Chili Lime Tuna Steaks Recipe

If you're looking for a simple seafood recipe that is absolutely bursting with fresh, punchy flavors and guaranteed to please, look no further than these chili lime tuna steaks. Created by Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye, this tuna steak dish requires only a few minutes of prep, followed by a brief marination and cooking time on the stovetop or grill. Perfect for busy days and hot summer afternoons, this dish is delicious as a midweek dinner option.

While canned tuna is an incredibly popular fish to consume, fewer people regularly enjoy this wonderful fish in its fresh form. If you haven't tried cooking tuna steaks before, it might feel a little daunting, especially if you live in an area where this type of fish is more pricey to purchase. Let us reassure you, though: Cooking fresh tuna is surprisingly easy, and the most important thing is to avoid drying it out by overcooking it. Fortunately, this can easily be managed through careful timing, and with the marinade adding extra flavor and moisture to the tuna, this really is a foolproof recipe that will result in the most delicious fish every time. 

Gather the ingredients for chili lime tuna steaks

To make this chili lime tuna steak recipe, first you will want to gather the ingredients. For the marinade, you'll use brown sugar, soy sauce, lime zest and juice, a red chili, lemongrass, garlic, cilantro, cooking oil, and galangal paste. You'll also, of course, need to visit your fishmonger to pick the best tuna steaks

If you haven't purchased fresh tuna before, there are a few key things to look out for to ensure you are using the best quality product. For example, the fish should have a uniform red-purple color and look moist but not slimy. The seafood aroma should be delicate; if the tuna smells pungent, you should definitely pass it by. And you still feel unsure, any reputable fishmonger will be glad to aid you in selecting the best steaks for the job.

Marinate the tuna steaks

Whip up a simple but highly fragrant marinade by combining the brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice and zest, red chili, lemongrass, garlic, galangal paste, cooking oil, and cilantro in a bowl that's large enough to contain the tuna steaks. Whisk the ingredients together until fully combined, then add the tuna to the bowl, moving it around to make sure each steak is throughly coated. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 15-20 minutes — tuna doesn't need long to marinate, and in fact, if you leave it for too long, the acids in the mixture will begin to cook the fish and potentially render it tough. So, keep an eye on that clock once the tuna is in the marinade.

Grill the tuna steaks

For the best results, we recommend using either a grill or a griddle pan on the stovetop to cook your tuna steaks. Not only will this cook the fish to perfection, keeping it lovely and moist, but it will also give the tuna some deliciously caramelized sear lines that will add more flavor to the finished dish. 

Whichever method you use, it's important to make sure your cooking surface is really hot before adding the tuna steaks. Once they hit the pan or grill, they will only need a minute or two of cooking on each side until they are done. You'll see the flesh of the tuna change from purple to beige, the perfect indicator to see how cooked the fish is. Fresh tuna is at its best served medium rare, though if you prefer it cooked a little longer, you are welcome to do so. 

Serve immediately with your sides of choice

Once your tuna steaks are cooked to your heart's content, remove them from the pan and serve them straight away with an extra sprinkling of fresh cilantro and any side dish of your choosing. Rice, noodles, or a fresh salad all make great accompaniments to this light yet satisfying dish. 

Chili Lime Tuna Steaks Recipe
5 from 28 ratings
Full of fragrant flavor, these marinated tuna steaks are ready in under half an hour.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Chili lime tuna steaks
Total time: 24 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Juice and zest of 1 ½ limes
  • 1 red chili, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon galangal paste
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro, plus extra for serving
  • 4 fresh tuna steaks (roughly 4 ounces each)
  1. To prepare the marinade, add the brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice and zest, red chili, lemongrass, garlic, galangal paste, oil, and cilantro to a medium bowl. Throughly mix the ingredients together.
  2. Add the tuna steaks to the bowl, thoroughly coating each steak with the marinade. Cover the bowl and let the tuna marinate for no longer than 15-20 minutes.
  3. Heat a griddle pan or grill to high heat before adding the tuna. Cook the steaks for 1-2 minutes on each side.
  4. Serve the tuna steaks immediately with additional chopped cilantro, if desired.
Calories per Serving 262
Total Fat 4.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 66.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 10.8 g
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
Total Sugars 5.5 g
Sodium 958.8 mg
Protein 43.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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