Learn the secret to making perfectly Seared Tuna with a Sesame Seed Crust in just 10 minutes flat. A healthy, delicious ahi tuna recipe that is full of flavor and easy to make. With a video.

Seared Tuna with Sesame Curst. Learn how to make the best Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna- crispy golden on the outside and rare on the inside in just 10 minutes flat! #tuna #ahi #searedtuna

This Seared Tuna happened a lot in our catering days, so much so, I couldn’t bring myself to make it again for a long long time. But a good three years have passed now, and the other day I got a hankering for it, so I thought I’d share! It’s one of those recipes that may seem fancy, but honestly, it couldn’t be any simpler and the best part, it is, it is ridiculously fast!

Here we are pairing it with a cool and crunchy Asian Cucumber Salad and Seasoned Japanese Rice with Furikake, a light and refreshing summer meal.

 Seared Tuna | 60-sec Video

Best tuna to use?

Whenever you serve Ahi Tuna rare, make sure to use “sushi-grade” tuna. My favorite? Look for Saku Tuna.

What is Saku Tuna:

Ahi tuna or yellowfin tuna, also known as saku tuna,  is commonly used to make sushi. Suku means “block” and it is typically a block of boneless, skinless, frozen, vacuum-packed yellowfin tuna.

Flash freezing the tuna kills any harmful bacteria, making it very safe to eat. Yes, of course, you can also use fresh ahi tuna, if you trust your source, or live close to where it is caught. We used Saku Tuna in our catering business and never had a problem.

Where to get Saku Tuna?

  • If your grocery store makes sushi in-house, then they very likely have Saku tuna- just ask if you can buy a block. Locally I purchase it at Huckleberries from the Sushi Department.
  • Purchase from a Sushi Restaurant. More than not they are happy to sell a block of frozen Saku Tuna.
  • Order online. This company offers frozen Saku Tuna Block.

Saku Tuna blocks

How to Sear Ahi or Yellowfin Tuna:

Step One: Thaw the tuna (either in a bowl of cold water with plastic on, or overnight in the fridge), and pat it dry. Coat in soy sauce or GF liquid aminos.

Thaw the Saku Tuna, then coat Tuna in soy sauce.

Step Two: Make the sesame spice crust.

sesame spice crust ingredients

The Sesame Crust is a blend of sesame seeds, granulated garlic or onion powder, dried herbs (thyme or Italian seasoning), salt and pepper and sugar.

Sugar helps get the crust nice and golden, in a shorter amount of time which is imperative here, to prevent overcooking the fish.

Sesame seed crust

Step Three: Coat the Ahi Tuna in the sesame seed spice, pressing it into the flesh and coating all sides generously. The soy sauce helps it stick.

Coat the ahi in the sesame spice mix.

Step Four: Heat up a skillet over medium-high heat. This is KEY. You want the skillet very very HOT 🔥.  Turn your fan on, and have a spatter guard handy, or use a lid to partially cover. When the skillet is HOT, add a high heat oil-both avocado oil and peanut oil works well here. Peanut oil adds great flavor.

sear the tuna in a VERY hot cast-iron pan

Step Five: Carefully place the ahi in the pan- don’t throw it in, it will splatter, carefully lay it in the oil. Press it down into the skillet with a metal spatula and sear for about 45-60 seconds. If the seeds are popping use a splatter guard. Lift one side and check to see that the crust is golden- if not, your pan is not hot enough, so turn the heat up. 🔥

The goal here is to get a nice golden crust on all sides without cooking the ahi tuna all the way through. HOT PAN is key.

Basically, the pan needs to be hot enough to get the crust golden in 60-90 seconds, otherwise you’ll likely overcook the inside of the fish. Carefully turn it over, press down, sear for 60-90 seconds.  Then sear the two long edges, using a pair of tongs to hold it up.

Carefully turn over.

Step Six: Place the seared ahi on a cutting board, and thinly slice using a very sharp knife. The edges will be crispy and the inside, rare. At this point, you could even refrigerate the ahi block whole, and serve in slices, and serve it later cold. Seared Tuna is good hot or cold!

Seared Tuna with Sesame Seed Crust. Learn how to make the best Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna- crispy golden on the outside and rare on the inside in just 10 minutes flat!

And there you have it- a fast, flavorful protein that takes about 10 minutes time.

The flavorful sesame crust gives the Seared Tuna just enough flavor, without overpowering it.

3 Expert tips for the BEST Seared Ahi Tuna:

  • Use sushi-grade, Saku Tuna Block for nice uniform slices.
  • Add a little sugar to the spice mix, which will carmelize in the pan and give a golden crust, in a shorter amount of time.
  • Use a cast iron skillet, and make sure it is HOT HOT HOT 🔥.

Seared Tuna FAQS

What does seared Tuna taste like?

Seared Tuna tastes mild, slightly sweet, not fishy, but with a “meaty” firm, buttery texture.

Is seared tuna still raw?

Yes, technically seared tuna is only cooked on the outside, yet rare, or somewhat raw on the inside. Think of this like sushi.

Is it safe to eat seared tuna?

Absolutely! Just make sure your ahi is “sushi grade”, smells sweet and not fishy, and has been frozen. Freezing actually kills any harmful bacteria.

 

Seared Tuna with Sesame Seed Crust. Learn how to make the best Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna- crispy golden on the outside and rare on the inside in just 10 minutes flat!

What to serve with Seared Ahi Tuna:

Seared Tuna with Sesame Seed Crust. Learn how to make the best Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna- crispy golden on the outside and rare on the inside in just 10 minutes flat!

Hope you give this Seared Ahi Tuna a try- it’s healthy and light and full of flavor! Happy weekend.

xoxo

Sylvia

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Sesame Crusted Seared Tuna


Description

Seared Tuna with Sesame Crust. Learn how to make the best Sesame Ahi Tuna- crispy golden on the outside and rare on the inside in just 10 minutes flat!


Ingredients

Scale

Sesame Crust:

Serve with Furikake Rice and Asian Cucumber Salad


Instructions

  1. Mix the Sesame Crust ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Pat dry the ahi tuna with paper towels.
  3. Place ahi tuna on a plate, coat all sides with soy sauce. This will help the sesame spice adhere to the tuna.
  4. Generously sprinkle all sides of the ahi tuna with the sesame mix, pressing it down into the flesh. Coat the sides. Read through the rest of the directions before starting because the next part goes very quickly.
  5. The goal here is to get a nice golden sear on all sides without cooking the ahi tuna all the way through. HOT PAN is key.
  6. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, until very very hot. Place tongs, metal spatula and splatter guard (or lid) near the stove.  When the pan is hot a flick of water should sizzle loudly. Once the skillet is hot, turn the fan on high. Add the oil and coat the pan and let it get hot. Carefully lay the tuna in the pan, pressing it down into the skillet with a metal spatula. Sear 45-60 seconds ( or longer)- checking the underneath by lifting one corner to see if it is golden. If golden, carefully flip. If not golden, turn the heat up. Sear the other side, 60-90 seconds until golden. Sear the long edges using tongs to hold it upright.
  7. Place on a cutting board, blot if you like, then using a very sharp knife, thinly slice, and serve.
  8. At this point, you could also refrigerate up to 3 days, and serve this later, chilled. Either way is good.

Notes

Make sure to “sushi-grade” ahi tuna, or if using fresh, make sure it is a trusted source. Google Saku Tuna for online resources. Read post body for where to find this locally- sushi restaurants, grocery stores with house-made Sushi will often sell frozen Saku Tuna or Saku block if you ask.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 ounce serving
  • Calories: 236
  • Sugar: 1.1 g
  • Sodium: 437.5 mg
  • Fat: 10.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.1 g
  • Fiber: 1.2 g
  • Protein: 29.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 44.2 mg

Keywords: seared tuna, seared tuna recipe, seared ahi tuna, sesame crusted seared tuna, sesame tuna, sesame ahi tuna, best tuna recipe

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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Comments

  1. I made this tonight and followed the recipe precisely. I only substituted Shirataki noodles for pasta. It came out very good. I squeezed a little more lime over the noodles at the end.

  2. Amazing ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This was requested to be put on a regular rotation of meals. Loved it!

  3. I have made this recipe three or four times and always add something new to the crust just to try it. I had some dried ginger that I used sparingly and that was really tasty. I also let the tuna sit in a very minimal amount of soy sauce overnight, and flipped it to the other side in the morning of the day I was going to cook it. The tuna developed sort of a soy laquer on both sides and that added a great amount of flavor.
    I can never find black sesame seeds where I live but the regular white untoasted or the toasted also worked well.

  4. As I’ve recently been forced into a heart-healthy diet, I’ve had to greatly expand my collection of fish recipes. This tuna recipe just may be one of the best (plus I’ve found some wonderful uses of parchment!).
    Today I’m making this for the 4th time. The only comments I can make besides my absolute love of this recipe, is that I would err on the side of undercooking rather than overcooking, and therefore sear each side no more than 60 seconds per side while pressing with a turner. I also reduced the salt by half. And finally, last time I added some dry horseradish powder to the coating mix for a perfect bit of bite.
    Today I’ll be having this with a side plate of cold Korean Kimchee, for an Asian-Asian fusion meal.
    Absolutely luscious! Thanx for making heart-healthy food as good or better than any other!

    1. Hi Stefan- Thanks for sharing your adaptions! Sounds great served with Kimchee!

  5. My husband and I made this Friday night. What a delicious Spring dinner with friends and family! The recipe was great and the instructions made it so easy for us! Everyone loved the Tuna! We served it with the Asian Cucumber Salad and the Asian slaw. I’m never disappointed with these recipes. In fact I constantly recommend your website to friends.

  6. I have wild caught tuna steaks but package does not indicate ahi or bluefin etc. It’s a beautiful reddish watermelon color. Is this appropriate for this recipe?
    Thank you.

  7. I made this dinner tonight and it was a hit. It wasn’t complicated and the flavours complimented each other. Thank you!

  8. We followed the recipe & instructions to the letter using Blue Fin Tuna and served it with the Asian Rice & Asian Cucumber salad. The Tuna was cooked just right for us, everything was absolutely great together. Definitely a “make it again” Recipe!

  9. Perfect amount of heat!
    I used 1/2 the salt and the tuna was great!
    Love the thyme flavor coming through.
    60 seconds per side is plenty

  10. We love using Feasting at Home in this house! And this is a new favourite. We made it with the Asian cucumber salad and the Ginger sweet potato mash. Delicious! Wish there were seconds!

  11. I made this earlier tonight and followed the recipe exactly. Turned out fantastic – family and I loved it! Thank you, Sylvia!

  12. I tried this recipe today (super tasty!), but my fish was a little too cooked in the middle. Can it seared for less than 60-90 seconds? My crust was darker than golden brown.

    1. Hi Diandra-yes,it can be seared for less Basically you just want to sear each side until deeply golden, this may take less time. I always just peek.

  13. I plan on making this recipe tonight with fresh caught tuna. The photos of the tuna look amazing – can you provide recipes for the side dishes featured in the photo?

    1. Great question Elizabeth! I’m not sure how you would get the outside crispy without overcooking the middle? I guess it is worth a shot? will you let me know if you try it?

  14. That looks incredible. Do you think substituting sugar with honey or maple syrup would get the same golden caramelized crust?

    1. Hi Ari- no it needs to be a “dry” sugar- so maybe something like coconut sugar?

  15. Fantastic recipes, great photography and so interesting. Thank you from the southern tip of Africa.

  16. Would this work with the cucumber salad and the mashed ginger sweet potato’s together? I like the idea of having some more colour on the plate.