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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 To Cook and Eat

  • Mahi Mahi with Mango Avocado SalsaThis pan seared mahi mahi with mango salsa is scrumptious all by itself, and tastes fabulous with the fish.  Tender, flavorful, and flaky white fish can easily be accomplished! 
  • Easy Lemon Butter Fish in 20 MinutesThis Easy Lemon Butter Fish only takes 20 minutes and a handful of ingredients. It’s a delicious and nutritious white fish recipe. Pair with rice and vegetables for a healthy weeknight dinner.
  • Fish with Black Bean SauceFish with Black Bean Sauce is a popular menu offering at many Chinese restaurants.  This dish is savory, flavorful, and perfect over a bed of rice.  Easily make your own deliciously tender and healthy version at home
  • Crispy Baja Fish Tacos with Creamy Lime SauceCrispy Baja Fish Tacos with Creamy Lime Sauce are so yummy, they’re sure to become a fast family favorite! They’re a healthy and tasty addition to your Tex-Mex menu. 
  • White Fish with Lemon Butter Sauce – This is one of the most delicious yet simple ways to enjoy fish for dinner. The flavors of garlic, butter, and lemon fuse together to create a healthy and mouthwatering meal the whole family will devour.
  • Honey Lime Grilled SalmonThis Honey Glazed Salmon is zesty, sweet, savory, and full of flavor in every bite. Such an easy, delicious way to enjoy healthy salmon. 
  • Lemon Butter Cod RecipeCod is a healthy, lean fish that can be easily added to your dinner rotation. This tender, flavorful cod recipe is quick enough for busy weeknights. It’s sure to become a favorite.

Watch us make this mahi mahi


Easy Perfect Mahi Mahi Recipe

4.85 from 165 ratings
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 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients  

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
  • tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 TB juice from fresh lemon
  • 1 TB 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

  • Preheat oven to 400F with rack on middle position.
  • Lemon Garlic Mixture (can be made ahead) – in a small pan, combine all Lemon Garlic Mixture ingredients and stir to fully combine. Set aside.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.1g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4.6g | Cholesterol: 67.4mg | Sodium: 124.4mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Method: Skillet Oven

Did you make this?

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

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Recipe Rating




297 comments

    • Cindy
    • 5 stars

    My husband and I loved this easy to make recipe and it was super tasty!

      • Cindy

      We will definitely be making it again. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kay
    • 5 stars

    I have made this recipe several times, and we love it! Thank you!

    • Patricia
    • 5 stars

    Extremely easy and delicious recipe that is a keeper. Mahi Mahi stayed moist and the sauce elevated the entire meal. This reminded me of dishes that I have had in high-end restaurants. Best of all it was a hit with the whole family who gobbled it up.

    • Laurie Almoslino
    • 5 stars

    This was delicious! We can’t eat garlic, onion or pepper, so we substituted chopped up fennel for the garlic, Italian parsley for the chives, Country crock plant butter for the butter, and some dried basil for the pepper. Followed the directions very closely and it came out great. The only caveat is that I made the full amount of sauce, but only had two 4 oz fillets. In my view, that amount of sauce was just right for the two fillets.

    Used a LeCreuset cast iron pan that can go in the oven. I think that is part of what made it so good, as the pan holds heat very well. Yum!

    • Bhavesh Modi
    • 5 stars

    Made it for the first time last night. The flavors are incredible. I make a lot of fish recipes and my son said this was the best one I’ve made.

    • Shelly

    So good! My family loved it!. Thanks for your recipe

    • mary green
    • 5 stars

    Delicious and so easy to make. Will impress toughest critic! Will be making this again and again!

    • Nancy Newman
    • 5 stars

    Easy to make and delicious!!

    • Caroline Walker

    Delicious! The only thing better was how quick and easy it was. I only had two pieces of fish, but made the full sauce recipe – the directions for timing is absolutely perfect. Definitely will be making this again.

    • Kathy
    • 5 stars

    Delicious! I browned the butter which tasted awesome! It will be made again for sure, thank you

    • Sara

    Made this for dinner tonight using frozen mahi that I thawed and it was delicious!! Everyone wanted more. I was afraid the lemon peel would be bitter but it was very tasty

    • Stacey Wenzel
    • 5 stars

    My son loves seafood so we decided to make this recipe. He says it is one of the best things he’s ever eaten! Thanks for sharing the recipe. It’s a new favorite

      • Tina

      I don’t have fresh lemons I have lime and lemon juice for maui maui I have planks and Italian bread crumb have oil flour and eggs all my herbs are dry it’s new years day snowing and _45 bellow here

        • chewoutloud

        Oh, Tina, I get it completely…it was just -37 a couple days ago here. You can use bottled lemon juice as a backup, if you can’t get to the store!

    • Jenny
    • 5 stars

    This turned out so good my kid was kicking the plate! LOL. A keeper for sure. Glad to have ready tasty recipe to use with my frozen Costco mahi.

      • chewoutloud

      That makes me smile, Jenny! 🙂

    • Fran
    • 5 stars

    Loved the flavor for my mahi and served with a yummy salad of leaf green, cranberries, toasted cucumber chips, fresh satsuma slices, toasted pecans and a light citrus dressing

      • Kari Sullivan

      Toasted cucumber chips? How interesting!!! I will definitely be trying that.

    • Clare
    • 5 stars

    Love this recipe for any white fish. I have it saved in my phone, it’s that good.

    • Beck & Bulow

    Great flavors, but, like Brenda, my pork chops were not the brown color in your picture, nor as crispy looking. I followed the recipe – no changes. What do you think makes this difference? please visit: https://www.beckandbulow.com

      • Evonne

      Great recipe! My husband and family loved it, I will definitely make it again.

    • Sharon
    • 5 stars

    Amazing, delicious and easy to prepare! The topping is so simple yet SO yummy! Don’t have an oven safe skillet so I sprayed a heavy cookie sheet with Pam and had it ready to go in a 400 degree oven. When it was time to place the fish in the oven I used a spatula gently transferred them on to the cookie sheet. 5 minutes later they came out devine!

      • chewoutloud

      Really happy you loved this, Sharon!

    • Faith
    • 5 stars

    Just made this for the second time – this time with rice pilaf and wilted spinach with red onion… DELICIOUS! This recipe is a keeper. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    • Siobhan
    • 4 stars

    This was a nice easy recipe for my 14 year old to do. He made it really well, just needed some pasta or rice to go with it. We had made some sautéed veggies.

      • chewoutloud

      Impressive, way to go!

        • Siobhan
        • 4 stars

        Thank you, He was really nervous. It was his first time cooking fish. And your recipe made it simple and easy for him to understand.
        Thank you for sharing this recipe. ❤️

    • Susanne Gillies
    • 5 stars

    Delicious recipe for Mahi-Mahi! Easy to prepare ✔️

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