Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts

Dinner, Sandwiches

Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts //

I had the weirdest school lunches when I was a kid. While most kids had cool bologna sandwiches smothered with mayo and snack-paks and Capri-Suns, I had yellow rice with chicken and crudités–it was way lame, and embarrassing. On occasion my mom would give in to my begging and whining and make me tuna salad sandwich, a Hi-C and a bag of Lays potato chips. And I always, ALWAYS would carefully open the sandwich and lay the potato chips atop the tuna. It was the only way.

If I ever had a cute lil’ sandwich shop, I’d have a whole section of just “stuff on toast” and I’d totally have sandwiches on the menu that had potato chips inside. It’d be a thing. Adding potato chips gives sandwiches excellent texture and it adds another layer of flavor. My seven-year-old-self knew what was up.

Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts //

This is a fancy-ass version of my favorite 2nd grade lunch. The caramelized onions aren’t something I would’ve liked then, but I love them now, except for the fact that caramelizing onions takes SO much patience. The first batch of caramelized onions were more burnt than the pretty dark brown I was going for. You need patience to be rewarded.

Also, salt and vinegar chips. Can we have a conversation about how amazing they are and how I die for them? My second year old self would’ve thought they were disgusting, too.

Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts //

Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts //

This sandwich is all about me coming to terms with the things I hated in my younger years, while simultaneously celebrating what was special. It’s a play of the one of the best diner kind of sandwiches around, with a bit of a of a grown-up attitude. I’m into it. I hope you are too.

Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts //

Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts

5 from 1 vote
Serving Size: 4 open-faced sandwiches


  • Olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, caramelized - dash of salt
  • 2 5 ounce cans of albacore tuna, drained
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 small apple, diced
  • 3-4 turns of black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Salt
  • 4 slices bread, I like it on a sourdough boule
  • 3/4 cup shredded provolone cheese, I think Monterey jack and cheddar cheese would also work splendidly
  • Salt and vinegar chips


  • To a medium skillet, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a pinch of salt and cook for 30 minutes more, stirring frequently, and adding more olive oil as needed, or until the onions are a golden brown color. Transfer the caramelized onions to a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the albacore tuna, mayonnaise, mustard, diced apple, black pepper and juice from the lemon. Mix and salt and pepper to taste.
  • On a foil-lined baking sheet, lay out the slices of bread. Divide the caramelized onions among the slices of bread. Top with a few scoops of tuna; and then a liberal handful of provolone. Turn on the broiler and when hot carefully place the baking sheet under the broiler and cook until the cheese is melty and lightly browned. Top with a few potato chips and enjoy.
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Recipe Rating

  • Reply Shanon January 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Speed up your onion caramelization by adding a bit of sugar! (check out the response to Marina’s post)

  • Reply Chickadee Workshop September 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I have always loved potato chips on my sandwiches, especially P.B & J……but not the vinegar ones. (shiver) That being said, my husband loved these tuna melts and he has always been of the opinion that you can’t improve on basic tuna, celery and mayo on a sandwich. Trust me, I’ve tried tuna casseroles and other tuna melts. THIS one made him come back for seconds, hooray! P.S. I loved it, too.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme September 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      Oh! Hooray! This makes me so happy. So glad he loved it. And glad you loved it too! x

  • Reply Kristin August 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Best recipe name ever, right there. I’m also wondering why I never put salt and vinegar chips on my tuna melts!

  • Reply Sophie July 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    This sounds sooooo good! Apple? Caramelized onions? Hell yes. And tuna is totally on my Healthy List.

    You are so cute — I was the kid eating my “disgusting” egg salad sandwich on whole wheat and desparately coveting a Lunchable, a pudding cup, a soda. Our moms did us some pretty good favors back then, even though it sucked at the time! 🙂

  • Reply Christy July 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I recently found out that crushed up potato chips are ESSENTIAL for a Colombian hot dog. I had had chips on sandwiches as a kid, but I thought that was just a silly thing that kids did. I am happy to know that there are adults who still do this and even HAPPIER to know that an entire country knows what’s up when it comes to crushed up chips as a condiment for street food. YUM!

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