Ahi Tuna with Soy Ginger Lime Sauce

4.71 from 182 votes
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Sesame-crusted ahi tuna with soy ginger lime sauce is a healthy and very simple dish to make! Pickled cucumbers add a sweet and tangy crunch with each bite.

Sesame crusted ahi tuna with soy ginger sauce

At the market, I’m always keeping my eye out for some good fresh fish, and recently I scored two beautiful ahi tuna steaks, and I knew just what to do. Nothing is easier and more delicious than sesame-crusted ahi tuna that has been lightly seared and served rare with some tangy soy dipping sauce.

I’ve been daydreaming about tropical Palm trees, sandy beaches, and warm waters lately. I think momma needs a vacation! Well if I can’t get on a jet plane, I can, at least, bring some fresh island cuisine to us.

Sliced ahi tuna with sesame crust on cutting board

Cooking raw fish may seem harder than it is. Of course, I was a little intimidated when I first started working with sushi-grade fresh fish. For this recipe, all you need to do is sprinkle sesame seeds on the outside of the steaks and quickly sear each side in a very hot pan for about a minute.

That’s it! The searing gives a nice contrast of textures with each bite; savory cooked edges and tender throughout. Make sure that as tempting as it may be, do not overcook the fish. Otherwise, you end up with the stuff they use for tuna fish salad.

bowls of sesame crusted ahi tuna with soy ginger sauce

Chopsticks holding seared sesame crusted ahi tuna

I like to serve sesame-crusted ahi tuna steaks two ways depending on how hungry we are, hehe. I cut the seared fish into thin slices serve them with some pickled cucumbers and soy ginger-lime dipping sauce, or with brown rice and tons of vegetables to make a healthy tuna bowl.

close up of sesame crusted ahi in a bowl with avocado and slices of carrots

Oh man, you are going to demolish each bite, the tangy-sweet soy sauce ties all of the flavors together. We enjoyed this meal of super fresh seared ahi tuna and all of the fixings. I could certainly go for this meal every week!

More Asian recipes

How do I know what kind of raw fish to purchase?

It’s really important to consider food safety when consuming raw fish. You want to make sure you talk to the vendors before buying the fish to make sure it’s safe for raw consumption. It’s also a good idea to buy fish that has been previously frozen because some species of fish contain parasites and freezing them will kill those that may be present. However, freezing doesn’t kill all harmful microorganisms which is why it’s good to cook the fish to be the safest. Searing the ahi tuna on the surface helps to reduce the risk of microbial contamination, but still make sure you buy and store fish that has been properly handled. (Source: FDA.gov)

Ahi Tuna with Soy Ginger Lime Sauce

Sesame-crusted ahi tuna with soy ginger lime sauce is a healthy and very simple dish to make! Pickled cucumbers add a sweet and tangy crunch with each bite.
4.71 from 182 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Japanese


Pickled Cucumbers

  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar, Kikkoman
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, dried
  • 2 6-inch japanese cucumbers, or Persian, cut into ⅛-inch slices

Soy Ginger Lime Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice, about 2 limes
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce, plus 2 more teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, dried


  • 20 ounces ahi tuna, (four 5-oz pieces) about 1-inch thick
  • 8 tablespoons sesame seeds, (white, black or mixture of both)
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, or vegetable oil


Pickled Cucumbers

  • Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and chili flakes in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Remove from heat. Add cucumber slices and stir.
  • Let it rest for 10 minutes, then transfer cucumber to a sealable container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Soy Ginger Lime Sauce

  • Whisk together all soy ginger lime sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to serve.


  • Place sesame seeds on a plate. Pat dry the tuna steaks with a paper towel to remove excess water.
  • Dredge and press tuna in sesame seeds, coating evenly. Sprinkle with more seeds as needed.
  • In a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil until just smoking.
  • Frying two portions at a time, arrange the tuna steaks in the pan (do not overcrowd) and cook until the sesame seeds start to turn golden underneath, about 1 minute.
  • Turn the tuna over and cook for 1 minute.
  • Sear the edges of the tuna for 15 seconds on each edge.
  • Transfer the tuna to a plate with a paper towel, gently patting to soak up any excess oil. Repeat with remaining tuna portions.
  • Transfer tuna to a cutting board and cut ¼-inch thick slices.
  • Arrange tuna on individual serving plates or bowls. Serve with pickled cucumbers and soy ginger lime sauce.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 318kcal (16%)Carbohydrates 30g (10%)Protein 36g (72%)Fat 4g (6%)Saturated Fat 0.2g (1%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 0.4gCholesterol 69mg (23%)Sodium 1105mg (46%)Potassium 34mg (1%)Fiber 0.3g (1%)Sugar 23g (26%)Vitamin A 200IU (4%)Vitamin C 13.2mg (16%)Calcium 30mg (3%)Iron 0.9mg (5%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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4.71 from 182 votes (177 ratings without comment)

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92 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Jenn says

    This was great! the only modification I made was to slightly salt the fish as I felt the fish itself was kind of bland. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Debbie says

    My husband and I made this 2 nights in a row!!!!! The sauce was so amazing with then tuna we had to make it again.

  3. Kelly says

    I can’t wait to try this. We are having Ahi Tuna for dinner tonight. I will be using this recipe! Thank you for sharing. I am also trying those cucumbers! 🙂

  4. Leola Specht says

    Great fresh tuna recipe, we absolutely loved it, thank you Jessica! FYI: I avoid putting honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, etc. in sauce for fish recipes. It’s unnecessary added sugar. Recipe comes out great without sugar. And I never blot with paper towels when a recipe says to do that (I don’t use parchment paper or foil or other single use disposables – it saves money and reduces trash – either). I used a cast iron pan to cook the fish. I was making other things in the oven, so I warmed the cast iron pan in the oven with the other things and when the sesame tuna was ready to cook, I put the tuna in the pan, cranked the oven up to broil and did the cooking on both sides in the oven. I used less red pepper because I don’t like spicy. And cooked the tuna through slightly more because we don’t like too raw. Adjust to your liking 🙂

  5. Joshua Resendez says

    Great meal, one of the best I’ve ever had. Only thing I did differently was the cook time on the tuna. I cooked them in a cast iron pan at about 350-400 degrees for about 10-15 seconds a side and a couple seconds on the edges.

  6. Sandra Zajac says

    This is a fabulous recipe! have mad it several times and everyone loves it. would love to get more asian type recipes .

  7. Madeleine says

    Excellent recipe. I only added miso paste on the tuna so the sesame seeds sticks very well. Your sauce is excellent. My family and friends loved your pickles. Question, can we reheat the liquid to redo more pickles or is it better to make new recipe one we ate all the Pickles?

  8. Paige Muller says

    This recipe was amazing! So easy to follow and it took less than 30 minutes to make. This will be a repeat recipe in our house!

  9. Stacey says

    This recipe produces restaurant-quality results. I prepared it during the Spring 2020 shelter-in-place and had pretty much all the ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator (I subbed radishes and mild jalapeños for the pickled cucumbers). This recipe is a keeper.

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