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How to Cook Swordfish

How to Cook Swordfish

Swordfish is a hearty, flavorful fish that can be prepared in many delicious ways. Follow this simple guide to learn how to cook moist, tender swordfish fillets right at home.

How To Cook Swordfish Video

Choose High-Quality Swordfish

Always start with fresh, sushi-grade swordfish. Look for thick, firm fillets without any discoloration. Swordfish is a lean fish, so excess moisture on the surface or mushy texture indicates the fish is past its prime.

For best results, use swordfish within a day or two of purchasing. When buying swordfish, look for these signs of freshness:

  • Bright, shiny flesh
  • Firm, meaty texture
  • Clean sea smell
  • Clear eyes
  • Vibrant pink gills
Small< 2 lbs
Medium2-4 lbs
Large> 4 lbs

How Much Is Swordfish Per Pound

The cost of fresh swordfish varies depending on the time of year and where you buy it. At a local fish market, expect to pay $11 to $30 per pound.

For example, Randy’s Paradise Shrimp in Florida sells fresh swordfish steaks for around $26 per pound. In California, Anderson Seafoods charges almost $32 for 12 ounces of fresh fillet. Frozen swordfish steaks on Amazon go for about $13 per 4-ounce steak.

Prices fluctuate, so check with your local supplier or retailer for current rates.

Prep the Swordfish Properly

Rinse swordfish under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off any inedible brown parts or bones using a sharp knife.

Cut the fillet into individual serving-size portions, about 4-6 oz each. This ensures even cooking. You can also ask your fishmonger to portion the swordfish for you.

You might also enjoy reading: How to Grill Swordfish to Sweet, Smoky Perfection.

Recommended Cooking Times

ThicknessSear Time Per SideBake Time in Oven
1 inch2-3 minutes5-6 minutes
1.5 inches3-4 minutes6-8 minutes
2 inches4-5 minutes8-10 minutes

Brush Both Sides with Oil

Coat both sides of the swordfish with a thin layer of high-heat cooking oil using a pastry brush or your fingers. Good oil choices include:

  • Avocado
  • Grapeseed
  • Refined coconut
  • Olive
  • Vegetable

The oil helps the fish develop a deliciously crisp exterior while keeping it moist inside.

Season the Fish Generously

Swordfish pairs well with bold seasonings. Coat both sides with:

  • Sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Dried herbs like thyme, rosemary or dill

Other flavorful options:

  • Smoked paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Lemon pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne

Get creative with spice rubs or marinades. A citrus-herb marinade works nicely.

Sear at High Heat

Heat 1 tsp oil in a cast iron or nonstick skillet over high heat until shimmering. Carefully lay the swordfish portions in the pan and cook without moving for 2-3 minutes. This allows the bottom to caramelize.

Flip the fillets and sear another 2-3 minutes until opaque and cooked through. Adjust heat as needed to prevent burning.

Finish in the Oven

For thicker fillets over 1 inch, transfer the pan to a 400°F oven after searing both sides. Bake for 5-8 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.

The fish will finish cooking gently in the oven without overdrying the exterior. Use an instant-read thermometer to check doneness.

Try Different Cooking Methods

Besides pan-searing, swordfish adapts well to methods like:

  • Grilling
  • Broiling
  • Baking
  • Poaching
  • Steaming

It also holds up in one-pan dishes, tacos, kebabs and skewers. Experiment with creative recipes and techniques to keep it exciting.

Pros and Cons of Various Swordfish Cooking Methods

Swordfish is a versatile fish and there are multiple methods for cooking it you could utilize. Each technique has its own benefits and downsides. When deciding how to cook swordfish, consider factors like the thickness of the fillets, desired flavors, time constraints, and equipment available. Below is a comparison of some popular cooking methods for swordfish, along with the pros and cons of each.



  • Quick and easy weeknight cooking
  • Cooks the fish evenly
  • Great for thinner fillets
  • It creates a nice golden-brown crust


  • Lacks smoky grill flavor
  • Only browns one side of the fish



  • It adds great char and a smoky flavor
  • Ideal for thicker swordfish steaks
  • Makes the fish look attractive


  • Less even cooking compared to pan
  • Risk of drying out the fish
  • Harder to grill thin fillets



  • Very easy hands-off cooking
  • Great way to cook fish for a crowd
  • Helps keep fish uniformly moist


  • The surface won’t brown as nicely
  • Hard to add grill marks or char



  • Quick and intense heat from above
  • Can add char while avoiding grill
  • Simple to broil fillets in the oven


  • Potential to burn or dry out fish
  • Hard to broil thicker cuts
  • Doesn’t add a smoky flavor



  • Healthy cooking method
  • Preserves nutrients and moisture
  • Easy and hands-off


  • Fish can taste bland
  • No searing or charring
  • Not ideal for thick steaks

Pairings for Swordfish

FoodWhy it Works
LemonBright acidity cuts richness
DillHerbaceous flavor complements fish
AsparagusElegant vegetable pairing
TomatoesThe herbaceous flavor complements fish
Rice pilafAbsorbs juices and flavors
GarlicAdds depth, antioxidant benefits
Olive oilHealthy fat enhances fish’s richness

Allow Swordfish to Rest

Let the cooked swordfish rest for 5 minutes before serving. This allows juices to redistribute so the flesh remains hot, moist and tender when you slice into it.

Dig in and enjoy your restaurant-quality seafood meal. Swordfish also tastes amazing when served cold in salads and sandwiches the next day.

Swordfish Recipe Inspiration

TacosCorn tortillas, pico de gallo, avocado
KebabsPeppers, onion, pineapple chunks
SaladArugula, quinoa, citrus vinaigrette
PastaLinguine, olive oil, capers, parsley

With its mild flavor and meaty texture, swordfish suits any palate. Follow these tips for delicious, foolproof swordfish every time. Share your cooking achievements on social media using the hashtag #SwordfishSuccess.

What’s your go-to swordfish recipe? Let us know in the comments!

Sample Swordfish Recipe

Lemon-Herb Grilled Swordfish

1 lb swordfish steaks1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil1 lemon, zested + juiced
Salt and pepper
1. Combine oil, garlic, herbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Rub the mixture onto both sides of the fish.
2. Grill fish over medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side until opaque.
3. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve.


  • Can I cook frozen swordfish?

    Yes, frozen swordfish works well too. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before cooking. Pat dry thoroughly since moisture can cause steaming.

  • What is the minimum internal temperature for cooked swordfish?

    Cook swordfish to an internal temperature of at least 145°F to eliminate bacteria and parasites. Use a food thermometer for accuracy.

  • How long does cooked swordfish last in the fridge?

    Cooked swordfish will keep 3-4 days in the fridge. Store it in an airtight container and use within that time for best quality.

  • Can you cook swordfish on a cedar plank?

    Yes, grilling or baking swordfish on a soaked cedar plank infuses great woody flavor. Soak plank 1 hour beforehand.

  • Can you cook swordfish on a panini press?

    Yes, a panini press can nicely grill thinner swordfish fillets in just 2-3 minutes per side.

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Steve Momot

Steve is an accomplished professional photographer and marketer who specializes in the Fishing, Yacht, and Boating industry. With a strong presence as an influencer and marketing expert in the Marine Industry, he has made a significant impact in the field. Additionally, Steve is the original creator and co-founder of Sportfishtrader. Prior to his career as a marine photographer, he gained extensive experience as a licensed boat and car dealer in South Florida.

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