Skip to Content

What Is Mahi Mahi? How Does Mahi Mahi Taste?

Mahi mahi has become a more popular fish in recent years, particularly in more specialty shops and restaurants.

It is known not only as a main dish in various meals but as an ingredient in raw foods, such as sushi, and in other unique ocean-based meals centered on seafood.

Anybody who has had this fish knows that mahi mahi taste is unique and hard to describe. Some fall in love with it right away due to its intensity, while others may turn back to more palpable fish options.

No matter what mahi mahi meal you eat, it’s going to be a memorable experience.

In this article, we’ll discuss mahi mahi taste, highlight its look and texture, provide several recipes for cooking it, and help you store it properly.

This information will make it easier for you to decide if mahi mahi is the right option for your next seafood meal.

What Is Mahi Mahi?

Mahi Mahi Taste

Mahi mahi is an ocean-dwelling fish that is called by many names, including the common dolphinfish. Despite this name, mahi mahi is not related to dolphins but is a separate type completely.

Mahi mahi may also be called dorado, which is a name shared with a freshwater fish, in some regions.

The name mahi mahi comes from the traditional Hawaiian language and means very strong. It earned this name when natives tried this fish for the first time and noted its potent flavor.

Mahi mahi are also relatively large fish that were very strong and hard to catch off the Hawaiian islands.

Mahi mahi typically ranges from 15-30 pounds, with rare individuals topping 40. Their sleek and long body is around 3-4 feet long and is rather thick.

Often confused with tuna by amateur anglers, they are similarly strong and provide a good fight even for skilled fishers.

What Does Mahi Mahi Taste Like?

Mahi Mahi Taste

Mahi mahi has a very fishy taste that makes it one of the most potent fish on the market.

However, its flavor is also balanced by slice sweetness, which makes it adaptable in many dishes. That potency is just one reason why it is so popular in many areas.

Mahi mahi is also adaptable to many cooking methods, which makes it easier to prepare in many cultures.

Hawaiians traditionally roasted it on a fire, which gives the meat a richer and denser flavor. That said, you can also bake or even broil this fish and get great results.

For those who enjoy mahi mahi, it is a diverse and enjoyable protein source that includes many vitamins and minerals.

Those who are a bit turned off by its intensity can balance it a little with rice, potatoes, breading, and other ingredients that dial it down a notch.

What Does Mahi Mahi Look Like?

Mahi Mahi Taste

A living mahi mahi has a pretty unique look, including a rather large head with a sharp angle at the front.

They are typically green and blue while in the water but change color when removed. As they die, they will eventually turn a golden color on the outside.

Mahi mahi meat is typically quite pink before being cooked and becomes white after preparation.

There are several layers to the meat due to this fish’s size, including various waves through the flesh that flake off as the meat cooks and become easier to eat.

The surface of the mahi mahi may be slightly brown as it cooks, though the sides will likely remain white.

This browning may be enhanced by flavoring the flesh with various items, such as pepper, cumin, and other unique spices. Throw away any mahi mahi with black or discolored flesh.

What Texture Does Mahi Mahi Have?

Mahi Mahi Taste

Mahi mahi’s texture is moderately firm with some softness when still raw. It is by no means soft or mushy, which gives it an enjoyable feel in the mouth when eaten.

However, that slightly soft texture also makes it bake, grill, and fry easily without becoming brittle and cracking.

The texture may also change slightly depending on how you cook it. For instance, baked mahi mahi is likely to be softer than if you fry it.

Pan searing tends to bring out the most firmness in mahi mahi, though grilling will also give it an enjoyably smoky texture.

Types Of Mahi Mahi

Mahi mahi is one of just two species in its family and lacks the diversity of other fish, like carp or tilapia.

That means their taste and texture are incredibly consistent between various restaurants and fish manufacturers, which is another reason for their popularity.

Note that regions like Latin America may call them “dorado” and other similar names, referring to their golden color as they die.

Where Do Mahi Mahi Come From?

Mahi mahi are spread throughout temperate, tropical, and subtropical waters around the world.

They center heavily in the warmest parts of the ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico, Costa Rica, the Indian Ocean, and particularly in Hawaii, where they are still commonly eaten.

However, mahi mahi may also be found in the Atlantic Ocean, near the Caribbean, close to Massachusetts, and even in Texas. That said, most mahi mahi fishing and processing is centered in Hawaii and this is where a majority of this fish originate.

Are Mahi Mahi Healthy? Or Dangers Of Eating Mahi Mahi?

Mahi Mahi Taste

Mahi mahi are very healthy and packed with protein, multiple vitamins, and several different minerals.

For example, they are a great source of vitamin B3 and vitamin B6, which are often hard to get from other foods. Their selenium and phosphorous levels are also relatively high.

Like other fish, they also have plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which provide many health benefits. Despite these acids, mahi mahi is also relatively low in unhealthy fat.

That low-fat content makes mahi mahi an excellent option for people trying to lose weight.

Note that mahi mahi has some parasites to watch out for when eating them. Thankfully, most of these are destroyed via cooking and processing, which minimizes your risk.

Mercury risk is also relatively low in this species, which is good for seafood fans and it is not a poisonous fish variety.

How Do You Eat Mahi Mahi? Best Cooking Method?

Mahi mahi may be eaten raw or cooked in several ways, including baking, grilling, and frying.

When cooking mahi mahi raw, careful procedures must be taken to warm the meat up just enough to kill parasites and bacteria without cooking it. It is advised not to eat raw fish unless you know these steps.

Mahi mahi is often served as a main dish thanks to the larger size of their fillets. Side dishes vary depending on where you eat mahi mahi and your preference. Just a few of the most commonly paired dishes with mahi mahi include

  • Watermelon feta salad paired with basil and freshly ground black pepper
  • Grilled vegetables topped with herbs and spices, including thyme and parsley
  • Broccoli pasta mixed with creamy sauces, including garlic and onions
  • Honey-glazed carrots mixed with butter or other similar toppings
  • Chickpeas paired with pomegranates and other unique fruit ingredients
  • Just about any potato, particularly roasted or fried potatoes
  • Asparagus topped with panko crumbs or other unique breading
  • Rich, melted cheese and tartar sauce that bring out the mahi mahi taste

Pairing mahi mahi with these dishes helps to balance a bit of its often intense flavor with some milder tastes.

Thankfully, the rather sharp flavor of many of these dishes, such as asparagus or broccoli, balances the denser texture of mahi mahi. Baked mahi mahi is often the best because of its softer textures and juicier flavors.

RELATED: What Are Shrimp? (Fish, Seafood, Or Shellfish?)

Can You Eat Mahi Mahi Raw? Does It Have Worms?

Mahi mahi is considered one of the safest raw fishes, as long as you follow proper safety protocols. For example, you need to freeze it and thaw it over a one-week period to kill worms, which many mahi mahi fish do have in their bodies.

How Can I Store Mahi Mahi?

After cooking or buying mahi mahi, wrap it in plastic and store it deep in the coldest region of your refrigerator. It can stay safe here for up to four days but may show signs of going bad after just three.

Make sure to pay attention to signs of rotting before attempting to eat any stored mahi mahi.

Like other fish, mahi mahi cannot be stored without refrigeration and shouldn’t be placed on the counter for more than an hour or two. Note that smoked or pickled fish can last much longer, though it shouldn’t be kept for more than a few weeks.

Can You Freeze Mahi Mahi?

Mahi mahi can be frozen by wrapping the fish in plastic wrap and in an air-tight container. Mahi mahi can be frozen for up to six months before it should be thrown away.

When thawed, its flesh may have a mushy texture, so be prepared for that if you do end up freezing this fish.

How To Tell Mahi Mahi Is Bad?

Like all fish, fresh mahi mahi should have a neutral scent that isn’t overwhelmingly fishy.

When you smell a sharp odor coming from your mahi mahi, it has likely started to go bad. If you’re uncertain, look at the flesh and test its firmness before eating.

Spoiling mahi mahi is likely to have a dark color with brown spots along the edge. You may even spot signs of molding throughout the fish’s flesh, which shows it has started rotting even worse.

If the flesh is mushy or doesn’t bounce back when lightly pressed, it is also going bad.

Mahi Mahi Vs. Salmon

Mahi mahi and salmon are very similar in texture and taste but salmon has a milder taste that some may find easier to enjoy.

Salmon also has more fat than mahi mahi and more calories, while mahi mahi’s calories come mostly from protein, rather than fat.

However, salmon does have far more protein than mahi mahi and far less sodium. By contrast, mahi mahi has way more calcium than salmon.

These facts show that both are quite high-quality meat, but mahi mahi probably has the edge with lower calories and fat.

How Do You Cook Mahi Mahi?

When cooking fresh mahi mahi, it is important to pick a method that suits your taste.

The most common ways of preparing are to either bake it or fry it, with baking requiring flavoring with various seasonings to give it more taste. Frying may also include light seasoning to give it more taste.

Before cooking, it is important to clean the mahi mahi by washing it down and patting it dry. Doing so can wash away various contaminants that may otherwise affect its quality.

If cooking whole mahi mahi, you must clean them by cutting away the skin, removing the skeleton, and taking out the internal organs.

You can then cut out the fillets just beneath the skin, which should give you several ounces of meat per fish. A mahi mahi should provide enough meat for one or two people, depending on their appetite.

Larger mahi mahi may give up to four large fillets, which is good for 2-3 meals.

Nutrition Value Table 

Nutritional Value of One Fillet of Mahi Mahi
Total fat0.82 grams
Total carbs0 grams
Fiber0 grams
Protein 21.76 grams
Sodium104 micrograms

Mahi Mahi Recipes: Quick Table 

RecipesCaloriesPreparation Time
Parmesan Crusted Mahi Mahi28730 minutes
Air-Fried Mahi Mahi46715 minutes
Sauteed Lemon Butter Mahi Mahi31315 minutes

1. Parmesan Crusted Mahi Mahi

Fish is just better with a Parmesan crust and mahi mahi is no different. This recipe is fairly simple to make and requires three bowls, a whisk, and a pre-heated oven set to 425 degrees.

Just about anybody can handle this meal, which should take about 30 minutes to complete.

Start by mixing the flour with salt, Parmesan cheese, and garlic powder, and then whisk eggs in a separate bowl. Mix Panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, parsley, and salt in a third bowl.

Coat each fish in the flour, egg, and panko and let them on a baking sheet to cook for 18-20 minutes.

We strongly recommend this dish as a potent alternative to your favorite Italian meals. It goes well with minestrone soup and other Mediterranean classics.

However, this meal is also great with various Hawaiian side dishes, such as a pineapple salad topped with feta.

Calories: 287

Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes

2. Air-Fried Mahi Mahi

Do you want a quickly fried mahi mahi meal without the grease? Fire up your air fryer and try this meal!

Start by combining paprika, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, salt, oregano in a bowl and blending them until evenly distributed.

Coat the fish fillets on both sides with this seasoning and then put them on your air fryer rack. Set the machine for 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook them for 10 minutes.

Make sure that you flip them halfway through this cooking time and serve them over rice bowls or in tacos.

The nice thing about this meal is that you can adjust it any way that you want. For instance, you can serve it as the main dish paired with asparagus, feta, and other delicious ingredients.

It’s the perfect mahi mahi recipe for a family with picky kids!

Calories: 467

Total Preparation Time: 15 minutes

RELATED: 25 Mexican Seafood Recipes With Balanced And Effortless Style!

3. Sauteed Lemon Butter Mahi Mahi

If you prefer sauteed fish, this recipe should be right up your alley! Start by drying the mahi mahi fillets and then sprinkling them with pepper and salt.

You should then fry them in medium oil on a skillet for 4-5 minutes per side or until the fillets are golden.

Reduce the heat to about medium and then add lemon juice, garlic, and butter to this sauce. Cook it for several minutes before adding parsley to the mix.

Let the fish simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens and serve over a rice bed. This recipe is quick, tasty, and adaptable with vegetables like carrots and green beans.

Calories: 313

Total Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mahi Mahi Tuna?

Though mahi mahi may look similar to tuna, they are not closely related. Mahi mahi is just one of two fish within its family, which does not include tuna.

While they may have somewhat similar tastes and textures, mahi mahi and tuna should not be considered the same thing.

Can You Eat Mahi Mahi Raw?

Yes, you can eat mahi mahi raw and it is often mixed in with various sushi rolls and dishes.

Note that it is unwise to handle and eat raw fish if you don’t have specialized training and experience. You may increase your risk of contamination and cause other adverse reactions if you do.

Will Mahi Mahi Parasites Make Me Sick?

Most mahi mahi parasites are evolved to attack fish but can become a problem when ingested by humans.

These include various gill and scale parasite that cling to the fish and drink their blood. Some may attempt to cling to people but are rarely found in cooked mahi mahi.

What Should I Do If I Eat Bad Mahi Mahi?

When you experience extreme discomfort after eating mahi mahi, it is important to call a doctor right away.

They may pump your stomach to remove the bad food and minimize your adverse reaction. You may even get tested for mahi mahi allergies if you experience multiple reactions.

Amazing Mahi Mahi Recipes To Know

Mahi Mahi Is A Type Of Fish That Is Often Described As Tasting Like A Cross Between Swordfish And Tuna.


  • Pick a recipe from the list above
  • Click the recipe name and visit the website
  • Collect the ingredients and cook the food
  • Enjoy – don’t forget to leave a review

Recipe Video

Jess Smith