Seared ahi tuna is a quick and nutrition dinner recipe! Here’s how to sear tuna. serve with leftover veggies and rice.

Seared ahi tuna

Here’s a secret: there’s nothing quite like seared tuna as an easy dinner idea! Seared ahi tuna is tender, meaty, and it cooks in less than 5 minutes. Put it together with leftover veggies or rice and you’ve got one seriously dinner. We’ve been enjoying this for years, so we felt like it was high time to share this 3 ingredient quick dinner trick! Here’s how to whip up seared tuna.

How to sear tuna

If you’ve never had ahi tuna, it’s time to start. Seared ahi tuna tastes meaty, not fishy: in fact, it tastes more like a piece of steak than fish! It’s a great place to start if you’re looking to convince someone ambivalent about seafood. The flavor is salty savory on the outside and buttery tender on the inside. It’s also loaded with protein, omega 3’s and other vitamins (source). Here’s how to sear tun:

  • Allow it to come to room temperature first! This step is important: otherwise the inside of the fish will still be cold when the exterior is cooked! Allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes prior to cooking.
  • Season it liberally. Coat it with salt and pepper, as shown in the photo below. We use about ¾ teaspoon for every 8 ounces.
  • Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, and use a food thermometer to assess temperature (130°F). Add the steak and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, until lightly browned on the outside but still rare the inside. The tuna will continue to cook while sitting. For a medium-rare tuna steak, the internal temperature should be 130°F when measured with a food thermometer at the thickest point.
  • Rest for 2 minutes. This helps it to set and become easier to cut.
How to sear tuna

What tuna to buy for seared ahi tuna?

When shopping for ahi tuna, here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Look at your local fish counter for a tuna steak that has a firm texture and a bright red color.
  • Fish that’s sushi-grade or sashimi grade is highest quality if you can find and afford it. There are no specific regulations around the label sushi-grade, but it means it’s high quality fish that is safe to be eaten raw. (Read more here.)
  • You can also use frozen. Alex and I were able to find frozen sashimi grade ahi tuna at our local grocery store. It was sold in a little box and intended for making sushi or sashimi at home. but it is perfect for making seared ahi tuna! If you buy frozen, just pull it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator the day of serving.

Another great way to use sashimi grade ahi tuna? Poke bowls! Head over for more about ahi poke and how you can serve it.

Tuna Steak

How to serve seared tuna

Searing tuna is truly a 5 minute recipe! However, to make it a quick dinner it’s nice to have a few sides on hand for serving it. For our seared ahi tuna dinner, Alex and I used up some of the components we had on-hand. We had just made Cauliflower Tacos, so we realized that many of those components could be reworked to make a seared tuna bowl. Turns out Yum Yum sauce is perfect as a seared ahi tuna sauce too! Here’s how to accessorize your seared tuna:

Of course, you could serve your seared tuna with all sorts of things, like over a greens as a salad or with any of our sauces as a drizzle. Let us know how you plan to serve it!

seared ahi tuna recipe

More tuna recipes

Love ahi tuna? Here are a few more great tuna recipes:

This seared ahi tuna recipe is…

Pescatarian and gluten-free.

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Seared tuna

Seared Ahi Tuna

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x


Seared tuna is a super quick, nutritious and filling quick dinner idea! Serve with leftover veggies and rice.




  1. Allow the tuna steak to come to room temperature by letting it stand for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Pat the tuna dry. Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper on both sides.
  3. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the steak and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, until lightly browned on the outside but still rare on the inside. The tuna will continue cooking while sitting. For a medium-rare tuna steak, the internal temperature should be 130°F when measured with a food thermometer at the thickest point.
  4. Cool for 2 minutes. Then slice the tuna against the grain into ½-inch slices and serve immediately.


*Frozen is okay, just thaw it in the refrigerator before serving.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian Inspired

Keywords: Seared tuna, How to sear tuna, Seared ahi tuna, Seared ahi tuna sauce

Looking for more quick & easy dinner ideas?

We love creating quick and easy dinner ideas like this seared tuna recipe! Here are a few of our other favorite easy dinner ideas (with one or two 5 minute recipes):

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. Just curious if you can share which local store you bought the tuna from? I live in the area too and am now craving ahi tuna after those gorgeous pictures!

  2. This Seared Ahi Tuna recipe caught my eye right away – I’m a big fan of seafood and always looking for new ways to incorporate it into my meals. I’ve often associated ahi tuna with restaurant menus, but I’ve never actually tried making it at home.

    What intrigues me most about this recipe is its simplicity. Just a few ingredients are needed, yet it promises a bold and satisfying flavor. This could be an excellent way to introduce someone to seafood, as the recipe emphasizes that the taste is more meaty than fishy – a point that might ease the apprehension of seafood newcomers.

    The suggestion to allow the fish to come to room temperature before cooking is one that I wouldn’t have thought of, but it makes perfect sense. It’s a tip I’ll certainly remember, not just for ahi tuna, but other types of fish as well.

    As a lover of all things spicy and flavorful, I can’t ignore the mention of Yum Yum sauce as a possible addition. That combination of creamy and tangy flavors would, I imagine, pair wonderfully with the savory, buttery taste of the ahi tuna.

    The serving suggestions are very practical, too. It’s clear that this seared ahi tuna is versatile, lending itself to a range of side dishes. I can envision myself pairing it with a light salad in the warmer months or some hearty roasted vegetables in the cooler months.

    The thought of repurposing components from other meals (like the cauliflower tacos) to accompany the tuna is an eco-friendly concept that aligns with my commitment to reducing food waste. It just goes to show how adaptable this recipe can be.

    Reading this recipe has certainly sparked my culinary curiosity! Seared ahi tuna will definitely be making an appearance on my dinner table in the near future. Thanks for this inspiration!