Albacore Tuna Melt with Havarti Cheese on Sourdough

To me, a tuna melt is the ultimate comfort food. White albacore tuna, melted cheese (havarti is my cheese of choice) and crispy, grilled bread. I always use sourdough bread when I’m making a tuna melt at home. The bread gets nice and crispy and when you bite into it, the cheese oozes out the sides. It’s a messy sandwich and definitely not suitable for date night, but it’s a feel good food.

No one in my house really cares for tuna except me, so this is what I make sometimes on “fend for yourself” night. Do you have those in your house? The girls are both capable of fending for themselves, and sometimes mama needs a break. Typically on those nights, my husband picks up something for himself and the girls give the microwave a workout and I’ll either make a simple turkey sandwich or some tostadas, or about once a month, I make this sandwich.

I always use white albacore tuna packed in water. I grew up on light tuna packed in water, but I only eat white albacore these days. It tastes fresher and it’s meatier and less fishy than the light tuna. I get mine at Costco in an eight pack. I can give a couple of cans to the food bank at church that way and still have plenty for the house.

Albacore Tuna

I like to chop up some celery, baby gherkins and green onion to give the tuna a bit of texture and some fresh ingredients enhance the flavor. I’ve tried hard boiled eggs in my tuna, but I have to say I’m not a fan. I also find that chopped white or yellow onion is too strong, but green onions are just right. Call me Goldilocks.

Tuna Salad

The key to making a good grilled tuna sandwich is to cook it low and slow. Butter one side of each slice of bread and lay one slice down butter-side down, place the Havarti cheese down, then pile on the tuna and top with the other side of bread. Cook it on medium-low heat until the first side is golden brown and crispy. If you cook it too fast, the outside will get burnt and the cheese won’t melt and the tuna won’t heat through. It’s a very scientific process.

Tuna Melts

Look at that deliciousness! I’m trying not to think about the winter, but it’s coming and this is a great snow day lunch or dinner. Snuggle up with a fire and a good movie and a tuna melt and watch the snow fall. I hope you’ll make this at home and try a tuna melt the Ketchum way. If you do, please come back and let me know how you like it and tag #ketchumkitchen on Instagram. I really enjoy reading your comments.

Albacore Tuna Melt with Havarti Cheese on Sourdough

Yield: 2

Albacore Tuna Melt with Havarti Cheese on Sourdough


  • 1 7 ounce can white albacore tunafish
  • 2 sweet gherkin pickles, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbl mayonnaise
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 slices Havarti cheese
  • Butter (enough to lightly spread on each of the 4 slices of bread)


  • Mix the tuna, pickles, celery, onions, salt, pepper and mayo in a bowl and mix until combined. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Lightly butter 1 side of each of the 4 slices of bread. Place two slices of bread, butter side down, on the skillet. Place one slice of cheese on each piece of bread. Spread a generous amount of tuna salad on each slice and then top with the other slice of bread, butter side up. Cook until golden brown on one side, then flip over and cook until golden brown on the other side. The cheese should be completely melted and the tuna will be heated through if you cook them low and slow. Enjoy!
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