50 Ways to to Build Fabulous Tuna Sandwiches

50 Ways to to Build Fabulous Tuna Sandwiches

Dennis Weaver Dennis Weaver Aug 21, 2023

How to build them. What to serve with them.

There are hundreds of ways to build them. We're going to give you the 50 best ways. Then when going to give you the twenty ways to serve lunch with tuna. That includes soups and salads.

But first the basics..


First, it's the bread.

Tuna is amazingly versatile.  Almost any bread works as long it's good bread.  The one in the picture here was made with a San Francisco Sourdough Bread Mix. The sourdough in the bread mix complements the tuna well. It's a crusty, chewy, authentic bread.

This is not a grilled sandwich here. The sourdough bread was simply pan fried in butter and then the filling was inserted between two slices.

If you want a soft sandwich, try our Buttermilk White Bread Mix or Country Farm White Bread. It's soft and airy and the buttermilk in the bread mix gives it just a touch of sour. Anytime you add dairy to a bread mix, the lactose sweetens the bread a little. The slight sweetness moderates the salty fish flavor.

If you would like to make your sandwich with wheat bread, try our Farmhouse Honey Wheat Bread Mix. It's a little sweeter yet but works well with tuna. Actually, with over 60 bread mixes to try, you can make an amazing selection of tuna sandwiches, every day a different one. But homemade bread is always better.


And then the tuna.


When I did my dance with Covid, I came out of the hospital with one craving--tuna sandwiches. Strange. That was not my favorite food before Covid.  But it was coming out of the hospital, and I still love a good tuna sandwich. But it's not just any tuna; it has to be a really good tuna sandwich. That took a little research . . . and help from my wife. Now I know how to make a good tuna sandwich. I prefer it to deli meat. 

All canned tuna is not the same. After the Covid dance, Merri Ann stocked up on tuna. She tried several kinds. Some of it just wasn't very good, and we never used it. I don't think it was so much the brand, though some brands are definitely better than others. She brought home some albacore white tuna; that was much better.  Albacore is much better regardless of the brand.  

Don't scrimp on price. Even the best tuna is not expensive.

Grilled Tuna Sandwich on Buttermilk White Bread Mix

Get all the oil or water out.

That's where the fishy, salty taste is. It's oily.

When I take the lid off the tin, I turn it upside down and squeeze the lid hard into the can, pressing the tuna. Then I set the inverted can with the lid upside down in the sink while I gather the mayo, pickles, and such.

Merri Ann dumps the tuna into a small strainer and then presses the tuna with the back of a large spoon. She probably gets more oil out.

Nathan, our son, found a little perforated gizmo that fits inside the tin and squeezes the dickens out of the tuna. All three methods work. Just be aggressive.

Tuna Sandwich on Buttermilk White Bread

Now for the filling.

For me, the basic is a good mayonnaise. Usually, that's good enough, but I'm generous with the mayo. If we have it, I use low-fat mayo or avocado mayonnaise. I often add sweet pickle relish, sometimes a little horseradish, and occasionally, sour cream. Ranch dressing is fine addition. It's fun to be creative.

Merri Ann likes her food more seasoned than I. She will add minced onion, garlic, or chives and she's not afraid to attack the spice cupboard. Chopped basil is good.

I tend to be creative. Try chopped apple or dried cranberries if you don't get carried away with the savories. Chopped cashews are incredible.

If I want a little kick, I'll drizzle in a little Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. It adds a little color too.

Tuna on a Croissant

How to Make Tuna Melt Sandwiches

These are “tuna melts” and they are really good sandwiches. For me, if the sandwich is warm, cooked, it's more of meal not just lunch.

Add a slice of cheese. I love ooey, gooey melted cheese. Mild cheddar works but mostly, I use a white cheese like provolone, mozzarella, or Havarti–something that won’t overpower the tuna.

I butter both outer sides of the sandwiches.  Of course, the butter melts and makes the sandwich crispy. Occasionally I'll use mayonnaise on the outside instead of butter. That makes it even more crispy. I put a lid over the sandwich when it starts to cook to trap the heat and melt the cheese. 


The heat should be no higher than medium so that it has time to heat and soak through the sandwich and melt the cheese. I take the lid off the sandwich for the last few minutes to let the steam escape.

When the sandwich is done and before the cheese sets, I pull the top slice of bread off the sandwich and add the pickles and lettuce or avocado.

I’ve tried both tomato slices and cucumber slices on my tuna sandwiches. My dad would add radish slices to his sandwich, but then, he would add radishes to anything.

Learn more about making better grilled cheese sandwiches.

 Learn more about grilled cheese sandwiches and Monte Cristo sandwiches.

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Comments (1)

  • I drain my tuna in a small colander and rinse it with cold water. We put sweet relish in ours, and sometimes grill it with cheese. Almost any type of cheese works! I haven’t tried a bread type I don’t like with tuna.

    Andrea Barnes Poppleton

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