Air Fryer Tuna Steak

This Air Fryer Tuna Steak recipe creates a perfect golden sear with a doneness however you like. Such a quick and easy way to make a perfect tuna steak.

A delicious air-fried tuna steak is served over a bed of rice, topped with dressing, cucumber, edamame beans, and sliced mango. A white spoon rests on the bowl, and small bowls of spring onions are placed nearby.
  • Quick and easy: This method cooks the tuna steaks in just a few minutes, making it a great option for busy weeknights. Serve it in a tuna poke bowl or with a simple side of air fryer eggplant.
  • Versatile: Air-fried tuna steaks can be seasoned and flavored in many different ways; you can use different spices, herbs, and marinades to create different flavor profiles.
  • Tender and juicy: Air frying tuna steaks results in a tender and juicy texture without overcooking or drying out the fish. The high heat of the air fryer seals in the moisture and flavors, creating a perfectly cooked tuna steak every time. (Try these air fryer turkey burgers, next!)
  • Restaurant-quality results: Cooking tuna steak in the air fryer can produce chef results with minimal effort. (Psst. here are some more of my favorite air fryer recipes).

If you’re just getting going with air frying, don’t miss Air Fryer 101: How to Choose and Use an Air Fryer to learn all you need to know for air fryer perfection.

Ingredients For Air Fryer Tuna Steaks 

Ingredients for Air Fryer Tuna Steak arranged on a kitchen countertop, including tuna steak, salt, black pepper, and oil.
  • Tuna steak: I love ahi tuna. You can purchase fresh tuna steaks or thaw from frozen. 1 1/4″ thick and keep it chilled in the fridge up until it’s ready to dive into the air fryer. You want to choose a lovely bright red piece of fresh tuna for the best results.
  • Oil: Pick the oil you prefer at home – I love using olive or avocado oil for this recipe.
  • Salt: Use coarse salt in this recipe; your thick-cut tuna can take it!
  • Black pepper: I love the kick some freshly cracked black peppercorns give to seared tuna. You could also use pink peppercorns for a pretty aesthetic. 

How To Make Air Fryer Ahi Tuna Steaks 

Tuna steaks are seasoned with salt and pepper and rubbed with oil. They are air-fried for 2 minutes on one side, flipped, and cooked for an additional 1-2 minutes to achieve rare doneness. The edges will be grey and not pink.
  1. Preheat the air fryer to 390ºF for 5 minutes while you prepare the tuna.
  2. Next, pat dry the tuna steaks. Rub with oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Air fry the tuna for 2 minutes, flip, then cook for 1-2 minutes more (check the color after 1 minute, the edges will be grey and not pink). This will give you rare tuna steaks and cook longer if you prefer medium-rare.

Make Ahead Instructions 

If you’re making this recipe to eat cold, go ahead and cook it the day before if you like. You can It’s a 5-minute recipe, so there’s not much time to be saved.

Storage Instructions 

Refrigerate immediately: After cooking air fryer tuna steaks, let them cool to room temperature before storing them. Then, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator.

Use within 2-3 days: Cooked tuna steaks should be consumed within 2-3 days of cooking for the best quality and freshness. Beyond that time, the texture and flavor may begin to deteriorate.

Don’t freeze: While you can freeze raw tuna steaks, cooked tuna steaks do not freeze well and can become dry and rubbery when thawed. It’s best to avoid freezing cooked tuna steaks.

Spring onions and cucumber slices top sliced air-fried tuna steak on a rectangular dish.

Variations 

  • Citrus and herb: Before air frying the tuna steaks, brush them with olive oil and season with salt, black pepper, and your favorite herbs such as cilantro and chives. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice for a fresh and zesty flavor.
  • Cajun spice: Add some Cajun seasoning to the oil, salt, and pepper mixture for a spicy steak. 
  • Soy sauce, honey and ginger: Mix soy sauce, honey and minced ginger with the oil, salt, and pepper mixture and brush it onto the tuna steaks before air frying. 
  • Sesame crust: Mix sesame seeds with the oil, salt, and pepper mixture and coat the tuna steaks with the mixture before air frying. This creates a crunchy and nutty crust that adds texture and flavor to the tuna.
  • Balsamic glaze: Drizzle balsamic glaze over the cooked tuna steaks before serving them for a sweet and tangy taste.

How to air fry frozen tuna steaks

When you’re ready to cook them, you’ll need to preheat the air fryer to 390ºF for 5 minutes while prepping your tuna.

It’s important to dry the piece of fish by patting it with a paper towel, rubbing it with oil, and then seasoning it. 

You’ll need to cook the tuna in the air fryer basket for 2 minutes, flip it, and cook it for 1-2 more minutes. After that, you can check if the tuna’s edges are grey, indicating it’s ready. You can also cook it for more or less time.

Raw ahi tuna steak in the air fryer basket with salt and pepper.

Can you air fry frozen tuna steaks?

Yes, but best to partially thaw. You can do this by thawing them overnight in the fridge OR inside the vacuum-sealed package immersed in a bowl of COLD water.

What Is The Difference Between Yellowfin and Ahi Tuna?

Ahi and yellowfin tuna are two different tuna species, although they are often used interchangeably in the culinary world. Here are some key differences:

  1. Species: Ahi tuna is also known as the bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), while yellowfin tuna is also known as the ahi tuna (Thunnus albacares).
  2. Appearance: Ahi tuna typically has a deeper red color and a higher fat content than yellowfin tuna. Yellowfin tuna is often lighter in color and has a more pronounced yellow stripe along its body.
  3. Flavor: Ahi tuna has a rich, buttery flavor and a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture, while yellowfin tuna has a milder flavor and a firmer texture.
  4. Availability: Ahi tuna is typically more expensive and less readily available than yellowfin tuna, which is more commonly found in grocery stores and seafood markets

FAQs

Can you air fry a tuna steak?

Yes, air frying is a great way to cook tuna steaks and will result in a tender, juicy piece of fish.

How to reheat tuna steaks?

You can reheat your tuna steaks in the air fryer by setting it to 380ºF and heating it for 3-5 minutes.

Pro Tips and Tricks 

  • Preheating the air fryer in advance ensures a bit of color in the short time it takes to cook just the outside of a tuna steak.
  • If you want a truly rare middle, cook the tuna steak while it’s still cold or even partially frozen (it should be pliable, not frozen hard, but still very cold).
  • Choose a good quality piece of tuna fish for this recipe – fresh is preferred over frozen but you can absolutely make this with thawed tuna too.

What To Serve With Air Fryer Tuna Steaks?

You can serve this with sushi rice and nori as part of a sushi bowl. Serve them drizzled with sesame oil, sprinkled with black pepper,  and sliced green onion as an appetizer. 

I love to serve the tuna as a poke bowl with sesame mayo or sriracha mayo, my creamy Asian dressing, and these toppings: 

  • Edamame beans 
  • Fresh tropical fruit like sliced mango, lychee, or pineapple
  • Fresh cucumber rounds or ribbons 
  • Sprouts or micro greens 
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Cold pre-steamed broccoli florets
  • Boom Boom Shrimp on the side 
  • Any of your favorite salad ingredients 

Easy Air Fryer Recipes to Try

PS. If you like this air fryer tuna steak recipe, you have to try it out with my tuna poke bowls with coconut rice.

Sliced seared tuna in a poke bowl with peach slices, edamame, cucumber and green onions, drizzled with sauce.

Air Fryer Tuna Steak

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 4 minutes
Servings 1
Dinner
American
Keyword Air Fryer Tuna Steak

Ingredients
 
 

  • 7 oz tuna steak 1 1/4″ thick, cold from the fridge
  • 2 tsp oil
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt
  • tsp black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the air fryer to 390ºF for 5 minutes while you prepare the tuna.
  • Pat dry the tuna steaks. Rub with oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • If your tuna steaks come frozen, thaw them overnight in the fridge OR inside the vacuum-sealed package immersed in a bowl of COLD water.
  • Air fry the tuna for 2 minutes, flip, then cook for 1-2 minutes more (check the color after 1 minute, the edges will be grey and not pink). This will give you rare tuna steaks, so cook them longer if you prefer medium-rare.

Video

Notes

You can scale up this recipe as desired but work in batches to keep the tuna steaks in a single layer in the air fryer. For most air fryers, you’ll only be able to fit 2 tuna steaks at a time.
Preheat the air fryer before cooking the tuna steaks.
Don’t forget to pat the tuna steaks dry so that they don’t steam in the air fryer.

Nutrition

Calories: 357kcalCarbohydrates: 0.2gProtein: 46gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 659mgPotassium: 504mgFiber: 0.1gVitamin A: 4333IUCalcium: 17mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Air Fryer Tuna Steak

Last Updated on October 24, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

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Marie-Pierre
6 months ago

5 stars
I never thought of this one! A Tataki made in the Air Fryer! It makes sense; going to try it out this summer!

Vanessa
Vanessa
6 months ago

5 stars
It’s so easy to dry out tuna steaks! Loved this simple fool-poof method!

Sonya
6 months ago

5 stars
Such a delicious way to enjoy tuna!

Bernice
Bernice
6 months ago

5 stars
I always keep tuna steaks in the freezer for when we’re craving poke. This is one of our favourite treats so I was a bit nervous to use one for this recipe and cook it in the air fryer. I’m so glad I did! It’s our new favourite tuna recipe!

Bernice
Bernice
6 months ago

I always keep tuna steaks in the freezer for when we’re craving poke. This is one of our favourite treats so I was a bit nervous to use one for this recipe and cook it in the air fryer. I’m so glad I did! It’s our new favourite tuna recipe!

Audrey
Audrey
7 months ago

5 stars
I am so excited to be able to make tuna steak in the air fryer!! I love seared tuna. This turned out perfectly for me, thank you.

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