What Is the Best Way to Cook Swordfish?

by Tara Kimball
Swordfish is a versatile fish that holds up well to several cooking methods.

Swordfish is a versatile fish that holds up well to several cooking methods.

Swordfish provides a solid texture in a dense steak cut. Its firm flesh and moderate flavor make it an ideal canvas for bold flavors. A high mercury content makes swordfish something you and your family should consume in moderation. Avoid it entirely if you are pregnant. If you cook swordfish properly, the results are a flaky, dense fish to build a meal around.


Thaw frozen swordfish in the refrigerator overnight before marinating, seasoning or cooking it. Complement the flavor of swordfish with a light marinade or a dusting of dried dill dip mix. Make a glaze with an Asian undertone to top off stir-fry vegetables or add to a light vegetable dish. Create a marinade with citrus for an acidic component to offset the addition of honey. Let the fish rest in the marinade in the refrigerator for an hour or two before cooking so it absorbs the marinade's flavors.


The density of swordfish makes it a good candidate for grilling. The simplest preparation calls for coating both sides of the steak with a light olive oil and seasonings, then grilling it on medium-high heat for three to five minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steaks. Properly grilled swordfish has a firm texture and separates easily when you press on it. Sprinkle dried seasonings on the steaks before you grill them to sear the flavor in when it hits the grill. Wrap steaks in foil with aromatic herbs and butter or light oil before you place them on the grill to steam at grill-heat temperatures. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the swordfish after cooking for a bright finishing flavor.

Baked or Broiled

Bake swordfish for a quick, no fuss meal. Place the steaks in a casserole dish topped with marinade or seasonings, or spread the fish with creamy Parmesan dressing. Swordfish steaks cook within 10 minutes at 400 F. Broil the steaks at a higher heat for a firmer outer edge to the fish. Preheat your broiler for at least 10 to 15 minutes, then cook the fish for three to four minutes per side, watching it closely to avoid burning it.

Other Methods

Swordfish steaks can be pan-seared, but you should monitor the fish carefully while it is in the pan. The USDA recommends that all seafood, including swordfish, reach an internal temperature of 145 F before serving. Test the center of the fish with a meat thermometer. The dry, tough consistency of overcooked swordfish is not salvageable with sauces or other toppings. Steam swordfish in paper or foil packets with aromatics such as lemon, dill and garlic. Serve the steaks with a light sauce for extra flavor.

About the Author

Tara Kimball is a former accounting professional with more than 10 years of experience in corporate finance and small business accounting. She has also worked in desktop support and network management. Her articles have appeared in various online publications.

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