How Long Does It Take To Properly Sear Tuna?

Seared ahi tuna is light on the palate, gorgeous on a plate, and simple to make at home. Yellowfin tuna usually comes to mind when one thinks of ahi, but as Catalina OP states, bigeye tuna counts as well. One difference between the two lies in their flavor profiles: Bigeye is richer with more fat while yellowfin is mild, per Allrecipes.

There are several ways to prepare both types of fish, such as broiling, grilling, and sautéing. Pan-searing is another popular method because it's quick and easy to accomplish, but before you start the cooking process, it's important to opt for tuna that is either sashimi-grade or sushi-grade. Most of the time, ahi tuna is either raw inside or cooked to a rare or medium-rare doneness, so low-quality tuna is not advisable for this recipe, per Food Network. On that note, it's also important not to cook ahi tuna too much because it may end up dry and void of any flavors.

So with that being said, how long should ahi tuna be seared? The short answer is, not very long. The slightly longer answer involves the exact number of minutes for rare and medium-rare levels.

Four or five minutes will do

First, it's a good rule of thumb to season your ahi tuna steaks. As San-J explains, it's best to marinate the tuna in homemade teriyaki sauce, olive oil and jalapeños, or soy sauce with wasabi paste. For a simpler approach, use salt and pepper and/or sesame seeds on the outside.

Next, you're going to want to use a pan over high heat. San-J likes to add oil to the pan and all over the ahi tuna steaks, while Allrecipes suggests a mix of olive oil, butter, and peppercorns for cooking. Once the pan is hot, add the ahi tuna and wait 45 seconds. Then, cook it for another 90 seconds, but opt for medium heat.

For the second side, you're aiming for two minutes. This will make the ahi tuna steaks rare, but if you enjoy medium-rare doneness, then leave the steaks on for an extra minute. In total, this equates to four minutes and 15 seconds for rare tuna and five minutes and 15 seconds for medium-rare tuna.

Now all that's left to do is slice the ahi tuna steaks, season them with toasted sesame seeds or soy sauce and dig in!