What Sauce Goes with Tuna Steak? 15 Delicious Options to Elevate Your Meal

Tuna steak is a meaty, flavorsome fish that can be prepared in endless ways. While simply searing or grilling a tuna steak allows the rich taste of the fish to shine through, sauces and condiments can bring the dish to the next level. The right sauce enhances the natural flavors of the tuna while providing contrasting textures, aromas, and acidity.

With tuna’s versatility, the possibilities for sauces and marinades are practically endless. From Asian-inspired sauces to salsa to creamy pan sauces, there are so many options for customizing your tuna steak meal. Use this guide to find a delicious sauce that will perfectly complement the fresh taste of seared tuna.

Benefits of Adding Sauce to Tuna Steak

Sauce serves several purposes when paired with tuna steak:

  • Enhances flavor – Tuna has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. Sauce adds another layer of taste and aroma, bringing out the best in the tuna. Acidic, salty, sweet, and spicy sauces all complement tuna’s natural flavors.
  • Provides moisture – Tuna steak is naturally a lean, firm fish. Sauce helps keep the tuna moist and tender after cooking.
  • Adds visual appeal – A drizzle of colorful, creamy, or chunky sauce over a perfectly seared tuna steak makes for an elegant presentation.
  • Contrasts textures – Crispy seared tuna with a smooth, velvety sauce makes for enjoyable mouthfeel. Sauces with mix-ins like ginger, herbs, relish, or pineapple provide crunchy contrasts to the soft tuna.
  • Balances nutrition – Many sauces incorporate vegetables, healthy fats, fresh herbs and spices. This boosts the nutritional value of the dish.

With so many benefits, sauce can be a valuable addition to tuna steak. Keep reading to discover 15 delicious sauces to try with your next tuna meal.

15 Sauces That Go Great with Tuna Steak

1. Sesame Ginger Sauce

This East Asian-inspired sauce combines toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, fresh ginger, and garlic. Brushing the sauce over tuna before pan-searing infuses Maximum flavor. The ginger’s spicy kick and sesame’s nutty taste bring out the best in tuna’s natural sweetness.

2. Soy Ginger Lime Sauce

For this bold Asian sauce, whisk together soy sauce, lime juice, grated ginger, garlic, chili sauce or chili-garlic paste, and brown sugar. You’ll get spicy, sour, salty, and sweet flavors that greatly enhance tuna’s mild taste. Marinate tuna in the sauce before cooking.

3. Chimichurri Sauce

This vibrant green herb sauce originated in Argentina but pairs fantastically with tuna. Blend parsley, cilantro, garlic, shallots, olive oil, vinegar, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Spoon chimichurri over grilled or pan-seared tuna steaks for a fresh, herby flavor boost. The acidity balances the tuna’s rich taste.

4. Peppercorn Sauce

For a classic elegant pairing, top seared or grilled tuna with a creamy peppercorn sauce. Sauté shallots and garlic, then add chicken or fish stock, heavy cream, brandy, and cracked black pepper. Simmer until thickened. Generously coat tuna steaks with the silky sauce for an upscale restaurant-worthy dish.

5. Honey Soy Sauce

For a simple Asian-inspired marinade, combine soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, and rice vinegar. Marinate tuna steaks briefly to allow the flavors to penetrate. The sweet honey and salty soy balance each other beautifully when paired with tuna’s mildness. Grill or pan-sear, then drizzle extra marinade over the finished dish.

6. Wasabi Aioli Sauce

Give your tuna a kick by making a spicy wasabi aioli. Combine mayonnaise, wasabi powder, lemon juice, garlic, and a touch of honey. Schmear onto grilled tuna steaks for a creamy coating with a sinus-clearing spicy bite. Wasabi’s horseradish flavor brilliantly complements the tuna.

7. Lemon Caper Sauce

A lemony pan sauce dressed up with briny capers is perfect for enhancing tuna’s flavor. Cook tuna steaks as desired. Remove tuna and add lemon juice, white wine, capers, and butter to the pan. Once thickened, pour the tangy sauce over the tuna. The lemon brightens while the capers give a salty bite.

8. Dijon Cream Sauce

For an easy creamy sauce, stir together Dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic, shallots, white wine, and heavy cream. Simmer until thickened then spoon over sautéed or baked tuna steak. The tangy mustard and brightness from the lemon cut through the fattiness of the cream. A refined sauce takes tuna to gourmet heights.

9. Dill Sauce

Fresh herb sauces like dill beautifully match tuna’s flavor. Blend Greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and fresh dill. Alternatively make a quick pan sauce by deglazing the tuna pan with white wine and stirring in cream and chopped dill. Either dill sauce choice adds bright flavor and richness.

10. Mango Salsa

For a tropical twist, make a chunky mango salsa by combining diced mango, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, diced chili, salt, and pepper. Spoon the vibrant salsa over seared or grilled tuna. Sweet mango and spicy chili perfectly offset tuna’s meaty flavor and texture.

11. Pineapple Salsa

Similar to mango salsa, mix diced pineapple, red onion, cilantro, minced garlic, lime juice, and red chili flakes for a sweet-tangy topping for tuna. The pineapple’s tropical zing makes an exciting contrast to the tuna’s rich savoriness. Grill tuna and pineapple slices for caramelized flavors.

12. Hoisin Sauce

For an Asian fusion flavor, marinate tuna in a hoisin sauce blend. Combine hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Briefly marinate tuna before searing or grilling. Sweet and salty hoisin gives great umami depth that amplifies tuna’s natural taste.

13. Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce is a classic condiment for tuna. To make it yourself, combine mayonnaise, chopped pickles, parsley, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, capers, and chopped onion. The creamy, briny tartar sauce complements tuna’s meaty texture. Dollop it on tuna steaks or burgers.

14. Ponzu Sauce

Ponzu is a popular Japanese sauce that combines the umami flavors of soy sauce and mirin with the brightness of rice vinegar and citrus. Use it as a marinade or drizzle the tangy-salty sauce over the cooked tuna. Ginger, garlic, or chili make tasty additions to ponzu.

15. Creamy Wasabi Dill Sauce

For an elegant sauce, blend sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, wasabi powder, dill, salt, and pepper. The kick of wasabi, creaminess of the dairy, and fresh herb flavors pair beautifully with tuna for a restaurant-quality sauce. Drizzle generously over freshly cooked tuna steaks.

Tips for Cooking Tuna Steak

  • Choose sustainably caught fresh tuna steaks that are ruby red in color with a bright sheen.
  • Cut tuna steaks at least 1 inch thick so they stay tender and moist during cooking.
  • Pat tuna dry before seasoning or marinating for maximum flavor absorption.
  • Sear tuna steaks over high heat 1-2 minutes per side just until lightly crusted but still pink inside.
  • Grill tuna steaks over direct high heat for amazing char flavor.
  • Baste tuna as it cooks with reserved marinade or sauce to keep moist.
  • Avoid overcooking tuna. Cook to medium rare or the texture becomes dry.
  • Allow tuna steaks to rest 5 minutes after cooking so juices redistribute evenly.
  • Slice tuna across the grain before serving for tender, easy-to-cut portions.

Sauce and Serve Seared Tuna Steaks

With so many great sauces to choose from, you can enjoy restaurant-quality tuna at home. Marinade tuna briefly in your favorite sauce blend, then pat dry. Heat a skillet with oil over high heat. Sear tuna 1-2 minutes each side until lightly browned but still pink inside. Pour any extra sauce over the tuna before serving.

Pair your sauced tuna steaks with side dishes that also complement the flavors. Steamed white or brown rice, sautéed spinach or bok choy, pineapple fried rice or mango salsa make excellent pairings.

So don’t be afraid to get creative and sauce up your tuna steaks with new flavors. With options from tangy chimichurri to spicy Thai chili, the possibilities are endless. Use this guide to find an inspired new tuna steak dinner.


What are the best sauces to pair with tuna steak?

Some of the most popular and delicious sauces for tuna steak include chimichurri, lemon caper, soy ginger, hoisin, peppercorn, ponzu, salsa, and aioli sauces. Flavorful sauces that contain spices, herbs, citrus, vinegar, or umami flavors work well with tuna.

What sauce goes well with grilled tuna steak?

Grilled tuna steak pairs nicely with chimichurri, mango salsa, hoisin glaze, ponzu sauce, and compound butters. The char from grilling provides great flavor on its own, so aim for sauces that complement rather than overwhelm the tuna.

Should I marinate tuna steaks in sauce?

Yes, marinating tuna for 15-30 minutes in a sauce, dressing, or marinade allows the flavors to penetrate into the meat. Ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame, citrus, chili paste, herbs, and oil all make good marinades. Pat tuna dry before cooking.

What is a good sauce for seared tuna steak?

Great sauces for seared tuna include ginger lime, lemon caper, ponzu, wasabi cream, wine butter sauce, and harissa yogurt. Sear tuna over high heat for a crispy crust, then drizzle sauce over the top to serve.

What ingredients are in classic tuna steak sauces?

Common ingredients in many tuna sauces include olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, shallots, ginger, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili paste, herbs like dill, capers, and cream or aioli for richness.

Should I make tuna sauce before or after cooking?

You can make sauce ahead of time to use for marinating and cooking the tuna. Prepare extra sauce to drizzle over cooked tuna steaks as well. Make pan sauces after cooking by deglazing the pan with wine or stock.

What sides go well with tuna steak and sauce?

Good vegetable side dishes with sauced tuna include sesame spinach, grilled asparagus, bok choy, roasted broccoli, and zucchini. Grains like rice, quinoa, or couscous and tropical fruits also pair nicely.

How can I ensure tuna steaks stay moist when cooking?

Use very fresh tuna, at least 1 inch thick. Do not overcook, sear just 2 minutes per side for rare. Baste tuna with sauce as it cooks. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Avoid dried out tuna by keeping sauce nearby.

What Sauce Goes with Tuna Steak? 15 Delicious Options

Discover 15 delectable sauces to elevate your tuna steak meal, from tangy chimichurri to spicy wasabi aioli. These sauces enhance flavor, moisture, and texture for a delightful dining experience.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 1


  • 2 tuna steaks 1 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil


  • Combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic in a shallow baking dish. Add tuna steaks and turn to coat both sides. Marinate 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Remove tuna from marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Cook tuna 2 minutes per side, basting frequently with remaining marinade, until seared on the outside but still rare inside.
  • Transfer tuna to a plate and tent with foil. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing to serve. Spoon any extra marinade over the top.
Keyword What Sauce Goes with Tuna Steak?

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