What Does Mahi Mahi Taste Like? Answered!

Published Categorized as Fish Or Seafood, Guide Tagged

Hey! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.

Mahi mahi is a somewhat exotic dish often associated with Hawaiian cuisine. In Hawaii, it is considered something of a staple dish. However, whilst mahi mahi is very well well-liked, and the second most eaten fish in the world, you may have not tried it. So if going to Hawaii soon, or just planning to try getting some at home, you may be wondering, what does mahi mahi taste like?

Table of Contents

What Is Mahi Mahi?

The Mahi mahi is a type of mild white fish that is one of the most sought after and eaten fish in the world. Mahi mahi resembles a dolphin somewhat due to both of these sea creatures being quite large and having dorsal fins.  As such before the nineteen-eighties, mahi mahi used to commonly be known by the name of dolphin fish.

However, people were reluctant to eat it because of its association with the word dolphin. This is because it led many to believe that they were actually eating dolphins and not a distinct fish. As a result, the “dolphinfish” was rebranded as the mahi mahi fish, with this new name roughly translating to “very strong” in Hawaiian.

How Does Mahi Mahi Taste?

Similarly to something like shark or swordfish taste, mahi mahi has milder flavor and taste but is also slightly sweet. It does distinctively taste fishy for a white fish. Even then though, this flavour is still quite mild.

Additionally, it also has a slightly firm texture which is quite dry and flaky. As a result, when you cook mahi mahi, you should she large chunky flakes rather than smaller ones.  However, if eaten raw in something like sushi it is very soft with these large flakes being even more pronounced.

When eating mahi mahi, you are best avoiding the skin though. This is because mahi mahi skin is particularly thick and tough. As such whilst when cooking mahi mahi the skin is often discarded.

How Does It Compare To Other Fish?

Whilst mahi mahi is quite sweet though it is not nearly as sweet or oily as something like swordfish, but does have more of a fishy taste. Additionally, the texture of mahi mahi is not quite as steak like as something like swordfish or indeed shark and certainly isn’t nearly as oily. Instead, as mentioned above, when cooked it will form large chunky flakes of white fish.

Additionally, fish lovers will also be in for a treat with mahi mahi since although it is often seen as mild white fish fillets, mahi mahi has a noticeably stronger flavour than something like cod or haddock. Fresh fish from mahi mahi will also taste even stronger than younger ones. 

That said though, mahi mahi has a milder taste when compared to something like salmon or tilapia and is nowhere near as rich are fatty. As such, it is considered to be a much more delicate option.

What Does Mahi Mahi Taste Like

Is Mahi Mahi Healthy To Eat?

Like many other types of seafood mahi mahi is packed with a wide assortment of vital nutrition that are significantly beneficial for the body. Some of the key benefits of mahi mahi are listed below:

  • Low in sodium: A fillet of mahi mahi only contains about eighty-eight grams of sodium which equates to roughly four percent of your daily recommended amount. As such, mahi mahi makes for an excellent source of protein for those trying to reduce their salt intake.
  • Rich in omega 3: Mahi mahi is incredibly rich in omega-three fatty acids. These fatty acids have a wide array of positive effects on the body such as helping maintain cardiovascular health and reducing high blood pressure.
  • Low in fat: Mahi mahi is a particularly lean fish. As such, it has a very low content of fat within its body, with only about zero point two grams of saturated fat being contained in an average one hundred gram filet. As such, if looking for a low-fat source of protein, especially when trying to build muscle, then mahi mahi is an excellent option.
  • Full of essential minerals: Mahi mahi contains a great number of essential minerals that will really help your body remain. These include niacin, selenium, magnesium, and lysine which can contribute to muscle function, controlling blood pressure, cell development, bone growth and much more.

Are There Any Health Concerns With Mahi Mahi?

Whilst mahi mahi is delicious and does convey a multitude of health benefits when consumed, it should still only be eaten in moderation. This is because a single one hundred gram fillet of mahi mahi would contain roughly a quarter of your daily recommended intake of cholesterol. As such, it should not be eaten in excess by most people, whilst those with high cholesterol counts are likely best avoiding it.

A major concern with near enough all fish is that they will contain mercury. As such you may wonder how high the concentration of mercury in mahi mahi is. Fortunately, mahi mahi are typically considered to have a low/moderate mercury concentration, with the FDA finding on average mahi mahi contained 0.178 PPM of mercury. Although, in larger mahi mahi fish, this number may be higher.

Due to not containing much mercury, mercury poisoning is unlikely. However, pregnant women should still not consume large amounts of mahi mahi, with the FDA recommending that they limit themselves to four ounces per week.

what mahi mahi tastes like

How To Choose Mahi Mahi

Inevitably if you’re after the freshest mahi mahi you can get, it’s best to fish for and catch it yourself. However, for most people, this simply isn’t feasible either due to lack of fishing knowledge, desire, time or if you simply don’t live in the right area to fish them.

As such, if you want to get the freshest fish possible without fishing then it is best to find a reputable fishmonger or fish market and inspect their wear. To get the best quality mahi mahi possibly though it is crucial to be aware of what it looks like when freshly caught. As such, if unsure, check out the information below:

  • Flesh Colour: Fresh mahi mahi is distinctively a light translucent pink colour, often with red or pink spots or stripes. If however, the fish has dark brown spots or is darker in colour then this is a dead giveaway that the meat is slightly old. 
  • Vein/Bloodline Colour: This should appear bright red on fresh fish. However, on older fish, it will look a dull brown colour. 
  • Smell: Fresh mahi mahi will not have a strong smell to it and will likely smell more like the ocean, or at least only be a little fishy If though it has a very strong smell to it then it won’t be fresh.

Fresh fish, like with any food, fresh will always be your best option. However, if it’s not possible to acquire fresh mahi mahi in your area then frozen will still be nice, so long as it doesn’t look like old meat.

Whether you get frozen or fresh mahi mahi though, you should keep it well wrapped in plastic to preserve the quality. If fresh, put it in your fridge and eat within three or four days. For frozen mahi mahi though it can last in the freezer for roughly three to six months, although for the best quality you should eat as soon as possible.

Mahi Mahi Cooking Methods

There is a wide variety of ways that this versatile fish can be cooked and served. Some of the most popular methods include the following options:

  • Seared
  • Boiled 
  • Sushi
  • Broiled
  • Fried
  • Baked
  • Grilled
  • Sautéed

Each of the methods above will create something truly delicious as the chunky, flaky texture or mahi mahi delivers mouthfuls of delicious milder flavour to your tastebuds.

Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi

The above options are all wonderful ways of preparing your mahi mahi to eat. However, if you’ve got your hands on some fresh mahi mahi fillets then a brilliant way of cooking them is to pan sear the fish. The beauty of pan-seared mahi mahi is that not only will it be delicious but it will also be quick and very simple to cook.

Alongside this, you could serve a simple garden salad, rice, some chips or potentially a combination of the three.

If interested in trying your hand at this recipe then follow the recipe below to make an excellent dish of pan-seared mahi mahi:


  • Four mahi mahi fillets
  • One lemon worth of lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • A quarter cup of unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • Two tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley


  1. An important initial step to take when cooking a lot of fish of this nature is to rinse in cold water and dab dry with some paper towels. This will ensure that the fish fillet is clean.
  2. Using salt and pepper, season the fillet liberally to your preferences.
  3. At a medium-high temperature, heat some olive oil in a skillet. Do so until the olive oil begins to smoke.
  4. Add your fillets to the skillet and sear for roughly three to four minutes. In this time the mahi mahi should brown nicely and cook roughly halfway through the fillet.
  5. Flip your mahi mahi fillets over and allow them to finish cooking all the way through. This should only take around two or three minutes.
  6. Once cooked remove the mahi mahi from the skillets, transfer them to a separate dish and leave them to one side.
  7. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add your lemon juice along with the garlic and some more salt and pepper. 
  8. Imeddielty following this stir the liquid with a wooden spoon whilst ensuring you scrape the remaining mahi mahi remnants from your skillet. 
  9. Add a cube of butter, followed by another when the first has nearly melted. Repeat this until the process is completed and the butter is melted.
  10. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley.
  11. Pour your lemon sauce over the parsley and serve it immediately.

Answered: What Does Mahi Mahi Taste Like?

Mahi mahi is a truly delicious fish dish that is mildly fish flavoured with something of a lightly sweet taste. When served raw it has a soft texture that can easily break into large chunks. Meanwhile, when cooked it becomes deliciously flaky with a slightly dry texture.

Mahi mahi is also brilliantly versatile, being able to cook and served in multiple ways, from pan-seared fillets, sushi with soy or fish sauce (learn what fish sauce tastes like) or even fish tacos or pies. So, if you’re a fish lover and looking for something new then why not give it a try?

FAQ – What Does Mahi Mahi Taste Like

Is mahi mahi similar to salmon?

Mahi mahi is somewhat similar to salmon in that it is slightly sweet in food taste and flakes into large pieces. However, it is much milder and less fishy tasting. Additionally, it is much less rich-tasting due to being a much more lean fish.

Is mahi mahi better for you than salmon?

Salmon contains slightly more calories than mahi mahi along with significantly more fat. However, mahi mahi also contains significantly less protein than salmon.

What fish is similar in taste to mahi mahi?

Mahi mahi is similar in taste to fish like swordfish and somewhat similar to shark.

By James Clarke

James is an enthusiastic home-cooking hobbyist (being very modest) his taste-buds are tuned for flavor profiles that will have you salivating at the thought of what's cooking. As an occasional author at Alice's Kitchen he brings his own unique style to his articles and entertainment through them. You can always check out what he's up to over on his social profiles linked below.