Making perfectly seared ahi tuna steaks is easier than you may think and the addition of a golden sesame seed crust takes it over the top! Ahi tuna sears quickly and doesn't require much for it to be totally delicious, so follow this recipe and you can serve a gourmet fish dinner at home!
Easy Pan Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks
Making seared ahi tuna steaks at home may sound daunting, but this fish cooks quickly and is extremely easy to work with! I brush mine with soy sauce before coating it in a sesame seed blend that makes a gorgeous crust when seared.
This recipe is a good one to keep in your back pocket for when you have dinner guests. It's always impressive and can be made in under 10 minutes, what's not to love?
Occasionally, the entire tuna loin will be on display and you can have the steaks cut at your request. If you can get your hand on a few sushi-quality tuna steaks, the rest is easy to find!
- 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce - Low sodium or not, it's up to you!
- 2 tablespoons Black Sesame Seeds - Black sesame seeds are stunning when crusting tuna steaks, but you can use whatever sesame seeds you have on hand.
- 2 tablespoons Sesame Seeds - Toasted or plain white sesame seeds.
- 1 teaspoon Coarse Sugar - I used organic cane sugar crystals.
- Salt & Pepper - I used 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and ½ a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
- ½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning - The same amount of dried thyme or oregano will also work.
- 12 ounces Ahi Tuna - About 3 or 4 sushi-grade tuna steaks.
- 2 tablespoons Cooking Oil - I personally prefer peanut or canola oil when cooking Asian-inspired recipes (*see note).
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions
This recipe goes very quickly, so be sure to read all the instructions before you start. Have a cast-iron skillet, tongs, a small shallow plate, and a cutting board at the ready.
- Mix sesame coating. First, grab a shallow plate and add all of the ingredients for the sesame coating. (2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon coarse sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, and ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning.) Mix together until thoroughly combined, then set aside.
- Dry. Pat the 12 ounces, or 3-4 steaks, of tuna dry with paper towels. Then, brush 1 tablespoon of soy sauce over the entirety of each steak.
- Season. Now, sprinkle the sesame blend on each tuna steak. Use your hands to gently, yet firmly, press the sesame seeds and seasoning into the meat.
- Heat. Heat your cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and give it time to heat up all the way, it should be VERY hot (*see note).
- Sear. Carefully place your ahi steaks into your hot skillet and press them down into the pan with your spatula. Sear for 45-60 seconds, then lift a corner of the fish to check the color. If golden, flip it over. Sear the opposite side for 60-90 seconds until golden.
- Sear edges. Once both sides have been seared, use tongs to hold the fish on its side and sear the edges. The edges sear very quickly, so don't leave them touching the pan for long.
- Slice and serve. Once you are satisfied with your sear, transfer the tuna steaks to a cutting board. Cut the steaks into thin slices and serve right away.
Your tuna should be golden on the outside, but not cooked all the way through. Most recently I served my seared ahi tuna steaks with a refreshing Asian cucumber salad and tasty ponzu sauce! See all my suggestions for what to serve with tuna steaks! Enjoy!
💭 Angela's Tips & Recipe Notes
- Use a neutral-tasting cooking oil with a high smoking point. Though I prefer canola or peanut oil, avocado oil would also be a great option.
- A hot pan is key! You want a nice sear on the outside without cooking the tuna steak all the way through, so make sure your pan is good and hot! When the pan is hot enough, a drop of water should sizzle and skip across your pan surface.
- You can use black or white sesame seeds or both! You can use a combination of black and white sesame seeds, as I did, or not. Black sesame seeds alone are also very stunning.
- Storing: Leftover ahi tuna can be kept in a shallow airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
🎣 More Tasty Fish!
- Pan Seared Swordfish
- Grilled Grouper
- Air Fryer Salmon
- Baked Steelhead Trout
- Blackened Cod
- Pan Seared Sea Bass
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Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks
- To begin, place the sesame seeds, sugar, and seasonings on a shallow plate and mix them together.2 tablespoon black sesame seeds, 2 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon coarse sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Pat your ahi tuna dry with paper towels, then brush soy sauce on all sides.1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Sprinkle the sesame blend generously over the tuna. Use your hands and gently, yet firmly, press the sesame coating into the fish. *Before proceeding, read ahead because the remaining steps will go very quickly.12 oz ahi tuna
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and wait until it is VERY hot (*see note). Add your oil and coat the pan. Let it heat up until it's shimmering hot.2 tablespoon cooking oil
- Lay your ahi tuna in the pan carefully and press it down with your spatula. Sear for 45-60 seconds, then lift a corner of the fish to check the color. If golden, flip it over. Sear the opposite side for 60-90 seconds until golden.
- Use tongs to hold the fish on its side so you may sear the edges. The edges will sear quickly, don't hold them to the pan for too long.
- Transfer the cooked ahi tuna to a cutting board, slice it thinly, and serve right away.
- A neutral-flavored cooking oil with a high smoke point is preferred. Peanut oil, canola oil, or avocado oil are all great options.
- You can use a combination of black and white sesame seeds, or not. Black sesame seeds alone are also very stunning.
- When the pan is hot enough, a drop of water should sizzle and skip across your pan surface.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!