Garlic Herbed Grilled Tuna Steak Recipe photo by Julia Hartbeck for Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 10 min. + marinating Grill: 10 min.
This grilled tuna steak is a quick and delicious dinner recipe that comes together in 10 minutes. Marinated in a blend of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and thyme, it's an easy meal to make during summer grilling season.

Updated: May 28, 2024

Fire up the grill and get ready to enjoy these delicious grilled tuna steaks. A heart-healthy protein, tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and other vitamins and minerals essential to reducing cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. This recipe combines the freshness of lemon juice and thyme with the savory flavors of garlic and olive oil, making it an ideal choice for a light, high-protein meal.

Grilling tuna steaks is not only quick and easy but also a great way to enjoy the natural flavors of the fish. Whether you make them for your next summer barbecue or as a simple weeknight dinner, this grilled tuna steaks recipe is sure to become a household favorite.

The Best Tuna Steaks for Grilling

When choosing tuna steaks for grilling, opt for high-quality fresh tuna. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list is an excellent resource for the types of tuna that are sustainable to buy—as well as those to avoid, like the prized bluefin tuna, which is at risk from overfishing.

Look for steaks that are firm to the touch and have a vibrant color, typically a deep red or pink. The best types of tuna for grilling are:

  • Yellowfin (ahi) tuna: It’s known for its mild flavor and firm texture, making it ideal for grilling.
  • Albacore tuna: Also known as “white tuna,” it has a milder flavor and is lighter in color.

Freshness is also key when grilling tuna steaks. So, if possible, purchase your tuna steaks from a reputable fishmonger. Frozen tuna steaks can also work well if fresh is not available; just ensure they are properly thawed before marinating and grilling.

Grilled Tuna Steak Ingredients

  • Tuna steaks: High-quality tuna steaks are the star of this recipe, offering a meaty and flavorful protein.
  • Lemon juice: Lemon juice adds a bright and tangy flavor that complements the rich taste of the tuna. Freshly squeezed is preferred, but you can always use concentrate in a pinch!
  • Olive oil: Olive oil provides moisture and helps create a flavorful outer crust when grilling.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic adds a savory, aromatic depth to this grilled tuna steak recipe’s marinade.
  • Thyme: Thyme, with its earthy, herbaceous notes, enhances the dish’s overall flavor. You can use either fresh or dried thyme.

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the marinade

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic and thyme. Mix well to create the marinade.

Step 2: Marinate the tuna

Place the tuna steaks in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over them. Turn the steaks to coat them evenly. Let the steaks marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge, turning them occasionally to absorb the flavors.

Step 3: Preheat the grill

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Lightly oil the grates to prevent the tuna from sticking. Sprinkle the tuna steaks with salt and pepper.

Step 4: Grill the tuna steaks

Place the marinated tuna steaks on the preheated grill. Cook for three to four minutes on each side for medium-rare, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and has reached your desired level of doneness.

Editor’s Tip: For perfect grill marks, avoid moving the steaks once placed on the grill, until ready to flip.

Step 5: Serve

Remove the tuna steaks from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes. Serve hot, garnished with additional lemon slices or fresh herbs, if desired.

Recipe Variations

  • Make it Asian-inspired: Add soy sauce and freshly grated ginger to the marinade for an Asian twist.
  • Amp up the heat: Sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes, or add a dash of hot sauce to the marinade.
  • Add in more herbs: Mix in some fresh chopped dill or basil for a different herb flavor.
  • Swap the citrus: Use a combination of lemon, lime and orange juice for a zesty citrus blend.
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds: Sprinkling sesame seeds on your grilled tuna steaks adds a delightful crunch and a subtle nutty flavor that complements the rich taste of the tuna.

How to Store Grilled Tuna Steaks

Store any leftover grilled tuna steak in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. You can reheat it gently in a skillet, or enjoy it cold in a tuna steak salad.

You can also freeze grilled tuna steaks for up to three months. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. When you’re ready to eat them, thaw them overnight in the fridge before heating gently on the stovetop.

Grilled Tuna Steak Tips

Can you swap out the tuna for another fish?

Tuna’s a fatty fish with firm flesh, so you’ll want to swap it out with something similar if you intend to grill it. For this grilled tuna steak recipe, we recommend substituting with a meaty fish like swordfish, shark or even a thick-cut salmon steak.

How do you know when tuna steaks are done grilling?

For a medium-rare grilled tuna steak, cook until the outside is seared but the center is still pink—this will take approximately one to two minutes on each side for a 2-inch-thick tuna steak. If using a meat thermometer, the fish should reach a temperature of 100°-120°F to keep it tender.

What can you serve with grilled tuna steaks?

Grilled tuna steaks pair well with a variety of sides, such as grilled vegetableslemon rice or a fresh green salad.

Watch how to Make Garlic Herbed Grilled Tuna Steak

Garlic Herbed Grilled Tuna Steaks

Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 10 min
Yield 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 tuna steaks (6 ounces each)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. In a container with a lid, combine the lemon juice, oil, garlic and thyme. Add the tuna and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for up to 30 minutes, turning tuna occasionally.
  2. Remove tuna from bag; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drain tuna, discarding marinade. On a lightly greased grill rack, grill tuna, covered, over medium-hot heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare or until slightly pink in the center.

Nutrition Facts

1 each: 218 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 77mg cholesterol, 211mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 40g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 5 lean meat, 1/2 fat.

Grilled tuna steak recipes aren't limited to restaurants. After enjoying yellowfin tuna in southwest Florida, I came up with this recipe so I could enjoy the flavor of my favorite fish at home. —Jan Huntington, Painesville, Ohio
Recipe Creator