Make dining at home feeling special with easy Grilled Swordfish. Just 10 minutes of marinating time and a hot grill (or stovetop grill pan) are all you need to pull off a succulent swordfish steak worthy of a white tablecloth.
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Swordfish tastes mild, slightly sweet, and not “fishy” (it’s not as strong as Baked Salmon in Foil, for example).
It’s firm, moist, and dense, in a good way—the name swordfish “steak” is befitting.
It was the first fish I loved as a kid.
Other than rare occasions when my grandma treated us to Red Lobster (where I filled up on biscuits and then ordered Cajun Shrimp Pasta Alfredo), I didn’t grow up eating much seafood.
I detested fish sticks, so I assumed all other fish were (to quote my expressive young self) “gross.”
Thankfully, one night at dinner, my dad convinced me to try a bite of his grilled swordfish.
DELISH! Why hadn’t anyone told me that most fish don’t taste like fish sticks?
While I became a fast swordfish fan, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started cooking it myself.
I assumed pulling off moist grilled swordfish would be difficult and that I’d mess it up.
My swordfish assumptions were wrong once again—swordfish is super easy to grill at home.
- Swordfish steaks absorb flavor fast. Between 10 to 15 minutes of marinating time is all you need for swordfish. Any simple marinade will do.
- Since swordfish is firm, it’s easier to flip on the grill than more delicate fish (like Grilled Cod). You can cook it right on the grill grates (no need for a packet, like this Grilled Salmon in Foil).
Ready to bring the restaurant home to you? Let’s grill some swordfish!
How to Grill Swordfish
The key to moist grilled swordfish is to remove it from the heat once it reaches medium rare (135 degrees F) and to let it rest.
- The best way to know if swordfish is done on the grill is by using an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature. When the swordfish is cooked through, it should feel firm, flake easily, and no longer be translucent.
- Swordfish cooks in 8 to 10 minutes over medium-high heat. Flip swordfish halfway through cooking.
- Let swordfish rest 10 minutes before serving. As with meats (like Grilled Chicken Breast, Air Fryer Steak, and Grilled Pork Chops), resting allows the juices to reincorporate, giving you the moistest grilled swordfish.
This recipe includes my favorite simple grilled swordfish marinade made with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, lemon, and herbs.
This is a hearty fish that can stand up to bold flavors, so feel free to play around.
For grilled swordfish seasoning, you can use any of your favorite blends, or try my Salmon Seasoning.
When using a marinade with a high amount of acid (such as lemon or lime juice) do not let the fish marinate for more than 20 minutes, or the fish will start to break down.
- Swordfish. Meaty, mild, healthy, and moist, swordfish is a crowd-pleasing seafood option. The simple marinade in this recipe elevates it while allowing the scrumptious grilled swordfish flavor to shine.
Choosing Your Swordfish
Swordfish is packed with selenium, protein, and vitamins. While it does contain more mercury than other fish varieties, swordfish is good for you when consumed occasionally as part of a well-balanced diet.
- When purchasing swordfish, look for sustainably and responsibly sourced steaks that are firm with no discoloration.
- Try to find steaks that are at least 1-inch thick so they will stay together during the marinating/grilling process.
- Olive Oil. Pulls all the different marinade flavors together and helps them cling to the fish.
- Soy Sauce. The essential umami element.
- Sherry Vinegar. With a hint of nuttiness and sweetness, sherry vinegar is a fantastic way to add acidity and rich flavor to the marinade.
You can also use red wine vinegar here.
- Garlic + Oregano. For essential garlicky and herby flavor.
- Lemon. Lemon zest and juice add brightness and acidity to the marinade. A grilled lemon is also juiced over the top of the finished fish, adding a subtle smoky flavor.
- Whisk the swordfish marinade ingredients together.
- Let the swordfish marinate for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping it halfway through.
- Grill swordfish for 4 to 5 minutes per side, then remove it to a plate and let rest.
- Grill the lemon halves alongside the swordfish.
- Add herbs, salt, and lemon juice to the swordfish. ENJOY!
Serve grilled swordfish with Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Chardonnay.
- To Store. Refrigerate swordfish in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in a skillet on the stovetop.
- To Freeze. Freeze swordfish in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Note that frozen, thawed fish will taste more fishy and the texture will breakdown somewhat.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, whisk the marinade ingredients together. Cover the dish and refrigerate until you’re ready to add the fish and finish the recipe.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Grill Tongs. Perfect for any of my grilling recipes.
- Instant Read Thermometer. The most reliable way to check fish for doneness.
- Citrus Juicer. Once you’ve juiced a lemon or lime with this tool, you won’t want to do it any other way.
The Best Grill Tongs
The scalloped edges on these tongs help grip food, so it doesn’t slip while you’re turning or transferring it. They’re dishwasher-safe too!
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This easy grilled swordfish has become one of our new favorite fast, healthy dinners. I’m so glad I tried it all those years ago.
I hope you fall for it hook, line, and sinker too!
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! It’s often easier to find good quality, sustainable fish that is frozen, then thaw it yourself.
To thaw your fish overnight, transfer it to the refrigerator the night before you plan to use it. If you need to thaw your fish quickly, place the frozen fish in a bowl of COLD water (if it’s not in a vacuum sealed package, transfer it to an airtight ziptop bag first so you don’t end up with wet fish). You want to ensure that the water temperature is somewhere between room temperature and ice cold. Change the water every 30 minutes or so, ensuring it stays cold.
Leftover grilled swordfish would be excellent with Lemon Rice or Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing. You can also take a note from my Pesto Salmon and top the leftover swordfish with Basil Pesto (or serve it alongside Pesto Pasta).
- 4 (6- to 8-ounce) swordfish steaks 1-inch thick
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3 cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 medium lemons divided
- Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for serving
- Kosher salt for serving
- Oil for grilling
Pat the swordfish dry on both sides. In a shallow dish just large enough to hold the swordfish in a snug, even layer, place the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and oregano. Zest in both of the lemons, then juice 1 of the lemons into the marinade. Whisk to combine. Slice the second lemon in half crosswise and reserve for grilling.
Add the swordfish steaks to the dish and turn to coat in the marinade. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes (do not let sit more than 20 minutes, or the acid will start to break down the fish). Halfway through, flip the swordfish over.
Heat a gas grill or charcoal grill to medium-high (about 375 to 400 degrees F; you can also cook the fish under the oven broiler). Scrape the grill grates very clean, then oil to prevent sticking. Grill the swordfish for 4 to 5 minutes per side, just until it registers 135 degrees F on an instant read thermometer and is no longer pink in the center. Transfer to a plate and cover. Let rest 10 minutes.
At the same time you are grilling the swordfish, grill the lemon halves by placing them cut-side down on the grill. Cook until char marks appear, about 6 minutes.
Sprinkle the rested swordfish with herbs and a pinch of kosher salt. Squeeze the grilled lemon over the top. Enjoy hot.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate swordfish in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in a skillet on the stovetop.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze swordfish in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Note that frozen, thawed fish will taste more fishy and the texture will breakdown somewhat.
READ: Grilled Swordfish