If you’re a fan of seafood and fish, you’ve probably heard of mahi mahi, and maybe you’ve already eaten and prepared it.
The advantage of this fish is that it goes well with many flavors and can be cooked in many different ways.
You can use mahi mahi in stews, soups, ceviche, grill, fry, or bake it.
In addition to its exceptional taste, mahi mahi is also very healthy and is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and protein.
However, this delicious fish is not available in all parts of the world.
That’s why in this text, we present you alternatives and substitutes for mahi mahi.
If you want to replace mahi mahi with another fish, it is best to choose one similar in its firm texture and a delicate and mild taste.
However, other options can work as good alternatives.
Some fish that works as the best substitutes for mahi mahi are halibut, cod, rainbow trout, salmon, white sea bass, tuna, grouper, snapper, and haddock.
What is Mahi Mahi, and How to Prepare It?
Although it may sound like the name of a cocktail or some exotic dish of Asian cuisine, mahi mahi is a type of fish from tropical and subtropical waters.
Mahi mahi is also known as dolphinfish and dorado, and this sonorous and easy-to-remember name comes from the Hawaiian language and means “very strong.”
This fish is prepared and eaten worldwide but is most popular around Hawaii, Costa Rica, and the Gulf of Mexico.
The appearance of the mahi mahi fish is very specific, so it is difficult to confuse it with any other fish.
The combination of the blue-green color on the upper part of the body and the dorsal fin that runs along the entire body, and the golden color on the lower part makes it very recognizable.
They are generally about a meter long and weigh between 7 and 13 kilograms, although they can be heavier.
The flesh of mahi mahi fish has a delicate, slightly sweet taste and belongs to the lean white meat.
The texture is firm and characterized by moist and large flakes.
You will recognize fresh mahi mahi by its bright pink color.
Mahi mahi is a highly healthy food, high in nutrients and very low in calories and fat.
This fish contains omega-3 proteins, vitamins B6 and B12, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium.
Although it can be eaten raw as sushi, it is rarely practiced because of its very neutral taste that is easily lost among other ingredients.
That’s why mahi mahi is almost always cooked in many different ways.
It is mainly grilled, baked in a pan, or fried, although there are many other ways to prepare it.
Mahi mahi should not be combined with foods with a strong taste, such as strong sauces and marinades, because then the mild flavor of this fish becomes meaningless.
The Best Mahi Mahi Substitutes
There are several good alternatives to mahi mahi.
Remember that not all fish will be ideal in every dish, and you’ll like some more than others, depending on what flavors you’re used to and prefer.
Some suggested substitutes are very close to mahi mahi in taste; some are suitable substitutes because they are widely available in many parts of the world, and some have the top quality of being significantly cheaper than mahi mahi.
Study the list and find the best option for you and your next meal.
If you’re planning to grill the fish, halibut is one of the best substitutes for mahi mahi.
The benefits of halibut are numerous.
First, this fish is widespread and available, so you can easily find and buy it worldwide.
Also, halibut does not have the classic “fishy” taste but somewhat resembles chicken, so it appeals to people who are not big fish fans.
Most importantly, halibut is very similar to mahi mahi in many ways, so you won’t have to make many adjustments to the original recipe to get the dish you want.
This white fish from the flatfish family lives in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans but can be bought practically all year round around the world.
Halibut is known for its mild, neutral, and slightly sweet taste, which makes it similar to mahi mahi.
The texture of halibut is denser and firmer than mahi mahi, so this fish will require longer cooking than the original recipe calls for.
Also, if you’re using halibut as a substitute for mahi mahi, a good tip is to cut the flesh into smaller pieces to cook more quickly and keep the fish from drying out.
If you’re grilling halibut, you’ll know it’s ready to eat when it becomes flaky. Follow the recipe and allow the fish to grill a few minutes longer, as mahi mahi is softer and takes a little less time to prepare than halibut.
In addition to grilling, you can prepare halibut in other ways, such as frying, broiling, and baking.
Use the same seasonings and accompaniments that you would use for mahi mahi, as the flavor profiles of the two fish are very close.
If deep frozen, halibut can be stored for up to 45 days.
Cod is an excellent substitute for mahi mahi for many reasons.
Less experienced cooks may not even notice the difference between the two fish when raw, as the flesh looks very similar.
There are many ways to prepare cod; some of the tastiest are poaching, grilling, pan-frying, deep-frying, baking, and roasting.
Cod is an adaptable fish that goes well with various ingredients, giving you plenty of room for creativity in cooking.
This fish is known for its mild sweetness and taste but is still slightly fishier than mahi mahi.
If that bothers you, try using cod as an alternative only in recipes with many other ingredients that will mask this taste.
Cod is known as a fish that quickly takes on other flavors, which you can use to your advantage if you want a particular taste to dominate your dish.
It is essential to know that in some recipes, you must adjust the cooking time a bit because cod fillets are generally thinner than mahi mahi fillets.
It means that it will most often cook for less than mahi mahi. Be careful not to overcook or dry out the fish.
Cod goes well with many flavors, and you’ll get some of the most exciting combinations if you pair it with avocado or citrus.
If you’re making ceviche or fish tacos, cod is the perfect alternative to mahi mahi.
Another great advantage you should take into account is that cod is very affordable in terms of price.
You can use fresh or frozen cod; if you buy the fish in advance, it will last a long time in your freezer. The average shelf life of frozen cod is up to six months.
It may not seem to you at first glance that rainbow trout is a good substitute for mahi mahi because it is a freshwater fish with much smaller fillets, and its flesh is pink or orange in appearance, quite different from the flesh of mahi mahi.
However, the taste is what makes this fish from North American waters an excellent alternative to mahi mahi.
Avoid aggressive spices and ingredients with rainbow trout because you will lose the original taste. Opt for fresh herbs, butter, and lemon instead.
Rainbow trout makes the best substitute for mahi mahi if you grill or pan-fry it.
Rainbow trout also has the advantage of not falling apart easily during preparation, so you don’t have to worry about it losing shape.
Salmon is considered an expensive fish, but excluding the unfavorable price is an excellent substitute for mahi mahi.
It has a beautiful color and excellent taste, so it looks great on the plate and makes for a meal you will enjoy.
It is a very rich and fatty fish that you can prepare in many different ways, and its flavor is best expressed in recipes that include butter and citrus flavors.
Salmon is usually prepared by baking or grilling but can also be used in sushi.
Note that smoked salmon is not a good alternative for mahi mahi because it has a unique taste that will completely change the dish.
You can store salmon in the freezer for about two months.
White Sea Bass
The flavor profile reflects the similarity between white sea bass and mahi mahi.
Both fish have a gentle, delicate, slightly sweet taste, the difference being that the white sea bass has a more “fishy” undertone.
In terms of texture, white sea bass is also slightly different from mahi mahi, being more buttery, although firm and flaky.
White sea bass is a suitable alternative to mahi mahi in various cooking techniques.
If you want to freeze white sea bass, wrap it in plastic. This way, you can store white sea bass for two months.
You can choose fresh tuna if you want an alternative to mahi mahi that provides many nutrients.
This fish is extremely healthy, containing many omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and phosphorus.
The fact is that fresh tuna does not resemble mahi mahi either in its texture or in color, but it is still a very good substitute.
It is easy to cook, and even those who do not have much experience in the kitchen can successfully prepare fresh tuna in many different ways.
Various options, such as stir-frying, baking, roasting, and pan-searing, will retain this fish’s flaky texture and soft structure.
You should note that canned tuna will not work well as a substitute for mahi mahi.
Although it is excellent for salads, sandwiches, and other dishes, canned tuna is not intended to prepare more complicated meals, so always choose fresh tuna.
When we talk about grouper, it is crucial to understand that we are not talking about just one but about a wide range of fish that belong to this species.
They differ, but all can be suitable substitutes for mahi mahi.
The advantage of this fish is that it is extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids and proteins.
It generally has a mild and sweet taste, but black grouper, for example, is less sweet than red grouper.
You can prepare grouper in many different ways, but it will show its best when fried or baked.
If you’re unsure what flavors it would work well with, recipes that include mild-flavored herbs, lemon, and other citrus flavors are safe.
Grouper flesh is firm and slightly moist.
Although grouper has firm flakes, remember that you will need to adjust the cooking time slightly when using it as a substitute for mahi mahi.
Generally, grouper requires three to four minutes longer to cook than mahi mahi, but this time can vary depending on the preparation method and other factors.
Snapper is an excellent alternative to mahi mahi if you like experimenting in the kitchen.
This fish is versatile, so you can be creative with the choice of ingredients and the dishes in which you use it.
However, it must be admitted that snapper is not as tasty as mahi mahi, mainly because it has significantly less fat.
However, you can easily solve this by adding more spices.
Snapper’s texture is firm and flaky, so there’s no need to adjust the cooking time much when using it as an alternative to mahi mahi.
Cook it for as many minutes as you cook mahi mahi, or increase the cooking time slightly by a minute or two.
Another way to substitute mahi mahi is to use haddock.
This fish has a firm texture and mild flavor and works best grilled, baked, or steamed. These cooking methods will not harm this fish’s delicate taste.
Also, be careful with the other ingredients and spices you use so that you don’t end up with a dish in which the flavor of the fish is completely lost.
Haddock fillets should be firm to the touch and pale yellow or pink.
If the flesh is soft or dark and has dark spots, it is a sign that the fish is not fresh, so avoid such purchases.
We all know how frustrating it is when you can’t make the recipe you want because you’re missing an ingredient.
Considering that mahi mahi is not easy to find in some parts of the world and that this fish is quite expensive, we have suggested several possible alternatives in this article.
Fish that we have suggested as substitutes for mahi mahi are halibut, cod, rainbow trout, salmon, white sea bass, tuna, grouper, snapper, and haddock.
Of course, the list of possible alternatives does not end here, but these options can ensure you the most success.
Some of these fish are similar to mahi mahi in taste and texture, while some are slightly different, so you will need to adjust the recipe or cooking time to some extent.
Some fish are great substitutes, primarily because they’re much more readily available and cheaper than mahi mahi. Hence, they’re a good idea if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of flavor for a better price.
All these fish are incredibly healthy and are a great way to increase your body’s intake of minerals, vitamins, proteins, and healthy fats.
If you are creative in the kitchen and like experimenting with different ingredients, some of the offered alternatives will inspire you to improve the original recipe.
Explore the different options and choose the best and most acceptable for you.
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