Seared Tuna with Avocado

Sushi-grade tuna steaks, pan seared, served with slices of avocado and a ginger, soy, cilantro, lime, garlic sauce.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 6 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded, de-ribbed, minced (if very hot, use only 1 chile)
  • 2 tablespoons of peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 to 4 limes, depending on how juicy your limes are)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce if you need to avoid gluten)
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or other high smoke-point oil
  • 4 (6 ounce) blocks sashimi-quality tuna
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced


1 In a bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeño, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt, sesame oil and olive oil. If you want, you can purée the sauce in a blender or food processor.

2 Heat a large skillet on high heat for one minute. Coat the pan with the canola oil and let heat up for 30 to 45 seconds. Sprinkle the tuna pieces with salt. Sear the tuna for a minute on each side.

tuna-avocado-2.jpg tuna-avocado-3.jpg

3 Transfer the seared tuna to a bowl and coat with some of the sauce. Pour some sauce on the plates, top with the tuna and serve with the sliced avocado and a wedge of lime.

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  • r.a.

    We had this for dinner last night and I just realized that I had misread the recipe and left out the soy sauce. It was great even that way and we plan on having this again. I might even add the soy sauce next time….I’ll let my husband make the call on that one.

  • Carolyn Crowder

    This dish is wonderful. I don’t care for rare tuna so I seared the tuna and finished cooking the tuna in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes. The tuna was not dry at all. The sauce is very flavorful. This is a very easy and quick recipe to make. Will be making this again.

  • Ron

    I made this last night for my lady friend and it was a huge success. A high end restaurant style meal that came together quick and easy. I substituted honey for sugar, paired it with stir fry vegetables and topped it with sesame seeds as well as the avocado. This one is a keeper, thanks for the great recipe.


  • Steph

    This is the best ahi recipe ever. We brought an ahi back from Hawaii and sawed it into steaks (while frozen) and vacuum packed them. This is the very best recipe! As alaskans, we usually eat king salmon steaks, halibut, ling cod, crab, deer, shrimp, etc. but this is my husbands new favorite!

  • Linda Webb

    This is a fabulous recipe. I love it every time I cook it and so do all the people I’ve served it to. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve shared it. I don’t change the ingredients at all, but I do serve it over a bed of sliced raw cabbage. The sauce on the cabbage is so good. Thanks!

  • Keith Belknap

    This is my first time on Simply Recipes and as soon as I saw this I grabbed the keys to my car and went to the store for the necessary spices. I had just purchased two Ahi Tuna steaks earlier today and I have to say, this is delicious! I ended up cooking the fish a little too much since I did not want it quite so rare, but the sauce turned out amazing. The avocado complimented the sauce and made the tuna more mouthwatering than it already was. Thank you for sharing!

  • Bill

    Absolutely delicious! We loved the recipe. We didn’t have any soy sauce so, we substituted balsamic vinaigrette for the soy sauce. It worked very well. If folks are looking for a variation on the recipe, that’s the way to go. It also cuts down on the salt. :)

  • Peter M

    Great recipe and very tasty. Just a quick note to say that there is no such thing as ‘sushi-grade’ fish, it’s more marketing than anything else. If it’s fresh, it’s sushi grade. The fish that are delivered to sushi restaurants are either flash frozen fillets or whole fish but no standard exists for eating raw to being cooked.

  • Barb

    Fabulous – I have been anxiously awaiting to prepare the tuna that I got yesterday at a farmer’s market, and it was everything I had hoped and more. I cooked it on the grill with a vegetable pan – two minutes per side. I took the rarer pieces in the middle and my husband who wasn’t sure he would like it took the ends, more medium. He loved it (darn it). I did take a picture!

  • John

    My wife and I are both very excitable cooks!!
    We eat sushi grade tuna at least twice per month. I have prepared it almost every way possible. This happens to be the recipe that we have been looking for. We live outside Chicago and have access to great tuna at the fresh market in the city… I can be there and home in 45 minutes. I’m on my way and thanks.

  • Luis

    Since the first time I made this dish, I went crazy it’s absolutely delicious. Since then I make this dinner for my wife frequently and she loves it. I added a lil bit more jalapeños to it to make it more spicy, it’s great for tastebuds, and we accompany it with some salt crackers, although it’s kind of hard to find any tuna steaks nearby, but I’ll guarantee it I’ll be worth it. Trust me, Good Luck!

  • Ryan

    Had this tonight for dinner with a date. Both of us were thoroughly impressed! Made it with fresh albacore and used the freshest ingredients came out delicious will definitely make again!

  • JimG

    I made this last week. Although the basic recipe is quite good, the juice from 4 limes overpowers the dish and had everyone either reaching for the salt to counter the acidity or pushing it away entirely. If I made it again I would only use 1 lime and would provide most of the sauce on the side and let everyone chose the amount they wanted.

    Was pretty disappointing.

  • Michael OConnor

    I enjoyed the meal very much as did my wife and daughter. However, we all thought the soy was overwhelming. Next time might try significantly less soy and add a little juice,ie oj or pineapple.

  • Jane

    I made this for my boyfriend’s birthday last night and it was delicious! Loved all the strong flavors. I don’t usually like tuna, but I liked this recipe! Thanks Elise!

  • Jenna

    This recipe looks incredible. My question is whether we can substitute using frozen tuna steaks (like from Trader Joe’s) instead of the sashimi grade tuna? I have some steaks in the freezer that I want to use and this looks like the perfect recipe. I assume we need to cook the thawed frozen steaks longer than 1 minute each side? Suggestions?

    Personally, I think I would cook the tuna medium (touch of pink in middle) versus ultra rare. ~Elise

  • Michael

    I have made this several times. The only suggestion I have is this: I like my avocados cold, so I peel and slice them early and keep them in the fridge until serving. The warm tuna, with the spicy jalapeno and a cool avocado is to die for. My wife was thoroghly impressed. Thanks a million.

  • Crescent

    Just had to add my vote to the suggestions that this sauce is amazing with chicken too! I’ve made this dish with tuna that wasn’t sushi grade (so it had to be cooked through), and thought the sauce was the real star. This time I marinated boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the sauce for a couple hours, then cooked the chicken on a Foreman grill. I boiled the remaining marinade so it was safe to use as a sauce over the chicken, avocado, and brown rice. Fantastic combination of flavors.

  • joe p 718

    Great recipe, real easy, any can do this one, the cilantro makes this meal.

  • Aaron

    This recipe is perfect, every time I see fresh sashimi, I have to buy it and tell my wife to start the stove top. Love it.

  • Tina

    Every time my boyfriend and I see fresh sashimi grade ahi at our local Farmer’s Market, we think of this recipe. My boyfriend hates cilantro though, but I LOVE it so I match one batch with and one without–I’m such a considerate girlfriend.. =) The soy jalapeno combination is just BEAUTIFUL!

  • Nikol

    I have made seared tuna in many different ways and this has been one of the best. The tuna comes out so tasty. Highly recommended to all.

  • Sarah

    Excellent – particularly if you are having a dinner party as everything can be done in advance and it is super-sophisticated. Makes you look like an elegant and effortless host! Would agree that only one minute per side leaves it very raw in the middle. Which is great if you love fish or sushi but for some cooking for a 2 – 3 mins each side is maybe better
    Any tips as to what could go with it?

  • Gez

    Absolutely fabulous. Quick, easy and monstrously tasty. Thank you.

  • Jared

    So delicious! I’m just stunned. I discovered this recipe when looking for a seared tuna recipe. The night my fiance and I decided to try this, we couldn’t find a store selling the tuna we needed. Thus we decided to try this recipe with chicken instead. It was one of the tastiest meals we’ve ever cooked! We’ll be checking out this site more often from now. And we can’t wait to try this recipe with tuna. Thanks!

  • Sarah

    I just made this for my fiancee – it was wonderful and not usually our Monday night sort of food – will definately make it for the next dinner party not least of all because you can prepare everything in advance so just the searing needs to be done with guests in situ…makes for a much more sociable evening. Another great one – thanks!

  • Sarah

    This looks fantastic. I’m looking forward to making it for my boyfriend’s birthday dinner, but I’m at a loss as to what to serve with it. Any suggestions?

  • Benjamin

    I have made this dish several times now and it has been amazing everytime! I like to serve it with Miso and a spinach salad with ginger dressing and Sake.

  • Brittany Sherman

    This recipe was to die for! I did make a few altercations, however. I decided to use cilantro paste and ginger paste found in the herb section at the grocery store. It came out just fine with the sauce and saved time by not having to chop or grate. I also added some fresh minced ginger only because I had some laying around. Instead of traditional soy sauce, I picked up a ginger soy sauce at the local fish and meat market. By adding a smidge of worcestershire, chipotle tabasco and wasabi paste, the sauce mixture was phenomenal! For side dishes I made a Japanese cucumber salad and mashed potatoes. And I finished it all off with a creme de menthe cake. The combination of the flavors was amazing. This will definitely be a redo!

  • jill griffin

    This was a wonderful meal, served over steamed balsamic rice, small spring mix with the avocado slices & cherry tomatoes for color, extra sauce in a small ramiken served on the plate. A beautiful presentation.

    One word of caution though.. tuna comes out very, very rare, as in cold in the middle. Great if you have a trusted source for sushi grade tuna, cook longer if you don’t. Highly recommend this recipie.

  • Kara

    Just wanted to comment that we’ve made this recipe 3 times now and it is DELICIOUS. we love the sauce, and it’s so fast and easy to make. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    I made this for my boyfriend and me, and WOW! were we amazed. He’s in the restaurant business and said this could easily be served in a top restaurant. Exquisite flavor, but not overpowering the delicate tuna. The avocado was the perfect complement, and the sauce drizzled over the finished product kept the fish at the perfect consistency/moisture level throughout the meal. Yum, Yum, Yum.

  • Julie

    Just wanted to post that I made this with seared salmon, Near East spanish rice, and a salad of mixed greens with the sauce as a dressing (I had more than needed for the fish). It turned out delicious, especially as a salad dressing!

  • Lisa

    Hi Elise,

    I will definately try this. For the past few months we have been making your other seared ahi tuna recipe, which is also amazing. My teen son says it’s his favorite dinner. We have it about once a week or when we can find sushi grade tuna. Last week found the right stuff, spent the $25 for the tuna, got it seared. I went to gather the family unit for the feast. Got back to the kitchen and found the main dish missing from the the counter. Our dogs never confessed but the guilty way they hid under the bed spoke volumes. So warning to households with pets, they find this dish every bit as irresistible as we do.

    Bon appetit! Lisa

    Note from Elise: LOL! Sounds like your dogs have highly refined palates. Ouch!

  • Adam

    I tried it this past weekend with some sushi grade tuna. Suffice to say, it was quite a success; everyone enjoyed it.

    Thanks for the great recipe.

  • Dana

    I am not a fan of fish, if I do eat it I require that someone a bit more experienced with it cook it. So I pared the sauce with chicken. It turned out excellent! I also managed to forget the soy sauce, probably because it was not on the counter where the fixings had landed when I got home from the grocery store. But I added some half way through the meal just sprinkling it over what was left. It totally changed the flavor. Originally it had more Mexican flavors- make sure you get the ginger and garlic chopped up fine enough. I don’t know about doing this with tuna but with the chicken you could chop it and the avacado up to create a funky-slightly green chicken salad.

  • beckiwithani

    My husband had bought haddock, not tuna. So we got rid of the soy sauce in the recipe and added some pureed roasted tomatillos instead, then used it as a sauce for fish tacos. We also replaced the jalepenos with serranos because I prefer their flavor. We put the avocado slices right into the tacos. They were absolutely AMAZING. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Ladd

    Alton Brown had a show about seering tuna. Off the top of my head, he created a marinade with half part honey, half part soy sauce, with a little wasabi tossed in. After marinating the the tuna chunk (it was large, like a big rectangle), he rolled the tuna in sesame seeds. On a grill using very high heat (actually , it was cooked on charcoal chimney) , he cooked each side of the rectangle for approx 90 seconds per side. The high heat causes the sesame seeds to burst, thus releasing even more flavor into the fish. After cooking, using the same recipe for the marinade, the sauce was used as a dipping sauce. It was Good Eats for sure when I tried it at home. I cooked it with asparagus (grilled, in a pan). Check the foodnetwork website for the actual recipe.

  • Faisal

    I decided to try this recipe out tonight, but I didn’t have any tuna. After searching in vain for some at the local supermarket, I decided to try it out with the salmon I had instead. To my surprise, it turned out amazing! I wish I had taken a picture, because it looked as great as it tasted. Thanks!

  • Cera

    I’ve always used high heat for searing tuna and I’m intrigued by your direction to use medium high heat. My seared tuna comes out tasty, but ends up having charred bits on the outside. I’m going to try your recipe with the direction of medium high heat and see how that goes. probably having this tonight!