Make restaurant quality Grilled Tuna Steaks at home in less than 30 minutes. All you need are a few simple ingredients and a couple of high quality tuna steaks.
Grilling over high heat ensures a rare center and beautiful grill marks. And a sesame soy dipping sauce that doubles as a marinade elevates this weeknight easy dish to something worthy of a special occasion.
Ingredients You Need to Make Grilled Tuna Steaks
- Fresh Tuna Steaks: ideally yellowfin tuna (often marketed as ahi tuna). This recipe will also work well for other types of tuna like bluefin, bonito/skipjack, bigeye, or albacore.
- Soy Sauce: Regular or lite soy sauce. Here is my favorite brand!
- Unseasoned Rice Vinegar: Be sure to use unseasoned rice vinegar, not the seasoned version that contains added sugar and salt.
- Honey: Your favorite variety.
- Green Onion: Look for a smooth, firm, bright green onion.
- Toasted Sesame Oil: While plain sesame oil has very little color or flavor, toasted sesame oil has a deep amber color and a nutty, toasty aroma and flavor.
- Fresh Ginger: Look for a plump fresh ginger hand with smooth, shiny skin.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic bulbs should be plump and firm with smooth, silvery skin.
- Olive Oil: Use whatever variety you have on hand – extra virgin olive oil isn’t essential here.
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
How do you know if tuna is fresh enough to serve rare or raw?
It can be intimidating to serve raw or rare tuna at home. How do you know if your fish is fresh enough? It’s an important question and one that isn’t regulated by the FDA, despite grocery store signage claiming ‘sushi grade’ or ‘sashimi grade’ (here is a great article if you want to read about this in depth). It’s key to buy from a reputable fishmonger and here are some things to look for:
- Deeply red or pink tuna steaks (not brown) that are moist, shiny, and nearly translucent. (Ideally your fishmonger will cut fresh steaks to order from a whole loin.)
- Tuna steaks should smell of fresh sea-air; avoid those with a fishy odor.
Grilled Tuna Steaks FAQ
Grill tuna steaks over high heat to keep the center rare while achieving beautiful sear marks.
If you prefer your tuna steaks well done, you’ll need to grill them for an additional 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Marinating tuna steaks in a mixture that contains acid like vinegar or citrus juice will ultimately cook the fish – as in ceviche. If you choose to marinate your tuna steaks, only do so for 20-30 minutes.
How to Grill Tuna Steaks
Step 1: Whisk together dipping sauce ingredients (soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic).
Step 2: Preheat grill to high. Rinse and dry tuna steaks then rub all sides with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Step 3: Grill tuna steaks until seared on the outside and rare in the middle, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and thinly slice tuna across the grain.
Grilled Tuna Steaks
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- 2 ahi tuna steaks also called yellowfin tuna
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- sesame seeds to taste
- thinly sliced green onion to taste
- Make dipping sauce. In a medium bowl whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey until honey dissolves. Whisk in sesame oil, ginger, and garlic until emulsified. Leave at room temperature or refrigerate if desired. (recipe note #1)
- Preheat a gas grill (or charcoal grill) to high. (recipe note #2)
- Rinse tuna steaks and pat dry with paper towels. Rub all sides of tuna with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill tuna 2 minutes per side, until seared on the outside and rare in the center. (If you prefer a cooked center, cook an additional ~2 minutes per side.) Transfer tuna to cutting board. With a thin, sharp knife, thinly slice tuna across the grain (1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices). Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced green onion. Serve with dipping sauce.
- If you prefer marinated fish, double the dipping sauce recipe and marinate the rinsed and dried tuna steaks for 20 to 30 minutes in 1/2 of the sauce before grilling. Serve the remaining sauce alongside for dipping.
- As an optional step to prevent sticking, brush grill grates with a high heat neutral or vegetable oil just before you add steaks to the grill.
- If desired, divide dipping sauce among 4 small bowls for serving.