Blackened tuna steak topped with mango avocado salsa on a plate, cut to show the perfectly cooked pink interior.

One of my absolute favorite fish varieties to cook and eat is yellowfin tuna. Unfortunately, it is one of the more expensive fish types on the market, so we only eat it when it is on super sale.

Recently, the grocery gods were smiling and we snagged two tuna steaks for a (relatively) low price. My favorite way to eat tuna? Blackened on the grill!

What is blackening seasoning?

Blackening seasoning is a spice blend that is rubbed on to a piece of protein before it is seared or grilled over high heat, giving the meat or fish those classic black grill marks.

The seasoning is available premixed at the supermarket and is easy and convenient. But since you need to put the seasoning on so thick to make the crust, it is easy to plow through a $5 bottle of spice in two meals! Not good for the wallet. Luckily, blackening seasoning is made up almost entirely of things you probably already have on your spice rack.

Overhead of two raw tuna steaks, fresh mango, avocado, and lime with a bowl of homemade blackening seasoning.

How do I use blackening seasoning?

Just store the seasoning in a shake-top bottle for easy coating the next time yellowfin tuna is on sale. Blackening seasoning is great to kick-up the flavor of chicken or shrimp and I have my mind set on making a blackened portabella burger in the future.

Blackening seasoning can be used any number of ways, but typically it is put in a thick layer on a piece of meat and then that meat is seared (in a boatload of oil usually) to make a spicy and flavorful crust.

We choose to cook our tuna steaks on the grill. To achieve the same crust as searing in a pan, simply spray the seasoned steak with cooking spray before placing on the grill grates. Is it the exact same? Of course not, but it’s equally delicious and flavorful!

Overhead of a plate with a fork and knife on either side, loaded with a tuna steak, salsa, fresh lime, and a green salad, another loaded plate and a small bowl of additional salsa nearby.

Don’t I need a marinade?

Nope, not if you are using our seared tuna steak recipe! Because you are just giving the tuna steaks a quick sear on the grill over high heat, a marinade won’t do a whole lot for you.

What goes well with this tuna steak recipe?

We topped our tuna steaks with a beautifully bright and flavorful mango-avocado salsa that is delicious on it’s own, but really shines when piled high on top of the spicy tuna.

Can tuna steak be eaten rare?

Yes! In fact, that’s how we recommend it, which is why you want to look for the highest quality tuna steaks you can get your hands on. Tuna is a very lean fish and can dry out quickly, so you want to cook it until the outside is seared and it is just a little warm in the center, but still pink.

Two tuna steaks covered in homemade blackening seasoning sit on parchment paper with fresh mango halves and avocado halves nearby.Why is my tuna steak tough?

Remember: When you’re cooking tuna, you want to only cook it until it’s warm in the middle, but still very rare. I know eating rare fish sounds scary, but tuna can turn incredibly dry when cooked through. If you are too nervous to eat rare fish, then make sure to include some sort of sauce (tartar sauce, mustard sauce, remoulade, etc.) with the tuna steaks to add moisture. Enjoy!

Want more recipes like this one?

  • Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa. Like tuna, salmon grills up so quickly that this dish could easily be a weeknight dinner.
  • Grilled Flatbread. If you haven’t tried pizza off the grill yet, you absolutely need to—make sure you have everything prepped beforehand, and you’ll be all set!
  • Grilled Potato Wedges. These potato wedges are a perfect simple side dish for so many grilled meals.
  • Pork Burgers with Broccoli Slaw. These burgers are flavorful and juicy—no dry burgers here!

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Blackened tuna steak topped with mango avocado salsa on a plate, cut to show the perfectly cooked pink interior.

Grilled Blackened Tuna Steak Recipe with Mango Avocado Salsa

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This delicious blackened tuna steak recipe is easy to make in half an hour. The mango avocado salsa provides a hint of sweet and a lot of texture.


For the Blackening Seasoning:

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Mango Avocado Salsa:

  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ripe ataulfo (champagne) mango, cut into small chunks
  • 1 ripe haas avocado, cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Grilled Blackened Tuna Steaks:

  • 2 yellowfin tuna steaks (6-8 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons blackening seasoning
  • Cooking spray


  1. To make the seasoning mix, whisk all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. The mix should keep well for at least three months.
  2. To make the mango avocado salsa, mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired.
  3. To make the grilled blackened tuna steaks, heat a grill over high heat (or a grill pan on the stove over medium-high).
  4. Coat the tuna steaks with the blackening seasoning on all sides, then spray the top and bottom with cooking spray.
  5. Add the steaks to the hot grill and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, or until black grill marks have formed but the inside is still rare. Serve hot topped with mango avocado salsa.


  • Try using smoked paprika instead of regular paprika (or one tablespoon of each) in the blackening seasoning for a smokier, spicier flavor.
  • Using one teaspoon of cayenne pepper in the seasoning will lead to a medium spice level for the finished dish, so feel free to adjust the amount to suit your preferences.
  • I know eating rare fish sounds scary, but tuna is a very lean fish and can dry out quickly. Cooking the fish completely makes it dry and not as tasty.
  • Ataulfo or champagne mangos (the small ones with yellow skin) are best here because they’re not as fibrous, but you can also use a red mango. If mangos are hard to find, the salsa is also delicious with pineapple, peaches, or strawberries. You will need about a cup of chopped fruit.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 636Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 147mgSodium: 5499mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 13gSugar: 2gProtein: 58g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. I made this exactly as in the recipe except we grilled it on a medium hot frying pan not the bbq. I drizzled a bit of avocado oil on top and the bottom of fish instead of the spray and put a teaspoon or so in the frying pan. Served with the mango/avocado salsa, basmati rice and steamed sugar snap peas. A delicious, healthy meal that will be a go-to for us. Oh, I did put a thumb size piece of finely diced poblano pepper in the salsa. Thank you for the great recipe and will certainly make again. I have about half of the seasoning mixture left so plan to try it on halibut or scallops next.

    1. Thanks for coming to tell us about your experience, Sue! We really appreciate it and are so glad the recipe was a hit. Poblano sounds like a tasty addition to the salsa—thanks for sharing!

  2. Great recipe! I made this for a family picnic and it was a huge hit! We made them on the grill and they turned out great. Thanks for a great recipe.

  3. Looks great. I have a hard time properly cooking Tuna. I’m going to try this recipe with your suggestions. thanks.