This easy tuna panini recipe is loaded with grilled onion and fire-roasted hatch chiles. The melty cheese and spice blend in with the tuna to make this the best tuna melt sandwich ever! Gluten Free Panini is so easy to make!

A tuna panini cut in half on a plate. The halves are stacked on top of each other.

(This post was sponsored by Wild Selections Seafood. All opinions are my own.

Do you love grilled cheese sandwiches? My whole family has a weak spot for melty cheese! What about a tuna melt? Well, I combined all of your favorite things into one delicious tuna panini! What better way to celebrate Earth Day than a sustainable, delicious tuna panini sandwich?

If you love panini sandwiches, you will love this Italian Panini recipe. Whether you need a healthy gluten free lunch or a light dinner, this easy panini recipe has you covered! If you love tuna as much as we do, try this delicious Curried Rainbow Chard Tuna Salad recipe.

What kind of tuna is best in a tuna melt?

I always opt for sustainable tuna brands.  When Wild Selections® asked me to share their tuna fish with my readers, I was excited. Earth Day is so important for raising awareness of our environment.

I am the one you see at the grocery store with the Safe Watch list out when I am at the seafood counter. Wild Selections® seafood is all certified sustainable. This means that all Wild Selections® seafood uses only Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sustainable seafood.

Two cans of Wild Selections tuna.

Sustainable Tuna

Wild Selections® even donates 13 cents from every can sold to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to benefit their sustainable fisheries programs and marine conservation efforts.

The blue MSC eco-label tells you the fish in your can comes from well-managed fisheries and healthy fish stocks.  Where the fish is caught is much more critical than how it was caught (limited impact if the fish stock is overfished). This tuna is also Non-GMO Project Verified.

Top view of a delicious tuna melt panini on a plate.

Let’s get back to the melty cheese! When the tuna is combined with melty cheese, grilled onion, and the spicy hatch chiles…something magical happens.

(Note: if you would like to see how to prepare fire-roasted hatch chiles, check out this easy video to show you how to fire-roast them!)

Pulling the grilled cheese sandwich apart, you can just see all of the melted cheese.

What kind of cheese is best for a tuna melt?

For this panini, you can use a lot of different kinds of cheese. For my tuna melt panini, I used a flavorful Emmental cheese. It is such a versatile Swiss cheese, and it was perfect to pair with tuna.

You can also use mozzarella, American, light cheddar, and muenster cheeses.

Panini is usually made with non-sandwich bread like sourdough, ciabatta, and focaccia. Unfortunately, we are gluten free, and those breads are not often available in gluten free versions. I used gluten free bread that our family likes.

Are you ready to cook? These tuna melt panini sandwiches are so easy to make!

Step-By-Step Photos and Directions:

Tuna added to grilled cheese on panini machine.

Add bread to a panini press grill, and add a layer of cheese. Add tuna salad on top. (If you don’t have a panini grill, don’t worry! You can make this panini recipe in a frying pan like a regular grilled cheese sandwich.)

  • Just heat a frying pan and put your bread on it, butter side down, so that the butter melts into the bread.
  • Add your cheese, tuna salad, onion, and chiles.
  • Put a piece of buttered bread on top with the butter side facing up.
  • Cook until the underside is lightly brown.
  • Flip it over to cook the other side.)
  • It is ready when your cheese is all melted, and your bread is golden on both sides.
Add grilled onion and hatch chiles to the tuna melt on the panini maker.

Add fire-roasted hatch chiles and grilled onion on top of the tuna salad.

Grilled cheese tuna melt sandwich with grilled onion and hatch chiles stacked on a plate.

Do you have to use hatch chiles?

If you don’t like spice, feel free to omit the hatch chiles. They are pretty spicy, and I totally understand if spice isn’t your thing!

What is the difference between a sandwich and a panini?

A sandwich is a general term for bread and fillings (i.e., peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese, ham and cheese, etc.) A panini is a special type of sandwich that is made by cooking the sandwich in a hot panini press. This crisps the bread and melts the cheese in the sandwich.

More Delicious Hatch Chile Recipes to Try:

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. This will help others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

A tuna panini cut in half. The halves are stacked on a white plate.

Tuna Melt Panini with Grilled Onion and Hatch Chiles

Sandi Gaertner
Easy grilled cheese tuna melt panini full of sweet grilled onion and spicy hatch chiles.
5 from 3 votes
an egg free allergen icon
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
vegetarian icon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Meal Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 2 sandwiches
Calories 355 kcal


  • 4 slices bread
  • 1 can tuna in water
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons onion slices
  • 4 slices Emmental cheese
  • hatch chiles to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


  • Heat a panini grill, or a small frying pan over medium heat.
  • Next, open tuna can and drain the water into the sink.
  • Scoop the tuna into a bowl and add mayonaise, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  • In a small pan, add olive oil. Add onion and saute until golden.
  • Prepare your hatch chiles. You can also use canned green chiles in the store if you prefer.
  • Butter one side of each slice of bread. Put two slices butter side down on the pan.
  • Add a slice of cheese to each slice of bread.
  • Next, add a layer of tuna fish.
  • Top the tuna with grilled onion and chiles.
  • Add a slice of cheese on top. Cover with the top piece of bread. Make sure the butter side of this slice faces upward.
  • Check the bottom slice of bread that is touching the heat. 
  • When this slice looks golden, flip the sandwich with a spatula to cook the other side.
  • This is ready when the cheese is all melted.


Hatch green chiles are optional if you don’t like spice.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1gCalories: 355kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 30gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 764mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3g
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating