Remove the strong-tasting brown streak running through the meat.
The secret to successful tuna cookery is to not overcook it; overcooking makes tuna dry
out. Whichever of the following cooking methods you choose, your tuna will be cooked when its
flesh becomes opaque yet is still moist on the inside.
Brush with melted butter or oil and season with salt and pepper, or cover with a piquant
sauce. Place tuna in a greased baking dish, or wrap in oiled foil and place on a baking sheet.
Bake in a preheated 450°F (230°C) oven 10 minutes per inch (2.5cm) of thickness of
Place tuna over hot coals on a well-oiled grill. Baste frequently and turn once halfway
through the cooking period. Because tuna is lean compared to other protein-rich foods, it does
not exude a lot of self-basting fat. Be sure all grills, baskets, racks, and foil are
well-oiled to ensure easy handling of tuna while barbecuing.
Place seasoned tuna filets or steaks on a well-greased broiler pan and brush with oil.
Broil under preheated broiler 4 to 5 inches (about 10 to 12.5cm) from heat until the flesh is
opaque yet moist on the inside.
Heat a pan, add a small amount of hot butter or oil, and brown uncoated tuna steaks or
fillets, turning once after 3 to 4 minutes and cook the other side 3 to 4 minutes.
Bring poaching liquid, consisting of water, broth, and herbs and spices, to a simmer. Slip tuna in, then
cover pan and keep liquid at a simmer for about 8 minutes per inch (about 2.5cm) of
Place tuna on a greased perforated rack over 1 to 2 inches (about 2.5 to 5 cm) of rapidly
boiling water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and keep water at a constant boil through
Buying and storing tips
Quality tuna is easy to recognize. The eyes should appear bright and clear, almost alive.
The gills should be reddish, and the skin moist and with tightly adhering, shiny scales. Fresh
tuna flesh will be pink or red, without any hint of browning. Fresh tuna never has a rainbow
pattern on the surface of the meat. When choosing tuna fillets, steaks, or loins, whether
they’re fresh or previously frozen, look for moist, translucent (never dried out) flesh.
Keep tuna cool on the trip from the market to your house. Never let it stay unrefrigerated for
To store tuna, remove packaging, rinse fish under cold water, and pat dry with paper
towels. Fish deteriorates when it sits in its own juices, so place it on a cake rack in a
shallow pan filled with crushed ice. Cover with cling wrap or foil and set in the coldest part
of the refrigerator. Tuna will store well this way for up to two days.
When well-wrapped, tuna can be frozen for up to two months in a refrigerator freezer
compartment and three to four months in a deep-freeze. Use lined freezer paper and wrap fish
tightly with at least two layers of paper. To thaw slowly, unwrap, place fish in pan, cover,
and leave for 24 hours in the refrigerator. To thaw more quickly, place the whole fish (in a
watertight plastic bag) in a sink with cool running water, allowing about 1/2 hour per pound
(454g). For fastest thawing, use the defrost cycle of your microwave, allowing 2 to 5 minutes
per pound (454g), with equal standing time in between zaps.
Albacore, found in both Atlantic and Pacific waters, is the only kind that can be labeled
“white meat tuna.” Bluefin, a large, oily species, is usually canned as
“light meat” tuna or eaten raw. Yellowfin (called ahi in Hawaii) is the least oily
kind of tuna; it is flavorful (but not strongly so) when cooked, and is good eaten raw. Bigeye
is valued for sashimi. Bonito is among the smallest tuna, and has red meat. Tuna comes whole,
in steaks, fillets, or loins, and fresh, frozen, or canned.
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular
nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good
source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily
The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes
only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult
your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any
supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications.