Grilled Mahi Mahi

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Make this easy Grilled Mahi Mahi in just 10 minutes! Coated in a homemade spice run and served with refreshing pineapple salsa.

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There is nothing better than grilled seafood and this Grilled Mahi Mahi is no different! It comes together in no time and tastes like a fancy restaurant dish. It's delicious as a main dish, served as fish tacos, or served as a sandwich. 

During the summer months, there is nothing better than making dinner outside at the grill. While many times I reach for grilled chicken or burgers, sometimes I want something light and fresh like fish. While I usually make cod or salmon, lately I have been making Mahi Mahi and love the results.

Mahi Mahi has a meatier texture than most white fish and is full of flavor. It can stand up to bold spice rubs and is really easy to cook on the grill. Some fishes fall apart on the grill, but not Mahi. It's a perfect fish for cooking outdoors. 

Looking for more tasty ways to make Mahi Mahi? Try this Blackened Mahi Mahi or Lemon Pepper Mahi Mahi.

Mahi Mahi that has been grilled served with pineapple cilantro salsa on top.

All About Mahi Mahi

Although many people have seen Mahi Mahi on restaurant menus, it may not be something you have cooked at home. Here is everything you need to know about this delicious fish. 

  • What is it? Mahi Mahi is a saltwater fish with lean, firm white flesh. It is also known as the common dolphinfish (not at all related to dolphins) or dorado. In Hawaiian, it translates to "very strong." It is a warmer water fish commonly found in the coastal waters off of Hawaii, Costa Rica, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and parts of the Indian Ocean.
  • What does Mahi Mahi taste like? Mahi tastes like a cross between a mild white fish like halibut (or cod) and a meatier fish like swordfish. Many people describe the flavor as semi-mild since it has a more fishy flavor than a mild white fish but still doesn't have a strong fishy flavor. The texture is meaty but the fish still flakes easily. It has a slightly sweet flavor and pairs well with citrus flavors and flavorful spice rubs like blackening seasoning. 
  • How do you know it's fully cooked? Mahi should be cooked fully until the flesh is opaque and flakes easily. Be careful not to overcook it because it will get tough if it is overcooked. 
  • How to buy Mahi Mahi? Most Mahi Mahi in the US will be previously frozen unless you live somewhere where it can be freshly caught. The flesh should be firm and have a light pink hue. There shouldn't be any dull or dark brown areas. The skin should be moist and shiny. It should never smell fishy. In terms of sustainability, it is best to buy troll caught and line caught Mahi Mahi from Hawaii and the US Pacific coast. 

What You'll Need

Here are all the ingredients you need to make this tasty recipe. 

  • Mahi Mahi: Most often you will find Mahi fillets in the grocery store either frozen or previously frozen at the fish counter. Larger fillets of fish also work, but make sure to remove the bloodline from the fillets if needed.  The bloodline can be eaten but it has a very strong, fishy flavor. Most fish counters will cut it out for you. Leave the skin on the Mahi Mahi while it cooks, it will help the fish hold together, but remove it after cooking.  If you can't find Mahi, swap in halibut or cod.
  • Seasoning: To complement the flavors in the fish, this recipe uses a savory spice rub that includes paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. For something spicy, add some chili powder or cayenne pepper to this mixture or swap in blackening or Cajun seasoning. 
  • Pineapple salsa: Mahi is a tropical fish that pairs really well with bright flavors. This fish is served with quick and easy pineapple salsa with fresh pineapple, cilantro, red onion, and lime juice. Mango salsa would also be tasty. 

More Seasoning Ideas

Since Mahi is a mild fish, it can be prepared in many different ways. Here are some other seasoning ideas.

  • Lemon pepper: The bright flavors of lemon and spices notes in the pepper are delicious with fish. Use store-bought lemon pepper or make your own. Add lemon juice before serving for even more flavor.
  • Garlic butter: Butter is a great way to add richness to lean fish like Mahi Mahi. Before grilling the fish, saute some minced garlic in butter. When the fish comes off the grill, drizzle the garlic butter on top.
  • Jerk seasoning: The sweet and spicy flavors in jerk seasoning is a great match for the meatiness of Mahi. Whenever I make Mahi this way, I always add fresh fruit salsa on top. 
  • Chimmichurri: The fresh herbs in chimichurri pair really nicely with white fish. Season the fish with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then drizzle the chimichurri on top before serving.
  • Curry: Many Indian dishes use Mahi Mahi since it is also common in the Indian Ocean. This Fish Curry is a great example, but grilled Mahi with curry seasoning is also delicious. Thai curry sauce with coconut milk would also be delicious on this grilled fish. 

Grilled Mahi fillets with spice rub and served with pineapple, cilantro, and red onion salsa.

Side Dishes for Grilled Mahi Mahi

If you are cooking on the grill, the best side dishes are those that can be made on the grill right alongside the fish. Or quick and easy sides like rice, quinoa, or pasta. Here are some favorite side dishes for Mahi.

Expert Tips for Grilling Fish

Grilling fresh fish at home can be intimidating. Here are some tips to make sure the fish comes out flaky and delicious every time.

  • Always clean the grill: The enemy of grilled fish is a dirty grill. When the grates are dirty, the delicate fish sticks to the grates and falls apart as it cooks or when you try and flip it.  Make sure to clean the grill grates and oil them if needed.
  • Leave the skin on: If possible. grill fish with the skin still on. It will hold the fish together and make it easier to grill and flip.
  • Don't flip too early: If the fish is sticking to the grill, it may not be ready yet. Proteins on the grill need time to char and form a crust. If you try and flip them before that crust has formed, they may stick. 
  • Use foil if needed: If fish tends to stick to the grill, try placing it on a piece of foil. This will prevent it from sticking. 
  • Medium high heat: Cook the fish at medium-high heat to ensure it cooks evenly without burning. At the highest heat, many times the fish burns on the outside before cooking through.

Leftover Ideas

If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

  • Fish Tacos: Grab some corn tortillas and add cooked Mahi Mahi, pineapple salsa, purple cabbage, and some sliced avocado. Mahi is one of the best options for fish tacos since it has a meaty texture.  We also love making fish taco bowls.
  • Grain bowls: Combine the fish with some leftover cooked rice, cabbage slaw, black beans, and avocado for a tasty lunch or dinner.
  • "Fancy" tuna salad: Make tuna salad with the leftover flaked Mahi. Serve it over greens, in a wrap, or as an open-faced melt with tomato and cheese. 
  • Fish cakes: Leftover fish is perfect for fish cakes. Use this easy fish cake recipe to make this tasty dinner. 
  • Fish burgers or sandwiches: Grab some bread and make a tasty fish sandwich or fish burger with lettuce, tomato, and red onion. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the answers to the most common questions about making this Mahi Mahi recipe.

The best way to defrost fish is to place it in the fridge the night before and let it defrost naturally. If you are in a rush, you can place the fillet (in a sealed bag) in a bowl of tepid water. Let it set for 15-30 minutes until defrosted. 

Do not defrost fish in the microwave or hot water. This changes the texture of the fish and will result in a rubbery texture. Similarly it isn't safe to leave fish out all day on the counter to defrost. 

Mahi Mahi should be cooked until opaque and flaky with an internal temperature of 137 degrees farenhiet.  It will continue to cook as it rests. 

The most common reason that Mahi turns out tough is that it is overcooked. When Mahi cooks too long, the flesh becomes tough and rubbery. This can also happen if you defrost the fillets too quickly using hot water or the microwave. The heat changes the texture of the fish. 

Two grilled mahi mahi fillets with a dark red spice rub and fresh pineapple salsa on a white plate.
The Recipe
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Grilled Mahi Mahi

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  • 24 oz mahi mahi fillets (4 6-ounce fillets)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

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Combine the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.

Paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, and pepper in a white bowl.

Pat the mahi mahi fillets with paper towels to dry and remove any extra moisture. Brush the mahi mahi with olive oil. Coat with the spice rub.

Mahi mahi fillets coated with oil and homemade spice rub,

Make sure the grill is clean and oil if needed. Cook the fish for 4-5 minutes per side. Do not flip the fish too early, if it sticks it is likely not ready to flip. The fish is ready when it is opaque and flakes easily.

Mahi mahi cooking on a grill pan.

Optional salsa: 1 cup diced pineapple, 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, 2 tbsp diced red onions, 2 tbsp lime juice, salt, and pepper.

Cilantro being added to a pineapple salsa.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz
Amount Per Serving
Calories 179
Calories from Fat 43
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 124mg
Sodium 446mg
Total Carbohydrate 1g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 32g

* 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.


Optional salsa: 1 cup diced pineapple, 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, 2 tbsp diced red onions, 2 tbsp lime juice, salt, and pepper. Add jalapeno for some spice.

Spice rub: If you prefer a spicier rub, add chili powder, red pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper to the spice mixture.

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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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