Seared yellowfin tuna with sesame sauce is an easy recipe and a delicious way to enjoy the fresh flavors of seafood at home. Ready in minutes, seared yellowfin tuna offers up delicate layers of flavor from perfectly cooked fish and rich, nutty sesame seeds.
Coated with sesame seeds and quickly seared, the inside of the tuna remains moist with its beautiful, vibrant red color and the top and bottom are cooked ever so slightly.
The succulent, firm meat and rich, distinctive flavor of fresh Ahi tuna makes it a favorite among seafood lovers.
What You Need:
If you come to Key Largo, you can hop on a boat for a day or two and you can catch a Yellowfin tuna!
This tuna is from Key Largo Fisheries, where I get some of my fish.
For the Tuna:
- 12 ounces Yellowfin (Ahi) Tuna
- Unsalted plain ghee or clarified butter
- Salt and pepper
- Toasted white sesame seeds
- Black sesame seeds
For the Pink Sauce:
- Coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
- Fresh garlic
- Fresh ginger
- Sesame oil
- Fresh lemon juice
How to Make a Healthier Seared Tuna
- In this recipe, I'm searing the tuna in clarified butter. It has a higher smoke point than regular butter and is a much healthier fat than vegetable oil.
- You can use regular butter too. Heat the pan on medium-high instead of high heat and drop the butter in.
- A quick 30-second sear on both sides of the tuna is all you need.
- Make sure you have fresh sesame seeds.
- Most tuna is wild-caught, which is good.
- Look for domestic tuna. It should be frozen when you buy it.
Mix The Dipping Sauce Before You Sear The Tuna
Before you sear the tuna, mix up a pink sauce and chill it until you're ready to serve your meal.
Combine mayonnaise, coconut aminos (or soy sauce), a little minced or pressed garlic, grated fresh ginger, a drop of sesame oil and a little lemon juice.
The recipe can be doubled or tripled for big batches. Be sure you have a fresh bottle of sesame oil because it can go bad after being in the fridge for a few months.
See quantities in the recipe card below.
Mix white and black seeds together and spread them on a large plate. Season the tuna with salt and pepper and press the tuna into the seeds, coating well on top and bottom.
How to Get a Good Sear
To get a good sear, your pan should be very hot, so let it heat for a few minutes before adding the fish.
Mix white and black seeds together and spread them on a large plate.
Season the tuna with salt and pepper and press the tuna into the plate of seeds, coating well on top and bottom.
Heat a tablespoon of ghee, or clarified butter, or even unsalted butter, in a 10" cast-iron skillet until sizzling. Add the tuna steak to the pan and sear for 20 to 30 seconds. Then carefully turn it over with a large wide spatula or fish turner.
Repeat on the other side. Let it cool for a few minutes. Remove to a plate and wrap with plastic wrap.
Place in the refrigerator to cool for about an hour. When completely cool, slice the tuna in ½" slices, against the grain. Use a very sharp knife.
Serve with Sesame Dipping Sauce and lemon wedges.
What to Serve with Seared Tuna
Seared tuna has a beautiful red color, so adding lots of contrasting color can make a dynamic appetizer.
Try some of these garnishes:
- Lemon slices or mango wedges
- Thinly sliced green onions or seaweed salad
- Thinly sliced fresh Florida oranges
Have fun with it!
For an entree, seared sesame tuna would be great over Lemon Asparagus Rice. You can mix in a few sesame seeds and 2 or 3 drops of sesame oil into the rice. It would be great!
Try Some Other Delicious Seafood Recipes:
- Florida Keys Shrimp Cocktail
- Roasted Yellowtail Snapper with Old Bay
- Seared Mahi with Basil Butter
- Pan Fried Yellowtail Snapper
- Florida Keys Pink Shrimp Salad
- Baked Coconut Shrimp
Whether served as part of a larger meal or simply on its own as an appetizer for two, pan-searing ahi tuna is healthy and a great choice.
Cook tuna in a hot pan hot in order to get a good crunchy sear on the outside.
Seared yellowfin tuna is guaranteed to add some serious wow factor to your table!
In a hot pan, sear tuna for 20 to 30 seconds per side for tuna that is 1" thick.
Over high heat, cook a thick piece of tuna for no more than a minute per side.
Expired sesame seeds smell sweet and pungent. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Tuna is frozen to kill the parasites that may be present. That said, if you are pregnant or have a compromised immune system, do not consume raw or undercooked fish of any kind.
Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Sesame Dipping Sauce
FOR THE SESAME DIPPING SAUCE
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos (or Tamari soy sauce)
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger* or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
FOR THE TUNA
- 12 ounces fresh Yellowfin (Ahi) Tuna
- black pepper
- 3 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon unsalted ghee or clarified butter use avocado oil for dairy free option
- 2 lemons sliced into wedges
FOR THE SESAME DIPPING SAUCE
- In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, coconut aminos (or soy sauce), a little minced or pressed garlic, fresh ginger, a drop of sesame oil and a little lemon juice. Refrigerate until ready to use.
FOR THE TUNA
- Mix white and black seeds together and spread them on a large plate. Season the tuna with salt and pepper and press the tuna into the seeds, coating well on top and bottom.
- Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add clarified butter and swirl to coat pan. Add tuna and sear each side for 20-30 seconds for rare or up to one minute for medium rare. Remove from pan and refrigerate until ready to serve, or at least 30 minutes.
- With a very sharp knife, slice the tuna against the grain.
- Serve with Sesame Dipping Sauce and lemon wedges.