- 2 ahi tuna (yellowfin tuna) steaks (about 4 oz. each, 1" thick – see notes for thinner or thicker)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon honey (see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil or olive oil
- green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and lime wedges for serving (optional)
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 1 - 1½ minutes on each side for medium rare (
2 -2½ minutes for medium-well to well, 30 seconds for very rare. See
notes - this will vary based on thickness of the tuna steaks). (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)
to a cutting board. Slice into 1/2 inch slices and serve garnished with
green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice,
- For thinner or thicker tuna steaks, you may need
less or more searing time. If you are using tuna steaks that are less
than 1 inch, I recommend no more than 1 minute per side, depending on
your preference for doneness. For thicker steaks, you may need to do 2
minutes per side. 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 I'm using, I
sometimes only 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, I suggest omitting the kosher salt and/or using low-sodium soy sauce.
- Carryover cooking will occur if you let your tuna
rest for too long after cooking. Slicing it immediately will result in a
more rare temperature, and letting it rest before slicing will cook it
- There is always a risk when eating raw or undercooked seafood. Tuna,
along with salmon, are fish that are least likely to have parasites,
which is one of the reasons why you often see them served undercooked.
If you buy sushi grade ahi tuna, it will have been frozen at a
temperature which kills any potential parasites, so I recommend going
this route just to be safe. Please talk to a medical professional if you
have concerns about this.