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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 133 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 1x

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
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Skillet Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: mahi mahi recipe, how to cook mahi mahi

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

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Recipe rating

289 comments

    • Marie

    Mahi-mahi is such an elegant, delicate fish! I’ve often eyed it at the market but stopped short of buying it because I wasn’t sure how to prepare it best. Your recipe seems so utterly delicious, yet easy to master! Plus it uses my very favorite flavor: lemon. I can’t wait to try it!

    • Bernice

    Interesting…I’ve never heard another name for Mahi Mahi before. I love this fish but just had no idea how to cook it. Thanks for all the great tips.

    • Kenny

    This recipe is better than any prepared blackened seasoning I have bought in the store. Also, try this with a side dish of roasted cauliflower. Garnish both fish and cauliflower with a little lemon juice. YUM!

      • chewoutloud

      That’s perfect, Kenny!

    • Donna Treadaway

    This recipe completely delighted me! It was so quick and easy, and the very simple butter-lemon-garlic sauce was brilliant! Luckily, I recently purchased some professional-grade stainless steel cookware, so the juices and the fond in the pan I used on both the stovetop and in the oven were delicious! This recipe is now printed and in my Favorites notebook.

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you loved it! 🙂

    • CoCo

    Delicious and easy to make. My daughter, who doesn’t like fish, loved it.

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, great to hear that, Coco!

    • Richard Cronk

    Delicious recipe, my wife was hesitant at first and then ate the whole thing. This is the best way to cook Mahi Mahi we have found. I had to print the recipe, so we could fix it again. Thank You

      • chewoutloud

      That’s a definite win, Richard! 🙂

    • Kim

    So easy and so yum! Enjoyed every bite. Served with roasted potatoes, asparagus & onion mixed. And wine. Always wine.

    • Lisa Kowalski

    Turned out perfectly. Added extra lemon and a splash of white wine.

    • Isa

    Great sauce! I will definitely make it again.

    • Guido

    Great recipe but damn you gotta time it well or that once juicy and flakey becomes dry and tough. Learning lesson I suppose…..

    • Suzy

    This recipe is fantastic! My husband and I think it’s one of the best fish dishes we’ve ever had. A question I have, though. We will be entertaining someone that is allergic to both lemon and dairy. I can sub Earth Balance for the butter, but do you think it would taste weird if I used lime juice and lime zest instead of lemon?

      • chewoutloud

      Hi, Suzy…I think you can use the lime with good results! 🙂

    • Chris

    Really tasty recipe but I would recommend using unsalted butter and go easy on the salt for the fish, if it wasn’t so salty this dish would have been perfect.

      • chewoutloud

      Thanks, Chris!

    • Ky

    The recipe turned out delicious, and it was a simple meal for a busy week night. Since my pans aren’t oven-safe, I had to transfer the fish to a baking sheet for the oven portion, but the dish still turn out well. I will be making this again. Thanks!

      • chewoutloud

      Awesome, Kyla!

    • Brian

    Amazing directions for flavor and just the right amount for f cook time. So juicy and flavorful. Changed my opinion of Mahi Mahi forever.

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, that’s awesome, Brian!

    • Jackie

    Delish! That flavor packs a punch! I love lemon. I had to cut the foot long fillet that I got at the market, lol, wasn’t sure if I should keep the bones in so I made it into smaller pieces based on your photos. 🙂
    I paired it with the russet potato recipe you suggested. All of the flavors went well together. Thank you!

      • chewoutloud

      So glad you enjoyed it, Jackie!

    • Jenni

    Easy and delicious! Followed recipe exactly as written, perfect every time!

    • CR

    Holy cow, this was incredible! And I didn’t even use butter (I used Smart Balance). Afterward I fried up some green beans in the leftover sauce to go with the fish. 10/10 recipe!

      • chewoutloud

      Yippeee! 🙂

    • Robert

    One of the tastiest and cleanest recipes I have had for fish!

      • chewoutloud

      That’s fantastic, Robert! 🙂

    • Julie M

    This was the first time making Mahi Mahi. This was so easy and tasty! I will be making this again and again.

      • chewoutloud

      Super happy your 1st mahi experience was great! 🙂

    • Sara

    I’m a lifelong fish-hater, but I decided to give it another chance for a meatless Friday dinner during Lent. I did my research and learned that mahi-mahi is supposed to be less “fishy” than other fish, and settled on this recipe, and I actually liked it! I will probably even make it outside of Lent. That might not seem like high praise, but a recipe that makes fish palatable to me is a winner. It was pretty quick and easy to make, but it set off my smoke alarm.

      • chewoutloud

      That makes me super happy…another “fish convert!” 🙂 🙂 YAY!

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