Seared Marinated Tuna

Get ready to elevate your dinner game with my Seared Marinated Tuna recipe! Marinated in a savory-sweet Japanese-inspired blend, these ahi tuna steaks are pan-seared to perfection, boasting a tender, medium-rare center bursting with flavor! With just a few simple ingredients, you can enjoy a delicious and healthy meal packed with omega-3 fatty acids!

Pan seared ahi tuna steak served on a cast iron plate with a side of green salad, side angle shot.

Why I Love This Recipe

I’m absolutely thrilled about my Seared Marinated Tuna recipe, which represents a fusion of ahi tuna and traditional Japanese flavors, meticulously seared to perfection for the ultimate ahi tuna experience! Imagine tender ahi steaks marinated in a traditional Japanese-style blend, then expertly seared to perfection, ensuring a tender, medium-rare center every time. With my perfected searing technique, honed through recipes like Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna, Blackened Ahi Tuna, and Seared Yellowfin Tuna Tataki, you’ll achieve unparalleled flavor and texture in every bite!

Ideal for those seeking a quick and straightforward main course bursting with protein-packed goodness, this dish offers a blend of savory-sweet Japanese flavors with a subtle hint of spice, creating a dish that’s both satisfying and delicious!



  • Yellowfin Tuna Steaks – fresh or frozen yellowfin tuna steaks, also known as ahi steaks. Can be purchased at your local grocery store. 
  • Black Pepper – ground.
  • Olive Oil – extra virgin olive oil or olive oil of choice.
  • Japanese Sake – typically will come in a large bottle labeled junmai sake. Can also substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine, found at local grocery stores or Asian markets.
  • Sweetener – use your preferred sweetener. 
  • Soy Sauce – low-sodium Soy Sauce preferred. Can also use tamari for gluten-free.
  • Garlic freshly grated or pressed with a garlic press.
  • Togarashi (red pepper)Togarashi Japanese chili pepper blend found in most Asian or Japanese supermarkets. A good alternative would be cayenne pepper or red pepper.

Additional Add Ins for Marinade

Adding Grated Ginger, Toasted Sesame Oil, and Orange Juice (1/4 cup) can elevate the marinade’s flavor without altering its base marinade.

🍣 Tuna Note

To achieve the best taste and texture, opt for Sashimi-Grade Ahi Tuna Steaks. While frozen and thawed varieties can be used, if possible, fresh ahi tuna is the ideal choice for an even more delicious outcome.


Pair of ahi tuna steaks being prepared to be pan seared.


☑ Before Getting Started

Before getting started, it’s recommended to use a spacious, Large Pan. This will help retain maximum heat for achieving a perfect sear on your ahi tuna steaks.

Step 1 Combine grated garlic, Japanese sake, sweetener, soy sauce, ground red pepper, and tuna steaks in a ziplock bag. Marinate in the fridge for 2 hours, flipping halfway through.

Marinate for seared tuna.

💡 Marinating Pro Tip

You can marinate the tuna for up to 8 Hours. If marinating overnight, consider adding a bit of extra water to the marinade to prevent the tuna from becoming too intensely flavored.

Step 2 After marinating, wash off excess liquid, pat the tuna steaks dry with a paper towel, and lightly sprinkle black pepper.

Pan seared tuna.

Step 3 Sear the tuna steaks in a large skillet coated with olive oil over high heat, cooking for 15-20 seconds per side. Top with green onions and optionally squeeze some lemon juice.

Pan seared tuna served on a plate.

🍳 Searing Pro Tip

For perfect searing results, use High Heat and High-Temperature Cooking Oil, and ensure Not to Overcook the ahi.

🍽️ Ahi Serving Note

Due to the marinating process, the color of the Tuna Steaks May Appear Darker rather then a typical raw center, but they are perfectly safe to consume.

Pairing Recommendations

Serve my Seared Marinated Tuna alongside an Asian-style dressing like Miso Salad Dressing or Japanese Ginger Salad Dressing, or pair it with Garlic Butter Enoki Mushrooms for a flavorful vegetable side. Add a bowl of Japanese Chicken Soup for warmth, and include rice of choice as a staple.

Pan seared ahi tuna steak served on a cast iron plate with a side of green salad, top down shot.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to thaw tuna steaks?

If using frozen tuna steaks, either leave them at room temperature for 3-4 hours or, if in a hurry, soak them in cold water for 30-45 minutes without removing them from the vacuum package.

What type of tuna steaks to use for searing?

Use yellowfin tuna also known as ahi, preferably fresh and sashimi sushi-grade, light red to pinkish in color. Albacore tuna is also suitable. Avoid bluefin and bigeye tuna, which are better for sashimi or sushi due to their prized oilier and fattier meat.

Can I grill these ahi steaks instead?

Absolutely! Preheat your grill to at least 350°F. Place the marinated tuna steaks on the grill, cover, and grill for 20-30 seconds per side. When flipping, try to move the steaks to a different part of the grill where the iron is hot to achieve that nice BBQ sear.

Do I need to sear the tuna on high heat?

Yes, it's best to sear the tuna on the highest heat possible. By searing on high heat, we can achieve a beautifully caramelized crust on the outside of the ahi steaks while ensuring the middle remains tender.

Storage Tips

To store leftovers, place them in an airtight container. Leftovers stored this way will remain fresh for 2-3 days.

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Watch How To Make It

Pan seared ahi tuna steak served on a cast iron plate with a side of green salad, top down shot.

Seared Marinated Tuna

This tuna steak marinade recipe offers a delightful fusion of traditional Japanese flavors, resulting in perfectly seared ahi tuna steaks. Elevate your dinner game with this savory-sweet marinade, ideal for ahi tuna enthusiasts!
5 from 7 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian American
Keyword: ahi tuna marinade, tuna steak marinade
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 7 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 238kcal




  • 2 tsp Japanese Sake can substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp Sweetener your preferred sweetener
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper ground


  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for seared marinated tuna.
  • Grate garlic with a grinder or a garlic press and set aside.
    Grated garlic.
  • In a small mixing bowl, add grated garlic, Japanese Sake, sweetener, Soy Sauce, water and ground red pepper. Mix well then transfer to a zip lock bag.
    Marinate for seared tuna.
  • Pat dry the ahi steak fillets and then transfer to the zip lock bag, remove any excess air and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours, flipping once halfway through.
    Tuna being marinated in a zip lock.
  • Once marination is complete, wash off any excess liquid, pat both sides of the tuna steak dry with a paper towel and lightly sprinkle black pepper on both sides.
    Marinated tuna.
  • Finely chop green onions and set aside.
    Chopped green onions.
  • In a large frying pan, add high temp neutral cooking oil on high heat. Once the oil is preheated, add tuna and sear uncovered for 15-20 seconds on all sides. Note - if you prefer medium-well cooked steaks, sear for 30-45 seconds per side, but we don't recommend cooking it for any longer.
    Pan seared tuna.
  • Transfer seared ahi steak to a serving plate and sprinkle chopped green onions on top.
    Pan seared tuna served on a plate.


Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 525mg | Potassium: 336mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 232IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 3mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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