How to make pan seared tuna steak

Seared Tuna Steak

Every Friday I make an attempt to make either a classic Wisconsin fish fry, or at least some type of fish or seafood. It’s probably how I was raised, as many of us in Wisconsin, where the default meal on Friday was typically a fish fry. Those who do not live in Wisconsin probably do not understand, and that’s perfectly fine. There are times however where I do not feel like frying a bunch of fish to feed five, and typically my default it pan searing seasoned tilapia filets, but this past week I decided to make a pan seared tuna steak, and I am very glad I did.

I love tuna, I really do, and it is something I normally do not cook with, but when I do, I like to buy a nice, fresh steak, and let the tuna shine. I think that searing tuna is the best way to cook it, and this recipe is not only quick, but it is pretty delicious.
Seared Tuna Steak

There are a variety of ways you can marinate your tuna, even different ways of cooking, but I find that a nice coating of a spicy dry rub, and pan searing it really makes the tuna shine.

Let’s get started.


  • 1 tuna steak
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 2 tbsp chili oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Start by rinsing your tuna steak, and patting it dry.

Mix the garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt, and tarragon in a small mixing bowl.

Once dry, drizzle the chili oil all over the tuna steak, gently massaging it with your hands.

Sprinkle the seasoning all over the fish, trying to get all sides. Set aside on a plate, and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

How to make pan seared tuna steak

When you are ready to cook the tuna, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add in the olive oil, and heat for a minute or so.

Carefully add in the tuna, and cook on both sides, uncovered for about 5 minutes per side. Now you can go longer if you want, but I go for a nice pink in the middle as that is how I prefer it, but you cook it to your liking.

The tuna steak is pretty awesome. The seasonings and the chili oil really make this one shine. Any leftovers can be used for a tuna salad as well, should you want to go that route and make a sandwich. Hope you enjoy!


  • Michelle

    This is the best! Couldn’t find chili oil, so I put chili powder in olive oil and cooked for 3 minutes on each side, then topped it with homemade cilantro salsa mix, best Tuna I have ever made and ate! Thank You!

  • Carolyn

    Making a tuna steak for the first time using your recipe, not exactly, but most of the seasonings you recommended. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  • Valerie

    Made this tonight for dinner and it was a hit! I only changed 2 things- I added toasted sesame seeds and lime. I wish I could share a pic of my luscious sheared tuna. Yum.

  • Kels

    My husband taught me how to cook fish last night (spoiler: it’s super easy). We had tuna steaks from his fishing trip over the weekend. I accidentally read the directions wrong, so I made the rub and put that on the fish instead of the oil…. I added ginger to the rub and left it over night, then seared it off in jalapeno olive oil (that’s what I had) and it made a really nice crust! Easy, quick, delicious. Thanks for the recipe, I tagged you in my Instagram post about it (@health4kels)!

  • Donna

    Absolutely ,amazingly delicious and easy too!! My husband loved it! This was my first attempt at seared tuna and it will not be my last! Thank you for posting and sharing this recipe!

  • Betty

    I’ve been searing tuna steaks for years. My favorite only includes butter. a little salt and pepper, and garlic powder, When cooking is finished, I top the steak with mango salsa from Trader Joe’s, and surround it with black beans and rice. YUM
    Since I’ve been cooking for one, I microwave the steak for about 2.5 minutes, flip and cook for about 1.5 minutes. Super easy.
    I love tarragon so can’t wait to try that.

  • Sandra

    I just have a question. I have come across tuna steaks of various sizes, thicknesses and weights. For the amount of seasoning you have listed, what size and weight of tuna steak did you use?

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