Bobby Flay's Tuna Steak Recipe

Bobby Flay is now a huge name in the food world, having worked at restaurants across the United States, making his way from cook to restaurateur to television personality in the meantime. Thanks to his steady TV presence, foodies have been able to follow his palate no matter where they live. Among his wide repertoire of recipes that have been published is one for grilled tuna steak with caramelized onions, cinnamon, and mint. 

The flavors in Flay's original recipe are undoubtedly unique and delicious. However, recipe developer Stephanie Rapone of Pantry to Plate Meals wanted to try something with a fresh new take and ease of use. Referring to her twist on Flay's grilled tuna recipe, Rapone remarks that "The goal was to make it super summer weeknight friendly." 

Flay's recipe is definitely great when you have more than an hour. However, Rapone wanted delicious flavor that was developed in minimal time, which she accomplishes in this 20-minute recipe. She loves that "It's so fast, so easy, [and] so healthy." If you're looking for a distinct way to flavor your next grilled tuna dish while still managing a busy weeknight dinner schedule, Rapone has you covered with this twist on Flay's grilled tuna.

Gather the ingredients for this tuna steak recipe

For starters, you'll need a red onion for the salsa, which you will chop finely for the dish so its flavor won't overpower the other ingredients. Next, the red onion is lightly pickled with red wine vinegar, sugar, and kosher salt. In case you don't have kosher salt, any coarse-grained salt will do. 

To incorporate cinnamon flavor without spending too much time on prep work, Rapone directs you to bloom the spice in olive oil. To do that, you'll heat the cinnamon in oil for a few minutes until it becomes fragrant, maximizing the taste for the salsa. As for the rest of the salsa ingredients, Rapone keeps the flavors bright and intense, with chopped mango, fresh herbs, and crushed red pepper flakes. Mint and parsley also help to mimic Flay's flavor profile, and you'll realize what a great combination they make with the rest of the ingredients once you take your first bite. If you're entirely spice averse, then feel free to skip the red pepper flakes.

Finally, you'll need some tuna steaks to go with the delicious salsa you've made. Rapone recommends using 1-inch thick steaks to make the grilling process easier. To prevent the tuna from sticking to the grill, brush the grate with some canola oil, which also has a relatively high smoke point. Finally, you'll also need some salt and ground black pepper to season your tuna steaks.

What did we change from Bobby Flay's recipe?

Rapone was pretty practical about her twist on Bobby Flay's original grilled tuna steak recipe. She points out that "caramelizing the onions takes too long on a stove for a hot weeknight, so going for a fresh spin with the same flavors was a great alternative." After all, who has time to slowly cook onions when you're hungry and eager to eat after a long day? 

To make up for the distinct taste difference between raw and cooked onions, Rapone added mango, noting that "[It] helps add that sweet element that you would usually get from caramelized onion." Although caramelized onions are undeniably delicious, we love Rapone's quick and efficient twist on Flay's recipe.

Heat the grill and make the red onion mixture

For starters, prepare the grill by turning it on to medium heat. You'll want the grill to be at the right temperature by the time the tuna steaks go on, so be sure to get it started now. 

Next, finely chop ¼ of a whole red onion and place the pieces in a medium-sized bowl. Mix in 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon sugar, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. By doing this, you are essentially pickling the red onion, which will give the final result a tangy-sweet flavor that will pair perfectly with the mango and fresh herbs. Set the pickled red onions aside until it's time for you to assemble the salsa.

Prepare the cinnamon oil and combine it with the onions

In a small saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Next, stir in ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon and allow it to heat for 4 to 6 minutes. Rapone cautions that this is a pretty quick process, so be sure to keep an eye on the saucepan and move quickly. 

"Be sure not to burn the cinnamon," Rapone says. "You just want to bloom the spice and infuse the oil with the flavor." Once the oil becomes aromatic, remove the pan from the stovetop and pour the oil on top of the pickled red onions.

Add mango, herbs, and red pepper flakes to the onion mixture

Turn your grill up to high heat to make sure that you'll soon be ready to cook the tuna. While the grill is heating, peel the mango and dice it into ½-inch pieces. 

Alternatively, a super-easy way to cut a mango is to slice the two sides off. Then, score the flesh on each piece into ½-inch squares without piercing the skin. Scoop out the pieces with a spoon. You can also flip the skin so that the flesh sticks out and slice the mango squares off that way. 

However you prep it, add the diced mango to the bowl with the red onions. Then, finely chop the mint and the parsley and toss those herbs into the bowl as well. Finally, sprinkle the crushed red pepper flakes on top and stir everything together. Set the mango mixture aside until you're ready to serve.

Brush the tuna with oil and season with salt and pepper

It's time to get grilling! First, scrape your grill grate clean to eliminate any unnecessary char. There are quite a few methods out there, but you can use something as simple as a ball of aluminum foil to get the job done. Whatever method you prefer, it's smart to get into the habit of cleaning your grill every time you use it.

Next, brush some canola oil on both sides of the tuna steaks to prevent the fish from sticking to the grill grates. Now, season the tuna on both sides with the remaining teaspoon of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Thanks to the flavor intensity of the mango salsa, there's no need to add much more than that to your tuna! 

Grill the tuna, then let it rest

Place the tuna steaks on the hot grill and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. The fish will easily lift from the grill with a metal spatula when it's ready to flip. "If it is sticking, leave it on the grill," says Rapone. If you prefer your tuna cooked slightly more, Rapone recommends keeping the grill lid closed. On the other hand, if you're a fan of rare tuna, then leave the lid open or follow Rapone's advice and simply "purchase a thicker tuna steak."

Once the tuna is cooked to your liking, remove it from the grill and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. This will keep it juicy and tender for when you slice it in the final steps.

Thinly slice the tuna and serve it with the mango salsa

Slice the tuna steaks thinly and serve them with the mango salsa spooned over the top. You'll definitely love the fresh taste and the sweet and sour flavor profile. If you're looking for a side dish that goes well with this protein, Rapone says that "We love it with rice and I throw in some peas to sneak in a little veg." 

If you end up with leftovers, they'll keep in the fridge for up to two days. You might even want to try the dish once it's chilled. Rapone notes that the tuna is downright "incredible straight from the fridge the next day for lunch."

Bobby Flay's Tuna Steak Recipe
4.9 from 47 ratings
This twist on a well-loved Bobby Flay recipe creates a tuna steak meal with a bright, fresh twist that's easy on your weeknight schedule, too.
Prep Time
Cook Time
plate of tuna with salsa
Total time: 19 minutes
  • ¼ red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 5 sprigs fresh mint
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 to 1 ½ pounds tuna steak, 1 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the grill to medium heat.
  2. Finely chop the red onion and place it in a medium bowl.
  3. Add the red wine vinegar, sugar, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt to the onion. Set the onion mixture aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is hot, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add the ground cinnamon to the oil and stir.
  6. Allow the cinnamon to bloom in the oil for 4 to 6 minutes until it is fragrant. Remove from the heat immediately, pour the cinnamon oil over the red onions, and stir.
  7. Turn the grill to high heat.
  8. Dice the mango into ½-inch pieces and add to the onion mixture.
  9. Finely chop the mint and parsley and add to the mango mixture.
  10. Add the crushed red pepper flakes to the mixture, then stir all of the ingredients to combine and set the salsa aside.
  11. Brush canola oil on both sides of the tuna and season with the remaining 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and the black pepper.
  12. Grill the tuna for 2 to 3 minutes per side. It will easily come off the grill with a metal spatula when it is ready to turn. If it is sticking, leave it on the grill.
  13. Take the tuna off the heat and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  14. Thinly slice the tuna and serve it with mango salsa spooned on top.
Calories per Serving 270
Total Fat 6.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.9 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 55.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 15.5 g
Dietary Fiber 2.7 g
Total Sugars 12.4 g
Sodium 609.1 mg
Protein 36.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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