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Make dining at home feel special with this bright, easy, and perfectly cooked 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.

A plate with grilled lemon and swordfish

Swordfish tastes mild, slightly sweet, and not “fishy” (it’s not as strong as Baked Salmon, for example).

It’s firm, moist, and dense, in a good way—the name swordfish “steak” is befitting.

Swordfish 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), I didn’t grow up eating much seafood.

I detested fish sticks, so I assumed all other fish were (to quote my eloquent 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 doesn’t taste like fish sticks?

Easy grilled swordfish on a plate with arugula and lemons

Everything You Need to Know About Grilled Swordfish

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 up an expenstive protein.

My swordfish assumptions were wrong once again—swordfish is super easy to grill at home.

  • Like tuna, 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!

Grilled swordfish on a plate with lemons

How to Grill Swordfish

The key to moist grilled swordfish is not to overcook it.

  • Cook swordfish to 135 degrees F for medium rare. Its temperature will rise as it rests.
  • 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), swordfish should rest after grilling. It allows the juices to reincorporate, giving you the moistest grilled swordfish.
  • Go by temperature. The best way to know if swordfish is done on the grill is by using an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature (remove swordfish at 135°F). When the swordfish is cooked through, it should feel firm, flake easily, and no longer be translucent.

The Ingredients

  • 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 contains 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 in the flesh.
  • 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 that helps make this the best grilled swordfish recipe.
  • Sherry Vinegar. With a hint of nuttiness and sweetness, sherry vinegar is a fantastic way to add acidity and rich flavor to the marinade.

Substitution Tip

You can also use red wine vinegar here.

  • Garlic + Oregano. For essential garlicky and herby flavor. You could try to use thyme here as well.
  • 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.

The Directions

A marinade being prepared in a dish
  1. Whisk the swordfish marinade ingredients together.
Swordfish marinating in a dish
  1. Let the swordfish marinate for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping it halfway through.

Tip!

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.

A piece of fish being cooked with lemon
  1. Add the fish to the grill. About 4 to 5 minutes per side is how long to grill 1 inch swordfish (you do close the grill when cooking swordfish). Remove it to a plate and let rest.
Fish on a grill with lemon halves
  1. Grill the lemon halves alongside the swordfish.
The best grilled swordfish on a plate with grilled lemon
  1. Garnish with fresh herbs, salt, (optional black pepper or red pepper flakes), and lemon juice. ENJOY!

Tips for Flavorful Swordfish

While we typically enjoy using the marinade in this recipe, you can also flavor your swordfish with seasonings and other toppings. This is a hearty fish that can stand up to bold flavors, so feel free to play around.

  • Marinade. This recipe includes my favorite simple grilled swordfish marinade made with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic cloves, lemon, and herbs (it pairs well with a side of Roasted Tomatoes). My Salmon Marinade would also be tasty.
  • Seasoning. For grilled swordfish seasoning, you can use any of your favorite blends, or try my Salmon Seasoning.
  • Toppings. For serving you could try a salsa like this sweet and spicy avocado pineapple salsa from Pineapple Glazed Salmon. The avocado pesto from this Avocado Pasta would also be delightful.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate swordfish in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days in the fridge.
  • 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. While cooked swordfish can be frozen, thawed fish will taste more fishy and the texture will break down 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.

Healthy grilled swordfish served on a plate

Leftover Ideas

Leftover grilled swordfish would be excellent with Couscous Salad. You can also take a note from my Pesto Salmon and top the leftover swordfish with Basil Pesto (or serve it alongside Pesto Pasta).

What to Serve with Grilled Swordfish

This easy grilled swordfish recipe has become one of our new favorite fast, healthy dinners. I’m so glad I tried swordfish all those years ago.

I hope you fall for it hook, line, and sinker too!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Swordfish Be Undercooked?

Yes. Unlike salmon that can be enjoyed rare, swordfish that is too rare will taste rubbery, which isn’t as enjoyable as the buttery texture of properly grilled swordfish. We prefer to cook our swordfish until it reaches 135 degrees F and is no longer pink in the middle.

How Can You Tell if Swordfish is Undercooked?

You can tell if swordfish is undercooked by its color and taking the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. The temperature of the fish should be 135 degrees F. Raw swordfish will have a gray and pink color, and cooked swordfish will look more white. However, swordfish can be pink in the middle as long as it is cooked to the proper temperature.

Can I Grill Frozen Swordfish?

Absolutely! It’s often easier to find good quality, sustainable fish that is frozen, then thaw it yourself. Note that you cannot put frozen swordfish on the grill, you’ll need to thaw it first.
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.

Can I Use a Different Marinade?

Yes, you can definitely play around with other spices or marinades you enjoy. I think a teriyaki swordfish marinade would be delish! Try the teriyaki sauce from my Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry. (Teriyaki fans, don’t miss my Teriyaki Salmon recipe too!)

Grilled Swordfish

5 from 9 votes
How to cook moist grilled swordfish steaks with a simple, flavorful lemon herb marinade. A quick, healthy meal great for weeknight dinner or company.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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°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°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.

Notes

  • 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°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 break down somewhat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 361kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 35gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 112mgPotassium: 815mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 225IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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18 Comments

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  1. This was great! We skipped grilling lemon, maybe next time. Used a robust garlic. The marinade really tasted perfect!5 stars

  2. This is a marvelous recipe! I grew up in a “non-seafood” house and have struggled for years to incorporate good seafood dishes into our diet. This recipe is wonderful for a quick weeknight dinner as well as being fancy enough for dinner guests. I served it with brown rice and stir-fried vegetables. Thank you!5 stars

  3. I made this yesterday. It came out so delicious! Easy recipe to follow and ingredients were simple. Thank you for sharing.5 stars