Blackened Mahi Mahi | Kara Lydon

On your table in less than 15 minutes, this blackened mahi mahi is made pan-seared with a flavorful spice rub made with spices like smoked paprika, garlic powder, and oregano.blackened mahi mahi atop a bed of white rice, garnished with fresh mango salsa and served with a side of green beans

Why I Love This Recipe

This blackened mahi mahi makes for a perfect weeknight dinner, coming together in just 15 minutes! While its simple enough to be added to your weeknight dinner rotation, it’s also impressive and tasty enough to serve to guests. 

This dish is loaded with flavor. The surface of the fish takes on a crisp, almost caramelized texture and has a buttery yet spicy flavor with a both little heat and subtle sweetness. Coated in a flavorful blackening spice rub made with spices like smoked paprika, garlic powder, and oregano, it’s bold and super satisfying!

I love serving blackened mahi over a bed of white rice, with a side of green beans, and topped with a fresh mango salsa. 

Ingredients You’ll Need

graphic of ingredients for blackened mahi mahi on marble surface with black text overlay

Notes on Ingredients

mahi mahi filets: mahi mahi is a versatile, lean white fish with a slightly sweet taste and mild to moderate flavor. It’s a great source of protein, vitamins B3, B6, and B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. I find it’s most accessible when purchasing it frozen. If using frozen mahi, let it de-thaw first in the refrigerator.

smoked paprika: adds a smoky, woodsy flavor with a little bit of sweetness

onion & garlic powder: flavor enhancers 

cayenne powder: provides some heat to the dish

thyme: adds an earthy, minty, lemony flavor

oregano: gives a bold and pungent flavor 

brown sugar: balances the heat from spices and gives a hint of sweetness

salt & pepper: essential flavor enhancers

butter: used for cooking in the cast iron pan and acts as a flavor enhancer

Equipment You’ll Need (affiliate links – if you make a purchase I receive a small commission):

Cast iron pan

How to Make Blackened Mahi Mahi

step by step graphic of how to make blackened mahi mahi

  1. Combine spices. Whisk together smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, cayenne powder, brown sugar, salt and pepper. 
  2. Season mahi filets. Pat the mahi mahi dry with paper towels then coat all sides of the filets with the spice rub. 
  3. Cook mahi mahi. Cook mahi undisturbed until sides are cooked just past halfway up the filets, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook until cooked through and flakes easily, another 2-4 minutes. 
  4. Serve. Serve blackened mahi mahi with rice and a fruit salsa. 

Expert Tips

I like to serve this mahi mahi with a fruit salsa – the sweetness and acidity are a nice contrast to the heat of the blackened seasoning. To make the mango salsa, I used:

  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, diced (estimate – I didn’t measure)
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium-large jalapeno pepper, minced
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • Salt, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and adjust seasoning / spice level, as needed.

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between grilled and blackened mahi mahi?

Blackened fish is often smoky and juicy from the spices and herbs its seasoned with while grilled fish has more of a natural, charred flavor. Blackened fish tends to have more of an intense flavor from the seasonings and grilled fish usually has a simpler flavor.

What is meant by blackened fish?

Food that is blackened is coated in a special spice blend that takes on a very dark brown or almost black color when cooked in a skillet, on a grill, or in an oven. Blackening spices are usually a blend of a variety of spices and herbs that are traditional from both Cajun and Creole cooking. 

Why is my mahi mahi chewy?

If your fish has a chewy texture it’s likely because you overcooked it. When mahi mahi is overcooked it will shrink, firm up, and dry out. To prevent this from happening, I like to place the fish on a hot pan and leave it undisturbed until I can see all sides are cooked just past halfway up the filets, about 3-4 minutes. Then I flip them for another 2-4 minutes until the fish flakes easily. 

What does mahi mahi filet taste like?

Like many other tropical fish, mahi mahi is semi-mild and sweet tasting but not fishy. It’s similar to halibut in terms of flakiness, but also similar to swordfish in its denseness. Mahi mahi is commonly paired with citrus flavors like lime and fruit salsas. 

blackened mahi mahi served on a specked plate with white rice, green beans, and fresh mango salsa

Storage and Preparation

Blackened Mahi Mahi leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Recipes That Pair Well

Summer Peach Corn Salad

Instant Pot Asparagus

Vegetarian Rice Pilaf

Kohlrabi Fries (Baked or Air Fryer)

two plates of blackened mahi mahi atop beds of white rice, garnished with fresh mango salsa and served with green beans

For more seafood inspiration, check out my other recipes below!

Blackened Salmon Tacos with Corn Avocado Salsa

Spicy Seafood Stuffed Peppers

Sheet Pan Salmon and Veggies

Shrimp and Veggie Kabobs with Wild Blueberry Barbeque Sauce 

Easy Shrimp Pesto Pasta with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

If you like this recipe, please be sure to comment and give it a 5 star rating below. If you make it, share it on Instagram and tag me @karalydonrd and I’ll re-share it with my followers! If you want to save this recipe for later, be sure to pin it on Pinterest!

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Description

On your table in less than 15 minutes, this blackened mahi mahi is made pan-seared with a flavorful spice rub made with spices like smoked paprika, garlic powder, and oregano. 


  • 2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3, 5-6 ounce mahi mahi filets


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, cayenne powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper, until combined.
  2. Pat the mahi mahi dry with paper towels.
  3. Season all sides of the mahi filets with the spice rub.
  4. In a nonstick or cast iron pan, heat butter over medium heat. Add mahi mahi and cook undisturbed until sides are cooked just past halfway up the filets, about 3-4 minutes. Flip filets, and cook until cooked through and flakes easily, another 2-4 minutes, depending on thickness.
  5. Serve mahi mahi with rice and a fruit salsa.

Notes

  1. I love serving this blackened mahi with a mango salsa. To make, simply dice a mango, some red bell pepper and jalapeno pepper. Add squeeze from 1/2 lime and salt, to taste.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Pan Sear
  • Cuisine: Cajun

Keywords: blackened mahi mahi, blackened mahi

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