What spices are good on mahi mahi?
Yeah, it’s a question that deserves an answer.
This mild-tasting fish is so delicious and versatile that you can really build flavor with the right selection of spices.
From Italian herbs to aromatic citrus zests and savory chili powders, I’ve rounded up my 13 best spice combinations for spicing up mahi mahi—giving it a boost of flavor that’ll be sure to take your next seafood dinner from ordinary to extraordinary!
1. Garlic Powder
Having personally tasted garlic powder many times, I can tell you that it tastes quite different from fresh-chopped garlic.
While the flavor is garlicky, it has a much sweeter and milder taste with less of an assertive ‘peppery kick than fresh chopped.
Furthermore, there are no caramel undertones from roasted or sautéed garlic as you would expect.
When adding garlic powder to mahi-mahi, I recommend starting small: usually, 1 teaspoon per 4 ounces of fish should do the trick.
However, if you want your meal extra flavorful then add more!
Together with other seasonings like salt and pepper, the total amount of spices shouldn’t exceed 2 teaspoons for every 4 ounces.
2. Chili Powder
Chili powder has a mild to moderately spicy flavor, depending on what pepper makes up the majority of the mix.
Generally, chili powders are made with cumin and oregano but add in different types of peppers and it can become spicier.
Cayenne is commonly used which brings a slightly sweet yet pungent taste.
When adding chili powder to mahi mahi, I would recommend using no more than 1 teaspoon for four servings since it is not one of the fish’s primary flavors.
The amount you use will depend on how spicy you like your meal.
If you want something subtle yet noticeable, mix in ¼ teaspoon then gradually increase from there until you find your desired level of spiciness!
3. Smoked Paprika
As someone who loves smoked paprika, I can confidently say it’s one of the most flavorful seasonings.
It has a smoky, spicy flavor with hints of sweetness.
Additionally, due to its intensity and color; a little goes a long way with recipes that require this type of seasoning.
When adding it to mahi-mahi, start off by adding about 1/4 teaspoon per two servings (1 fish fillet).
You want to balance out the flavors so, if desired you can add more as your taste preference dictates.
Keep in mind that some smoked paprika is hotter than others so always taste before serving – you don’t want any surprises at the dinner table!
4. Onion Powder
Onion powder has become one of my go-to ingredients for flavoring dishes.
It provides a similar flavor to fresh onions with a more concentrated flavor profile and nutrient content.
Onion powder can be used as an alternative to freshly chopped onions in many dishes by controlling the level of intensity its flavors contribute.
If you decide to use onion powder on mahi mahi, I recommend adding about 1/4 teaspoon per 4-ounce serving.
This will give it just the right amount of mild oniony sweetness that perfectly complements the texture and flavor profile of this fish dish.
For a little more kick, increase the amount up to 1/2 teaspoon!
5. Cayenne Pepper
When I think of the flavor of cayenne peppers, the first thing that comes to mind is heat.
Despite this pungency and intensity, it’s actually quite mild in aroma when compared to other fiery spices such as jalapenos or habaneros.
When adding cayenne to dishes, like mahi mahi, a little goes a long way.
You can certainly increase depending on personal preference but start with just ¼ teaspoon per pound of fish.
Cayenne pepper is quite concentrated so you don’t want one ingredient overpowering your dish.
By sprinkling it lightly during the cooking process (either into your marinade or directly on the meal) you can realize its full potential with each bite!
6. Black Pepper
Black pepper has always been one of my favorites.
Its aroma is sharp and penetrating, but what stands out most to me is its flavor – a woody, piney flavor that only becomes more prominent when consumed.
When eating it, you’ll feel a distinct hotness on your tongue – not just heat from the pepper itself but also an intense burst of flavor.
When it comes to cooking with black pepper, I like to add at least 1/8 teaspoon per 4-ounce portion of mahi mahi when seasoning.
Some recipes may call for a bit more though – depending on how much flavor you want your dish to have. I recommend starting small and adding in additional amounts until the desired level of heat and taste are met.
7. Lemon Peel
When it comes to lemon peel, the white pith is bitter and unpleasant, while the zest – which is located just under the skin–has a vibrant, bright flavor of the fruit itself.
It’s an essential part of many dishes because it adds that characteristic citrusy bite.
When adding lemon peel to mahi mahi, I always use no more than one teaspoon per filet.
The amount you should use will depend on how strong or subtle you want the flavor to be.
For example, if you want a zesty flavor with a kick of acidity about 1 teaspoon will suffice; for a milder version, half a teaspoon suffices.
I find that oregano has a strongly aromatic, camphoraceous aroma.
It has a slightly bitter and pungent flavor which consists of earthy/musty, green hay and minty notes.
It definitely packs a punch so if you’re using it to season something like mahi mahi, I would start with about half a teaspoon for one portion or three-quarters of a teaspoon for two portions.
You can always add more if necessary so it’s best to start conservatively!
Cumin has an amazing taste, described as earthy and warm with a hint of citrus.
It’s rich and hearty, making it the perfect addition to any dish that needs a flavor boost.
Because the flavor is so unique and intense, I don’t recommend adding too much at once; use it sparingly or you may overpower your dish completely!
For most recipes, ground cumin works best since its powder-like consistency allows it to disperse evenly throughout the recipe.
Every fish dish is different, but for four servings of mahi mahi I suggest adding about two teaspoons of ground cumin – if you like more flavor feel free to add up to three teaspoons.
Cilantro tastes fresh and citrusy with a hint of lemon.
You could describe it as having a soapy or even herbal flavor too — some people might not be big fans because of this taste.
It’s also referred to as Chinese parsley and the seeds are called coriander; which have more of an underlying nutty-spicy flavor.
When adding cilantro to mahi mahi, I recommend putting in just enough to give your dish a hint of freshness but not overpower the delicate fish flavor.
One teaspoon per four ounces should do the trick!
And if you want more bold flavors, two teaspoons is perfect!
11. Freshly Chopped Chives
As someone who loves to cook and uses fresh ingredients, I can say that freshly chopped chives have an onion-y flavor but are much milder than onions like red or yellow.
The taste is very similar to leeks – so when I’m in need of a milder option for traditional recipes, I opt for chives.
When it comes to adding them as part of the recipe – such as on mahi mahi – I recommend anywhere from 1 teaspoon up to 2 tablespoons, depending on personal preferences.
A teaspoon should be enough to add just a touch of that subtle onion-y flavor without overpowering the dish.
If you prefer a really strong chive presence, then go ahead and add 2 tablespoons!
Parsley has an unmistakable taste.
It’s got a clean but peppery flavor and just a touch of earthiness making it an outstanding all-rounder in the kitchen.
Each leaf is full of natural aromatic oil and this is what gives it its unique taste.
In terms of adding parsley to mahi mahi, I’d say use between 1 tablespoon and 3 tablespoons depending on your preference.
If you want to really liven up the flavors of your dish then add more as it will balance out with the richness of the fish perfectly!
When it comes to flavor, thyme is quite unique.
Generally, it will have a sharp, almost minty flavor and have earthy undertones with some floral hints – making it slightly sweet but also a little bit peppery.
Adding the right level of thyme can bring out the best in any dish; too little, and you won’t taste any difference.
But too much?
Well, that could be overpowering as no one likes an overly seasoned meal!
For each fillet of mahi mahi, I would recommend half a teaspoon of dried thyme leaves or two teaspoons of fresh chopped thyme.
13 Spices for Mahi Mahi to Maximize Taste
- Garlic Powder
- Chili Powder
- Smoked Paprika
- Onion Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
- Black Pepper
- Lemon Peel
- Freshly Chopped Chives
- Pick your favorite spices from this collection to add to your recipe.
- Prepare the rest of your delicious meal.
- Serve in no time!