Grilled Lemon Pepper Mahi Mahi

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This Lemon Pepper Grilled Mahi Mahi is made with just five ingredients, is ready in less than 10 minutes, and tastes like a fancy restaurant dish.

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If you aren't making Mahi Mahi at home and saving it for restaurant meals, it's time to change that! Cooking Mahi Mahi on the grill couldn't be easier and it makes for a delicious and easy meal. 

When it comes to fish and seafood, I live in a deeply divided house. I absolutely love it, like seriously love it. After growing up in a New England home where we ate fish and seafood all the time, it's one of my favorite things.

Since I am eating more fish, I have been reaching out beyond my normal choices (salmon and cod) and experimenting with cooking different types of fish at home, like this mahi mahi. Last week I made this Blackened Mahi Mahi and this week I am throwing it on the grill with lemon pepper seasoning.

For this preparation, I wanted something easy so I marinated it in lemon, butter, garlic, thyme, and lots of black pepper.  It's easy, healthy, and in case you live in a house divided like me, also works great for chicken.

We also love making this lemon pepper tilapia and lemon pepper salmon on the grill when it's hot out.

What is Mahi Mahi?

Mahi Mahi is the Hawaiian word for the dolphinfish. Not to be confused with the marine mammal, the dolphinfish or Mahi Mahi is a brightly colored, flat-headed fish that lives in warm waters around the world. In Hawaiian it means strong-strong. 

In terms of flavor, many people compare Mahi Mahi to a more affordable version of halibut. It is a meaty white fish with firm flesh and a mild flavor. It is meatier than fish like tilapia or cod, but not quite as meaty as something like swordfish

Mahi mahi is also a sustainable, eco-friendly fish option since it is abundant in many areas and hasn't been overfished. 

What You'll Need for Grilled Mahi Mahi

Here are all the ingredients you need to make this tasty lemon pepper grilled fish.

  • Mahi Mahi: Whenever possible, it is also best to buy fresh mahi fish since it will have the best flavor. However, many times the only option is previously frozen fish. Look for fish that was immediately frozen. Always let it defrost natural overnight in the fridge for best results.
  • Lemon: Fish and lemon are a natural pair and the lemon in this recipe gives great flavor to the fish. It also helps the fish to marinate quickly with its acidic nature. Always use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Butter: Butter adds some richness to the recipe and just works really well with fish. You could also use olive oil, ghee, or avocado oil.
  • Garlic: Another layer of flavor is from the garlic. If you aren't a huge garlic fan, leave it out. 
  • Thyme: Using dried herbs adds a depth of flavor to the fish. Any dried herb you like will work but I love the combination of lemon, garlic, and thyme.
  • Black Pepper: To make this lemon pepper fish, you need a lot of fresh black pepper. 

What to Serve with Grilled Fish

The best side dishes for grilled fish are quick and easy salads or side dishes that can be made on the grill. That way you aren't cooking inside and outside at the same time. Consider making a big green salad, grilled vegetables, a cold potato salad, or even a quick fruit salad. Here are some of the best side dishes for grilled mahi mahi.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions about cooking mahi mahi on the grill?

Mahi mahi is great for the grill because it doesn't fall apart easily on the grill. The flesh has a firmer texture, similar to swordfish. Another trick for keeping mahi mahi from falling apart on the grill is to leave the skin on since it holds the flesh together. Lastly, if your grill tends to stick, make sure to oil the fish or place it on a piece of foil to prevent sticking. 

Mahi Mahi cooks relatively quickly on the grill and only needs about 3-5 minutes per side depending on the thickness. It is done when the flesh turns opaque and off-white in color. It will be slightly flaky. Make sure not to overcook the mahi or it will become tough and rubbery.

Unless you are buying sushi-grade fish, mahi mahi should be cooked through until it is off-white and flaky. Some people prefer cooking mahi mahi medium, but you need a high quality fish to do this.

The Recipe
Grilled lemon pepper mahi mahi served with brown rice, lemon, and broccoli.

Grilled Lemon Pepper Mahi Mahi

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  • 1.33 lbs. mahi mahi
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted (or ghee or olive oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (more to taste)
  • Salt to taste

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Mix together the lemon juice, melted butter, garlic, and thyme. Pour over the fish and season with salt and pepper. Let rest for 30 minutes.


When ready to cook, grill or broil for 4-5 minutes per side or until cooked through and flaky. If your grill tends to stick, cook the mahi on foil.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 185
Calories from Fat 62
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 125mg
Sodium 134mg
Total Carbohydrate 2g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 28g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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