How To Cook Tuna Steak Perfectly, 4 Ways

Fresh raw tuna steak with rosemary. On black rustic background

How To Cook Tuna Steak Perfectly, 4 Ways

Tuna steak may seem like the kind of elegant dish you only order at restaurants, but if you’re a fan of tuna steaks, you can easily cook them at home! Tuna steaks make for a delicious, high-protein meal any day of the week. If you’ve eyed the tuna steaks at your local grocery store but wondered how to cook tuna steak at home, it’s not as intimidating as it seems.

While tuna steak is a delicious meal, it’s also packed with vitamins, protein, and other nutrients. Even though you’re meant to eat tuna steak rare, there are several simple ways to cook it at home. With these simple methods, you can have your tuna steaks ready to go in less than 10 minutes. Keep reading to find out how to cook tuna steak and the many benefits of including this fish in your diet.

Close Up Still Life of Two Fried Tuna Steaks on Square White Plate with Seasoning and Fresh Green Salad with Tomato on Painted Wooden Table
Tuna steak comes from the loin of the fish and is served with the inside rare.


What Is Tuna Steak?

Tuna steak might seem like the kind of meal that’s too fancy to cook at home. However, there are several methods for cooking tuna steak at home that are relatively simple.

First, let’s cover what tuna steak actually is. Most people think of canned fish when they hear the word tuna, but tuna steak is a completely different experience. This cut of fish comes from the loin of a tuna and when cooked properly, it’s known for its crispy outside and soft, tender inside. 

One of the differences between tuna steak and other types of fish is tuna steak is served with the inside nearly raw. Like steak, tuna is safe to eat rare as long as you properly cook the outside. Preparing it this way keeps the inside tender since tuna steaks tend to dry out during the cooking process.

Is Tuna Steak Healthy?

Tuna steak is made from yellowfin tuna and eating this type of fish provides numerous health benefits. This cut of fish is low in calories but high in many other vitamins and minerals such as omega-3 fatty acids and potassium. 

A 100 g tuna steak also has 29 grams of protein and is rich in vitamins such as B6, B12, and vitamin D. Like many fish, the omega-3 fatty acids present in tuna are a large part of what makes them so healthy. These omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower cholesterol, improve brain function, and improve eye health just to name a few of the benefits.

Additionally, tuna steak is incredibly high in vitamins such as vitamin B12, which is part of what helps your body form new red blood cells. It’s also worth mentioning that tuna is low in calories but high in protein, making it great for those who are on a high-protein diet.

How to Sear Tuna Steak

The most common way to cook tuna steak is to sear it. Since it’s meant to be raw on the inside, an incredibly hot skillet is the easiest way to sear the outside of the tuna steak while keeping the inside undercooked.

Here’s how to sear tuna steak:

  • Season the tuna steaks and rub them with oil
  • Preheat the skillet to high heat
  • Once the skillet is smoking, add your tuna steaks
  • Cook the tuna steak for 1.5 minutes on each side
  • Once the internal temperature of the tuna is 118 degrees F, remove it from the skillet

Since you’re cooking the tuna steak at an incredibly high temperature, you don’t have to oil the skillet beforehand. It’s also best to use a cast iron skillet or similar cookware since non-stick cookware doesn’t handle high heat well.

If your cast iron skillet is seasoned, there’s no need to oil it but if you do need some oil in the skillet, it’s best to place a small amount once the skillet is already hot since the high heat will cause the oil to smoke.

How to Bake Tuna Steak

Another way to cook tuna steak to enjoy its mild flavor is to bake it in the oven. This is a simple way to cook it, especially if you don’t have the kitchen tools necessary to sear it quickly on the stove.

Here’s how to bake tuna steak in the oven:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F
  • Coat the tuna steak with olive oil and any desired seasonings
  • Place the tuna steak on a baking sheet or shallow baking pan
  • Bake the tuna steak for 10 minutes, flipping over halfway through
  • Remove the tuna steak from the oven

There are numerous ways to make the tuna steak in this recipe more flavorful. You can include different vegetables on the pan or marinate the tuna steak ahead of time. Flipping the tuna steak over is key because you’re not cooking the inside of it but you do want to ensure the outside is cooked on both sides.

How to Cook Tuna Steak in the Air Fryer

Even though tuna steak is meant to be rare in the middle, you can choose to cook it in the air fryer for a quick meal. In just a few minutes and with very little effort, you can have deliciously seasoned tuna steaks. 

Here’s how to cook tuna steaks in the air fryer:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees F
  • Coat the tuna steaks in oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Place the tuna steaks in the air fryer basket
  • Cook the tuna steaks for 4 minutes, flipping halfway through
  • Remove the tuna steaks from the air fryer

The short cooking time in the air fryer will ensure that the outside of the tuna is cooked while the inside remains rare. The air fryer allows you to quickly cook them without the hassle of searing them up in a pan.

Close Up Still Life of Seared Tuna Steaks Topped with Fresh Pesto on Dark Gray Surface Dirtied with Oil and Lemon Slices
Cooking tuna steaks on the grill can lead to a delicious, smoky flavor.


How to Grill Tuna Steak

One of the best ways to cook most meals is on the grill. While this isn’t necessarily an option for every family or for quick weeknight meals if you don’t have a grill, tuna steak could be the star of the show at your next cookout or barbecue. With just a few ingredients, you can have perfectly grilled tuna steaks.

Here’s how to grill tuna steak:

  • Preheat the grill to high heat
  • Brush oil on the tuna steaks and season with desired seasonings
  • Grill the tuna steaks for about 2 minutes on each side 
  • Leave them on the grill until the outside is fully cooked on both sides

Like most other methods, the point is to cook the outside of the tuna steak but keep the inside rare. This is easy to do on a hot grill and your tuna steaks will have a tasty smoky flavor as well.

What to Serve with Tuna Steaks

Tuna steak has grown more popular in recent years, but serving tuna steaks certainly isn’t a new idea–even Aristotle wrote about this fish. No matter how long people have enjoyed eating tuna steak, it’s known for its mild flavor and tender inside.

You might wonder what to serve with tuna steaks if you’ve never cooked them before. Here are some ideas for what to serve with tuna steaks:

  • Grilled vegetables such as bok choy or asparagus
  • Side salad
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Brown rice
  • Pasta salad

There are plenty of ways to enjoy tuna steak, especially when you include it as part of a healthy meal. Considering the numerous benefits of tuna steak and how high in protein it is, you can pair it with brown rice or a side of vegetables for a perfectly balanced meal.

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