When we were little, tiny tuna melts on ritz crackers were a favorite after school snack. I’m not sure how my mom thought up such an ingenious little creation but it was the best…the only problem was that inevitably I would bite into the tiny tuna melt before it was cool enough and the cheese would char the roof of my mouth. Every time.
In those days, it was american cheese and ritz crackers with a can of bumble bee tuna…and it’s still pretty close now. What’s changed you ask? Well, first of all, we are starkist family…don’t know why, but it’s one of the grocery items that I’m super brand loyal to.
The cheese has gotten a wee bit more sophisticated (and by wee bit, i really mean just a bit). Beyond that, they are the same tiny tuna melts of my past…and I’m really excited to share them with you.
Before we jump into the recipe there’s one more thing to address…the tuna fish.
We are pretty pure about the way that we make our tuna. It’s simply chunk white tuna from the can (not solid, purely a texture thing around here), miracle whip or mayonnaise (yes, I make both because it’s one of the things that we will never compromise on in our marriage, and no, I won’t tell you who likes what). Mix it up well, and voila, tuna fish.
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What kind of cheese works best for a tiny tuna melt?
While my mom used to use the classic american cheese slices that she would break into quarters so that they fit on the crackers, that’s not what I use today. Mostly because we don’t keep that kind of cheese in the house. Well, that and it ALWAYS charred the roof of my mouth.
Now, I tend to favor cheddar slices. There is something about the orange cheese on the cracker that is just perfectly nostalgic…and it tastes good. My kids don’t mind sharp cheddar, so that’s my go to, but any type of cheddar will work.
You can also mozzarella slices, gouda, or swiss, but my favorite is the cheddar. If you don’t have sliced cheese in the house, feel free to use shredded cheese, you’ll just have to be a bit more careful when you are putting it on the tiny tuna melts.
Can you use a different kind of cracker?
Sure you can, but why would you want to 😉. The classic ritz cracker is perfectly butter, doesn’t get too burnt in the toaster and is the perfect size for these tiny tuna melts. They can be eaten in one bite (by adults) or two or three (by the munchkins) and perfectly compliment almost anything you put on top.
You can definitely pick a generic cracker in the same vein as regular ritz crackers. I happen to also like the Trader Joe’s version. I’ve not tried this recipe on gluten free crackers, but I bet there is one out there that would work. I just really like the buttery, salty goodness of a classic ritz cracker, but as always, use what you have and keep it simple!
How do you make tiny tuna melts?
Making tiny tuna melts is really as simple as 1, 2, 3!
Make the tuna. Make it however your family likes to eat tuna. You like celery, add it in. They like hard boiled eggs in there, go for it! Someone makes it with avocado instead of mayo, enjoy it your way 🙂 The best part is that the tuna can be made ahead of time! I like to make it in the morning while the kids are having breakfast, so I can make these for an after school snack. Sometimes, as part of meal prepping, I’ll make a few cans of tuna over the weekend so it’s ready for tiny tuna melts, big tuna melts, or a regular tuna sandwich when we need it.
Assemble the tiny sandwiches. You’ll put a small scoop of tuna onto the ritz cracker and then top with a piece of cheese. Make a whole bunch and line them up on the toaster oven tray for a small batch or a baking sheet if you are feeding a crowd.
Then, bake. You’ll want to bake them for 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees (till the cheese gets melty) and then pop them under the broiler for 30-60 seconds so that cheese can get a little bit browned…just don’t want to burn the crackers!
That’s it, make tuna, assemble sandwich, bake and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks:
- This is a great recipe to get the kids involved in. They can help every step of the way from mixing the tuna, to putting it on to the crackers, selecting the cheese, etc. Involved gets are likely to be less picky, since they are proud to eat what they make.
- I love making these for lunch on the weekend. Serve them with other finger foods and let everyone eat appetizer style. You could do ants on a log, mini quiches, mini muffins, cucumber rounds, etc.
- Making a big batch of these for a crowd…awesome! Just lay them out on a baking sheet and make them in the big oven instead of the toaster…boom, 20 tiny tuna melts done at one time 👏
Looking for other simple kid friendly recipes? Check these out!Print
tiny tuna melts make the perfect after school snack or quick and simple lunch.
- 2 cans of tuna (prepared as you like)
- 24 ritz crackers (or crackers of similar shape/size)
- 4 oz of cheddar cheese (slices or shredded)
- preheat oven to 375 degrees
- prepare tuna fish the way you like
- in our house that tuna fish and either mayo or miracle whip (about 1/8 cup per can?
- mix it all up and voila, tuna fish
- lay crackers out on your cooking tray, either a baking sheet or toaster oven tray (depends on how many you want to make)
- scoop about 1/2 tablespoon of tuna onto each cracker (I like to use this small cookie scoop for the job)
- cover each cracker/tuna combo with cheese, either shredded or with small piece of a cheese slice
- bake at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes, then broil for 1-2 minutes until the cheese is fully melted, but the cracker isn’t burning.
pro-tip: don’t eat them straight from the oven, you will surely burn the roof of your mouth with the melted cheese…trust me!
you can easily make the tuna ahead of time and then just assemble these crackers and bake “to order”. I keep tuna fish in the fridge for up to five days.
if there are leftovers, you can store them in tupperware and eat them the next day…fair warning – they cracker will be soggy, but I have a 4 year old who says they are just as good cold the next day…but i’ll leave it up to you.
Want to make these now? Are you missing some ingredients? Amazon Now can get them to you in a few hours, Instacart can get them to you today. Or add them to your Peapod grocery list and don’t be stuck without them again!