Tuna Steaks with Peppercorns Recipe

This peppercorn tuna steaks recipe brings together the zing of three different peppercorns with the rich flavor of tuna in a simple yet elegant dish. The peppercorns lend a spicy warmth that perfectly complements the buttery texture of the tuna, making this a perfect main course for a swanky dinner or a quick weeknight meal.

Tuna Steaks with Peppercorns Recipe
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While most of the ingredients are fairly standard, the Szechuan and Jamaican Allspice peppercorns may require a special trip to the supermarket or a spice store. Szechuan peppercorns have a unique aroma and flavor that is not hot or pungent like black or white pepper, but has slight lemony overtones and creates a tingly numbness in the mouth. Jamaican Allspice peppercorns, on the other hand, offer a complex combination of flavors resembling cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace.

Peppercorn Tuna Steaks Ingredients

Szechuan peppercorns: These are unique peppercorns from China that have a slight lemony overtone and create a tingly numbness in the mouth.

White peppercorns: These are ripe pepper berries that are sun-dried after their red outer skin is removed. They have a milder flavor than black peppercorns.

Jamaican allspice peppercorns: These are not a blend of 'all spices', but are individual berries from the Pimenta dioica plant. They have a complex flavor that resembles a combination of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace.

Tuna steaks: Thick slabs cut from the fillet of a tuna fish. They have a meaty texture, similar to steak, and a light, clean taste.

Corn Oil: This is oil extracted from the germ of corn. It has a high smoke point, which makes it perfect for high-heat cooking methods like searing.

Salt: Basic seasoning that enhances the flavor of other ingredients.

One reader, Dona Schott says:

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The peppercorn tuna steaks recipe is a game-changer! The blend of Szechuan, white, and Jamaican peppercorns creates an explosion of flavor. The sear on the outside and the tender, pink inside make for a perfect dish. It's a must-try for any seafood lover!

Dona Schott

Cooking Techniques for Peppercorn Tuna Steaks

How to crush peppercorns: Use a meat pounder or the bottom of a saucepan to crush the peppercorns until they are coarsely ground.

How to brush tuna steaks with oil: Use a brush to evenly coat both sides of the tuna steaks with the corn oil.

How to sprinkle salt and crushed pepper on tuna steaks: Sprinkle the salt and crushed pepper evenly on both sides of the tuna steaks.

How to heat a cast-iron pan: Place the cast-iron pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat and allow it to heat for 2 to 3 minutes until very hot.

How to cook tuna steaks in a pan: Place the seasoned tuna steaks in the hot cast-iron pan and cook them over very high heat for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

How to let tuna steaks rest: After cooking, cover the pan, remove it from the heat, and let the tuna steaks stand for 3 to 5 minutes before serving.

How To Make Tuna Steaks with Peppercorns

Tuna steaks are a lighter alternative to beef. In this recipe, they are served rare and seasoned with Schezuan, white, and Jamaican peppercorns.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes



  • 1tspszechuan peppercorns
  • ½tspwhite peppercorns
  • 1tspallspice Jamaican peppercorns
  • 4thick tuna steaks,(1 inch)
  • 1tbspcorn oil
  • ½tspsalt


  1. Crush the peppercorns with a meat pounder or the bottom of a saucepan.

  2. Brush both sides of the steaks with the oil, and then sprinkle both sides with the salt and crushed pepper.

  3. Heat a cast-iron pan for 2 to 3 minutes, until very hot.

  4. Place the steaks in the pan, and cook them over very high heat for about 1½ minutes on each side.

  5. Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes before serving.

  6. The steaks will continue to cook in their own residual heat but should remain pink inside.


  • Calories: 220.43kcal
  • Fat: 4.29g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.75g
  • Trans Fat: 0.03g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1.15g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.13g
  • Carbohydrates: 1.13g
  • Fiber: 0.45g
  • Sugar: 0.01g
  • Protein: 41.66g
  • Cholesterol: 66.30mg
  • Sodium: 367.49mg
  • Calcium: 14.20mg
  • Potassium: 769.25mg
  • Iron: 1.50mg
  • Vitamin A: 30.99µg
  • Vitamin C: 0.06mg

Pro Tip for Perfectly Cooked Tuna Steaks

When crushing the peppercorns, it's best to use a coarse setting if you're using a grinder. This will give you larger pieces that will add a delightful crunch and burst of flavor with each bite of your tuna steaks. If you're using a meat pounder or the bottom of a saucepan, be sure to do this in a sealed bag or covered bowl to prevent the peppercorns from scattering.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Recipe

Prep ahead: Prepare the crushed peppercorns and oil the tuna steaks in advance to cut down on cooking time.

High heat: Use a cast-iron pan and preheat it well to ensure quick and even cooking of the tuna steaks.

Resting time: Allow the tuna steaks to rest after cooking to let the residual heat finish the cooking process, saving time and ensuring a perfect pink inside.

Substitute Ingredients For Tuna Steaks with Peppercorns Recipe

  • szechuan peppercorns - Substitute with black peppercorns: Szechuan peppercorns have a citrusy and numbing flavor, while black peppercorns have a more pungent and spicy taste. The substitution will provide a different but still flavorful profile to the dish.

  • white peppercorns - Substitute with black peppercorns: White peppercorns have a milder and earthier flavor compared to black peppercorns. Using black peppercorns as a substitute will add a stronger and spicier kick to the dish.

  • allspice jamaican peppercorns - Substitute with ground allspice: Ground allspice is a blend of flavors reminiscent of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, which can provide a similar warm and aromatic essence to the dish when used as a substitute.

  • tuna steaks - Substitute with swordfish steaks: Swordfish steaks have a meaty texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor that can be a suitable alternative to tuna steaks in this recipe.

  • corn oil - Substitute with vegetable oil: Vegetable oil can be used as a substitute for corn oil, as it has a neutral flavor and a similar smoke point, making it suitable for high-heat cooking methods.

  • salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a substitute for regular salt, providing a slightly different flavor profile and texture to the dish.

Plating Ideas for Peppercorn Tuna Steaks

  1. Elevate the tuna steaks: Place the seared tuna steaks on a bed of vibrant microgreens to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

  2. Garnish with citrus zest: Sprinkle a delicate blend of citrus zest over the tuna steaks to provide a burst of bright, zesty flavor that complements the peppercorn crust.

  3. Drizzle with balsamic reduction: Create an elegant drizzle of balsamic reduction on the plate to add a touch of sweetness and acidity, enhancing the overall flavor profile of the dish.

  4. Accompany with wasabi aioli: Serve the tuna steaks with a dollop of creamy wasabi aioli on the side, providing a hint of heat and creaminess to balance the dish.

  5. Arrange on a sleek platter: Present the peppercorn tuna steaks on a sleek, modern platter to showcase the dish's sophistication and elevate the overall dining experience.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Tuna Steaks

  • Meat pounder: A meat pounder is used to flatten and tenderize meat, making it easier to cook evenly and allowing flavors to penetrate the meat.

  • Cast-iron pan: A cast-iron pan is a heavy-duty, versatile cooking tool that provides even heat distribution and retention, making it ideal for searing and cooking tuna steaks to perfection.

  • Saucepan: A saucepan is a versatile kitchen essential used for heating, boiling, and simmering various ingredients and liquids. It's often used for tasks like crushing peppercorns in this recipe.

Storing and Freezing Peppercorn Tuna Steaks

  • If you have any leftover tuna steaks, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The peppercorn crust will help keep the fish moist and flavorful.

  • To freeze the cooked tuna steaks, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap, making sure to remove as much air as possible. Then, place the wrapped steaks in a freezer-safe bag or container, label with the date, and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.

  • When you're ready to enjoy the frozen tuna steaks, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat, place the steaks on a baking sheet and warm them in a preheated 275°F (135°C) oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. Be careful not to overheat, as this can cause the tuna to dry out and lose its delicate texture.

  • Alternatively, you can freeze the uncooked, peppercorn-crusted tuna steaks. Wrap each steak tightly in plastic wrap, then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container, label with the date, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you're ready to cook the frozen steaks, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight, then follow the cooking instructions as outlined in the recipe.

How To Reheat Leftover Tuna Steaks

Here are the best methods for reheating leftover peppercorn tuna steaks:

  • Preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C). Place the leftover tuna steaks on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Lightly brush the steaks with olive oil to prevent them from drying out. Heat in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 130°F (54°C) for medium-rare. Be careful not to overheat, as this will cause the tuna to become dry and tough.

  • For a quicker method, reheat the tuna steaks in a microwave. Place the steaks on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 30-second intervals, checking the temperature after each interval. The steaks should be heated to an internal temperature of 130°F (54°C) for medium-rare. This method may cause some loss of texture, but it is a fast and convenient option.

  • If you have a sous vide machine, you can reheat the tuna steaks using this precise cooking method. Set the sous vide water bath to 130°F (54°C) and place the sealed tuna steaks in the water. Allow them to reheat for 15-20 minutes, or until they reach the desired internal temperature. This method ensures even heating and helps maintain the original texture of the tuna.

  • For a stovetop option, heat a small amount of olive oil or butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the tuna steaks and cover the skillet with a lid. Heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 130°F (54°C). Be careful not to overcook the tuna, as it can quickly become dry and lose its flavor.

Interesting Trivia About Peppercorn Tuna Steaks

The peppercorn tuna steaks recipe is a great source of lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential vitamins and minerals. Tuna is a heart-healthy fish that can help lower the risk of heart disease and improve overall cardiovascular health. Additionally, the combination of different peppercorns in this recipe adds a unique and complex flavor profile to the dish, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Is Making Tuna Steaks at Home Cost-Effective?

This peppercorn tuna steaks recipe is moderately cost-effective for a household. The key ingredients, such as tuna steaks and peppercorns, may be pricier, but they offer a delightful dining experience. The dish's rich flavors and high protein content make it a worthwhile investment. On a scale of 1-10, I rate this recipe an 8 for its taste and nutritional value. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $30-$40, factoring in the quality of the tuna and peppercorns.

Is This Tuna Steak Recipe Healthy?

The peppercorn tuna steak recipe is relatively healthy, as it incorporates lean protein from the tuna and uses minimal added fat. Tuna is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health and brain function. The recipe also uses a variety of peppercorns, which can provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. However, there are a few aspects of the recipe that could be improved to make it even healthier.

  • Reduce the amount of salt used in the recipe to lower the sodium content. Instead, consider using more herbs and spices to enhance the flavor without relying on salt.
  • Choose a healthier cooking oil, such as olive oil or avocado oil, which are rich in monounsaturated fats and have a higher smoke point than corn oil.
  • Serve the tuna steaks with a side of colorful vegetables to increase the nutrient density of the meal. Grilled or roasted vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, or asparagus, would pair well with the tuna.
  • Consider using a non-stick pan or grilling the tuna steaks to further reduce the amount of added fat needed for cooking.
  • If you prefer your tuna steaks more well-done, be mindful not to overcook them, as this can lead to the formation of harmful compounds. Stick to the recommended cooking times for the best results.

Editor's Opinion on This Tuna Steak Recipe

The combination of Szechuan, white, and Jamaican allspice peppercorns adds a delightful depth of flavor to the tuna steaks. The method of crushing the peppercorns and then coating the steaks with them ensures a robust and even seasoning. The high-heat cooking method creates a beautifully seared crust while keeping the interior tender and moist. The resting period allows the flavors to meld and the residual heat to finish cooking the steaks perfectly. This recipe promises a tantalizing blend of peppery heat and succulent tuna, making it a delightful and impressive dish for any occasion.

Enhance Your Tuna Steaks with Peppercorns Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mango Salsa: A refreshing and tangy mango salsa with a hint of spice to complement the peppercorn tuna steaks.
Garlic Roasted Asparagus: Tender asparagus spears roasted with garlic and olive oil, adding a savory and earthy element to the dish.
Pineapple Cucumber Salad: A light and crisp salad with a sweet and tangy dressing, providing a refreshing contrast to the bold flavors of the tuna steaks.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Love Tuna Steaks

Spicy Grilled Shrimp Tacos: Marinate the shrimp with a blend of spices and grill them to perfection. Serve in warm tortillas with your favorite toppings.
Mango Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette: Toss together ripe mango, creamy avocado, and mixed greens. Drizzle with a zesty citrus vinaigrette for a refreshing and flavorful salad.
Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken: Rub the chicken with a mixture of lemon, garlic, and herbs. Roast until golden and juicy for a simple yet delicious main dish.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for This Tuna Steak Recipe

Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. Bake until golden and bubbly for a delicious start to any meal.
Caprese Skewers: Assemble skewers of fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil leaves for a simple yet elegant appetizer. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for a burst of sweet and tangy flavor.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and intense chocolate flavor will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a homemade apple crisp, with tender-crisp apples, a buttery oat topping, and a hint of cinnamon. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.

Why trust this Tuna Steaks with Peppercorns Recipe:

This recipe guarantees a tantalizing fusion of flavors and textures, ensuring a delectable dining experience. The combination of Szechuan peppercorns, white peppercorns, and allspice Jamaican peppercorns infuses the tuna steaks with a harmonious blend of aromatic and zesty notes. The use of corn oil enhances the succulence of the steaks, while the cooking method ensures a perfect sear, locking in the natural juices. The result is a dish that promises to tantalize the taste buds and elevate the dining experience to new heights.

Want to share your experience making Tuna Steaks with Peppercorns or have any tips to perfect this recipe? Join the discussion in the Recipe Sharing forum section!
Can I use a different type of peppercorn for this recipe?
Yes, you can definitely experiment with different types of peppercorns to add your own unique flavor to the tuna steaks. Feel free to try black peppercorns, pink peppercorns, or any other variety you prefer.
Can I substitute the tuna steaks with another type of fish?
Absolutely! While this recipe is specifically for tuna steaks, you can easily substitute them with other firm-fleshed fish such as swordfish, mahi-mahi, or even salmon. Just adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of the fish.
Is it necessary to let the steaks rest after cooking?
Yes, it's important to let the steaks rest for a few minutes after cooking. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful final dish.
Can I cook the tuna steaks on a grill instead of a cast-iron pan?
Yes, you can certainly grill the tuna steaks instead of using a cast-iron pan. Preheat the grill to high heat and cook the steaks for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until they reach your desired level of doneness.
How can I tell if the tuna steaks are done cooking?
Tuna steaks are best enjoyed when they are still pink in the center. You can use a meat thermometer to ensure they reach an internal temperature of 125°F (52°C) for medium-rare or 140°F (60°C) for medium. Alternatively, you can use the touch test – the steaks should feel firm but still slightly springy when pressed.

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