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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:

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

seared ahi tuna

Marinated Seared Ahi Tuna

4.98 from 171 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 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Amy Dong


For the Marinade

For Ahi Tuna

  • 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 the 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, up 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.
    marinated seared ahi tuna


  • If marinading the ahi overnight and you’re concerned about ahi tuna steaks being “cooked” in acidity, you can choose to add lemon juice 1-2 hours prior to cooking. 
  • 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 🙂 

Nutrition (per serving)

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

Add a comment

Recipe Rating


    • Ian

    Hi, excited to make this recipe! Would a heavy cast iron skillet work for the sear?

      • Amy Dong

      Cast iron is perfect!

    • Rachel Huang

    Technical question: if I marinate overnight, should I leave out the lemon juice and add it later, just before cooking? I don’t want the tuna to turn into ceviche!

      • Amy Dong

      Yes, you should add lemon juice later – you’ve got it! 🙂

    • Kristi

    Love Tuna! Making this again tonight; however, I’m looking for inspiration as to what to serve with it ?

    • kim
    • 5 stars

    Sooooo simple, delicious and the ahi tuna was packed with flavor! By far the best recipe I have come across and will forever be my go to! Thank you so much for sharing it.

    • Ariel Leddington
    • 5 stars

    I would just like to say that last night I was in a pinch to make dinner and I had two tuna steaks. So amidst feeding my toddler and cleaning up her mess in the house I was able to make this dish. When my husband saw it and tried it he announced “this dish is amazing!” and I agreed. The fish turned out perfect, the flavors were spot on and it was truly delicious! Plus it was very easy to make. I am going to add it to my dinner rotation.

    • Jenny
    • 5 stars

    This ahi tuna recipe is a showstopper. Your recipe is so detailed and thorough, and I appreciate that. I am not comfortable making seared ahi tuna, I feel intimidated somehow, but with your instructions, I feel confident. Thanks so much!

    • Claire

    I’ve never made ahi tuna before, but it’s a favorite when we go out to eat. I can’t wait to try making it myself for a change. Thanks for the recipe!

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