Home Articles What Is Mahi Mahi? (+ How to Cook It)

What Is Mahi Mahi? (+ How to Cook It)

Since you’ve found this post, I’m guessing you’re wondering, ‘what is mahi mahi?‘ Or maybe you need a few recipes.

Either way, I’ve got you covered!

Mahi mahi is a popular fish similar to halibut or swordfish in terms of its mild, lightly sweet taste and flaky yet dense texture. Also known as the dolphinfish, it’s usually vibrant green and blue with some gold coloring in the sunlight and can weigh anywhere between 15 and 30 pounds.

Ginger-Glazed Mahi Mahi with Rice

Like most fresh fish, mahi mahi is absolutely delectable with just a few added herbs and spices.

And your whole family will love it! 

So stop wondering ‘what is mahi mahi?’ and check out this quick guide! From taste and cooking tips to storage and recipes, I’ve got it all! 

What is Mahi Mahi?

Mahi mahi is a surface-dwelling fish with a long-body and blunt face. It often swims alongside boats like dolphins, which is how it got its other name, the dolphinfish. Typically found in tropical and subtropical waters all over the world, it can be grilled, steamed, baked, or cooked as steaks.

Mahi mahi is the Hawaiian name, meaning “strong” because these bad boys are powerful swimmers.

They have pale pink flesh that’s pretty lean. But while it doesn’t have the same amount of healthy fats as salmon, it’s still good for you.

Another name for this fish is the dorado, which it gets from its appearance – beautiful, with bright blue and green scales.

But in the sun, it’s iridescent and golden!

Here’s some more fun mahi mahi facts:

  • Mahi mahi is a saltwater fish.
  • It’s most often found in the warm Mediterranean, South Pacific, and Caribbean waters.
  • It’s also known to swim through the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. 
  • Mahi mahi can range in size from 3-6 feet long and weigh up to 30 pounds (though one record-setting fish weighed in at 50 pounds!)
  • Dolphinfish are sustainable because they’re not over-fished and have a short life cycle – so the populations are well maintained. 

You can find mahi mahi pretty easily in the United States. Just check your local store in the frozen aisle.

Or head to your nearest fishmonger for fresh filets.

Fresh Mahi Mahi Fillet on a Wooden Chopping Board

What Does Mahi Mahi Taste Like?

Tender. Moist. Delicious. 

What more can you ask for?

Mahi mahi has a mild yet lightly sweet taste. It’s not overly fishy, and the flesh is quite firm and lean. In some cases, it can be almost meaty, making it ideal for grilling as steaks. Many people think it tastes similar to swordfish, though the darker meat will have a more pronounced flavor.

It’s pretty flaky, and fresh mahi mahi should smell like the ocean. However, if the flesh is soft and overly fishy, it is not fresh.

You’ll notice that the pale pink meat turns white as it cooks. Though parts of darker meat can be more gray-white when cooked.

How to Cook Mahi Mahi

Mahi mahi is very versatile. And so are the cooking methods. They include:

  • Pan-seared
  • Grilled
  • Baked
  • Fried
  • Batter fried
  • Steamed
  • Broiled

I think the best methods are pan-searing, grilling, or baking because they preserve the most flavor. But you do you!

Mahi mahi also makes fabulous burgers and sandwiches. It also is really yummy in soup.

Basically, mahi mahi can do it all!

Mahi Mahi Filets vs Whole

Most mahi mahi filets will have no bones. But if they do, they’re relatively easy to remove after cooking.

Of course, if you buy a whole mahi mahi, you’ll have to remove the bones yourself. 

Either way, you can cook mahi mahi with the skin on or off. But leaving the skin on helps protect the fish from overcooking.

That said, the skin isn’t usually edible. It’s quite thick and tough, so it’s almost always either cut away after cooking or left on the plate.

Just be aware that mahi mahi is a very lean fish. So, no matter the cooking method, you need to pay attention to it.

There’s nothing worse in the culinary world than dry, overcooked fish. 

Sliced Fresh Halibut Fish

Mahi Mahi vs. Halibut

Both fish are delicious, with similar textures and flavors. And both are saltwater fish.

But there are several differences between the two. 

  • Mahi mahi prefers warm waters, halibut prefers cool waters. Halibut is more often found in deeper parts of the Pacific. 
  • Halibut is much larger than mahi mahi. It is a type of flounder, and it can grow past 500 pounds in weight! 
  • Both fish taste wonderful, but mahi mahi has a more tropical flavor. As for texture, halibut is a little bit flakier.
  • Both fish are a healthy choice. Although, halibut rates a little better in the nutrition department. 
  • Halibut is generally more expensive than mahi mahi. That’s why I prefer mahi mahi.

How to Store Mahi Mahi

You can store fresh mahi mahi in the back of the refrigerator for 2-3 days, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap

It also freezes really well!

Wrap the filets tightly in plastic wrap and add them to a freezer bag or an airtight container. 

If you have a vacuum sealer, use that! This is the best way to prepare them for the freezer.

And, of course, if you purchased pre-packaged, frozen filets, just put them directly in the freezer.

Frozen mahi mahi will last for several months. 

Mahi Mahi Recipes

Best Mahi Mahi Recipes

With such a versatile fish, you can make numerous delicious dishes. And from several different cultures and cuisines.

With mahi mahi, you can please any palette. 

And that’s a fact! 

The three mahi mahi recipes below are some of my favorites.

But the ginger-glazed mahi mahi is the absolute best! So, I included that recipe for you at the bottom. 


1. Mahi Mahi in Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

This delectable dish is light, bright, and perfect for any weeknight dinner. 

The fish is perfectly spiced in a mix of garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and paprika (plus salt & pepper).

Then, it’s pan-fried to perfection. 

Add a creamy, garlicky, lemony sauce, and you won’t be able to resist a second piece.

2. Tomato Basil Mahi Mahi Recipe

Simple does not mean boring. And this mahi mahi recipe proves it.

It features butter-seared mahi mahi served with garlic, shallots, basil, and sun-dried tomatoes. 

It’s savory, it’s fresh, and it tastes like a Mediterranean dream. Serve with your favorite pasta and veggies. 

3. Blackened Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

Every bite of this fantastic mahi mahi dish bursts with summery freshness. It’s a little sweet and a whole lot of savory.

You’re gonna love it. 

This recipe features mahi mahi rubbed with smoky, flavorful, savory spices. It’s then pan-seared until blackened on the outside and white inside. 

And when you add the incredibly fresh, sweet, and spicy mango salsa? You’ll send your taste buds directly to flavor heaven. 

P.S. These make fantastic tacos!

Ginger-Glazed Mahi Mahi Recipe (+ Cooking Tips)



Prep time


Cooking time





This ginger-glazed mahi mahi bursts with delicious flavor. It’s sweet, sour, and utterly scrumptious. And the best part is, you can make it in just 35 minutes.


  • 3 tablespoons honey

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

  • 4 (6-ounce) mahi mahi filets

  • salt & pepper, to taste

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  • Mix the honey, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, ginger, and garlic in a shallow dish.
  • Pat the mahi mahi dry with a paper towel, then season each side with salt and pepper.
  • Place the filets into the dish with the marinade, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Remove the fish from the fridge and let the excess marinade drip off. Do not discard the marinade.
  • Cook the fish in the hot pan, skin side down if it had skin still on.
  • Fry the fish for approximately 8 minutes, depending on its thickness. Flip the fish only once, just before it’s almost fully cooked.
  • If the mahi mahi filets don’t have skin, fry them on each side for 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove the filets from the skillet and set them aside on a plate or platter.
  • Pour the leftover marinade into the hot skillet, lower the heat to medium, and simmer until the sauce reduces into a glaze.
  • Spoon the glaze over the mahi mahi and serve.

Tips for the Best Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi

  • The more garlic, the better.    
  • Use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. This is an excellent option if you’re gluten-free, allergic to soy, or eating paleo. 
  • Spice it up with some red chili flakes. It adds delicious umami. 
  • To grill mahi mahi: wrap the marinated filets in foil and put them on the grill. There’s no need to flip. Make the glaze on the stove or in a pan on the grill. 
  • To bake mahi mahi: put the fish, skin side down, on a baking sheet and into a preheated 400-degree Fahrenheit oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until the fish is tender and white.
  • If you don’t have mahi mahi, this recipe is delicious with any white fish. Tilapia, halibut, or cod work great!
  • Double the marinade ingredients to make extra glaze for rice, noodles, or veggies. 
  •  Serve with rice or noodles and your favorite veggies. 
What is Mahi Mahi?

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author avatar
Haley van der Ploeg
Haley van der Ploeg is a food writer and content creator for Insanely Good Recipes, where she authors blog posts, creates recipes, and crafts tantalizing photos.

Haley is passionate about food and its ability to gather people across cultures, languages, and generations. She believes everyone can learn to cook.

Most days, you can find Haley reading, baking elaborate cakes, and hosting get-togethers for friends and family. If Haley isn't home, she’s probably on a plane jetting off to exciting adventures and new cuisines.

She lives with her husband in the Netherlands and has taught him that vegetables *can* taste good.

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