How to Cook Tuna Steak in a Pan with Delicious Results

Looking to cook a healthy and delicious meal for your family? Look no further than tuna steak, which is not only a good source of protein, but also versatile and easy to prepare. In this article, we will go over how to cook tuna steak in a pan, step by step, and show you how to get the perfect sear on the outside while keeping the inside tender and juicy.

Ingredients and Tools You Will Need

Before we get started, you will need to gather a few ingredients and tools:

  • The tuna steak(s)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Parsley, chopped (optional)
  • A non-stick frying pan
  • Tongs
  • A meat thermometer (optional)

Preparation and Cooking

Follow these steps for a delicious and fresh pan-seared tuna steak:

1. Choosing the Right Tuna Steak

Not all tuna steaks are created equal, and your choice of tuna will affect the final flavor of your dish. For the best results, look for a steak that is at least 1 inch thick, with a firm texture and bright pink color. Avoid steaks that are dull, dry, discolored, or have a strong odor, as these are signs of old or low-quality fish.

2. Seasoning the Tuna Steak

Before cooking, let the tuna steak come to room temperature for 15-30 minutes. This will help avoid overcooking. Season the steak generously with sea salt and black pepper on all sides.

3. Preparing the Frying Pan

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan evenly. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice for flavor, if you like.

4. Cooking the Tuna Steak

Carefully add the tuna steak to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until the outside is seared and browned, but the inside is still pink. Use tongs to flip the steak gently, without piercing the flesh. If you prefer your tuna steak to be cooked more, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature – it should register at least 130°F.

5. Resting and Serving the Tuna Steak

Once cooked, transfer the tuna steak to a plate and let it rest for 2-3 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute and the steak to finish cooking. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice, if desired, and serve immediately. You can also serve your tuna steak with sides like a salad, rice, or grilled vegetables.


1. Can I use frozen tuna steak?

Yes, you can use frozen tuna steak, but you will need to thaw it completely before cooking. For best results, place the frozen steak in the refrigerator overnight or use the defrost setting of your microwave.

2. How do I know when the tuna steak is cooked?

Tuna steak is best served rare to medium-rare, which means the inside should be pink and tender. To check the doneness, use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature – it should be at least 130°F. Alternatively, you can check the color of the fish – it should be opaque on the outside and slightly translucent in the center.

3. Can I use other spices to season the tuna steak?

Yes, feel free to experiment with different spices and herbs like garlic, ginger, paprika, or thyme. Just remember that tuna has a delicate flavor that can be easily overwhelmed, so use a light touch and avoid overpowering the natural taste of the fish.

4. How do I store leftover tuna steak?

If you have any leftover tuna steak, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, gently warm it up over low heat on a non-stick frying pan, or serve it cold in salads or sandwiches.