With an easy marinade and perfect seasoning, this seared ahi tuna recipe is a quick and healthy way to serve your family a chef-inspired meal, with hardly any work! We love serving it over rice, greens, or eating it as a burger. Here’s how to cook ahi tuna, and everything else you need to know:
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What is the best tuna to use for searing?
This recipe requires one main ingredient, and the quality of that ingredient makes all the difference. Here’s what to opt for delicious seared ahi, every time:
- Ahi tuna steaks, also known as yellowfin tuna steaks.
- Sushi grade. As you know, we’ll only sear the outside, which leaves the inside raw–because of this we only eat sushi-grade ahi.
- Flash-frozen is fresher than unfrozen fish. This applies to most fish varieties; frozen fish is typically frozen on fishing boats immediately after being caught, while ‘fresh’ fish has been defrosted.
Should I Use a Tuna Steak Marinade?
The only marinade I use when making seared tuna is a touch of soy sauce, which helps the tuna steak seasoning to stick–these filets are so flavorful, they don’t need much! And the soy sauce only needs to be sprinkled on for a few minutes to work its magic.
If you want to infuse even more flavor into your ahi tuna recipe, here are some ideas:
What’s the Best Tuna Steak Seasoning?
We absolutely LOVE the combination of sesame seeds, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
That said, there are dozens of ways to season this ahi tuna recipe. Feel free to skip the sesame seeds (although your tune steaks will miss the added crunch!) and let the spices do the work. Think cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin, garlic powder. You can also take a note from my incredible salmon seasoning.
How to Sear Ahi Tuna
Making seared tuna is incredibly easy. The only trick is getting the right kind of pan and oil, and getting them HOT before adding your filets. Here’s what you should know.
- What oil do you use to sear tuna? Use an oil with a high smoke point and mild flavor. My go-to is avocado oil, but grapeseed oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil with also work.
- What pan is best for searing? I love a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for this. You want a heavy bottom pan with an even cooking surface and no hot spots.
- The heat of your pan? You want your pan as HOT as possible. This will allow you to very quickly sear the ahi tuna steaks without cooking the inside.
What to Serve With Seared Tuna
We absolutely love serving this ahi tuna recipe over a bed of freshly sliced greens like cucumbers and radishes with sliced avocado on top. Green onions are another must! You can also:
- Serve your seared tuna as a burger between 2 grilled buns.
- Make an ahi tuna salad with fresh greens and veggies.
- With rice, quinoa, or your favorite grain.
- Make your own sushi or sushi bowl.
How to store, reheat + leftover tips
Although you have to eat them quickly after making them, this seared tuna recipe makes great leftovers for the next day. Here are some tips:
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Reheat: We like these leftovers served cold.
- Leftovers: Be sure to eat your leftovers within 1 day of making.
- Freezing? I don’t recommend freezing this tuna steak recipe, as the texture will be off when defrosted.
Is it safe to eat raw ahi tuna?
Since seared tuna is still technically raw in the middle, I know this can be a bit scary. But, if you purchase sushi grade tuna, then yup! It’s totally safe to eat seared or grilled tuna steak!
More Fish Recipes You’ll Love
Seared Ahi TunaPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds I use a combo of white and black
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 12-16 ounces ahi tuna sushi grade
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons avocado or vegetable oil
- In a small bowl, combine the sesame seeds, garlic powder, kosher salt, and pepper.
- With paper towels, pat ahi dry, and coat all sides with soy sauce. Sprinkle with sesame mix, and press to adhere.
- Heat your pan on high. Once it's super hot, add the oil, and allow it to start smoking slightly. You can test that your pan is ready by adding a drop of water to your pan, it should sizzle.
- Grab tongs and a splash guard, add your ahi, and press it down with the back of a spatula to ensure the entire surface sears (ahi tends to curl at high heat). Place the splash guard on top, and continue to sear until it lifts easily and is golden, should be between 45 seconds – 1 minute. Repeat on the second side.
- Use tongs to hold the ahi upright, and sear along the edges as well, rotating to get all the edges.
- Place on a cutting board and allow your ahi to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!