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How to Cook Tuna Steak on Grill: Get Grilling In 3 Easy Steps

by Outdoor Cooking Pros September 30, 2021

How to Cook Tuna Steak on Grill

Grilling a tuna steak is one of the simplest and fastest ways to cook tuna. If you’re looking for a quick recipe to fill your belly, this tuna steak is your answer!

It’s also one of the best-tasting tuna dishes you can make!

We know you are excited - and we are too!Let’s get straight to it!

Step by Step Guide: Grilling Your Tuna Steak

There are a lot of ways and flavors you can try when grilling a tuna steak on grill. The steps below will walk you through the general process on how you can achieve the best grilled tuna steak!

Grilling Your Tuna Steak

What You’ll Need

  • Grill: electric, gas or charcoal grill are your best options to get those sear marks. However, if you don’t have grates, your searing pan will do
  • Tuna steak: best thickness: 2 to 3 cm or approx 1 inch
  • Marinade or seasoning: salt and pepper; add more depending on preference
  • Olive oil 
  • Tongs
  • Kitchen Towel Paper

#1: Season or Marinade Your Tuna

The first thing you need to do is to prepare your tuna.

Season or Marinade Your Tuna
  1. Pat it dry with some towel paper.
  2. Pour enough olive oil to cover the tuna. (This does not only accentuate the flavor, it also prevents the tuna from sticking to the grates.)
  3. The most basic seasoning you need is the salt and pepper combination. Others opt to add parsley, oregano, garlic, and some soy sauce to further enhance the flavor of the meat.
  4. Moreover, you can also sprinkle a few dabs of lemon to neutralize any strong “fish” taste or smell.

The secret to the best grilled tuna steak? FRESH tuna. 

Remember, this cooking process is simple and straightforward. In cooking, this simplicity means you will be able to bring out the flavor of the tuna. 

However, if the fish is bad or frozen for too long, we guarantee this won’t turn out to be as appetizing as you’d expect. 

Some extra tips: 

  • If you’re adding a marinade, let the tuna sit in the fridge for half an hour before cooking.
  • If you prefer the traditional salt and pepper, you can grill it right after you add in your salt and pepper. 

#2: Preheat Your Grill

Preheating your grill is a crucial part of successfully grilling your tuna steak. Why? 

Preheat Your Grill

Because grilling on hot grates is the key to make sure the tuna won’t stick and break apart when it’s time to turn it.

Here’s the step-by-step process to carry this out: 

  1. Set your grill on high heat. If you are using coal, you’ll see that the briquettes are white and even have some flames.
  2. Lather some oil on the grates using a paper towel or spray it if you have oil in a can.
  3. If you’re using a searing pan - NO NEED TO PUT OIL. Make sure it is dry and hot to get those perfect grill marks.

#3: Cook The Tuna

  1. Place your tuna in direct heat.
  2. If you only want to sear the tuna - cook it for about 1 to ½ minutes PER SIDE. Your total cooking time should be less than 3 minutes.
  3. If you want to cook it all the way through, you need about 2 to 3 minutes PER SIDE. 2 minutes per side is ideal if your tuna steak is less than an inch thick. Go for a full 3 minutes if your tuna is a bit thick.
  4. Keep a close eye on your tuna as it’s grilling. To make sure that it retains its juices - do not overcook it. You may also opt to dabble a bit of olive oil[1] or marinade sauce after to keep it juicy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should you grill a tuna steak?

This depends as there are mainly 2 ways to grill a tuna steak - seared or cooked all the way through. 

The searing process will take you around 3 minutes. This means you will cook it for 90 seconds per side, turning the tuna only ONCE.

On the other hand, if you want it fully cooked - go for a medium well tuna steak which will take about 6 minutes total. 

For a 1-inch thick tuna, it may take up to 8 - 10 minutes total. As mentioned earlier, keep a close eye on your tuna while it’s on the grill.

Go for medium well as the heat from the tuna will continue the cooking process. After it’s removed from the grill, the heat will cook the middle part of the steak.

Can you grill tuna?

Definitely! It is the simplest and arguably the best way to cook tuna steak. The cooking process can take from 3 to 6 minutes, depending on how you want it cooked.

How thick should a tuna steak be?

There isn’t a definite thickness but the minimum should be about 2 centimeters (slightly wider than your thumb). 

If you want to sear a tuna steak, you should have a thicker cut (around 1 inch or more) to make sure it doesn’t turn overcooked during the grilling process.


There you have it!

That concludes our tutorial on how to cook a tuna steak on grill. Remember, go for thick tuna and hot grates - this is the perfect combination to get the best results for a grilled tuna steak!

Read more of our grilling guides below:

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