This seared ahi tuna recipe is sashimi grade fish coated in sesame seeds, then briefly cooked to tender and flavorful perfection. Add a drizzle of sauce and some fresh herbs for a light and delicious dinner option.

When I’m in the mood for some fresh seafood, I turn to favorites such as grilled tilapia, seafood pasta, bacon wrapped scallops and this simple yet satisfying seared ahi tuna.

Seared ahi tuna served with rice and salad.

I happen to love fresh fish, especially when seared ahi tuna is on the menu. This dish takes just minutes to prepare, but tastes like it came straight from a fancy restaurant.

Seared Tuna Ingredients

To make this dish, you will need ahi tuna steaks, black and white sesame seeds, salt, black pepper, vegetable oil, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and green onions or cilantro.

How Do You Make Seared Ahi Tuna?

Start by placing black and white sesame seeds on a plate and mixing the two together. Season your fish with salt and pepper to taste, then place the fish in the sesame seeds and press the seeds onto the outside of the fish to form a crust. Heat oil in a pan or skillet, then quickly sear the fish on both sides. Whisk together a simple sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce and sesame oil. Slice the tuna, then drizzle the sauce over the fish. Top with fresh herbs for added flavor, then serve and enjoy.

Bowls of ingredients and a plate of ahi tuna steaks.

Tips For The Perfect Dish

  • The key to this dish is to be very careful not to overcook the fish. Watch the clock carefully, as one minute of cooking time per side is typically sufficient.
  • You can eat seared ahi warm, at room temperature, or chilled. I recommend serving the fish within 8 hours of when it was seared.
  • I typically add a sprinkle of green onions and cilantro over my tuna. Other great toppings include sliced avocado or minced jalapeno.
  • You can also use this technique for other types of fish such as salmon or halibut. If you’re using a different type of fish, you’ll want to cook it all the way through.

Quick Tip

Look for tuna steaks that are similar in size and thickness so that they cook at the same rate.

A plate full of sesame seeds with a tuna steak on top.

Recipe FAQs

Is it safe to eat seared ahi tuna?

It is safe to eat seared tuna, so long as you’ve specifically purchased tuna that is meant to be eaten raw or rare. This type of tuna is typically labeled as “sushi grade” or “sashimi grade” tuna. You may need to visit a fish market or an Asian grocery store to procure the appropriate type of ahi.

Do you need sushi grade tuna?

You need to use sushi-grade tuna for this recipe since the fish is just lightly cooked and is rare in the center. Sushi or sashimi grade tuna simply means that the tuna was processed in a way that makes it safe to eat raw. Do not attempt to make this recipe with tuna that is not sushi grade, unless you plan to cook it all the way through.

What does seared ahi taste like?

Seared ahi is a hearty fish with a mild flavor. It is almost meat-like in texture. It is a great starter fish for people who think they don’t like seafood, since the flavor is not strong or fishy.

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Sesame crusted tuna in a pan.

What To Serve With Ahi Tuna

There are so many different ways to serve this dish! You can serve your tuna over mixed greens for a light lunch or appetizer. Pair your fish with yakitori skewers and shrimp tempura roll for a Japanese inspired meal. Serve your tuna over sushi rice with a side of Japanese cucumber salad, sauteed kale or grilled asparagus. Or arrange the slices over pan fried noodles for a heartier main course option.

Seared ahi tuna fillets served with fresh herbs.

This recipe is my go-to for the days when I want an easy and healthy meal on the table in no time at all. It’s quick enough for a busy week night, yet elegant enough to serve to company!

More Seafood Recipes

Seared Ahi Tuna Video

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5 from 23 votes

Seared Ahi Tuna

AuthorSara Welch
Seared ahi tuna served with rice and salad.
This seared ahi tuna is sashimi grade fish coated in sesame seeds, then briefly cooked to tender and flavorful perfection. Add a drizzle of sauce and some fresh herbs for a light and delicious dinner option.
Time
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time2 minutes
Total Time12 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Asian
Serves 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound ahi tuna steaks
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions, chopped cilantro or a combination of the two

Instructions 

  • Place the sesame seeds on a plate and stir to combine.
  • Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place each tuna steak on the plate of sesame seeds and press the seeds all over the fish.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan over high heat.
  • Add the tuna steaks to the pan. Cook for 30-60 seconds per side.
  • Remove the tuna from the pan. Let rest for 3 minutes then cut into slices.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil.
  • Drizzle the sauce over the sliced tuna. Top with green onions or cilantro, then serve.

Notes

  1. You can eat seared ahi warm, at room temperature, or chilled. I recommend serving the fish within 8 hours of when it was seared.
  2. I typically add a sprinkle of green onions and cilantro over my tuna. Other great toppings include sliced avocado or minced jalapeno.
  3. Look for tuna steaks that are similar in size and thickness so that they cook at the same rate.

Nutrition

Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 258mg | Potassium: 333mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2475IU | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 2mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Once again you deliver a great flavorful recipe! I have followed you for several years and your dishes are delicious!!!

  2. 5 stars
    What a perfectly seared ahi tuna fish! This is making me hungry, I like that this recipe takes no time and also the idea of coating the fish in sesame seeds.

  3. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness I loveeee tuna sashimi and this recipe looks incredible! I have to try making this at home now… it will save me so much money from always eating sashimi out at restaurants.

  4. 5 stars
    Love how easy this is to make and how healthy it is to eat!! This one’s going into the rotation. Thanks!

  5. I loved those seasame seeds on this tuna and such amazing flavor! I am sure we are going to repeat this recipe once every week in our house now.

  6. 5 stars
    First time making & eating Sushi grade tuna. Recipe had lots of synergistic flavor, easy to make, & few dishes to clean. Individual flavors were distinguishable but created new flavors synergistically. Sauce had a slight bite from the rice vinegar but not overwhelmingly so. I would probably add a smidgen of chili oil and finely grated/chopped ginger next time. Taste: #9/10. Spiciness: #0/10. Bon Appetit!

  7. 5 stars
    I love ahi tuna and I especially liked the additional of sesame seeds in this recipe! Adds a delicious texture and so pretty!

  8. 5 stars
    The cook on that tuna was PERFECTION – I loved how easy it was to make but the taste and presentation made it feel like I’m in a restaurant!

  9. 5 stars
    My daughter, her boyfriend, and I loved this recipe! It turned out amazing and so flavorful! I’ll definitely be making this seared ahi tuna again!

  10. 5 stars
    This ahi was to die for! I love the texture the sesame seeds added, and the sauce was the perfect finishing touch.

  11. 5 stars
    I love fish and the sesame crust is amazing. I go sparingly on the sauce as the tuna is so nice on its own.

  12. 5 stars
    I love ahi tuna and your recipe turned out to be delicious! Your sauce was so flavorful and it really made the tuna shine!

  13. 5 stars
    Wow, this is perfection! Looks exactly like what I get in a restaurant. Excited to make this myself.