Mahi-Mahi Sandwich Recipe

Mahi-mahi sandwhich

The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 sandwiches
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
375 Calories
10g Fat
28g Carbs
42g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 375
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 155mg 52%
Sodium 984mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 42g
Vitamin C 8mg 42%
Calcium 116mg 9%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 1116mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This classic mahi-mahi sandwich is a mainstay on Hawaiian menus, where it is often listed as a fish burger. The best one I ever had was from a lunch truck in the parking lot of a fish store—the kind of fish store right near the pier and the fish comes in, gets cleaned and put on ice in the counter within minutes, and eager customers show up early in the day lest their favorite sells out. Both the store and the truck had a lovely ocean view. I've modeled this recipe off that sandwich, but have experienced first-hand with this recipe what is always true about fish dishes: The fresher the fish, the tastier it will be.

In Hawaii, these sandwiches are usually made with mahi-mahi (a.k.a. Dorado) or ono, both of which are ocean fish with firm flesh and lots of flavors that give the "burger" a great meaty feel. Another firm white fish, like farmed tilapia, makes a perfectly tasty burger where and when mahi-mahi isn't available. Would this burger also work with salmon? Absolutely. Freshness and a certain thickness of the filet to stand up to the bun are all this sandwich require. 

"A simple but satisfying fish sandwich. Mahi-mahi has a very meaty texture and stands up well to the sweet Hawaiian bun. My fillets were about an inch thick and took about 10 minutes to cook. The recipe wisely calls for medium heat, which allows the fish to cook more gently without burning the spices." —Young Sun Huh

Hawaiian Fish Sandwich/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 4 fillets mahi-mahi, about 6 ounces each

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 dash cayenne, optional

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

  • 4 Hawaiian sweet bread buns

  • 4 tablespoons tartar sauce, more to taste

  • 4 slices sweet Maui onions

  • 4 slices tomato

  • 4 lettuce leaves

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make Mahi-mahi sandwiches

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  2. Rinse the fish fillets and pat them dry.

    patting mahi-mahi dry

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  3. In a small bowl combine the salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne, if using. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly on both sides of the filets.

    seasoned mahi-mahi on a plate

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil, and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan and allow to heat until it shimmers.

    skillet heating on a burner

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  5. Place the fillets in the pan. Cook, undisturbed, until the fillets brown along the edges, about 3 to 5 minutes. Use a spatula to gently turn the filets over and continue cooking until the fish is cooked through and flaky in the center, about 3 to 5 more minutes. Remove to a plate.

    cooked mahi-mahi on a plate

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  6. Open the buns. Spread each bun—top and bottom—evenly with tartar sauce. Place a fillet on each bun and top with an onion slice, a tomato slice, and a lettuce leaf. Close the sandwich with the top bun and serve immediately.

    Mahi-mahi sandwich

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Variations

  • Switch to another firm white fish such as tilapia, haddock, or cod.
  • Use Kauai red salt if you have it.
  • Regular hamburger buns are an excellent choice for these sandwiches.
  • Red onions will work as a substitute for sweet Maui onions.