Seared Ahi Tuna


5 from 6 votes
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Turn to these seared ahi tuna steaks when you want to bring the fine dining experience into your own kitchen. It’s an incredibly impressive yet easy recipe that’s ready in just 6 minutes!

Love elegant seafood recipes? Try my grilled swordfish, Chilean sea bass, baked sockeye salmon, and rainbow trout next.

ahi tuna with dipping sauce.

My foolproof seared ahi tuna recipe is for seafood fanatics. Just try to resist the crispy edges and juicy pink middles – I dare you! This recipe came together accidentally when I bought too much tuna to make my tuna carpaccio, so searing the excess was a no-brainer!

I sesame-crust the tuna and quickly sear it in a sizzling hot skillet. Then, I slice it thin and serve it with a simple soy dipping sauce. It’s quick, uses a handful of pantry staples, and tastes a million bucks!

What is ahi tuna?

Ahi tuna steaks are cut from either yellowfin tuna or bigeye tuna. They’re super tender and taste closer to a traditional beef steak than a piece of fish. It’s milder tasting and better for you than bluefin tuna.

Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to sear ahi tuna
  4. Arman’s recipe tips
  5. Storage instructions
  6. Frequently asked questions
  7. More delicious tuna recipes
  8. 6-Minute Seared Ahi Tuna (Recipe Card)

Why I love this recipe

  • Easy to find. Contrary to popular belief, ahi tuna is now available at many mainstream grocery stores and almost every fishmonger.
  • No fishy flavor. Their incredible meaty flavor makes these tuna steaks taste closer to a classic ribeye steak than a piece of fish. It’s one of the reasons why my family LOVE this dish.
  • Ready to eat in 6 minutes. From seasoning to searing to slicing, these steaks are on the table in no time.

★★★★★ REVIEW 

“Love, love, love your seared ahi tuna recipe. I was skeptical about the cooking time but you were right- I’ve never had a fancy appetizer done so quickly”Suzanne

Ingredients needed

  • Ahi tuna steaks. I recommend buying your tuna from a fishmonger or a Japanese grocery store. The latter labels this cut of fish as sushi-grade tuna.
  • Sesame seeds. I like coating the tuna with a blend of black and white sesame seeds. They help the steaks look that much more appetizing and add a nice texture, too.
  • Dry spices. Dried chili flakes, salt, and pepper are used to season the steaks.
  • Oil. For searing.

How to sear ahi tuna

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1- Season the tuna: Pat the tuna steaks dry and season them with the dry spices. Next, press the sesame seeds into the flesh.

pat dried and seasoned tuna steaks.

Step 2- Sear: Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet until very hot. Sear the steaks for 90 seconds per side.

seared ahi tuna in pan.

Step 3- Slice and serve: Transfer to a cutting board and let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly. Serve and enjoy!

ahi tuna steak.

Arman’s recipe tips

  • Room temperature steaks. You want to give the tuna steaks time to come down to room temperature before searing. You can do this by letting them rest on the kitchen counter for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Use frozen tuna. Let’s be real. Frozen ahi tuna fillets are so much cheaper than the fresh kind. I tested this recipe both ways and found very little difference in both flavor and texture (I used Trader Joe’s frozen ahi tuna steaks). Just remember to thaw the fish first.
  • Sear in a HOT pan. You’ll know the pan is hot enough for searing when you see small wisps of smoke coming up from the oil.
  • Don’t overcook. Searing for 1 minute to 90 seconds per side is plenty of time! This yields crispy on the outside and pink on the inside steaks every time.
  • Add a marinade. If I want to change up the flavor for a family dinner, I sometimes douse the steaks in a fun Asian sauce, like katsu sauce or eel sauce. A little goes a long way and the pairing is fantastic.

Storage instructions

To store: If you end up with leftover slices, store them in a shallow airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 day. 

To reheat: You can reheat the leftovers quickly in a skillet on the stove or enjoy them cold.

tuna steak sliced.

Frequently asked questions

Is raw ahi tuna safe to eat?

There is always a risk when eating raw fish. However, you reduce your risk when you make this recipe with sashimi or sushi-grade ahi tuna. This essentially means that a fishmonger has deemed the fish safe to eat raw. 

Can I fully cook the tuna?

You can, but you’d be better off using a cheaper cut of tuna, like yellowfin tuna steaks. Ahi tuna is designed to be enjoyed rare.

More delicious tuna recipes

ahi tuna recipe.

6-Minute Seared Ahi Tuna

5 from 6 votes
Turn to these seared ahi tuna steaks when you want to bring the fine dining experience into your own kitchen. It’s an incredibly impressive, yet easy recipe that’s ready in just 6 minutes!
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 3 minutes
Cook: 3 minutes
Total: 6 minutes


  • 10 1/2 ounces ahi tuna steak approx. 2 steaks
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons oil


  • Pat dry the tuna steaks with a paper towel on all sides.
  • Combine the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and sprinkle all sides of the tuna with it. Cover the steaks with sesame seeds and press them into the flesh.
    pat dried and seasoned ahi tuna steaks.
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the oil and heat it up. Place the tuna steaks and sear them for 90 seconds per side, or until the sesame seeds start browning.
    seared ahi tuna in pan.
  • Remove the tuna steaks from the heat, place them on a cutting board, and slice them thinly.
  • Serve with dark soy sauce and a sprinkling of scallions.


TO STORE. If you end up with leftover slices, store them in a shallow airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 day. 
TO REHEAT.  You can reheat the leftovers quickly in a skillet on the stove or enjoy them cold.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 161kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 19gFat: 9gSodium: 329mgPotassium: 229mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 1775IUVitamin C: 0.003mgCalcium: 67mgIron: 2mgNET CARBS: 1g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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