Grilled Tuna Steaks With Asian Sesame Crust

Sesame-crusted rare pink tuna steaks sliced on dinner plates

The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 6 mins
Marinate Time: 20 mins
Total: 36 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
345 Calories
10g Fat
7g Carbs
55g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 345
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 80mg 27%
Sodium 1242mg 54%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 55g
Vitamin C 4mg 21%
Calcium 180mg 14%
Iron 4mg 25%
Potassium 1112mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Marinated in a soy-ginger sauce, these tuna steaks have lots of flavor. The meaty, tender fish pairs perfectly with the salty, tangy sauce made of soy sauce, scallions, lemon juice, sesame oil, and ginger. And since the steaks only marinate for 20 minutes before being quickly grilled, the whole recipe is ready in about half an hour. They're quick and easy enough for a weeknight but also special enough for company. They're also healthy, with lots of omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

Tuna steaks pair well with perfectly cooked rice and a green vegetable like sugar snap peas or asparagus. You can also serve them simply on a bed of greens and dress with the sauce.


Click Play to See This Delicious Grilled Tuna Steak Come Together

"Special enough for any occasion and fast enough for a weeknight. I grilled it on a contact grill and after 3 minutes, it was a tender pink in the center with a crunchy sesame crust. The marinade was flavorful but a bit salty, so use sparingly as a sauce or dip." —Diana Rattray

Grilled tuna steaks with Asian sesame crust tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions (white and light green parts)

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  •  1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

  • 4 (6-ounce) tuna steaks

  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds (white and black combined or white only)

  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for grilled tuna steaks with Asian sesame crust recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  2. In a large zip-top bag, combine the soy sauce, chopped scallions, lemon juice, sesame oil, and fresh ginger. Swish everything around in the bag until it's well combined.

    Dry and liquid marinade ingredients combined in a zip-top bag

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  3. Add the tuna steaks, turning to coat them completely with the marinade. Press the excess air out of the bag, seal, and marinate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

    Preheat the grill to high heat; this can be a countertop contact grill, an open grill pan, or an outdoor gas or charcoal grill. If using a contact grill, set to "sear" or the highest temperature setting.

    Tuna steaks placed in marinade in zip-top bag

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  4. Place the sesame seeds on a plate or a shallow dish. Remove the tuna steaks from the marinade, brushing the scallions off the steaks; reserve the marinade. One at a time, coat the steaks in sesame seeds on all sides, pressing the seeds onto the steaks so they'll stick.

    Tuna steaks being dredged in black and white sesame seeds

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt 

  5. Spray the grill plates lightly with nonstick spray and place the steaks on the grill. If using a contact grill, close the cover so the top grill rests evenly on the steaks; do not press down. Grill for about 3 minutes for a rare, pink interior; grill longer if you prefer your tuna cooked through.

    Raw sesame-coated tuna steaks on the grill

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  6. If you are using an open grilling surface, carefully flip the tuna steaks with a pair of tongs after 3 minutes and cook for 3 minutes on the other side.

    Remove the steaks from the grill and keep warm.

    Cooked sesame-coated tuna steaks on the grill

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  7. While the tuna cooks, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Mix the cornstarch with the water to create a slurry and add to the saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

    Thickened red marinade in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  8. To serve, slice the tuna steaks on the diagonal into thin pieces. Fan the slices on a plate and drizzle with the sauce.

    Grilled rare pink tuna steak slices fanned on a bed of lettuce on dinner plates; extra sauce in a small bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt


  • Rare tuna is safe to eat if you buy it fresh from a reputable fishmonger and use it as soon as possible. Note that mercury levels can be high in tuna, so don't eat it more than a few times a month.
  • If you don't like rare fish, you can grill the tuna a little longer until it is opaque throughout. The tuna will not be as tender, and its texture will be more like a well-done steak, but it will still taste good. Make sure not to overcook the tuna or it will become tough.
  • To easily prepare the fresh ginger, use the edge of a spoon to scrape off the peel from a knob of ginger. Grate it with a Microplane grater or the fine grating blades of a box grater. Another option is to buy jarred grated ginger, which is often sold in supermarkets in the Asian food section.

What Type of Tuna is Tuna Steak?

When buying tuna steaks, you will most often be purchasing bluefin tuna, which is purple-red in color and very flavorful. You may also come across ahi tuna, a popular sushi fish; ahi is the Hawaiian word for yellowfin tuna.

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