There may not be one single best way to make a tuna melt, but there is definitely a wrong way. To help you avoid disaster, here are the keys to tuna melt perfection.

When a tuna melt is good, it is very good. There’s a reason the grilled cheese-on-steroids is a diner classic.

But when the sandwich is bad, it’s horrid.

If you want to get it right, follow these steps for tuna melt perfection:

Let’s start with the main attraction. If you buy the good stuff, there can never be too much of it. Sustainably caught, oil-packed tuna will dispel any notion that canned fish is unappetizing.

While you will sacrifice on flavor, garden variety water-packed canned tuna is just fine. (It’s also healthier and more affordable.)

First of all, drain your tuna. The only thing worse than mushy bread is mushy bread that tastes fishy.

Place a sieve over a small bowl and gently press the tuna with a fork or spoon to release the juices, then blend with your preferred add-ons.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, your grandma’s go-to slapdash ingredients were likely salt, pepper, a dollop of mayo and some sweet pickle relish. But if you’ve got Old Bay seasoning, here’s a great opportunity to use it. Fresh or dried tarragon also works wonders with tuna, and minced celery always adds nice crunch. Take it to the next level with our Grown-Up Tuna Salad recipe.

The tang of sourdough is an excellent pairing with a tuna salad, but any slice of bread will do if it’s browned in a buttered saucepan. (Though it will save time, avoid using the microwave.)

Gruyere is great for an elevated melt, but you can’t go wrong with a blend of jack and cheddar if you’re keeping things classic. Want to amp up the heat? This spicy chipotle version is straight fire.

As for the method, the cooking tips outlined in our 7 Rules for Making Amazing Grilled Cheese Sandwiches apply equally to tuna melts.

Generally, the remix isn’t as good as the original but Tuna Melt Potato Skins may be the exception to that rule. Take it back to the old school with a Tuna Noodle Casserole.

Whatever route you choose to take, just remember, and we can’t emphasize this enough: DO. NOT. USE. THE. MICROWAVE!