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Easy Perfect Mahi Mahi Recipe

Mahi Mahi, otherwise known as Dorado, is a deservedly popular fish. When done right, mahi mahi is tender, flaky, and deliciously flavorful. This lemon garlic butter sauce is sensational. 

Mahi Mahi with Lemon Butter Sauce in pan
This Mahi Mahi recipe yields tender, flaky, and delicious fish

Easy Perfect Mahi Mahi Recipe

I grew up in a family that often dished up fish for dinner. Any given weeknight, we would sit down to a meal that included freshly cooked fish. My parents served up all varieties of fish, from whole fish to fish fillets. They used all methods of cooking with their fish recipes, from braised to pan fried.

As a child, I naively thought everyone adored some fish dish. Alas, one day I discovered that was far from truth. (Pssst: I’ve been kinda secretly convinced that it must be because some haven’t found their perfect fish recipe just yet.) 😉

Though there are a myriad of ways to cook up delicious fish – hello, Sheet Pan Lemon Salmon – this easy mahi mahi fish recipe is perfect for anyone to make. It only takes about 20 minutes, it’s super tender, and incredibly tasty. People keep telling me they can’t believe they made this restaurant-quality mahi mahi dish by themselves. You can, too.


mahi mahi fillets on cutting board
It’s important to pat-dry fish fillets

What’s the best way to cook mahi mahi?

Whether you’re a pro fish cooker-eater or you’re trying to start incorporating more fish into your diet, this recipe is a perfect way to serve it up. We use the stovetop-to-oven method of cooking here, like we do with this trusty lemon garlic swordfish, which yields a nicely browned exterior yet tender, flaky center.

Here are some of our helpful tips for cooking mahi mahi:

  • Get either super fresh or quick-frozen, high quality mahi mahi… wild is best and will provide best flavor.
  • Be sure your mahi portions are about 6-7oz each, with at least 1-inch thickness. If your portions are thin or too small, they’ll tend to overcook and the seasoning proportions will be off.
  • Always pat dry excess moisture from the fish; this step is super important, as it affects how well your fish will brown. I use paper towels to fully pat away all extra moisture.
  • Your cooking oil needs to be very hot [like, sizzling] before adding the fish. This allows for quick and even browning of exterior.
  • Once fish is in pan, do not keep. moving it around. Let it sit and brown for 3 minutes. It helps to have a large splatter guard. I use mine often whenever pan-frying foods.
  • Preheat oven ahead of time so that it’s nice and hot when you transfer the mahi mahi directly from stovetop to oven. After 5 minutes in the oven, it’s done.
Mahi Mahi with Lemon Butter Sauce in pan
Use mahi mahi fillets that are at least 1-inch thick

What do I need for the lemon garlic sauce?

  • Plenty of freshly minced garlic is called for. Don’t skimp on the garlic.
  • Grab one fresh lemon and zest the peel; then squeeze 1 TB of tangy juice from it. Bottled lemon juice isn’t the same, so use fresh lemons.
  • I prefer to use salted pure butter, but feel free to use unsalted if you like as long as it’s real butter.
  • For freshly chopped herbs, choose from chives or parsley…or both.
  • Tip: sauce can be prepared ahead of time, covered, and chilled until you’re ready to warm it up for serving. It’s a great sauce to have on hand.
Mahi Mahi with Lemon Butter Sauce on plate
Serve mahi mahi with rice, potatoes, or vegetables

What to serve with fish?

This fish dish is one of our favorites for everything from quick weeknight dinners to small dinner parties. If your friends enjoy restaurant-quality fish dishes, they’ll be in awe of you for serving this mahi mahi. Because the Lemon Garlic Sauce can be made in advance, all you need to do is cook your fish, which takes about 8 minutes total.

More Easy Fish to Cook and Eat:


Watch us make this mahi mahi:


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Easy Perfect Mahi Mahi Recipe

4.9 from 122 reviews

Mahi Mahi, otherwise known as Dorado, is deservedly a popular fish. When done right, mahi mahi is tender, flaky, and deliciously flavorful. This lemon garlic butter sauce is sensational. 

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 20 min

Yield: 4

Ingredients

Scale
  • For the Lemon Garlic Mixture:
  • 2 TB salted butter, softened to room temp
  • 1 TB freshly chopped chives or parsley
  • 2 TB garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 TB juice from fresh lemon
  • 1TB grated lemon peel
  • For the Fish:
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 4 (1-inch thick each) mahi-mahi fillets, 4oz each
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F with rack on middle position.
  2. Lemon Garlic Mixture (can be made ahead) – in a small pan, combine all Lemon Garlic Mixture ingredients and stir to fully combine. Set aside.
  3. Pat-dry all excess moisture from the fish fillets with paper towels. This step is important, so be sure to pat off as much moisture as you can. Evenly sprinkle both sides of fillets with pinches of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
  4. In a large oven-proof pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. Once oil is sizzling hot, add the fish fillets to pan and let cook until browned on one side, about 3 minutes – do not move fish around. Carefully flip fish fillets over to the other side, turn stove burner off, and immediately transfer pan into already-hot oven.
  5. Roast fish at 400F about 5 minutes or just until the top is golden and center is just cooked through. Take care not to overcook. A minute before fish is done cooking in oven, heat your small pan of prepared lemon-garlic mixture over medium high heat, constantly stirring, just until melted and bubbly.
  6. Immediately turn heat off and pour mixture over the cooked fish. Be sure to pour on any juices from the fish pan as well. Serve with extra lemon slices for garnish. 

Notes

Be sure to use coarse kosher salt, and not fine table salt. Fine salt is much saltier than kosher in recipes.

Lemon Garlic Sauce can be made ahead of time and reheated to serve.

A large splatter guard is helpful whenever pan frying. It really helps with random oil splatters.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating 🙂 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 193
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 124.4 mg
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.1 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 20 g
  • Cholesterol: 67.4 mg
  • Author: Chew Out Loud
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Skillet Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: mahi mahi recipe, how to cook mahi mahi

* This recipe is part of our easy fish recipes collection *

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Recipe rating

272 comments

    • Debbie

    Perfect every time!!

    • Russ

    Super tasty! Super easy! Spot on with the garlic requirements and benefits of the splash guard!

    Thanks

    Last time I cooked Mahi-mahi it was meh

    • Angela

    This is my go-to quick fish recipe now. I made a mushroom rice pilaf as a side & it was great. I also shortened the cooking time a bit.

    • Ani Lopez

    I’m so glad I found this recipe. We bought Mahi Mahi and I had no idea how to cook it. It was delicious!

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