This Pan Seared Ahi Tuna is one of those dishes that’s impressive but is really simple to make! Pan Seared Ahi Tuna only takes 6 minutes to cook to medium-rare perfection. This dish is bursting with delicious umami flavor from the soy sauce and sesame honey marinade toast! And since marinating is optional, you can whip this tuna steak recipe up at a moment’s notice.
As you may have guessed, this recipe only takes about six minutes, and it’s absolutely mouthwateringly delicious. And healthy. And EASY! What more could you want?
WHAT IS AHI TUNA?
Ahi tuna is type of tuna that is divided into two different species: yellowfin and bigeye. And it’s often cheaper than bluefin tuna, with a very similar flavor profile and texture. You can usually find it frozen at Trader Joe’s or your local grocery store for very inexpensive.
While we love salmon, it can be a bit pricey. And tuna, like salmon, is healthy and has an array of serious health benefits(including being high in Omega-3s and vitamin B12).
A seared tuna steak is a bit different than the canned tuna everyone is used to. For one thing: it comes in a whole, beautiful raw steak that holds its form much easier than other kinds of fish, which may tend to flake apart.
For another thing: it is usually cooked medium-rare: seared on the outside, red on the inside.
It actually looks very similar to a beef steak in this regard. IT. IS. AMAZING.
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 2 minutes on each side for medium rare (1.5 minutes on each side for rare; 3 on each side for medium). (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 and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes. 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 tuna steaks, you may need less searing time. If you are using tuna steaks that are less than 1 inch, we recommend only 1 minute per side, depending on your preference for doneness. 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 used, you can 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, we suggest omitting the kosher salt and/or using low-sodium soy sauce.
The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.