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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

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
Easy directions for perfectly seared ahi tun

Technique: How to Get A Perfect Sear at Home

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

5 from 26 reviews

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

Yield: 6


  • 2 TB regular strength soy 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 to 21/2 lbs fresh ahi tuna steaks, about 1 1/2-1 2/3 inches thick
  • oil for cooking
  • Optional: freshly chopped cilantro, green scallions, sesame seeds for garnish.
  • Optional: Sriracha mayo for drizzling (really good!)


  1. Marinade: 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.
  2. Sear: Heat 3 TB oil in a large heavy skillet (aluminum or stainless steel; not nonstick) 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.)
  3. Rest/Cool: 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.
  4. Serve: Serve chilled or at room temp, over your favorite salad greens or crispy Asian salad. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro or green onions, if desired. Drizzle with Sriracha mayo if desired.

marinated seared ahi tuna


Seared ahi is best eaten on same day. However, leftovers can be tightly wrapped and chilled for up to 1 day.
A good quality Riesling is superb with this dish!

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 Size: 1
  • Calories: 246
  • Sugar: 3.8 g
  • Sodium: 922.4 mg
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8.7 g
  • Fiber: 0.4 g
  • Protein: 36.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 63.5 mg
  • Author: Amy | Chew Out Loud
  • Category: appetizer
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: seared ahi, ahi recipe, ahi tuna

Did you make this?

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Recipe rating


    • tweenselmom

    Omg this looks really delicious! Never tried this before, but I’ll look forward to getting a taste of it sometime!

    • Renata

    I really don’t like to eat fish but my hubby loves it 🙂

    • Sophia John

    I’ve never done Ahi Tuna. Will surely try this out

    • Marie Phillips

    This looks amazing as well as the shrimp further down on the page. I will be trying both recipes soon!

    • Kristen

    Made this recipe many times and always on point. Had tried others before and not nearly as delicious as this! Super easy as well!

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you love the flavor of the marinade! 🙂

    • Sara H

    Made this for dinner tonight. My husband has had seared tuna many times and he said this was the best ever! I only marinated the steaks for 3 hours and the flavor was perfect. I seared the steaks in a cast iron skillet on the side burner of our grill and it worked great! Thank you

      • chewoutloud

      That’s amazing, Sara!!

    • Rosa

    Delish! Used yellowfin tuna steaks because that’s what I had on hand. Will definitely use this recipe again.

      • chewoutloud

      So very happy you enjoyed this so much, Rosa! 🙂

    • Luis

    Trying it for the first time tonight smells going looks good and I’m sure it will taste good you can’t go wrong with these ingredients can’t wait thank you!!

      • chewoutloud

      I’m so excited for you to enjoy this recipe, Luis! Hope you all love it.

        • Jeremiah D White

        Stay at home dad here. This is awesome, I usually stick to talipia or salmon but I have added this to my rotation. It is awsome! Especially with the spicy mayo. Much love.

          • chewoutloud

          So glad you liked this, Jerehmiah! Thanks for coming over and enjoy the summer!

    • David

    The lemon juice cooked the tuna, I thought that was a little odd making it more of a ceviche but kept it since your pics were so inviting. Ho hum, another disappointment. Thanks for the pretty pictures though!!! 🙂

      • chewoutloud

      Sorry to hear that, David. I haven’t had the marinade cook my tuna before; was your tuna thick, at least 1″ in thickness? Thanks for being here and hope you find something you love 🙂

    • Summer

    This turned out delicious. Served over a bed of lightly dressed salad greens and topped with scallions, cilantro, and spicy mayo. Everyone enjoyed it (me, hubby, and 3 kids). My youngest doesn’t do spicy, so he had his with a drizzle of BBQ sauce. He ended up asking for seconds on the tuna! 2 thumbs up on this one.

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, Summer! So so happy to hear you guys liked this! 🙂 Enjoy the remaining warm weather days 🙂

    • Mary LaCombe

    Do you have to pat dry the tuna after marinating? OR does the tuna go directly from marinade to hot pan? I just want it to get a nice sear and not steam. Thanks!

      • chewoutloud

      Go directly to hot pan, no patting needed. Just make sure not to overcrowd pan – they key is a very hot, nicely greased pan. Enjoy and hope you love it, Mary!

    • Lorin

    Can this marinade be used on Salmon? Sounds delicious but hard to find ahi in colorado sometimes 😉

        • Chriszee

        Loved this tuna tasted great! Word of caution soy sauce is only GF if you use GF soy sauce so if youre new to GF make sure to buy GF soy sauce.

    • Kimbolini

    Was delcious! Even my picky toddler ate it. We seared it on the grill. Will try searing in a pan next time. Was thinking next time will cook the remaining marinade until it thickens into a sauce that we can drizzle over the ahi.

      • chewoutloud

      Sounds awesome, Kim! So glad you and family liked this 🙂

    • Hattie

    I followed the recipe exactly, as soon as I put my steaks in the hot oil, the oil instantly turned black. I’m guessing the sugar burned?

      • chewoutloud

      Hmm, I haven’t had this happen before, but my guess is perhaps the oil was too hot (and for too long) before putting the food in? Try heating the oil just until it is barely starting to sizzle. Hope that helps, Hattie! 🙂

        • Paula Summey Weigel

        I can’t wait to try this recipe. I think all our pans are non-stick. Can we use a cast iron skillet to sear it?

          • chewoutloud

          You can definitely use cast iron, but oil it well before using and get that oil hot first 🙂 Enjoy! Happy new year 🙂

            • Paula Summey Weigel

            Thank you so much for the response. I made it last night and was in heaven!! It came out perfectly; I was so proud! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your amazing recipes!

              • chewoutloud

              Awesome!! So happy to hear it. And Happy new year!

        • Laura

        I have made this twice now and both time it has come out absolutely perfect. Everyone agrees it’s their favorite dish! Thanks for the awesome recipe!!!

        Just wondering…By any chance do you know the calories per serving?

          • chewoutloud

          You’re so welcome, Laura! So happy you guys love this. We don’t know calories per serving, but myfitnesspal has some great calculations. This recipe is likely very low in fat and calories, though 🙂 Really healthy and yummy!

            • Laura

            Great. Thanks so much! I’ll check out the app!

        • HollaRobRob

        This was amazing, my husband has requested I make it again this week! Thank You 😉

        • Kris

        Made this for dinner tonight, hubby and I loved It! I drizzled mine in sriracha mayo and eel sauce! SO GOOD!

          • chewoutloud

          Ooh, that sounds amazing, Kris! So glad you guys liked this

        • Becky

        Do you have a recipe for the sriracha mayo? Or is it exactly what it sounds like and I mix the two?

          • chewoutloud

          Becky, I just updated to include the link to recipe for Sriracha Mayo 🙂 Enjoy, hope you guys love it!

            • Becky

            Excellently! Thanks!

        • Dae

        I’ve never cooked Ahi Tuna. But I’ve cooked salmon and tilapia in the past. Is this hard? I want to make this in the near future. It looks yummy.

          • chewoutloud

          Absolutely not hard at all. Super easy and so yummy! Thanks for coming over, Dae 🙂

        • Debi

        This was very flavorful! I didn’t have time to marinate it that long but it was still delicious!

          • chewoutloud

          Yay, so happy to hear it, Debi! 🙂

            • Claire

            We just had this for supper and everyone enjoyed! Even our 3 children! Will definitely be making this again soon

              • chewoutloud

              Yay, Claire! Glad you liked it!

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