Image credit: Ariane Resnick for Clean Plates

While popping a can of tuna makes for a great quick lunch, we think that a fresh, hearty tuna steak is a pretty elegant dinner. But searing tuna to a perfect level of doneness in a pan can be tough, and the last thing you want to do with that exciting main dish is overcook it. That’s where air fryer tuna steaks come in.

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Tuna is an excellent source of lean protein, as well as vitamins such as B6 and D. And although it’s quite low in fat, it’s also a great source of fatty acids, which have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. And air fryer tuna steaks are one of the healthiest methods of preparation. Although we call it an “air fryer,” this device is really a rebranded convection oven. By baking your tuna steaks instead of frying them in oil, studies show that you can preserve significantly more of the vitamin D.

To create a recipe for healthy tuna steak that’s basically foolproof — and takes just five minutes of active time — we used the air fryer. This process sears the outside of the tuna while leaving the inside sashimi-level tender. Our recipe yields a perfect medium-rare outcome, just like tuna steaks are generally served in restaurants. If you prefer yours to be more thoroughly cooked, however, the answer is simple: leave it in the air fryer for an additional three to four minutes to reach medium.

Make extra marinade to use as a dipping sauce, or simply squeeze lime on top and dip the tuna slices in tamari. Both white and black sesame seeds are great here, and the combination looks beautiful. We used yellowfin tuna; ahi will work equally well. While the cost of fresh tuna can be intimidating, you’ll pay at least double for the same quantity in a restaurant, making this option the far more budget-friendly one. 

Air Fryer Tuna Steaks




20 min


05 min


1 lb ahi or yellowfin tuna

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 teaspoons tamari sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon sesame seeds


  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir the lime juice, tamari sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds together. Add the tuna steaks and toss to coat, turning several times. Let them sit in the marinade on the counter for 20 minutes.

  2. Preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees. Place the tuna steaks on the rack, and cook for 5 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.


Feel free to make this marinade even more festive by adding 1 teaspoon chili paste and 1 teaspoon honey to it.

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