Seared tuna is surprisingly easy to make at home. It’s delicious when served with a spicy dipping sauce and Asian cabbage salad.
Seared tuna is ready fast, making it an ideal choice for a delicious and healthy weeknight dinner.
How to make seared tuna
Seared tuna seems fancy when served at restaurants, but it’s actually a very easy recipe to make. The only challenge is to avoid overcooking the tuna. Overcooked tuna becomes dry and tasteless.
Scroll down to the recipe card for the full details on how to make seared tuna. But the basics are simple: You make the sauce, then sear a tuna steak for just 1 minute on each side, making sure the inside remains medium-rare.
Is seared tuna cooked? Is it safe to eat?
Seared tuna is barely cooked. It’s seared on the outside, leaving the inside medium-rare (but not completely raw). Some people really need their food to be cooked through and that’s fine. But for those people, seared tuna is probably not a good choice.
On the question of safety, there IS a risk of foodborne illness when eating food that has not been cooked through. So this is a decision that you will need to make for yourself.
Isn’t tuna high in mercury?
Yes, tuna is high in mercury. The FDA recommends avoiding fresh albacore tuna and tuna steak during pregnancy. It is only safe to eat up to one serving of less than 170 g per week. Canned tuna, however, is safe to eat during pregnancy. So these tuna cakes are still a tasty and safe option.
If you’re a healthy non-pregnant adult, the question of how much fresh tuna to eat is up to you. I usually eat fresh tuna once a month. It’s not a daily menu item for me.
How to serve seared tuna
I love seared tuna – it’s so meaty and flavorful. I serve it with a simple homemade ponzu sauce – a citrusy sauce made from soy sauce and lemon juice.
Although seared tuna is usually served as an appetizer in restaurants, I like to make enough for serving it as a main course, alongside Asian cabbage salad. And sometimes I serve it on top of mixed greens, drizzled with the above-mentioned ponzu sauce.
What about leftovers?
I don’t recommend keeping leftovers of this dish, mostly because the inside is not fully cooked. Try to make only as much as you’ll eat. Raw tuna keeps for a day or two under ideal refrigeration conditions, which a home fridge won’t always provide.
So my personal opinion: finish it off if you can and toss the leftovers if you can’t. Better safe than sorry.
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce (or use a gluten-free alternative and add salt as needed)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red peppers
- 4 (6 oz) tuna steaks, 1 inch thick
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- To make the sauce, whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the tuna.
- Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Arrange the tuna steaks in the hot pan. Cook until a golden crust has formed and tuna is medium-rare, about 1 minute per side.
- Transfer the tuna to a cutting board. Cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices and serve with the sauce.