If you love fish as we do, you will swoon over these blackened mahi-mahi fillets. Made with my homemade blackened spice mix, they are super simple and super delicious. And, the best part is, you can have this fantastic seafood dish on the table in ten minutes!
With firm, white, lean flesh that is slightly sweet and very mild, mahi-mahi is a versatile fish. And, it’s amazing whether it’s blackened, fried, baked, pan-seared, broiled, or grilled.
What is mahi-mahi?
Not only is it one of the most beautiful fish in the world with iridescent blue, green, and gold coloring, but it is also one of the tastiest.
Mahi-mahi, which is found in warm waters around the world and in the Gulf of Mexico, is also known as a dolphinfish or dorado. But don’t worry, it is not related to Flipper or the mammal, bottlenose dolphins. They are most closely related to pompano.
How to buy fresh fish:
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, when shopping for mahi-mahi, “look for firm, slightly pink meat with a fresh sea-breeze aroma and no discoloration.” If you are buying a whole fish, look for tightly adhering scales, a shiny surface, and gills that are deep red or pink.
This special seasoning is what sets this fish recipe apart. It gives the fillets their flavorful spicy taste, blackened appearance, and delicious crunch. My easy homemade seasoning recipe is full of spices including oregano, and cumin. I also include a touch of brown sugar and a little cayenne pepper for heat.
This delicious seasoning mix can also be used on shrimp, chicken, beef, and pork. I’ve even been known to add a little to soups, stews, and various sauces. You can also substitute it for cajun or creole seasoning in recipes. I always keep a jar in my pantry.
You can also purchase premade seasoning and will find it in your grocery store’s spice aisle. I like and have used both Old Bay and Chef Paul Prudhomme brands. Prudhomme was a chef from New Orleans who is credited with popularizing blackened seasoning as well as creole and cajun seasonings.
What you will need:
Fresh mahi-mahi fillets, butter, and fresh lemon juice. For the seasoning, you will need paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, cumin, and salt.
How to make blackened mahi-mahi:
Combine all blackened seasoning ingredients in a bowl to make the blackened spice and mix well.
Use a paper towel and pat dry the fillets.
Melt two tablespoons of butter. Use a pastry brush and coat both sides of the fillets.
Top each fillet with about a tablespoon of the blackened spice mix and rub in with your fingers. Flip over and do the same thing on the other side.
Add three tablespoons of butter (you can substitute olive oil) to a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
When the butter is melted, and the skillet is hot, add the fish and let cook undisturbed for 3 minutes.
Use a pancake turner or spatula and turn the fish over. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. The fish is done when the meat turns opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to overcook.
Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice over the top.
What to serve with it:
I like to serve blackened fish with cheese grits, coleslaw, and hoecakes. Also, it would be delicious with dirty rice, southern spicy tomato cheese grits or southern corn casserole, twice-baked sweet potatoes, green beans with new potatoes, southern potato salad, deviled eggs, or with french fries.
Should you remove the skin from mahi-mahi?
The short answer is yes. This fish has thicker skin that may taste fishy. If you are going to grill it, you may want to leave it on.
- The recipe for blackened seasoning as written is a little spicy. If you want to reduce the heat, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper, or eliminate it.
- For the most authentic flavor and crunch use a cast-iron skillet. A regular skillet works too, but you might not get the crispy exterior.
- You can substitute any firm white fish such as halibut, grouper, snapper, corvina (a type of drum), redfish, or seabass for the mahi-mahi.
- Store any leftover seasoning mix in a glass jar for future use.
- Before cooking, be sure to set your exhaust fan on high. There will be smoke.
- Fresh fish can be stored covered in your refrigerator for up to two days.
- To freeze fresh fish, wrap tightly to prevent freezer burn. It will keep frozen for up to two months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before cooking. If you need it sooner, you can thaw it under cold running water.
- When buying fish fillets, plan on approximately 4 to 6 ounces per person.
- You can substitute purchased blackened seasoning for the homemade. I like and have used Old Bay and Paul Prudhomme blends.
- The cooking time shown is for fillets that are 1/2-inch thick. If your fillets are thinner or thicker, they will take less or more time to cook properly.
- If you are on a low-carb diet, eliminate or reduce the amount of brown sugar in the seasoning mix.
More seafood recipes:
If you are looking for other great seafood recipes, check out these favorites on my blog:
- Grilled Grouper with Sweet and Spicy Mango Salsa
- Pan-Seared Red Snapper with Mango Salsa
- Crispy Oven-Baked Grouper
- Pan-Seared Grouper with Gremolata
- Oven-Baked Parmesan Grouper Fillets
- Southern Blue Crab Cakes
If you need more menu ideas using fish or shellfish, here is a link to all of my seafood recipes.
★ If you make this dish, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Easy Blacked Mahi-Mahi Recipe
- 4 mahi-mahi fillets 4 to 6 ounces each, skinless, about a half-inch thick
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter divided
- 1 lemon fresh
Blackened Spice Mix:
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
Blackened Spice Mix Directions:
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Blackened Mahi-Mahi Directions:
- Use a paper towel and pat dry the fillets.
- Melt two tablespoons of butter. Use a pastry brush and coat both sides of the fillets.
- Top each fillet with about a tablespoon of the blackened spice mix and rub in with your fingers. Flip over and do the same thing on the other side.
- Add three tablespoons of butter (you can substitute olive oil) to a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- When the butter is melted, and the skillet is hot, add the fish and let cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. Use a pancake turner or spatula and turn the fish over. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. The fish is done when the meat turns opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to overcook.
- Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice over the top.