This pepper tuna steak recipe is simple but elegant. These meaty and tender tuna steaks taste even better with the simple lemon dijon cream sauce for only 2.9g net carbs. Best of all you can make this easy low carb fish dinner in just 15 minutes! [Updated]
You might also like this keto cod with creamy sun dried tomato sauce.
We don’t eat fish very often in our house. Mostly because I don’t know many ways to prepare it. However I remember I used to make this tuna with black pepper recipe years ago and was craving it.
In restaurants I love to order seared tuna steak topped with a tasty cream sauce so today I made my own! This easy pepper tuna steak recipe has a simple but tasty lemon dijon cream sauce with it and it’s so full of flavor!
Fresh tuna is very “meaty” and a very different type of tuna from canned tuna. With this recipe you will feel like you are eating a keto steak dinner and it only has 2.9g net carbs. So it’s a nice seafood dish to serve a meat lover!
More Keto Fish & Seafood Recipes!
While this is the only fresh tuna recipe I have on the site, I now have over 45 keto seafood recipes. One of my most popular is an asiago tilapia recipe. I would eat this every week because it’s easy and very tasty.
I also have quite a few salmon, shrimp and other tilapia recipes. So if you are looking to increase your seafood intake I now have a lot of low carb recipes for you to try.
What Fresh Tuna Steaks Tastes Like
If you’ve never had fresh tuna you might be surprised that it is nothing like canned. The raw fish is a deep red color with a mild flavor. When it cooks, it turns from pink to tan. It’s a very meaty fish with a dense and firm texture much like beef. To learn more about fresh tuna click here.
The Easy Way To Cook Tuna Steaks
If you wondered how to cook tuna steak, let me tell you it is very easy in a cast iron skillet. I find that fresh cracked ground pepper is the best seasoning for steaks in my opinion. You can skip that step if you don’t like pepper or even use steak seasoning.
Here Is How To Sear Tuna Steaks:
- Turn up the heat to get your skillet nice and hot. Use a cast iron skillet if you have it.
- Sprinkle a little salt and rub cracked pepper on both sides of the raw fish.
- Pour a little olive oil into the hot skillet. Place the tuna fillet in the skillet then turn it down to a medium heat.
- Seared each side for about 3-5 minutes without disturbing them. The cooking time may differ depending on how thick your steaks are. The meat will cook it’s way up the steak from the bottom. So once it has cooked ¼ of the way up flip it to the other side. Then take it out of the pan when that side has cooked ¼ of the way up but keep a very rare center.
- Let it sit for a few minutes and it will cook a bit more.
- See the pictures below for what they should look like in each step.
Lemon Dijon Sauce For Tuna Steaks
While the tuna fillet is searing, make the simple lemon dijon sauce. The ingredients are butter, heavy cream, broth, garlic, dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.
Add the butter to a small sauce pan and let it melt. Then add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk to combine. Note you can use chicken, beef or vegetable broth.
You can make it thicker by letting it simmer and condense or just serve it right away. It only takes a few minutes to make.
You can also make it thinner by adding a bit more cream or broth. When the tuna is done and has sat for a few minutes, you can serve them with the sauce on the side or drizzled over the seared tuna.
Low Carb Side Dishes
To Go With This Meal
Some of my favorite keto side dishes for fish recipes like salmon or tilapia are Mediterranean Brussels sprouts, cheesy scalloped turnip stacks, feta & zucchini or sweet & spicy green beans.
You can also keep it simple with a buttered, steamed vegetable, cauliflower rice and a big green salad.
Sometimes I like to use leftovers on a bed of green salad and use a sesame ginger dressing.
Recipe Notes And Tips
- I bought this fish at Costco and of course got these huge pieces. It was a lot for the 3 of us so next time I will half this recipe.
- These steaks are dense and filling so you don’t need a big piece.
- The lemon dijon sauce is optional but I really think it adds to the dish. You could also a bit of grated parmesan cheese to the sauce to make it thicker and richer. You can also try an herb butter on top.
- If you are not a black pepper fan, you can try some steak seasoning too and it will really taste like a steak!
I hope you enjoy this easy tuna recipe and especially the lemon cream sauce. It will definitely be making an appearance in our keto meal plan.
The nutritional information for 1 serving is 335 calories:
11.7g fat / 3g carbs / 0.1g fiber / 36.9g protein = 2.9g net carbs
Pepper Tuna with Lemon Dijon Cream Sauce
This seared pepper tuna recipe is simple but elegant. Meaty and tender these tuna steaks taste even better with a lemon cream sauce for only 2.9g net carbs.
- 2 lbs tuna steaks (6 tuna)
- 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon dijon msutard
- ½ cup broth (chicken, beef or vegetable)
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- ½ lemon juiced (about 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice)
- ½ lemon zest
- Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
- While it's heating, rub the crushed pepper on both sides of the tuna steaks.
- Also sprinkle a bit of salt on both sides.
- Once the skillet is heated add the oil and then sear the steaks on both sides.
- Sear each side for about 3-5 minutes without disturbing them. The time may differ depending on how thick your steaks are. The meat will cook it's way up the steak from the bottom. So once it has cooked ¼ of the way up flip it to the other side.
- Then take it out of the pan when that side has cooked ¼ of the way up but keep a very rare center.
- While the steaks are cooking, heat up another skillet.
- Add the butter, cream, mustard, garlic, lemon juice and zest and broth.
- Whisk and bring to a simmer.
- Serve along side or over top steaks.
The nutritional information for 1 serving is:
335 cals / 11.7g fat / 3g carbs / .1g fiber / 36.9g protein = 2.9g net carbs
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 335Net Carbohydrates: 2.9gg
Made this and it is delicious! I added a little parmesan cheese and made a corn starch slurry to thicken up the sauce. Will definitely be enjoying this meal again.
Hi Michelle, so glad you liked it!
I’m on a KETO diet ….made this on my fifth day with a side of broccoli. Was yummy. The sauce was amazing.
Great! So glad you liked it. I also made a similar sauce in this asparagus noodles recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment…I really appreciate it!
Low Carb Asparagus Noodles Recipe with Creamy Lemon Dijon Sauce
Can you make the sauce ahead? I’m having it tonight!
Hi Janet, I think it would be better to make it right before you serve it as it might separate with the acid from the lemon and the fats from the cream.
If you are talking about making it before you sear the tuna it would be fine. Just give it a good whisk. But I wouldn’t make it a day ahead of time or anything like that.
I hope you like it and good luck!
Can we use 2% milk instead of cream?
Hi Debbie, I don’t think it will work so well. If you are doing low carb or keto, 2% milk will have a bit of carbs. However I found this article that says you can substitute milk and butter for heavy cream. So you could probably do a little 2% milk and add more butter. I have never tried this but it might work. Good luck!
I tried this and it had a wonderful taste. I was wondering if you’ve tried this with any other types of meat?
I have not but I have made a similar sauce and ate it with asparagus noodles. https://mylifecookbook.com/low-carb-asparagus-noodles/
I imagine it would go well with steak or chicken though.
How thick of tuna steak are we talking? 5 minutes on each side for rare is way too long!
I think mine were a little more than an inch high? You can always do less.
Having this tonight let you know how I get on looks delicious
Hi Patricia, I hope you like it!!!
The photo seems to show whole grain mustard rather than Dijon mustard – which should be used in the recipe please?
It is dijon. It looks grainy because of the garlic and zest, etc. I imagine you could use whole grain too but I used dijon. I hope you like it!
Great sauce. Added 1T fresh grated Parmesan. Tightened up nicely and added another interesting layer of flavor. Be Careful the sauce doesn’t ‘break’ on you.
Hi James, thanks for sharing and coming back to comment!
I made your recipe for dinner. The sauce was, we felt bland. Like, there was something missing and needed. I added everything that’s suppose to be in sauce. I made sauces In the past but, I don’t know. Love your love blog.
Hi Bonnie, sorry you didn’t like it. I just recently made a similar recipe with asparagus noodles (https://mylifecookbook.com/low-carb-asparagus-noodles/) anyway, I added parmesan cheese too. Maybe that would be something to try some time.
Does anyone know “what kind of broth” all I see is add broth…
Hi Liz, someone else asked that below. Sorry for the miscommunication. I used chicken but you could use beef or vegetable too. Any will work. Good luck and I hope you like it.
We want to try this recipe tonight! What type of broth are you referring to? Chicken, Beef, Vegetable? Does it matter?
I used chicken broth but you could use beef or vegetable if you wish. Good luck!
The sauce is wonderful and when cooked down a little longer to get thicker it was even better. The recipe called for dijon mustard which provided that flavor only a dijon can,but a stone ground version of the dijon would have added a little extra to the sauce. I didn’t have any lemons for zest & juice, but a little bit of my preserved lemons chopped up fine was wonderful.
Hi Lori, thanks for sharing your tips! I need to make this again.
I can’t wait to make this! I love the cream sauce and I bet it packs a ton of flavor. This recipe is perfect for this weekends date night in with the kids.
Oh I got to tell that sauce looks killer!! Perfectly cooked tuna and ridiculously delicious sauce, what can be better than this! Yummm
Yum! I’d happily eat this for dinner tonight! Love the flavor combo :). Thanks so much for sharing!
Dominique | Perchance to Cook
I love a good pepper cream sauce! I’ve only tried it with steak or chicken though! I LOVE the idea to eat this type of sauce with a tuna steak! It sounds so so unique and delicious.
I’m a huge fan of French pepper steak, so really excited to try this recipe. My husband and I have been trying to include more fish in our diet and we really struggle with what to make. Thanks for the inspiration!
Chef Markus Mueller
Love a well cooked tuna steak! We got some pretty wicked tuna here on the east coast of Canada, so I can’t wait to make this! I may even have to put it on one of my menus for my In Home Chef service!
I love tuna and always find ways to cook in differrent ways. I love the lemon cream sauce you have here. Such a flavorful dish!! Can’t wait to try your version!
I love tuna and make mine in a cast iron skillet too. But your sauce was the best ever! I couldn’t get enough of it and swear the next time I make it Im going to make a double portion of it!
Give me this tuna steak right now!! I’m with you on the cracked pepper, it’s my favorite for fish in general. That lemon Dijon sauce sounds divine. I bet this would be great in a taco too!
That lemon dijon cream sauce sounds amaaaaaazing! We don’t eat much rare-ish fish these days because whatever we eat, our 10 month old eats too (although I’m sure she’ll be shoving sushi down the second we let her), but I cannot wait to cover some chicken in that sauce!
Yum! This is very similar to an au poivre sauce, which I love to put on pretty much every cut of meat and fish. These tuna steaks look absolutely mouthwatering!
Yess. I love tuna steaks. I like this creme version, delicious idea. Thanks for sharing.
I LOVE tuna! And just like you cooked it is how I like it best! The sauce sounds amazing! Fish and creamy mustard sauces are always a win!
If you want excellent frozen fish (a perfectly acceptable alternative to fresh), shop at Trader Joe’s. I see there are four locations in the Pittsburgh area. ~ I did come looking for a sauce recipe for tuna, BTW. I think I’ll be trying yours when we grill our tuna steaks tomorrow. And I’m with your hubby – I can’t do raw-ish tuna to save my life. A bit of pink in the center is fine, though.
Hi MJ, I have seen those tuna steaks at Trader Joes and will have to try. Thanks for the tip!a
We’ve enjoyed any Trader Joe’s fish we’ve bought, Denise. The cod chunks (basically small trimmings like good sized cod nuggets) are great for fish tacos.
Would you like to know what else is great? It’s the sauce! We had tuna steaks tonight. Sainted Husband grilled while I made the sauce. I hope you forgive my slight adjustments, but I reduced the “broth” to 6 ounces and, rather than open a new broth box, used 3 ounces each of water and Chateau du Boîte Chardonnay. It was silky smooth and the perfect topping for the peppered tuna. I used cracked Java black pepper generously and needed the sauce. LOL! Delicious. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll be checking your blog regularly.
Thanks for the tips MJ, I always like to hear my readers ideas! I’ll have to try the cod next time I’m at TJ. Glad you liked the sauce!
Peggy in Montana
My hubby and I are doing a Keto diet and this recipe fit the bill. My hubby hasn’t been very fond of fresh tuna in the past but he raved about this dish. I have to cook the tuna to complete doneness for him,which is a shame but it was still a great tasting finish. I followed the recipe and wouldn’t change a thing. I used chicken broth. It did take about 20 mins. to reduce the sauce.
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and add your tips and experience. I’m glad your husband liked it! It’s so meaty so it’s a nice change of pace from a beef steak.
Can the sauce be made ahead of town and stored over night one or two days?
To be honest, I don’t know if it would separate or not. It really would only take a few minutes to whisk up right before serving. Let me know your results if you do try storing it. Sorry I’m not much help.
So easy & delicious! Had a couple ahi steaks in fridge, so I whipped it up and had it with steamed broccoli for a quick Keto dinner. Definately a keeper for the menu – thanks!
So glad you like it! I just got back from Florida and it’s making me wish we had more fresh fish here in Pittsburgh. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
Outrageously delicious. I made double the sauce, which needed a lot more than a “simmer” like the recipe says. I boiled the sauce down in a small non-stick skillet for about 20 minutes until it was thick. I had a Parmesan rind in the freezer, so I added that to the sauce. (It would have been good without it.) Served the peppered grilled tuna on a bed of baby arugula tossed with olive oil and red vinegar (wanted a counterpoint to the lemon in the cream sauce), with a side of plain rice. There was plenty of sauce for the tuna and the rice. It was truly, truly beyond delicious! Great recipe as long as you cook the sauce down.
I’m so glad you liked this Karla, and thank you for your tips. I’m sure everyone will appreciate them (including me!)
Absolutely delicious. A perfect accompaniment to the tuna a very light and delicious sauce.
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Clare. I’m glad you liked it!
The recipe sounds good, but what kind of broth do you add? Chicken broth, beef broth, fish stock? That’s the only thing that doesn’t make any sense.
Hi Donna, you can use any broth you like. It’s mostly to thin the sauce a bit. I think all broths would work fine and even water if you do not have any broth. Thanks for bring that to my attention!
great photos, makes me hungry, thanks for the recipe
Thanks! I hope you like it!
This was quite good. The sauce was a perfect compliment to the tuna