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Six Minute Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks

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Six Minute Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks


What are Ahi Tuna Steaks?

Ahi tuna, also known as yellowfin tuna, is a lean, firm fish that is perfect for quick searing. Its mild flavor and meaty texture make it a favorite in many cuisines, particularly in Asian and Hawaiian dishes.

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The Appeal of Seared Ahi Tuna

Seared Ahi Tuna is prized for its deliciously crisp exterior and tender, rare interior. It’s a dish that showcases the natural flavor of the fish while adding a delightful contrast in textures.

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Why Six Minutes is the Perfect Cooking Time

Six minutes is all it takes to achieve the perfect sear on Ahi Tuna steaks. This short cooking time ensures the inside remains rare, preserving the delicate flavor and tender texture of the tuna.

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Preparing for the Recipe

Selecting Quality Ahi Tuna Steaks

Choose fresh, high-quality Ahi Tuna steaks that are firm and have a deep red color. If fresh tuna is not available, high-quality frozen tuna can be used as an alternative. Thaw thoroughly before cooking.

Prepping the Tuna Steaks

Pat the tuna steaks dry with paper towels to ensure a good sear. Drying the steaks helps achieve a nice crust when seared.

Choosing the Right Seasonings

The combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, and fresh ginger adds a deliciously savory and aromatic flavor to the tuna. Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Step-by-Step Six Minute Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks Recipe

Step 1: Marinating the Tuna Steaks

  1. In a shallow dish, mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, grated ginger, and minced garlic.
  2. Place the tuna steaks in the marinade, turning to coat evenly.
  3. Let the tuna marinate for at least 15 minutes at room temperature.

Step 2: Heating the Skillet

  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or cast-iron pan over high heat until it’s smoking hot.
  2. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and swirl to coat.

Step 3: Searing the Tuna Steaks

  1. Remove the tuna steaks from the marinade, letting excess drip off.
  2. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the steaks in the hot skillet and sear for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side for rare, or 2-3 minutes for medium-rare. Avoid overcooking to maintain the tuna’s tender texture.

Step 4: Serving

  1. Transfer the seared tuna steaks to a cutting board and let rest for a couple of minutes.
  2. Slice the tuna steaks into thin slices.
  3. Serve immediately with lemon wedges, fresh herbs, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds if desired.

Cooking Tips for Perfect Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks

Ensuring the Right Temperature

The skillet must be very hot to achieve a good sear. This high heat creates a delicious crust while keeping the inside rare.

Achieving the Perfect Sear

Pat the tuna steaks dry and don’t move them while searing. This helps form a beautiful, caramelized crust.

Balancing Flavors

Taste the marinade and adjust the seasoning before adding the tuna. The marinade should be flavorful but not overpower the delicate taste of the fish.

Serving Suggestions

Best Side Dishes

Pair seared Ahi Tuna steaks with:

  • Steamed or stir-fried vegetables
  • Rice or quinoa
  • A light salad with a citrus dressing

Ideal Wine Pairings

A crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a light red like Pinot Noir complements the flavors of this dish beautifully.

Presentation Tips

Serve the tuna sliced on a platter, garnished with fresh herbs and lemon wedges for a simple yet elegant presentation.

Variations of Seared Ahi Tuna

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna

Press sesame seeds onto the tuna steaks before searing for a crunchy, nutty crust.

Spicy Seared Ahi Tuna

Add a touch of chili flakes or Sriracha to the marinade for a spicy kick.

Asian-inspired Ahi Tuna

Serve the seared tuna with a side of pickled ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi for a sushi-inspired dish.

Health Benefits of Ahi Tuna

Nutritional Profile

Ahi tuna is rich in protein and low in fat, making it a healthy choice. It also provides essential nutrients like vitamin D, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Health Benefits of Tuna

Tuna is known for its heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health.

Incorporating into a Balanced Diet

Seared Ahi Tuna steaks can be part of a balanced diet when paired with plenty of vegetables and whole grains.

Storing and Reheating Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks

Proper Storage Techniques

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Reheating Tips

Seared tuna is best enjoyed fresh, but you can gently reheat it in a hot skillet for a few seconds on each side.

Freezing for Later

Freezing seared tuna is not recommended as it can affect the texture of the fish.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Overcooking the Tuna

Avoid overcooking to keep the tuna tender and moist. A quick sear on each side is all that’s needed.

Incorrect Seasoning

Ensure the marinade and seasoning enhance but don’t overpower the natural flavor of the tuna.

Not Preheating the Skillet

A hot skillet is essential for achieving the perfect sear. Preheat until it’s smoking hot before adding the tuna.

Frequently Asked Questions About Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks

Can I Use Frozen Tuna Steaks?

Yes, but ensure they are fully thawed and patted dry before searing.

How Do I Make the Dish Less Spicy?

Simply omit any spicy ingredients like chili flakes or Sriracha from the marinade.

Can I Serve Ahi Tuna Cold?

Yes, seared Ahi Tuna can be served cold as part of a salad or sushi-style dish.

Is This Dish Gluten-Free?

Ensure your soy sauce is gluten-free, or substitute with tamari to make the dish gluten-free.

How Do I Store Leftovers?

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat gently if needed.


Six Minute Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks are a quick and delicious dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With its rich flavor and tender texture, this recipe is sure to impress. Whether you’re preparing it for a special dinner or a weeknight meal, seared Ahi Tuna brings a touch of elegance to your table.

Yield: 2

Six Minute Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks

Six Minute Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks

Ahi tuna, also known as yellowfin tuna, is a lean, firm fish that is perfect for quick searing. Its mild flavor and meaty texture make it a favorite in many cuisines, particularly in Asian and Hawaiian dishes.

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 5 minutes


  • 2 ahi tuna (yellowfin tuna) steaks (about 4 oz. each, 1" thick – see notes for thinner or thicker)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil see notes
  • 1 tablespoon honey see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or olive oil
  • green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and lime wedges for serving (optional)


  • Pat the ahi tuna steaks dry with a paper towel. Place on a plate or inside a plastic bag.

  • Mix the soy sauce (2 tablespoons), toasted sesame oil (1 tablespoon), honey (1 tablespoon) kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon- OMIT if marinating for more than a couple hours, see notes), pepper (1/4 teaspoon), and cayenne pepper (1/4 teaspoon) until honey is fully dissolved. Pour over the ahi tuna steaks and turn over to coat completely. Optional: allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes, or up to overnight in the refrigerator. Also optional: Reserve a spoonful or two of the marinade before coating the fish for drizzling on top after you've cooked it.

  • Heat a medium skillet (preferably non-stick or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet) on medium-high to high until very hot ( or medium medium-high for nonstick). I recommend giving cast iron 3-5 minutes to get hot and nonstick about 1 minute, depending on how thick it is.

  • Add the canola oil (1 tablespoon) to the hot pan. Sear the tuna for 1 – 1½ minutes on each side for medium rare ( 2 -2½ minutes for medium-well to well, 30 seconds for very rare. See notes – this will vary based on thickness of the tuna steaks)(Note: different burners get hotter depending on your stove. Use your best judgement whether you use medium, medium-high, or high heat, as the marinade may burn if too high heat is used)

  • Remove to a cutting board. Slice into 1/2 inch slices and serve garnished with green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, if desired.


  • For thinner or thicker tuna steaks, you may need less or more searing time. If you are using tuna steaks that are less than 1 inch, I recommend no more than 1 minute per side, depending on your preference for doneness. For thicker steaks, you may need to do 2 minutes per side. You may also need less searing time depending on the temperature of your fish- if it’s been sitting out of the fridge for a while, it will take less time to cook.
  • This recipe has been updated from its original. It had a simpler marinade of 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon canola oil, salt, and pepper before. If you’re short on ingredients (like toasted sesame oil and honey) try this simpler version!
  • For a gluten-free version, be sure to use gluten-free soy sauce. Or, for a paleo/whole30 compliant option, use liquid aminos instead.
  • Depending on how hot your burners are, you may have to experiment with how long to sear each side. Depending on the stove I’m using, I sometimes only cook it for one minute on each side for medium-rare!
  • You can also grill this over hot coals or high heat on a gas grill for about 1 minute per side.
  • Marinating for a while can cause the fish to taste saltier, as it will have more time to absorb the flavor. If you’re planning on marinating for more than an hour or so, or if you are sensitive to salt or want a lower sodium version, I suggest omitting the kosher salt and/or using low-sodium soy sauce.
  • Carryover cooking will occur if you let your tuna rest for too long after cooking. Slicing it immediately will result in a more rare temperature, and letting it rest before slicing will cook it further. 
  • There is always a risk when eating raw or undercooked seafood. Tuna, along with salmon, are fish that are least likely to have parasites, which is one of the reasons why you often see them served undercooked. If you buy sushi grade ahi tuna, it will have been frozen at a temperature which kills any potential parasites, so I recommend going this route just to be safe. Please talk to a medical professional if you have concerns about this.

Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 331
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