This pan-seared blackened mahi-mahi is super easy and fast and pairs well with almost anything. Serve it in a bowl with rice and mango salsa, throw it in some tacos, or make a mahi-mahi sandwich with a buttery bun, lettuce, and tomato. It's so versatile and perfect for summer.
Why We Love This Recipe
- It's easy: We make our own quick blackening seasoning from spices we already have in our pantry, but you can use store-bought blackening seasoning if that sounds easier to you. This recipe is so foolproof it doesn't even matter. Pan-searing it only takes a few minutes and is so much less intimidating than you think.
- It pairs well with everything: We originally came up with this mahi-mahi recipe for tacos, but we liked it so much, we started serving it by itself too. It's so good with rice and veggies or served with our mango salsa.
- It's inexpensive: We buy a bag of frozen mahi-mahi and keep it in the freezer. Walmart, Sam's Club, Costco, and Trader Joe's all have good options. A 1-pound bag is usually less than $10, and unlike some fish, it still tastes great when it's not fresh.
📋 Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Mahi-Mahi: You can use fresh or frozen mahi-mahi. We usually use frozen filets because they're more accessible and tend to be inexpensive. If you use frozen mahi-mahi, make sure you properly thaw it before cooking. To thaw, place it in the refrigerator overnight the day before you plan on cooking it. If you can't find mahi-mahi, halibut and swordfish are good substitutes.
- Vegetable or avocado oil: This is for coating the mahi-mahi (it helps the spices stick) and for cooking. You can use whatever kind of oil you prefer, but you want to use something with a high smoke-point, such as avocado oil or canola oil.
- For the blackening seasoning: ground cayenne, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, and cumin. If you prefer, you can use your own favorite blackening seasoning.
- Lemons: We like to squeeze fresh lemon juice on our cooked mahi-mahi filets. Fresh lime juice would be delicious too.
See recipe card for amounts.
♨️ Step-by-Step Instructions
Step 1: Make the blackening seasoning. Add ground cayenne, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, and cumin to a bowl and mix to combine.
Step 2: Pat the mahi-mahi dry with a paper towel, then add it to a large mixing bowl. Coat the mahi-mahi evenly with 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the blackening seasoning mixture and mix until the fish is evenly coated.
Step 3: Heat a cast-iron or non-stick pan over high heat with the rest of the oil. Once hot, turn the heat to medium-high heat and add the mahi-mahi. Cook, undisturbed, for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for another minute and a half, or until it flakes easily with a fork. Remove it from heat.
Step 4: Squeeze fresh lemon or lime juice over the filets, and serve!
🍽 Serving Ideas
Wondering what to serve mahi-mahi with? We've got you covered.
- With vegetables: We love this served with simple vegetables like carrots, brussels sprouts, or broccoli. It's also great with summery grilled veggies, like eggplant, zucchini, and peppers. You can also serve it with cold veggies, like our escabeche vegetable salad.
- In a rice bowl: We love this mahi-mahi with rice and our mango peach salsa. To make it easy, we usually use frozen microwavable rice packets (we love the frozen jasmine rice at Trader Joe's).
- In tacos: Check out our mahi-mahi tacos for some taco inspiration. This mahi-mahi is great in a tortilla with bacon, peach or mango salsa, and cilantro lime aioli.
- On a fish sandwich: Mahi-mahi is great on a sandwich. We love ours on a toasted buttery bun with tomatoes, lettuce, and mayonnaise.
💭 Top Tips
- Make sure you pat your mahi-mahi dry before adding the oil and spices. Having dry filets will ensure that the spices stick and will prevent them from spraying you with oil when cooked.
- If you use frozen mahi-mahi, make sure it's fully defrosted before cooking. It won't sear properly if it's still frozen.
- Try not to disturb your fish while it's cooking. It's tempting to lift it up and check it every few seconds, but it'll get the best sear if you just leave it alone.
Frequently asked questions
Mahi-mahi is a mild white fish with a slightly sweet flavor. It's not super "fishy" tasting, which is why it is so versatile and takes on the blackening seasoning flavor so well. If you can't find mahi-mahi, halibut and swordfish are good substitutes.
Yes! Use about 2 tablespoons of store-bought blackening seasoning per 4 filets.
Yes! Add the oil and blackening seasoning to the fish, then cook it at 400°F for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway.