Can You Safely Eat Dolphinfish? (Preparation, Pricing & Alternatives)

Dolphinfish are one of the tastiest and fished-for fish in tropical and subtropical waters. They are found in warmer waters and off coastal areas.

Many fishermen consider it a treat to catch a dolphinfish because they are so tasty, and they are considered a rare catch. 

They have earned their spot on the Top 10 Tastiest Finfish by being a favorite catch and cook fish for anglers all over the world. Can dolphinfish be eaten safely and how does it taste?

Generally speaking, dolphinfish (mahi mahi) can be safely eaten cooked, smoked and even raw. It can be prepared in many ways such as smoking, grilling, steaming, and poaching. Even pregnant women can eat dolphinfish as long as it is eaten in moderation due to possible mercury levels in the fish.

Dolphinfish is a healthy fish choice and is rich in vitamins, and can be caught in many popular fishing areas.

Most places allow anglers to catch dolphinfish without restrictions, but in some areas, catching and keeping dolphinfish is illegal. 

Are Dolphinfish Edible?

Dolphinfish are sometimes called Mahi Mahi, and they are very tasty fish. My family has always lived on the Southern US coast, and fresh dolphinfish is a taste that you won’t ever forget. 

The meat, if prepared correctly, will be soft, moist, and flaky.

Even though it is soft, moist, and flaky, it is still considered to be a firm type of fish meat, and it is not easily squashed.

Dolphinfish are considered lean meat, which means they are healthier than other meat choices. 


Because the fish has a firm texture, it is perfect for grilling, broiling, baking, and searing. This means that the fish fillets will not easily fall apart once they have been cooked.

Ways To Prepare Dolphinfish

There are many ways to prepare dolphinfish. Among the favorites are broiling, baking, smoking, and grilling. Other ways to cook this fish include frying, steaming, and poaching. 

The meat should be a light pink color to a beige color before cooking and white after cooking.

The skin on a dolphinfish is very thick, so it should be cut off before cooking. If not, the fish will have a very strong and gamey taste. 

There is also a bloodline that runs through the meat of the dolphin in certain areas. This is usually cut out before cooking.

If the bloodline is darker, that means that the meat may taste stronger because the fish is older. 

Can You Eat Dolphinfish Raw?

Eating raw fish has grown in popularity over the last 10 years. Dolphinfish can be consumed raw, but there are always risks involved with consuming raw meat. 

Another way to get by with eating dolphinfish slightly raw is to have it lightly seared.

This will cook the outer edges of the fish to a slight, golden brown, and the inside will be moist and juicy. This is a favorite way to prepare dolphinfish for many people. 

Remember, darker dolphinfish meat will cause your fish to have a stronger and gamier taste. 

Eating Raw Dolphinfish Can Be Risky

Any time raw fish is consumed, you risk getting food poisoning. To prevent food poisoning, the fish should be eaten fresh. 

There is a chance that dolphinfish or other raw fish that aren’t fresh can cause health problems, such as food poisoning, which can cause sickness and in severe cases, death. 

Salmonella is a common type of food poisoning that can occur if someone eats raw or undercooked fish and shellfish that aren’t freshly caught. 

Can Pregnant Women Eat Raw Dolphinfish? 

Pregnant women should never consume any type of raw meat. Food poisoning during pregnancy can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and premature deliveries in pregnant women. 

When pregnant, a woman’s body has a more difficult time fighting off illnesses. Some food bacteria can cross into the placenta, and this type of bacteria can be found on raw meat. 

Eating raw meat while pregnant risks death to the unborn child and the mother. Certain food borne illnesses can also affect a child if the mother has the illness during the birth. 

Is Dolphinfish High In Mercury?

All fish have certain levels of mercury, but most of the time, the levels aren’t high enough to cause harm.


Dolphinfish are very tasty, but they are also at the top of the food chain. The closer to the top of the food chain the fish gets, the more mercury it will have in its meat. 

This means that if you eat too much dolphinfish, it might cause some health problems.

Eating dolphinfish in moderation shouldn’t cause any problems and can be beneficial to your health due to the vitamins that are present in the fish.  

Can You Eat Cooked Dolphinfish While Pregnant?

As with any fish, a certain level of mercury may be present in the meat. Pregnant women can safely consume some cooked fish in small portions. 

If the dolphinfish meat is well cooked, one serving a week is fine for a pregnant woman to consume. 

Is Dolphinfish Meat Healthy? 

Like most fish, dolphinfish are considered to be lean meat. The meat is rich in protein, niacin, Vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium. 

Niacin can reduce the risk of heart attacks and the narrowing of arteries that is common with age. It also treats high cholesterol and helps maintain triglyceride levels. 

Many health benefits come from selenium. Selenium acts as an antioxidant and may help you avoid developing certain cancers.

It has also been suggested that it may reduce the risk of asthma symptoms and heart disease.

Selenium is very important because it keeps your thyroid healthy and boosts your immune system. 

Phosphorus is naturally present in your body, and it is similar to Calcium. It creates strong bones.

Most people get calcium from milk, cheese, and yogurt, but eating dolphinfish meat is another way to get this extra boost your body may need. 

How To Prepare Dolphinfish

There are many ways that you can prepare dolphinfish meat. The taste and texture of dolphinfish meat is specific to many of the sought-after higher-end fish meats. This means that it pairs well with citrus flavors or citrus glazes. 

This recipe is one that we use for our fish and would work just the same for dolphinfish.

The rule for cooking fish is that you want to cook for around 10 minutes per inch of thickness and turn the fillet halfway through the cooking time. 

While you are preparing your fillets, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. 

Dolphinfish Meat Fillets4
Salt⅛ tsp.
Pepper⅛ tsp.
Unsalted Butter3 Tbsp.
Minced Garlic (I use garlic salt)¼ tsp.
Lemon Juice3 tsp. (this can be more or less, depending on personal taste.)

While your oven is preheating, put your fillets in a clear baking dish or pan lined with aluminum foil. Spray the aluminum foil with cooking spray or spread olive oil on it. This prevents the fish from sticking to the bottom of the pan. 

Melt the butter and mix in the garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Mix and place it to the side.

Cut up one lemon into round slices and remove the seeds. Brush or pour the lemon juice and butter mixture on the fish. 

Place the lemons on top of the lemon fillets. Bake using the 10 minutes per inch rule, and flip the fillets over at 5 minutes.

Keep a close eye on the fillets to be sure that they aren’t burning. 

After baking, remove the fish and let it cool for a few minutes. Place each fillet over a rice pilaf for a tasty meal. 

Is Eating Dolphinfish Illegal? 

In most countries, catching and keeping dolphinfish for food is legal. In Taiwan, catching, selling, and eating dolphins has been banned since 1989.

This was a law that was made to prevent the overfishing of the species. 


Even though it is illegal, many people still take part in the black-marketing of dolphinfish meat. If caught, the penalty is up to 5 years in jail and a maximum fine of $50,000.

How Much Is Dolphinfish Meat Worth? 

There are different prices for any food, and those prices depend on supply and demand.

In a place like Taiwan where the industry has been shut down, the illegal black market prices will be higher. In places where dolphinfish meat is easily able to be obtained, the price may be lower. 

Price Of Fresh Dolphinfish From A Market 

One seller of dolphinfish meat claimed that he could get $3 for 500 grams of dolphin meat.

If a dolphin weighed around 45 pounds, and the seller takes the meat and sells it, he could make over $75 per dolphin. Most of these fish are sold to large chain supermarkets and sold in frozen food sections. 

Buying dolphinfish meat from a fish market will be more expensive and can run from $7 to $13 per pound. This is because fresh fish tastes better.

Once fish is frozen, it can lose some of its taste. If you want the real experience, splurge on buying fresh dolphins from a local market if one is near you. 

Price Of Frozen Dolphinfish From The Store

Four frozen fillets can cost between $40 and $50 at the grocery store. This may seem expensive, but you have to decide if you want to pay that price or eat fish that may not taste as well.

The phrase, “You get what you pay for” is true, in this situation. If you want high-quality dolphin meat, you will have to spend more money to get it. 

Price of Dolphinfish At A Restaurant 

Restaurants that have dolphinfish on their menu will likely charge you more than the market price for dolphin fillets. This is because when you go to a restaurant, you are paying for the experience as well as the food. 

Seafood restaurants are more expensive because many of them have to import their seafood to their business. This costs more money, so they up their menu prices. 

Dolphinfish/Mahi Mahi/Dorado

Dolphinfish can go by many names, depending on where you are from. In Hawaii, the fish go by the name Mahi Mahi, in Spanish speaking areas they are called Dorado.

In the French Islands, they are called Dorade, and in English speaking countries, they are mostly referred to as dolphins or dolphinfish. 

These dolphinfish should not be confused with dolphins that are mammals, such as Bottle-Nosed Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins, Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, and any other mammals with the word “dolphin” in the name.

These two animals are very different. The colors of the dolphinfish and dolphins or porpoises are very different and can be used to identify the fish you see or catch. 

Dolphinfish are edible and very tasty. Many anglers catch dolphinfish and eat them fresh out of the water.

The dolphinfish is as beautiful as it is tasty. It is a finfish, and its blue, yellow and green colors blend in well with the surrounding waters. 

Where Do People Catch Dolphinfish?

Dolphinfish live in the upper layer of the ocean and dwell near the surface. Many anglers travel to places that are hot spots for dolphinfish to try their hand at catching them. 

The Florida Keys, the Atlantic Coast of Florida, Costa Rica, Panama, Hawaii, and Baja, California are all places where anglers travel to catch the infamous Mahi-Mahi. 

Where Do People Catch Dolphinfish?

If you are wanting to try dolphinfish meat, eating at a restaurant in one of these areas would mean you would more than likely be eating fresh fish.

Where Do You Buy Dolphinfish?

Dolphinfish fillets can be sold in supermarkets as frozen or fresh fillets, depending on where you are from.

If you are located near a coastal area where fishing is a common job that people hold, you may be able to get fresh dolphinfish from local fishermen or fish markets. 

Some restaurants also have dolphinfish on their menus. Be sure to ask about the specific ways the fish can be prepared. 

Alternatives To Dolphinfish

Dolphinfish can be expensive, so there are some cheaper alternatives that are just as healthy.

Saltwater options include fresh tuna, swordfish, and snapper. Freshwater options include salmon, cod, striped bass, white sea bass, and rainbow trout. 

Safe fish alternatives for pregnant women are grouper, halibut, snapper, and yellowfin tuna.

All of these fish can be caught by any angler with a little bit of research first. If you don’t own a boat or want to charter a fishing trip, look into freshwater fishing for these other options, because you don’t have to own a boat to catch these fish. Most of them can be found in rivers and streams. 

Final Considerations

In conclusion, dolphinfish are different from bottle-nosed dolphins or porpoises that we see surfing the waves at sunset. Dolphinfish are surface-dwelling fish, not mammals like other dolphins and porpoises. 

This fish is very tasty, which is one reason why it is so expensive. Dolphinfish also go by the names Mahi Mahi, Dorado, and Dorade. These are popular menu items on many seafood restaurant menus and may be labeled as any of those names. 

There are many health benefits to eating dolphinfish in moderate amounts, and there are many ways to cook dolphinfish at home in your own kitchen. The fish pairs well with citrusy flavors and is thick meat that can be prepared in many ways. 

Eating dolphinfish raw is a popular choice for many people. Pregnant women, however, should never consume raw or undercooked meat.

Anyone who consumes raw or undercooked meat or fish could become sick with food poisoning. 

Fresh dolphinfish meat will be more expensive than frozen, but it will also taste better since it is fresh.

Because there are so many ways to prepare dolphinfish meat and the meat has a reputation for being flaky, moist, and delicious, dolphinfish meat is a favorite amongst many people who enjoy eating seafood. 

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