This Air Fryer Tuna Steaks are seasoned with simple ingredients and paired with a flavorful sesame soy sauce for a perfect balance of flavors.
Whether you are a fan of tuna or simply looking for a healthy and flavorful meal, this Air Fryer Tuna Steak recipe is a must-try. It is an excellent choice for a quick lunch or dinner and can be served with a side of your choice. It’s great served over a light salad or sautéed cabbage.
The sesame soy sauce is a game-changer, adding a layer of complexity to the flavor profile. The tangy and slightly sweet sauce perfectly complements the richness of the tuna, making it a match made in heaven.
The air fryer ensures that the tuna steaks come out perfectly cooked with a crispy outer layer and a juicy and tender inside. Between this and my favorite air fryer teriyaki salmon, we eat a lot of fish. Thank you, air fryer!
- Yellowfin or Ahi Tuna Steaks – Be sure to source high quality tuna steaks, as this is the main star of the show. You can cook the tuna from frozen if that’s what you have.
- Olive Oil – I use olive oil spray for this, but you can use any cooking spray or oil you like.
- Ground Black Pepper – I like to use a courser grind on the pepper, not a fine grind, so you can really see and taste the pepper.
- Lime Juice – Adds a zesty kick of acidity that brightens up the fish.
- Sesame Oil – We go light on the sesame oil to not overpower the fish.
- Soy Sauce – You can use a low-sodium one to cut down your salt intake if you want to.
- Green Onion – Thinly sliced, using the green parts only.
- Black sesame seeds – You can put these in the sauce to add at the end.
Is it Okay to Eat Tuna Raw?
These tuna steaks are not meant to be served well done. Tuna takes on a whole different texture when it’s cooked all the way through, and for me at least, it’s not a pleasant one. But that might leave you wondering if it’s okay to eat tuna raw.
Obviously people eat raw tuna all the time at sushi restaurants. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can do it safely at home. This is due to the way the tuna was prepared and whether it’s high-enough quality to be served raw.
You’ll want to look for tuna that has been previously frozen, or is deemed high-quality and super fresh by the fishmonger where you’re purchasing it. Freezing it at home can also rid it of parasites and make it safer to eat raw. Here are the guidelines from the FDA:
- Freeze at -4℉ (-20℃) or below for 7 days
- Freeze at -31°F (-35°C) or below until solid and storing at -31°F (-35°C) or below for 15 hours
- Freezing at -31°F (-35°C) or below until solid and storing at -4°F (-20°C) or below for 24 hours
How to Cook Air Fryer Tuna Steaks
Coat the tuna steaks with olive oil, either with a spray or by brushing or rubbing it on. Season all sides with salt and pepper. This will help keep the steaks moist but also get a little bit of color on the outside.
Preheat the air fryer to 380° F for about 5 minutes. While it’s not always necessary to pre-heat the air fryer, it’s essential for this recipe. Since the tuna is intended to be cooked only for a few minutes, the air fryer already needs to be hot to avoid overcooking.
Place the tuna in the air fryer basket, making sure that the steaks are not touching. Cook on 380° F for 3 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the tuna with a meat thermometer to make sure it reaches your desired doneness.
Mix together the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Near the end of cooking, brush the sauce onto the tuna steaks on both sides and continue cooking until done.
My suggested internal temperature is 120° F. This will give you a steak that is just between rare and medium rare. If you want a different outcome, here are the temperatures to aim for:
- 110-115° F for rare
- 125-130° F for medium rare
- 135-145° F for medium
When done, transfer the tuna to a plate to rest for 5 minutes.
To serve, slice the tuna into thin strips. Serve with the sauce poured over the top or use it as a dipping sauce.
Additional Helpful Tips
- Pat the tuna steaks dry with paper towels before seasoning them to ensure the seasoning sticks.
- Be careful not to overcook the tuna as it can become dry and lose its flavor.
- For a spicier sauce, add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sesame soy sauce.
- If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can check the doneness of the tuna by cutting into it with a sharp knife. The center should be slightly pink for medium-rare or opaque for well-done.
Store any leftover tuna steaks in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
You can also freeze the cooked tuna steaks for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container.
To reheat the air fryer tuna steaks, preheat the air fryer to 350°F. Place the tuna steaks in the air fryer basket and heat for 2-3 minutes, or until heated through. Avoid overheating the tuna steaks as this can cause them to dry out.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know when the tuna steaks are cooked?
Tuna steaks should be cooked until they are browned on the outside and still slightly pink in the center. You can use a meat thermometer to ensure they have reached an internal temperature of 145°F.
Can I cook the tuna steaks on a grill instead of an air fryer?
Yes, you can cook the tuna steaks on a grill over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side. You can also bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or on the stovetop over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side.
Can I make the sauce ahead of time?
You can make the sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. This sauce is used as a marinade, to give the fish tons of great flavor.
Can I use other types of fish for this recipe?
Yes, you can use other types of fish such as salmon, cod or swordfish for this recipe. Just adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of the fish.
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Air Fryer Tuna Steaks
- 2 yellowfin or ahi tuna steaks 4-6 oz each
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) ground black pepper
For the sauce
- 1 tablespoon (14.79 ml) lime juice
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons (29.57 ml) soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) black sesame seeds
- Green onion thinly sliced for garnish
- Coat the tuna steaks with olive oil. Season all sides with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the air fryer to 380° F, about 5 minutes.
- Place the tuna in the air fryer basket, not touching. Cook on 380° F for 3-5 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the tuna with a meat thermometer to make sure it reaches your desired doneness.
- Mix together the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Near the end of cooking, brush the sauce on both sides of the tuna and continue cooking until done.
- Suggested temp is 120° F. 110-115° F for rare; 125-130° F for medium rare; 135-145° F for medium. When done, remove the tuna to a plate to rest for 5 minutes.
- To serve, slice the tuna into thin strips.
- It’s important to buy high-quality tuna steaks from a reputable source to ensure it is okay to eat at these temperatures.
All air fryers have different wattage and may cook at different rates. You may need to adjust the time or temp for the best results.