How to Cook Tuna in a Grill Pan

Tuna has a meaty texture and strong fishy flavor. Common species at American fishmongers include albacore and yellowfin. Both provide thick, tasty steaks. Fresh tuna flesh holds together well, making it ideal for cooking in a grill pan. Fresh tuna is firm and red in color. Dull-brown tuna tastes bad and may even contain bacteria associated with food poisoning. Medium-thickness tuna steaks take as little as 4 minutes to cook in a grill pan. Tuna steaks, unlike the drier canned tuna, are also packed with healthy fish oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Step 1.

Pat the tuna steaks down with a paper towel to absorb any surface water. Tuna that you plan to grill in a pan should not be rinsed in water, according to the BBC Good Food website.

Step 2.

Place a grill pan on a stove top set to medium-high heat. Drizzle a few lines of olive oil across the surface of the metal.

Step 3.

Mix salt and pepper to taste with 2 to 3 tbsp. of olive oil. Rub the oil and seasoning mix into the flesh of your tuna steaks with your fingers.

Step 4.

Place the tuna steaks in the hot grill pan, using kitchen tongs. Let the fish sizzle. To achieve a good seared surface, don't move steaks around in the pan.

Step 5.

Cook the tuna steaks in the grill pan for 2 minutes. Gently lift each steak using the tongs or a spatula and flip onto the rear side. Cook for another 2 minutes.

Step 6.

Remove the tuna steaks from the grill pan and serve.

Things You Will Need
  • Grill pan

  • Tuna steaks

  • Paper towel

  • Seasoning

  • Tongs


For a different taste, marinate your tuna steaks in garlic and lemon in the refrigerator for a few hours before cooking. Cook very thick steaks for around 3 to 5 minutes on each side.


Watch out for spitting oil. Any water in the tuna might spit out and cause skin burns. Only use very fresh tuna when cooking steaks medium rare. Avoid overcooking your tuna or it will turn dry. Aim for a slightly pink middle.

the nest