How to Sear Two Inch Thick Wild Ahi Tuna

by Christine Pillman

Fresh tuna steaks are usually from yellowfin or bigeye tuna, both also called ahi tuna.

John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Items you will need

  • Paper towel
  • Frying pan
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tongs

Tuna is a warm-blooded species of fish in constant need of oxygen. By swimming continuously at a fair speed, oxygen-rich water rushes over their gills, providing them with just that. This constant motion produces powerful muscles, and their characteristic dark, muscular meat. Ahi tuna steaks are from yellowfin and bigeye tuna. The thicker cut the steak, the juicier it will stay during the cooking process. Tuna steaks are best rare to medium rare, and searing each side is a perfect way to accomplish this. If the searing isn’t done properly, you could end up with a rubbery texture.


Step 1

Remove the tuna steak from its wrapper, and pat it dry with paper towel. Allow the tuna to come to room temperature before you cook it.

Step 2

Turn the burner to high heat and place the pan on the burner. Add some sesame oil or canola oil to the pan and allow it to heat up for a few minutes.

Step 3

Season your 2-inch-thick ahi tuna steak with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, use tongs to place the tuna in the pan.

Step 4

Flip the tuna with a pair of tongs after two to three minutes, being careful not to burn the steak. You want a nice brown crust, so keep an eye on it. Sear the next side for two or three minutes as well, remove the tuna and place it on a plate. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before serving.


Step 1

Preheat the grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Pat dry the ahi tuna steak with paper towel. Allow the steak to come to room temperature.

Step 3

Season the steak with salt and pepper. Brush peanut or canola oil on both sides of the tuna.

Step 4

Place the tuna on the grill with a pair of tongs and sear each side for two to three minutes. Remove and let the tuna sit for a few minutes before serving.


  • Two minutes per side will give you rare; three minutes, medium rare.

    The red color of the meat is indicative of freshness; avoid steaks with a grayish tint.

    Some people like to crust the ahi tuna steak with peppercorns before searing.

Photo Credits

  • John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in Toronto, Christine Pillman has worked as a writer and editor since 1996. She has worked for Harlequin Enterprises, "Scott's" directories and "Boards" magazine. Pillman earned an honors B.A. in English from the University of Toronto, as well as a diploma in book and magazine publishing from Centennial College.