Jerk Spice Mahi-Mahi

Ah, mahi-mahi. At first glance, you might wonder why anyone would want to go fishing for them. I know they’ve got this amazing green and yellow color going on and it’s a huge deal when you land them, but they’re also kind of ugly.

Of course, all of that gets pushed aside when you actually taste mahi-mahi. With its mild, slightly sweet flavor, this tropical fish makes an excellent base for some unique flavor combinations.

Our mahi-mahi recipe with jerk spice is inspired by Jamaican cooking. It’s filled with traditional flavors of thyme, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. In addition, this recipe is relatively easy to follow, unless you’re scaling the fish and removing the entrails yourself. (If you are, you probably don’t need me to tell you how to do it.)

While there are endless ways to prepare mahi-mahi from baking or broiling to grilling and frying, you may find yourself coming back to this recipe time and time again. After all, classic seasonings are popular for a reason, right? Anyway, it’s time to begin this recipe, of-fish-ially.

The Recipe

Grilling your mahi-mahi will help you achieve the smoky flavor that characterizes many jerk dishes. It will also add a crisp outer layer to your fish and keep the inside moist and juicy. Remember that fresh fish will taste best for all grilled mahi-mahi recipes. With frozen mahi-mahi, you run the risk of having a mushy consistency when it’s finished thawing.

Serves 2


  • Mahi-mahi, cleaned, gutted and ready for grilling

  • One red onion

  • 2 scallions

  • 1 jalapeno

  • 1 ½ teaspoons of dried thyme

  • 1 teaspoon of allspice

  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon of white pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Lime wedges for garnish


  1. Combine the chopped onion, scallions, jalapeno, spices and olive oil. Crush them with a mortar and pestle or toss them in a blender. If you have more than enough marinade, set it aside for later. The marinade will last for up to two weeks in the fridge.

  2. Place the mahi-mahi in a plastic or glass dish and pour the marinade over the fish. Alternatively, you can gently brush the marinade onto the fish.

  3. Prepare your grill and lightly oil the grate, or heat up your skillet and add a spoonful of cooking oil.

  4. Gently place the fish onto the grill or into the pan, and lower the heat to medium. Once the fish has browned, which usually takes about 2 minutes, turn it over and let it cook another 3 to 5 minutes.

  5. Test the mahi-mahi by flaking it with a fork. If the meat does not flake off easily, try flipping it from side to side until you see flaking. Once the meat flakes, take it off the heat. Try not to overcook this fish. It doesn’t take long for mahi-mahi to dry out, especially with a dryer seasoning such as jerk spice.

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Regardless of your cooking method, it’s always a good idea to keep your fish in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. When you clean the mahi-mahi, make sure that you thoroughly rinse the inside as well as the outside. Then, use paper towels to pat it dry, so that your seasonings will stick to the fish.

If the skin is still on your fillets and you want to remove it, use a long, sharp knife to start a cut at the tail end. Then, use the small cut to correctly place your knife in a horizontal position. Gently pull the knife along the bottom of the fish, so that it separates from the skin. Once you remove the skin, check for bones by gently massaging the meat.

It’s also important that you know the difference between fresh mahi-mahi and old mahi-mahi. To check the freshness, observe the color and bloodlines. Fresh mahi-mahi should have pinkish, slightly translucent flesh and red bloodlines. Brown patches or brownish bloodlines are a sign of old fish.

If you decide that you would rather bake your mahi-mahi, you will need to cook it for a longer time period. Fillets need to be cooked at 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, assuming the fish weighs between 3 and 5 pounds.

If you want to try deep frying your fish, note that your fillets will cook much more quickly. In fact, they may only need 3 to 5 minutes of frying time.

You may even try steaming your fish over gently boiling water. In this case, your fillets will need between 10 and 12 minutes of cooking time.

You can also grill or bake a mahi-mahi whole, assuming that you have caught the fish and it’s not much bigger than your grilling rack or oven pan.

As with any new cooking method, baking fish in the oven poses a few different advantages and disadvantages. For instance, you will need to baste the fillets from time to time to keep the meat moist. However, you do not need to worry about the juices and seasonings dripping away through a grill grate or getting stuck to the bottom of a hot pan.

For a flavorful and bright baked mahi-mahi recipe, we recommend a ginger glaze that brings out the sweeter side of this tender fish. The glaze is easy to make, as it only requires orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, ground ginger and brown sugar. Once you make the glaze, let the fish marinate for about 20 minutes, then pop it in the oven at about 400 degrees.

Mahi-mahi tacos are another classic and very popular dish. We recommend blackened fish tacos with fresh avocado and lime sauce as a drizzle on top.

To make the seasoning, mix paprika, brown sugar, garlic, onion, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper in a bowl before dusting it onto your fillets. These tacos go well with a sweet mango and tomato salsa. You can also add black beans and rice as a base.