The Absolute Best Kind Of Tuna For A Tuna Melt

Tuna fish sandwiches are almost as American as apple pie. Americans loved their canned tuna, with over 1 billion pounds consumed each year (per National Fisheries Institute), along with the pouched kind. When you head to the grocery store, you're most likely to see white or light canned tuna packed in water: White tuna is strictly albacore while white light can be a combination of yellowtail, skipjack, and bigeye. Canned tuna also comes in smaller chunks or one solid piece. Chunk-style is already flaked into smaller pieces and solid allows you to make the pieces as small or large as you like (per Good Housekeeping). Either style of tuna works well to make a tuna sandwich or tuna melt.

There are several ways to amp up your run-of-the-mill tuna melt. You can add condiments like Sriracha to give your sandwich some spicy tuna sushi vibes or you can add mix-ins like celery, or pickles for a crunchy texture. But one of the most transformational ways to upgrade your sandwich is by changing the type of tuna you use.

Oil packed tuna makes all the difference

According to Ina Garten, the best kind of tuna to use for a sandwich is tuna packed in oil. Garten first professed her love of imported tuna while she was making her ultimate tuna melts on her show. The tuna she uses is imported from Spain and packed in oil — and Garten isn't the only one singing the praises of tuna packed in oil. When Epicurious published its guide on how to make the cheesiest, crispiest tuna melt, using olive oil-packed tuna was first on the list.

Tuna packed in oil is definitely richer and more flavorful than tuna packed in water. The oil helps lock in the tuna's moisture, giving it an all-around more luxurious texture and flavor. But because tuna is packed in olive oil, it has more calories than tuna in water. Most oil-packed tuna is made with albacore tuna (per Fine Cooking), which is more expensive than store-bought cans of tuna in water due to the quality of tuna and the oil.

Also, when purchasing oil-packed tuna, Good Housekeeping advises to make sure it doesn't contain any other ingredients, like soybean or vegetable oil.