Ruth Jean’s Tuna Melts

Grandma Ruth Jean's Tuna Melts

While we’re on an heirloom recipe kick, I thought it was high time I shared these easy, cheesy Tuna Melts with you, which I actually photographed these last June when I first got my DSLR! Guilty as charged! However, I have been hiding them from you, keeping them all to myself.

Grandma Ruth Jean's Tuna Melts

I can tell you from personal experience that, as an avid cook, there is nothing as exciting, to be sure, as receiving a packet of vintage family recipe cards in the mail. Last year my Step-Grandmother Carol sent me a package full of my Grandmother’s original recipe cards. I promptly called my Dad to share in my elation and he told me, as I read through each card, which recipes were his favorites, which were his dad’s favorites and which were his sisters’ favorites!

These Tuna Melts made it on his list of favorites and I completely understand why! To this end, I think the secret is the sweet relish.

Sweet Relish

I remember the first time I ever saw anyone put sweet relish on tuna fish. It was my now husband and I was revolted! He forced me, okay cajoled me, into trying it, promising me that it was delicious. And he was right! I now rarely eat tuna fish without it.

Grandma Ruth Jean knew that the salty-sweetness of relish pairs just perfectly with tuna.

Grandma Ruth Jean's Tuna Melts

Something about the simplicity of these burgers makes them that much more special! Mix it up, wrap them in foil, bake, then eat. How easy was that? Okay, fine, there is some minor chopping involved.

Grandma Ruth Jean's Tuna Melts

The chips on the side? Those are a nod to my father. They’re BBQ, and we know how much he loves barbecue! After the photo shoot I put some of the chips on my tuna melt sandwich and it was amazing!

Grandma Ruth Jean's Tuna Melts

I kept these tuna burgers fairly true to Grandma Ruth Jean’s original recipe; however I did reduce the amount of mayo because I’m not a huge fan and I used cheddar cheese because I’m allergic to American Cheese. #funfact

I’ve included the original amounts and ingredients in parentheses in the recipe below in case you want to try it out!

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Ruth Jean’s Tuna Melts

  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


Canned tuna is the star of these cheesy, easy heirloom Tuna Melts!


  • 1 7-oz can tuna fish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green peppers
  • 2 tablespoons sweet relish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped hard boiled eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or American)
  • ¼ cup miracle whip light (the original calls for ½ cup mayo)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°
  2. Mix ingredients well but lightly. Make four patties and wrap each in aluminum foil.
  3. Bake 30 minutes in preheated oven. Serve on rolls!


These patties will be loose. They will not hold together like burgers. Don’t fret, my dad said this was how his mom made them 🙂

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • Bill Abbott
    June 19, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Yeaa !! Another great recipe even a kitchen klutz like me can make ! Thanks Lindsey !!

    • Lindsey
      June 19, 2014 at 11:32 am

      Haha! Thanks, Bill! This is definitely any easy, foolproof recipe! My paternal grandmother was good for those! I have some others of hers that I have been making for a while but haven’t photographed and shared yet!

  • Josephine
    June 19, 2014 at 8:55 am

    This looks like an easy summer dinner to me! Thanks for sharing!

    • Lindsey
      June 19, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Thanks, Josephine! It certainly is!

  • Phillip
    June 19, 2014 at 9:01 am

    I love tuna salad and I am always looking for different ways to try it. I usually use relish in mine too. I recently found a recipe on All Recipes that called for curry powder. I liked the first time I tried it but didn’t care for it as much the second go around (does that ever happen to you?) Curry though is just not one of my favorite flavors. I have never tried hard-boiled eggs so this is new to me as well.

    • Lindsey
      June 19, 2014 at 11:31 am

      I have a curried chicken salad recipe that I love, which I should share sometime, come to think of it. I’m not sure how I feel about the combo of curry and tunafish, but I’m willing to try most things once. That definitely happens to me where I like something and then it loses it appeal upon repeat trials! I hope you do try this out! I liked the addition of the eggs and the onions and peppers.

  • Consuelo - Honey & Figs
    June 20, 2014 at 3:26 am

    What an amazing recipe – vintage cooking si always so fab! These burgers look unreal and that sweet relish soounds like the best thing ever! xx

    • Lindsey
      June 20, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      I heart vintage recipes too! Well, most of the time…sometimes it’s best they stayed in the past! lol!

  • Barbara
    June 23, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Have totally forgotten these but will definitely try them again! Thanks Lindsey for posting the recipe.

    • Lindsey
      June 23, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      Hi Aunt Barb! I hope you do try them again!

  • Susan Raines
    June 24, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Lindsey I will have to try these, I do not remember them! But so remember cranking out the ginger & chocolate chip cookies by the dozen!

    Love the blog!

    • Lindsey
      June 24, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      Thanks, Aunt Susan! And happy birthday!!! I don’t have a recipe for ginger and chocolate chip cookies! Those sound delicious! I’d love if you could snap a photo and send it my way! I’m always in for another cookie recipe. I do have a recipe for her Chocolate Drops that sound amazing and are next on my list 🙂

  • Ella-HomeCookingAdventure
    July 8, 2014 at 1:18 am

    How beautiful to receive some old recipes from your Grandma. Hope you will post some more from that list. This one must be really delicious.

    • Lindsey
      July 8, 2014 at 10:59 am

      I hope to post more soon! There are some cookies that I want to try (no shock there! lol)!


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