Break Out The Crackers For Craveworthy Bite-Size Tuna Melts

Tuna melts may not have a reputation for being glamorous, but they are among the more popular melts out there alongside patty melts. And tuna with cheese makes for a versatile combo thanks to the mild flavor of tuna, meaning it can be used for much more than a quick sandwich during your lunch break. For example, have you ever tried making tiny tuna melts on crackers for an appetizer or a midday snack? They'll blend right in at the hor d'oeuvres table.

For something simple, just mix a can of tuna with mayonnaise and celery, and then scoop out the results onto a bunch of crackers — Ritz crackers or saltines both work fine and so would anything fancier. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over each cracker, maybe some lemon juice for extra flavor and moisture, and then all they need is a few minutes of baking time in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 to 20 seconds in the microwave. Once they come out and cool off, they should taste exactly like a bite-sized tuna melt sandwich. 

Spice up your tuna

Tuna melts often use cheddar or American cheese. Store-bought shredded cheddar is often mild, so it helps to be on the lookout for aged, sharp shredded cheddar because it's got a stronger flavor. You can also swap out shredded cheese entirely for havarti, swiss, or pepper jack, although cheddar is picked for melts specifically because it melts faster than other cheeses. Mozzarella also melts fast, which makes it another option for your own small melts.

If you're willing to challenge tradition about what ingredients belong on a melt, you can add other fixings to make your tiny tuna melts just a little fancier. For an extra spicy kick, sliced jalapeño peppers will fit right onto the crackers and should be added before baking so that the cheese melts over it and holds it in place. If you don't have jalapeños, a few drops of hot sauce or a sprinkling of crushed red peppers will have a similar effect. Alternatively, for something less spicy but with lots of peppers, you could prepare your tuna melt-inside stuffed peppers instead for a much fancier appetizer.

Other delicious ideas for canned tuna

That can of tuna in the cupboard can easily be used for larger appetizers as well. With the right baguette, it's quick and easy to whip up a canned tuna crostini or bruschetta. Once you've toasted the bread, the tuna can go straight on and only needs some herbs for extra flavor and decoration. It makes for a heavier snack than tuna melts on crackers.

If you're willing to try something that takes slightly more time to prepare, you might be interested in tuna croquettes. A croquette is simply a deep-fried roll of bread with some sort of meat or vegetarian filling. Tuna may not be as common of a croquette filling as chicken or potatoes, but it works just as well. It's just a matter of mixing the tuna with eggs, breadcrumbs, and other ingredients like onions or lemon juice together and then covering them in more breadcrumbs, and then you cook it all. The result is a delicious crispy exterior and warm, gooey inside.