fryer with shredded cheese on top. Close and cook fro 1 minute so cheese melts.
- Open drawer and add 1/2 cup of your tuna mixture on top, spread out to cover bread. Lay second slice of buttered bread with butter facing the top on top.
- Close drawer and air fry for another 2 minutes to crisp top piece. Serve!