Skip to content

Marinated Seared Ahi Tuna

Here’s the most amazing Marinated Seared Ahi Tuna you can make at home! It’s bursting with flavor, super easy to make, and fantastic as an appetizer or healthy dinner.

Marinated Seared Ahi Tuna with Spicy Mayo
Seared Ahi Tuna with Sriracha Mayo Sauce is even better when made fresh at home.

Marinated Seared Ahi Tuna

We’re so pumped about today’s recipe because it is one of our tried-and-true favorites for all the protein-packed, healthy, and flavorful meals .

It’s time to spotlight this tasty, fast, and easy marinated seared ahi tuna recipe. If you thought seared ahi tuna sounded like a tantalizing menu item (it is) that only restaurant chefs could make (it’s not)… you’re about to discover how simple it is for you to make in your own kitchen.

By the way, if any of your eaters prefer their fish fully cooked, feel free to mosey on over to this delicious lemon butter fish or this Asian steamed fish for them.

Otherwise, get ready to reel in your own better-than-restaurant seared ahi tuna…

seared ahi tuna sliced on cutting board
Our easy directions for this ahi tuna recipe will ensure a perfect sear every time.

How To Sear Ahi Tuna Perfectly

Nothing compares to a fresh, beautiful ahi tuna steak, marinated thoroughly and seared to perfection from your own kitchen. When doing it yourself, there’s no worries about being served over-cooked (and thus, tough) ahi tuna. Plus, you’ll ensure that every bite of your fresh ahi is well seasoned — nothing bland here.

  • Use a heavy, large aluminum or stainless steel skillet; forgo nonstick pans here. We’ve used our faithful All Clad stainless steel skillet for many, many years, and it continues to serve us well. It’s a heavy duty work horse in the kitchen and is meant to last a lifetime.
  • Get your cooking oil smoking hot (we mean hot) prior to laying down the tuna. It’s the sizzling hot oil that will give you a perfect sear.
  • Once the fish is on the pan, don’t keep moving it around. Sometimes we stir and sauté, and sometimes we just let it rest on the pan. This is a let-it-rest situation.
  • Don’t overcook the ahi. You’ll only need about 1 1/2 minutes per side, for ahi steaks that are between 1-2 inches thick. Remember, it will continue to cook a bit more while resting on the cutting board, so you’ll want to carefully manage the minutes your tuna sits on the pan.
Seared ahi tuna sliced on plate
Slice seared ahi tuna thinly across the grain

What to serve with seared ahi tuna

It’s easy to pair your perfectly seared tuna with healthy side dishes, for a well-rounded meal:

  • Try serving seared ahi tuna with Perfect Brown Rice in place of white rice, for whole-grain goodness and nutty flavor.
  • Asian Rice Salad combines a simple rice medley with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, topped with a tantalizing dressing.
  • Our Crunchy Asian Cabbage Ramen Salad is hands-down a favorite dish of all our friends and family. It’s crispy, delicious, and can be mostly prepared in advance.

Bonus: Wine Pairing

If you’re so inclined, enjoy your perfectly seared ahi with the perfect wine pairing. This Asian style ahi with sesame-soy flavors is crazy good with a quality Riesling.

A crisp, slightly sweet riesling is the prime wine pairing for your next backyard gathering, date night on the deck, or whatever excuse you can think of to make the combo happen.

marinated seared ahi tuna
Seared Ahi Tuna tastes amazing with spicy mayo sauce

Common Questions and Answers

Is it safe to eat seared ahi tuna?

Ahi tuna is almost always served raw in the middle, so it’s safest to use high quality, sushi-grade (or grade 1) ahi from a reputable seller. The fish market or counter should be able to answer any questions you have about the quality/source of their ahi tuna.

Can you cook ahi tuna until it’s fully cooked?

Technically, you can serve fully cooked ahi tuna, but it will taste completely different from seared ahi tuna. Tuna that has been cooked all the way through tends to be more like canned tuna; dry and flaky. Pan-seared is generally considered the best way to cook ahi tuna.

How do you know when ahi tuna is done cooking?

It’s important to ensure your ahi tuna is not overcooked, as overcooking creates an unpalatable texture that’s chewy and dry. For ahi tuna steaks that are at least 1 1/2 inches thick, we recommend searing on high heat for 1 1/2 minutes per side. For thinner tuna steaks, sear only 1 minute per side.

seared ahi Tuna, In action:

Marinated Seared Ahi Tuna

4.91 from 54 ratings
Here’s the most amazing Marinated Seared Ahi you can make at home! It’s bursting with flavor, super easy to make, and fantastic as an appetizer or healthy dinner.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 2 mins
Total Time: 12 mins
Servings: 6


  • 2 TB regular strength soy sauce, or gluten-free tamari sauce
  • 2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 TB Asian toasted sesame oil, found in the Asian aisle
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 ½ pounds fresh ahi tuna steaks, about 1 1/2-1 2/3 inches thick
  • 3 TB canola or vegetable oil, for searing
  • Optional: freshly chopped cilantro, green scallions, sesame seeds for garnish.
  • Optional: Sriracha mayo for drizzling, really good!


  • In a bowl, whisk together the first 7 ingredients to make a marinade. Towel dry tuna steaks and place in a glass or ceramic dish. Pour marinade over the fish, turning to coat well throughout. Cover tightly and chill several hours to overnight; turn fish over at least once in the middle of marinade time.
  • Heat 3 TB oil in a large heavy skillet – use aluminum or stainless steel; not nonstick, as it won't sear – until oil is smoking. Sear ahi steaks 1 1/2 minutes per side on high heat, taking care to flip carefully with a flat, steel spatula. (If your tuna is less than 1 1/2 inches thick, sear for only 1 minute per side.)
  • Transfer seared ahi to a large cutting board and let rest/cool 10 minutes. Use a very sharp (serrated works well) knife to slice thinly across the grain.
  • Serve chilled or at room temp. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro or green onions, if desired. Drizzle with Sriracha mayo if desired.


Seared ahi is best eaten on same day. However, leftovers can be tightly wrapped and chilled for up to 1 day.
For lower sodium version, use reduced sodium soy sauce
To keep dish gluten-free, double check that your soy sauce is labeled gluten-free. Our favorite gluten-free soy sauce is Tamari
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating 🙂 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.7g | Protein: 36.6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1.6g | Cholesterol: 63.5mg | Sodium: 922.4mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 3.8g
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Asian American
Diet: Gluten Free
Method: Stovetop

Did you make this?

Leave a comment below and tag @chewoutloud on Instagram

Add a comment

Recipe Rating


    • drinkoj
    • 5 stars

    Perfect perfect perfect. Talk about simple but delicious. For the sriracha mayo, use Kewpie mayo to balance with the marinade.

      • Amy Dong

      Thank you! 🙂

    • Karen
    • 5 stars

    I made this last night and it was delicious. I made the sriracha Mayo but added horseradish.

    I also made an Asian dip sauce
    • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (parsley)
    • 4 teaspoons sesame oil
    • 3 tablespoons lime iuice
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced

      • Amy Dong

      Thanks, Karen!

    • Laura
    • 5 stars

    Have made many times & am again tonight. It’s a keeper & one I’ve shared with friends. Delicious every time!

    • Kris
    • 5 stars

    We really loved this! I followed the recipe exact, and marinated it for about 3 hours. I seared it in avocado oil. Only problem I had was I was cooking on a gas stove and when I added the tuna to the oil in the pan, it flared up and caused it to flame up. After quickly throwing a lid over it to douse the flame, I carried on. Next time I think I will shut the flame off, add the fish, and turn it back on and be more prepared as it set off my fire alarm. I served it over Brown jasmine rice and a dressed asian kale slaw, sliced avocado, edamame, radish and cucumber and topped with siracha mayonaisse, sesame seeds and cilantro, like a budda bowl. My husband couldn’t stop with the compliments. Perfection! thanks for a great recipe, its a keeper!

      • Amy Dong

      So glad you loved this, Kris! Love the brown rice and Asian slaw 🙂

    • Donna johansson
    • 5 stars

    So awesome. I make this all the time. My whole family lives it including young grandkids. I do use low sodium and put everything bagel seasoning on sides. Yummy

      • Amy Dong

      Yay, so happy the family loves this!

    • MelodySings
    • 5 stars

    I forgot to say I saved some of the sauce and added toasted sesame seeds and sweet chile sauce to it, it turned out great.

    • MelodySings
    • 5 stars

    I changed some of the ingredients because of health and allergy issues but it turned out great, I marinated it for about 10 minutes while I was getting the other food cooking and that was the perfect amount of time.

    • Hillary L

    I was soooooo looking forward to this, but it was so salty I could t eat it. What did I do wrong?? I didn’t have kosher salt, I used regular, should I have halved it? I seared in Sesame oil. The first two burned immediately and stuck to my non-stick pan. Any advice for others so they don’t wind up with my fate??

      • Amy Dong

      Yes, the salt should have been halved if using regular salt. Here’s why kosher salt is different. Hope you can try again and love it!

    • Anthony A
    • 5 stars

    I’d say 4.5 stars to be more accurate. I marinated mine for 2 nights and even though it tasted really good I’d also say it’s missing something. However, the recipe does allow for the taste of the tuna to be on full display and indeed it was. I added some different sauces after trying and the best sauce was more soy. I had a boom boom (bang bang) sauce instead of the spicy Mayo which I’m sure is comparable. Wish I had some wasabi to add to my soy but I didn’t. Either way, I’d recommend this recipe and encourage you to be creative and find that missing link if you agree.

      • Amy Dong

      Thanks, Anthony! Love the boom sauce and yes to wasabi!

    • Shari
    • 5 stars

    My husband and I both absolutely loved this!

      • Amy Dong

      Yay, Shari!

    • Chrissy
    • 5 stars

    Very flavorful marinade. My whole family enjoyed it. Will make again.

    • Jill
    • 5 stars

    I scored a 10 for this today. We loved…loved…loved this. He was worried when I told him I was marinating the tuna but afterwards he said it’d be hard to top this and the Crunchy Asian Cabbage Ramen recipe…also from this site!

    • Laura
    • 5 stars

    Making this a second time as main course. I seared on the grill last time. Flavors are amazing. It’s a keeper!

    • Ronna
    • 5 stars

    This marinade is a winner! I have served this dish multiple times and to multiple different groups of people and it’s always a favorite. Delicious and easy and impressive all in one! Thank you.

    • 5 stars

    Making the dish now, but substituted Coco Aminos for soy sauce due to allergies. The marinade leftovers went well with grilled veggies and would make a great cabbage salad dressing. Thanks so much for the recipe!!!

    • Deb
    • 5 stars

    This is the best marinade for ahi tuna. Simple yet flavorful. I also add a little fresh grated ginger & fresh garlic. Get that oil smoking hot is the key before searing the steaks. Perfect every time! Sriracha mixed in mayo is the perfect dip for it! Thank you!

      • Amy Dong

      So happy you love this, Deb!

    • LaWanna Starks
    • 5 stars

    Love This!!!! I have made it repeatedly and it always is delicious

      • Amy Dong

      Yay, so happy you love this!

    • Loreto and Nicoletta Nardelli
    • 5 stars

    I’ve only thought of ordering ahi tuna at a restaurant, but now with your recipe and instructions, I feel like we can make it at home. Looks fantastic!

    • Moop Brown
    • 5 stars

    This tuna looks really taste and I love the suggestions you offered for things to serve with it. Thanks

    • Jamie R
    • 5 stars

    Absolutely delish! I coated in sesame seeds before searing, used fresh garlic instead of powder, omitted sugar, added grated ginger.

      • chewoutloud

      Great job, Jamie!

Get our free email series: 5 Easy Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less

Plus our newest recipes each week