Grilled Fish with Garlic, Basil, and Lemon

Grilled Fish with Garlic, Basil, and Lemon uses an easy and delicious fish marinade that’s good on Halibut, Mahi Mahi, or any firm white fish. This grilled fish is a great main dish that’s low-carb, Keto, gluten-free, Paleo, and South Beach Diet friendly! Use Grilling Recipes for more ideas like this one.

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It’s a big holiday weekend in the U.S., and tonight I’m going to a birthday party for Nick, the charming 85 year old dad of my good friend Mary. Nick and Mary’s husband Ken were both born on July 3, so my memories of the Fourth of July involve lots of birthday parties for them.  No doubt July 4th is one of the biggest grilling days of the year for most Americans, and while most people probably grill burgers for the birthday of our nation, around here you’re much more likely to find fish or chicken in my grilling recipes.

This easy recipe for Grilled Fish with Garlic, Basil, and Lemon is something I made for years when I was catering houseboat trips at Lake Powell, and  this recipe is long overdue for some photos.  I did get a little overly-enthusiastic with the grill marks, which is what will happen if you forget to turn your grill down to medium-high when you put the fish on, but the halibut in this photo was still lip-smackingly good!

The idea of garlic and basil with fish may seem unusual, but please trust me on this marinade. You could use fresh basil, but for a marinade like this I almost prefer dried herbs, and I’ve made this one many times with dried basil with great results. I’ve also cooked this indoors using the broiler in my toaster oven, and that turned out great too.

Grilled Fish with Garlic, Basil, and Lemon found on

Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper, Spike Seasoning (if using), garlic puree, and dried basil.  Put the fish in a Ziploc bag with the marinade and marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

When you’re ready to cook, take fish out and let it come to room temperature while you preheat the grill, which you have generously oiled or sprayed with non-stick spray made for the grill.  I start heating on high and then turn the grill down to medium-high when I put the fish on.  (If you forget to turn it down for a few minutes you’ll get over-enthusiastic grill marks like I did, but just cook the fish a slightly shorter time and it will still be good.) The best way to tell when fish is done is by gently pressing down with your finger; the fish should feel firm, but not hard to the touch.  As a general rule, grill fish about 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

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Make it a Low-Carb Meal:

For a delicious low-carb meal, serve with something like Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac or Spicy Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Peperoncini.

More Good Ideas for Fish for the Grill:

Grilled Halibut with Southwestern Rub and Tomatillo Salsa from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Fish and Shrimp on the Grill from The Kitchn
Grilled Salmon with Asian Dipping Sauce from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Grilled Fish with Garlic, Basil, and Lemon

This grilled fish makes a great main dish and is easy and delicious.



  • halibut, mahi-mahi, or other firm white fish, one piece per person

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional, but good; omit Spike for Paleo)
  • 2 T garlic puree (or slightly less garlic powder but I think the garlic puree from a jar gives better flavor)
  • 1 T dried basil


  1. Thaw the fish completely in refrigerator if frozen.
  2. Mix marinade ingredients.
  3. Put fish in Zip-loc bag or plastic container with a snap-tight lid, arranging it in a single layer.
  4. Pour marinade over and marinate in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
  5. Turn it over a few times if you’re home. Don’t marinate it too much longer than this or the marinade will start to “cook” the fish.
  6. When you’re ready to cook, take the fish out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
  7. Oil the grill grates generously with oil poured on to a paper towel, or use a non-stick spray made for the grill.
  8. Turn grill on to high and preheat while the fish comes to room temperature.
  9. Turn the grill to medium-high when you are ready to put the fish on (or for a charcoal grill, you can only hold your hand there for a few seconds when it’s hot enough to cook fish.)
  10. To get grill marks, lay the fish diagonally across grill grates; after first grill marks appear (about 3 minutes) rotate fish so it’s laying diagonally the other way.
  11. After about 6 minutes carefully turn fish over to cook the other side.
  12. Total cooking time for grilled fish is about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, but the best way to test is by lightly pressing on the fish with your finger; it should feel firm but not hard to the touch when it’s done.
  13. This marinade would also be good on shrimp, scallops, or chicken.
  14. Chicken could be marinated quite a bit longer; I would marinate shrimp or scallops for only about 2 hours.


You can cut the marinade recipe in half if you’re cooking less fish.

I made this recipe for years at Lake Powell but I don’t remember if I created it or saw the recipe somewhere; if anyone recognizes it please let me know so I can give proper credit.

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Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet  Suggestions:
Grilled Fish with Garlic, Basil, and Lemon is a great recipe for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or any other type of low-carb diet, including Paleo if you replace Spike with an approved seasoning (or just omit it).

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

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