Pan Bagnat (French Tuna Sandwich)

Instead of a baguette, you can also make this sandwich with one 8-inch round crusty loaf.

If you want to make the sandwiches a day in advance, store them in the refrigerator overnight before slicing and bring them to room temperature before eating. For extra fun, wrap each sandwich in parchment and tie with string.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Pressing time: 20 minutes


  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, sliced
  • 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 2 (5-ounce) cans oil-packed tuna fish
  • 1/4 cup pitted Nicoise or Kalamata  olives
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 10-inch baguettes, or 1 full-sized baguette, cut in half (see Recipe Note)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 12 large basil leaves


1 Soak the onions: Place the onion slices in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let them soak for at least 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes at room temperature, while you prepare the sandwiches.

Pain bagnat recipe soak the onions

2 Make the sandwich filling: In a bowl, combine the tuna, its oil, anchovies, olives and 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar. Stir gently to keep from mashing the tuna chunks.

Pan Bagna recipe make the sandwich filling

3 Prepare the bread: Slice the baguettes along their length to separate the top from the bottom. Remove some of the soft crumb inside the top and bottom of the bread to make room for the filling.

Rub the insides with the garlic clove. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Nicoise tuna sandwich prepare the bread

4 Fill the sandwiches: Distribute the tuna mixture evenly in the bottoms of the baguettes. Top with the red onion, eggs slices, tomatoes and basil. Drizzle with more olive oil, and sprinkle on salt and pepper.

Top the sandwiches with the tops of the baguettes, and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap.

Nicoise tuna fish sandwich recipes fill the sandwiches French tuna fish sandwich recipe wrap the sandwiches

5 Press the sandwiches: Place the wrapped sandwiches side-by-side on the counter and set a cutting board on top. Place a heavy pot or skillet on top, and place a few canned goods inside to weight it down even more.

Press the sandwiches for 10 minutes, turn them over, and continue to press for another 10 minutes on the other side.

French pressed sandwich recipe with tuna press the sandwiches

6 Slice and store the sandwiches: With the sandwiches still wrapped in plastic, use a serrated knife to cut them into individual servings.

The sandwiches are ready to eat now, or they can be packed into a picnic basket or lunch box and eaten within about two hours from now. The sandwiches taste best at room temperature.

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  • Monika @

    looks like one hell of a divine sandwich, thanks a lot for sharing the recipe!

  • Linda Ramirez

    I’ve eaten this sandwich many times in France. This isn’t exactly the same, but as far as I’m concerned it’s close enough. Delicious! Thank you so much for a recipe I’ve always regretted not getting.