Spicy Jalapeño Cheddar Tuna Melt

Not gonna lie, ever since I got pregnant with my second baby I’ve been on a real tuna melt kick. Of course, we can’t just have any kind of tuna melt… nope, I needed something SPICY, flavorful and filling to satisfy my cravings.

What could be better than a SPICY tuna melt with a kick from jalapenos, freshness from green onion and melted cheddar on top?

Sometimes I make half of this recipe for lunch and enjoy it with my easy blender vegan tomato soup. Other times I enjoy the full thing for dinner with some crunchy chips on the side (Sun Chips are my secret go-to!). I hope you love this recipe as much as I do.

open-faced spicy tuna melt on parchment paper

Everything you’ll need to make a damn good spicy tuna melt

One part spicy, one part cheesy and all parts delicious, these tuna melts will be ones you make again and again because of how easy they are! You’ll just need a few pantry staples:

  • Tuna: the start of the show. I like to use yellowfin tuna that’s packed in olive oil, but feel free to use any canned tuna you like. Be sure to drain the tuna before using it.
  • Mixture: you’ll need a bit of mayo, greek yogurt, grainy dijon mustard, your fav hot sauce and little salt and pepper to give the tuna the perfect balance of flavors and moisture. Of course you could use all mayo or all greek yogurt, but I love to do a mix — totally up to you and based on what you have on hand.
  • Hint of green: I like to add diced jalapeño and diced green onion for a little crunch, extra kick of heat and freshness.
  • Bread: good news, you can use any bread you’d like! I love a nice, thick bread to hold up all of that tuna goodness, but you could also do sprouted bread for a healthier take.
  • Cheese: what’s a tuna melt without a layer of melted cheese? I love sharp cheddar slices paired with the creaminess and tang of the tuna.

mixture for a spicy tuna melt in a bowl

Optional ingredient swaps

This spicy tuna melt recipe is super easy to customize with what you have on hand. Here’s what I suggest:

  • Out of tuna? If you don’t have tuna you can also use canned salmon or even chicken (canned or regularly cooked & shredded).
  • Out of mayo or yogurt? Feel free to use all mayo or all yogurt if you don’t have both on-hand.
  • Switch up the spice: If you’re out of hot sauce, you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper for a kick of spice.

spicy tuna melt mixture on two slices of toasted bread

Can I make it vegan?

Actually, yes! Though it won’t be a tuna melt anymore, you can use about 3/4 cup chickpeas (be sure to mash them!) and dairy free yogurt in this recipe to keep it vegan, vegetarian & dairy free. SO GOOD!

Can I make it gluten free?

Yes, absolutely. Simply use your favorite gluten free bread.

easy spicy tuna melt on a plate with spinach and sweet potato fries

Customize your spicy tuna melt

  • Enjoy with any cheese you’d like! I think havarti, swiss and muenster would all be amazing. My absolute favorite though is Cabot’s Habanero Cheddar. It’s SPICY and flavorful.
  • Not into spice? Feel free to omit the hot sauce and jalapeño – it will still be delicious.
  • Add a boost of veggies by topping with fresh spinach, or crunch from some shredded carrots or diced celery.

spicy tuna melt stacked on a plate with sweet potato fries

How to make the best spicy tuna melt

Here’s exactly how to make a spicy tuna melt in three easy steps:

  1. Mix it. Add all of your ingredients (besides the bread & cheese slices) to a bowl and mix it together well. Remember to drain your tuna first!
  2. Toast it. Toast that bread to golden perfection in your toaster.
  3. Top it. Add half of the tuna mixture to each slice of bread, and then top each with a slice of cheese.
  4. Broil it. Melt it baby! Place the bread slices under the broiler for 2 minutes until melty and delicious.

healthy spicy tuna melt on a plate with sweet potato fries

More ways to use canned tuna

Honey Mustard Apple Tuna Salad

Thai Tuna Patties with Cilantro Cabbage Slaw

Farmer’s Market Spicy Tuna Wraps with Homemade Chipotle Greek Yogurt Ranch

Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole

Stovetop Southwest Tuna Mac and Cheese

Green Goddess Tuna Quinoa Salad

I hope you love these easy, spicy tuna melts! If you make this recipe be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Spicy Jalapeño Cheddar Tuna Melt

Spicy tuna melts filled with amazing flavor and a kick of heat from jalapeño & your favorite hot sauce. This easy, spicy tuna melt recipe is topped with melted sharp cheddar for the perfect, savory lunch or dinner that’s packed with protein!

  • 1
    (5 ounce) can yellowfin tuna, drained (I like to use tuna that’s packed in olive oil)
  • 2
    finely diced green onion
  • 2
    diced jalapeno
  • 1
  • 1
    yogurt (or sub mayo)
  • 1
    grainy dijon mustard
  • 1
    hot sauce
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2
    your favorite bread, a thicker sliced bread is always nice
  • 2
    sharp cheddar cheese (or your fav cheese!)
  • Extra jalapeno slices, if desired
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together drained tuna, diced green onion, diced jalapeno, mayo, yogurt, dijon, hot sauce and salt and pepper.

  2. Toast your bread the way you normally like it. Evenly spread the tuna mixture over each slice. Top each with a slice of cheese. Top with extra jalapeno slices, if desired. Place under the broiler for 2 minutes* or until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

This recipe serves one, but it’s also great for two people if you want to pair it with a bowl of soup or a salad for lunch and dinner.


Servings: 1 serving

Serving size: 1 tuna melt (both slices)

Calories: 555kcal

Fat: 28g

Saturated fat: 9.5g

Carbohydrates: 41g

Fiber: 8.2g

Sugar: 8.3g

Protein: 39.6g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

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