Kalyn's Kitchen

Kalyn’s Lake Powell Fish Marinade

Kalyn’s Lake Powell Fish Marinade used to be pretty famous with my Lake Powell friends, and it’s a perfect fish marinade recipe! And this is a great way to add amazing flavor to Grilled Mahi Mahi or any grilled fish!

PIN the Fish Marinade to try it later!

Kalyn's Lake Powell Fish Marinade grilled mahi mahi on plate with spicy cucumber salad

There was at time when this flavorful and versatile recipe for Kalyn’s Lake Powell Fish Marinade was probably my most famous recipe, at least the recipe was something that got requested often by clients and friends I used to cook for on houseboat trips at Utah’s beautiful Lake Powell. That was back in the days when no one had ever heard of sustainable seafood, and at the lake I’d often use the marinade on Thresher Shark. Fast forward quite a few years, and now I love this marinade on grilled Mahi Mahi, which is the fish shown in these photos.

I hope my recipe for fish marinade will be something that gets you to re-think your ideas about grilling fish if you’ve been skeptical in the past, because everyone loved this recipe all those times I used it at Lake Powell, even people who claimed they “didn’t like fish!” And if you want to re-create the dinner in these photos, I served the grilled fish with Spicy Cucumber Salad for a perfect summer meal.

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

What seafood seasoning did I use?

For many years I made this recipe with Johnny’s Seafood Seasoning (affiliate link). That’s a great product and will give good results if you have it. But now that I’m an enthusiastic fan of Szeged Fish Rub (affiliate link) and so many of my readers use this fish rub as well, I used that in the fish marinade, and it was absolutely delicious!

Why use a fish marinade?

You may never have tried using a fish marinade when you’re making grilled fish, but it’s such a great idea if you’re cooking for people who are suspicious about the flavor of fish. Fish marinade recipes are used to add flavor to the fish. And it’s true that using a fish marinade will make grilled fish a bit less “fishy” so if that’s something that appeals to your family, this may become your favorite way to cook fish on the grill.

What kind of fish is good with this marinade?

This marinade is literally good on any kind of fish you might want to cook on the grill! I love the marinade on the Grilled Mahi Mahi you see in these photos, but I’ve used this tasty marinade on shark, halibut, salmon, swordfish, and tuna. You do need to plan ahead for about 2 hours or marinating time, and don’t marinate the fish too long. And be careful not to overcook fish when you’re cooking it on the grill!

How can you keep fish from sticking to the grill?

There are some tricks to keep fish from sticking to the grill, whether or not you’re using a fish marinade! Be sure your grill grates are completely clean. Before you heat the grill, spray grill grates well with a non-stick spray like Pam for Grilling (affiliate link) or rub with a paper towel dipped in a high smoke-point oil. After you drain the marinated fish, let fish come to room temperature and brush the side that’s going on the grill first with olive oil (or any oil you prefer.) Preheat the grill to high, then immediately turn to medium-high when you put fish on the grill.

Brush the second side with oil when you put fish on the grill. Let fish cook 2-3 minutes without touching it, then lift the edge of a piece to see if you have nice grill marks and if the fish lifts easily. That’s when you know it’s ready to rotate. Rotate to the opposite  to cook 2-3 minutes going the other angle on the grill grates to make grill marks. Then carefully turn, using a Fish Spatula (affiliate link) if you have one. Cook 3-4 minutes on second side, or until fish is firm.

What if you don’t have an outdoor grill?

If you don’t have an outdoor grill (or it’s not grilling weather), grilled fish like this can be cooked on a stove-top grill pan with ridges (affiliate link) or a George Foreman Grill(affiliate link) with good results. Remember that the George Foreman Grill cooks both sides at once so grilling time will be a lot shorter!

Kalyn's Lake Powell Fish Marinade process shots collage

Tips for making the fish marinade and grilled fish:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. I used the fish marinade on wild-caught Mahi Mahi from Costco. Let the fish thaw in the refrigerator overnight (or thaw in cold water.)
  2. Mix together soy sauce, lemon juice, peanut oil, water, Liquid Smoke, Szeged Fish Rub, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to make the marinade.
  3. Marinate fish in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
  4. When you’re ready to cook, drain fish and discard marinade.
  5. Brush with oil on the side you’re putting down on the grill.
  6. Let fish come to room temperature while you spray grill with with a non-stick spray like Pam for Grilling (affiliate link) or rub with paper towel dipped in oil.
  7. If you want those nice diagonal grill marks, lay fish at an angle to grill grates.
  8. Brush second side of fish with oil as soon as you put it on the grill. Grill 2-3 minutes, then lift the edge to see if you have nice grill marks and if the fish lifts easily.
  9. Then rotate fish so it’s going at the opposite angle on the grill. Cook a few minutes longer until you have criss-cross marks.
  10. Turn the fish over and cook it about 3-4 minutes more or until it feels firm, but not hard when you press on it with your finger. Don’t overcook!
  11. Serve hot and enjoy!

Kalyn's Lake Powell Fish Marinade grilled fish on serving plate with cucumber salad

Make it a Low-Carb Meal:

The salad was great with the Spicy Cucumber Salad you see in these photos for a low-carb meal. This grilled fish would be amazing with Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan, Grilled Zucchini, or World’s Easiest Grilled Vegetables.

More Ideas for Cooking Fish:

The BEST Low-Carb Fish and Seafood Recipes from Kalyn’s Kitchen 
Kalyn’s Kitchen Picks: Szeged Fish Rub (plus recipes using it)
See all the Seafood Recipes on this site.

Kalyn's Lake Powell Fish Marinade grilled mahi mahi on plate with spicy cucumber salad

Kalyn's Lake Powell Fish Marinade

Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes

Kalyn's Lake Powell Fish Marinade was pretty famous with my Lake Powell friends and it's perfect for the Grilled Mahi Mahi I'm featuring with the fish marinade recipe!

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces of Mahi Mahi, thawed if frozen (see notes)

Marinade Ingredients

  • 2 T soy sauce (see notes)
  • 2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T + 1 T peanut oil (see notes)
  • 1 T water
  • 1/4 tsp. Liquid Smoke (measure carefully and don’t use more, see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp. Szeged Fish Rub (see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 T onion powder
  • 1/2 T garlic powder

Instructions

  1. If using frozen fish, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in cold water. Drain thawed fish in a colander placed in the sink.
  2. Place thawed fish filets in a single layer in large Ziploc bag or plastic container with a snap-tight lid.
  3. Stir together the soy sauce or Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (affiliate link), lemon juice, peanut oil, water, Liquid Smoke, fish rub, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to make the marinade.
  4. Pour the marinade over the fish and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. (I wouldn’t marinate this longer than 3-4 hours at the most.)
  5. When you’re ready to cook the fish, remove it from the refrigerator, drain in a colander and discard marinade, and let fish come to room temperature.
  6. Brush the side of the fish that will go on the grill first with oil.
  7. Oil the grill grates thoroughly with non-stick grill spray or a paper towel dipped in oil and preheat the grill to high, or medium-high for charcoal grill. (You can only hold your hand there for 1-2 seconds at that heat.)
  8. To get nice grill marks, lay the fish top-side down at an angle to the grill grates.
  9. As soon as you put the fish on, turn the grill down to medium-high. Brush the other side of the fish with oil.
  10. Cook fish about 2-3 minutes, or until the first grill marks appear and fish lifts up easily. (I usually lift up a piece and check.)
  11. Then rotate fish going at the opposite angle to make the criss-cross marks and cook about 2-3 more minutes.
  12. When you have nice grill marks, turn the fish carefully and cook 4-5 minutes on the other side.
  13. Total cooking time for fish is about 10 minutes per inch of thickness and fish should feel firm but not hard to the touch when it’s done.
  14. Remove from the grill and serve hot.

Notes

This fish marinade is good on just about every kind of fish you could cook on the grill! Be sure to use Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (affiliate link) if needed. The Liquid Smoke (affiliate link) used in this recipe is VERY potent, so don’t be tempted to increase the amount. If you use too much it will ruin whatever you are putting it in, but in small amounts, it adds a nice smoky flavor for barbecue sauce or grilled meats.

For years I made this with Johnny's Seafood Seasoning (affiliate link) but now I would use Szeged Fish Rub in the marinade. If you don't want to use peanut oil, use any high smoke point oil.

Nutritional information is for Mahi Mahi that's marinated in the marinade and then grilled. It is based on the amount of marinade that sticks to the fish, since most of the marinade is discarded.

Recipe created by Kalyn many, many years ago!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 232Total Fat: 7.2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5.5gCholesterol: 149mgSodium: 404mgCarbohydrates: 1.6gFiber: 0gSugar: .1gProtein: 38g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!


Kalyn's Lake Powell Fish Marinade grilled fish on serving plate with cucumber salad, thumbnail image

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Kalyn’s Lake Powell Fish Marinade is not only delicious for grilled fish, it’s a perfect recipe for low-carb or Keto diets or the original South Beach Diet .

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Grilling Recipes to 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.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was first posted in 2011. It was updated in 2021 with greatly-improved photos and better instructions.

Kalyn's Lake Powell Fish Marinade Pinterest image

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    29 Comments on “Kalyn’s Lake Powell Fish Marinade”

  1. This was great! I’ll definitely be using it again, but I could use some coaching on grill pans. Mine didn’t have room for all of it and some burned on even though I oiled it and waited until it came free. so the rest stuck and came off in small pieces.

    • So glad you enjoyed the marinade! Fish is the hardest thing to cook on the grill without it sticking, plus it’s more fragile than other proteins. If you grill pan is small, I would definitely cook in two batches, not sure if you did that. You don’t want to crowd the fish, because that cuts down the temperature. What works is oiling the fish right before you put it on to a very hot grill, leaving it there until it releases, and then carefully turning. Use a thin turner to work under a piece that’s slightly stuck if needed. And keep practicing, this is a technique that you can improve with practice!

  2. Ginger, thanks so much. It was definitely always a hit when I used it at Lake Powell!

  3. I live in the Caribbean and have tried hundreds of marinades, most to horrible ends. THIS IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER TASTED. Seriously. I use it weekly. I could drink it! This weekend I had a dinner party and marinated chicken in it and baked it covered in the oven, finishing it on the grill for extra flavor. I served some of the unused marinade as a "sauce" on the side and everyone wanted the recipe. This is just a stunning marinade….and sauce. Using it tonight on some dolphin. THANK YOU.

  4. Canola or grapeseed oil would both be fine.

  5. Kalyn, do you think there would be much of a difference if I subbed in canola oil for peanut oil? My daughter has a nut allergy. If not canola, what other oil would you recommend?

  6. Kelly, Lake Powell is one of the most beautiful places on earth! It may even be better than San Diego.

  7. I know people who want fish less fishy so they'd love this 🙂 So would I. Now I need to look up Lake Powell…

  8. Crystine, glad to help.