Can you eat tuna steak raw? (+3 ideas to make tuna)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat tuna steak raw?”, and how to safely eat raw tuna?

Can you eat tuna steak raw?

Tuna steak can only be eaten raw if it is labeled as sushi-grade or sashimi-grade. This label ensures that the fish was thoroughly cleaned and frozen quickly for it to be used as sushi or sashimi. However, it is important to note that it may not be free from all parasites.

Raw tuna is served as a steak or as a part of sushi and sashimi, Japanese-origin dishes served with rice and vegetables. The famous varieties of tuna include skipjack, albacore, yellowfin, bluefin, and bigeye. Only 2 ounces of albacore tuna fish provides 13 grams of proteins and 70 calories.

Tuna is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, potassium, and B vitamins. Read on if you want to know how to use raw tuna safely.

How to safely eat raw tuna?

Freezing and cooking procedures can eliminate the parasites and risk of food-borne illnesses that result from eating raw tuna. The FDA recommends freezing tuna according to the following guidelines for the safe consumption of tuna.

  • Freeze at -4℉/-20℃ or below for 7 days
  • Freeze at -31°F/-35°C or below until solid and keeping at -31°F/-35°C or below for 15 hours
  • Freeze at -31°F/-35°C or below until solid and keeping at -4°F/-20°C or below for 24 hours

Frozen tuna should be thawed in the refrigerator overnight. Defrosting on the counter increases the risk of contamination and food-borne illnesses.

Benefits and hazards of eating raw tuna

Raw fish including raw tuna is prone to attack by parasites like Opisthorchiidae and Anisakadie. These parasites spread food-borne diseases when ingested. Parasite infection can be controlled and prevented by proper handling and preparation.

Some varieties of tuna may have toxic levels of mercury in them. Mercury pollution in the water bodies has become a serious threat to the health of both marine animals and humans. Tuna served raw or barely cooked as steak and sushi may contain mercury. Consuming bigeye and bluefin that often contain toxic levels of mercury over extended periods of time might lead to heart and brain damage.

People with compromised immune systems like pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, cancer patients, and older adults should not consume tuna. Adults should eat tuna with low mercury levels like salmon, cod, or crab to meet the omega-3 needs of their bodies.

Tips for making the best tuna 

  • The mild taste of smoke in Smoked tuna pairs well with the pungent flavor of fish and makes it mild. It is best if you do not enjoy the pungent smell of tuna.
  • Sushi-grade tuna has actually been preserved by flash freezing within hours of catching the fish.
  • Overcooking the tuna will degrade its texture and quality. Therefore, it should only be cooked medium-rare. Cook until the flesh is not translucent anymore.
  • Canned tuna or Tuna fish can be added to pasta, patties or salads.
  • Tuna can be used in place of salmon fish in recipes. Both the fish go well in sushi.

Other FAQs about Tuna which you may be interested in.

How long does tuna last out of the fridge?

How to drain canned tuna?

How to slice seared tuna?

How to make tuna?


To make the best tuna steak, it is important to buy prime quality tuna steaks. Make sure the flesh is firm and dark red. Raw tuna should have a pleasant sea-breeze scent and not fishy.


Marinating tuna with your favorite spices and herbs will add mild complementary flavors to the pungent-smelling tuna. Tuna steaks can be cooked to rare or only from the outside leaving the inside raw as in Tataki.

Tun has a high oil content but dries out quickly. It requires to be heated on high heat for short time. Tuna can be cooked under vacuum, lightly fried in oil, grilled, or simmered in a sauce. 

Recipes to try with tuna steak


  • Tuna is a great add-in to your salad bowls. Combine some bow-tie pasta with tuna and your favorite vegetables to make a nutritious salad bowl. Tuna pairs well with cherry tomatoes. Add rustic pasta, cherry tomatoes, tuna, and zucchini to your salad bowl.
  • The tuna mushroom quiche is to die for. Use canned tuna along with mushrooms and cheese to make a quiche. This looks like the perfect comfort food.
  • Peppers should not be the only vegetable used for stuffing. Add the tuna filling to tomatoes and garnish with fresh cilantro. Sprinkle cheese and bake if you like.
  • Use tuna in your sandwich filling. Garden tuna salad with mayo and lettuce add to the crisp and tart flavors of the filling. Alternatively, combine tuna with mayo, mustard, celery, red onion, lemon juice along with your favorite spices to make a sandwich filling for your sourdough bread.
  • Make a tortilla filling with avocado cream, tuna, scallions, and mustard.


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat tuna steak raw?”, and how to safely eat raw tuna?


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