Our Favorite Grilled Halibut Recipe

Grilled Halibut-spread with mayo before grilling for a moist fish. mjskitchen.com

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This Grilled Halibut recipe came to being several years ago when Bobby and I spent two glorious weeks on the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian islands. We had a vacation rental on a beach that lead into a live coral reef. Needless to say we spent a lot of time snorkeling and just hanging out. Bobby bought an underwater case for our little point and shoot camera, so he had a blast getting pictures of the coral and the tropical fish.  I just floated around trying to see as much as possible and enjoying the experience of being in an underwater world. It was very surreal.


Coral Reef with tropical fish


Several afternoons we would drive into town, go to the local fish market and buy a couple pieces of fresh fish, usually right off the boat.  Our standard method of grilling the fish was based on a method that Bobby had found in some articles about cooking fish Hawaiian style. The method was to season the fish, then spread both sides with a generous helping of mayonnaise.  It sounded kind of weird, but when in Rome…

I’m here to tell you that this is the BEST way to grill halibut! Some of the mayonnaise soaks into the fish yielding a very moist fish, with a slightly crusty, but not dry exterior.  The rest of the mayonnaise burns off.  As far as the seasoning goes, all you need is a little salt and pepper. While on Kauai we grilled every type of fish we bought using this method (halibut, mahi mahi, Ono) and each one was delicious.

Here in New Mexico we don’t get much of a variety of fish, and fresh, wild fish is hard to find, and when I can find it, it costs an arm and a leg. So when I saw these gorgeous fresh, wild halibut steaks the other day, I couldn’t help myself. They were quite expensive, but I went ahead and paid the price. My rationalization was that to get a piece of fish like this at one of our local restaurants would have cost two to three times more, and the grilled halibut wouldn’t have been near as good! Also, I knew I would be able to squeeze at least two meals out of it.  Once I got the halibut steaks home and Bobby grilled them, I decided that my rationalization was spot on and that THIS fish was well worth the price.  This grilled halibut recipe is SO easy and the outcome – the best halibut you’ll ever eat.

Grilled Halibut

Grilled Halibut-spread with mayo before grilling for a moist fish mjskitchen.com

Smother halibut with mayonnaise and grill
Print or Save Recipe
Grilled Halibut at its BEST
10 mins
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
This recipe can be used for as many halibut steaks are you want to grill. I estimate 1/2 pound fish per person.

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Main Course
Yields: 2 servings
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchn
  • Halibut steaks
  • Salt and Pepper light on the salt, generous on the pepper
  • Dried or fresh dill go light with dried dill, use twice the amount of fresh
  • Mayonnaise generous amount
  1. Prepare the grill for a medium heat.
  2. While the grill is heating, sprinkle each side of each halibut steak with salt, pepper, and dill.
  3. Cover both sides generously with mayonnaise, using a rubber spatula to spread.
  4. Flip the steak over, season the other side and apply the mayonnaise.
  5. When the grill is ready, place the steaks on the grill. Cook, with lid closed,
  6. 5 minutes per side for 1 to 1 ½ inch thick steaks
  7. 6 minutes per side for 1 ½ to 2 inch thick steaks
  8. Remove from grill and serve immediately.
Kitchen Notes

Serve with an asparagus side or an asparagus and orange salad.


The Fish – We have used this recipe for halibut, mahi mahi, shark, Ono, and salmon.  It works for all of those fish except for the salmon.  We still prefer our salmon cooked on a cedar plank, but for the others, this recipe is perfect!


The seasoning – You can use whatever seasoning you desire. I like to keep it simple to get as much of the flavor of the fish as possible, but a little dill, tarragon, thyme, curry, chile powder, or paprika won’t hurt. Just make sure that the seasoning complements the fish,  not overpowers it.


Time on the grill – There are many variables associated with the grill time:  thickness of the steaks, type of fish, temperature of the grill, type of grill.  So for the timing, use your own judgement. These steaks were thicker than 1 ½ inches; therefore, we cooked them for 6 minutes per side. That was perfect!


The meal – Along side the halibut, I served Simply Asparagus (with bacon drippings) and my Lemony Orzo Salad.


Leftovers – Any leftover halibut can be used for fish tacos with a pineapple salsa.



Every time we cook fish this way, Dog Watching sunset on beach in Kauaiit reminds us of our trip to Kauai.  It was such a unique place – peaceful, green, gorgeous views, and beautiful skies.

It’s the kind of place where even the dogs pause to watch the sunset.











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62 Responses to “Our Favorite Grilled Halibut Recipe”

  1. Charles June 24, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Aah, I’d go nuts if I couldn’t easily find fresh fish. It’s so easy to get here, and there are so many types too. I shall spare a thought for you next time I’m tucking into a nice piece of fresh fish MJ! 🙂

    That said – I’m not sure if I’ve prepared halibut before. It’s possible I have but since all the names of everything is in French sometimes I have no idea what it’s called in English and just concentrate on enjoying it instead! This looks like a gorgeous way of cooking fish though – I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Amber @ The Cook's Sister June 22, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    What a great fish recipe! Can’t wait to try this out.

    I guess I take the availability of fresh fish for granted here. There are particular seasons for some of the fresh water fish, but there’s almost always a huge variety of fresh fish at the local fish monger.

    • mj June 23, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      Thanks Amber! When I lived in Louisiana, get fish for a decent price wasn’t much of a problem, but here in the high dessert, it costs a lot to ship it in, so prices are high and choices are few. However, I take advantage of a nice fresh piece of fish when I can. 🙂

  3. Helene D'souza June 20, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    lucky lady has been to hawaii! =D
    Ah yes it does sound weird with mayo but then I remember that 20 years back it was weird to add pineapple on a pizza and call it hawaii pizza. Until now it is my favorite pizza so I guess I d love the way you cook and serve your halibut MJ.

    • mj June 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

      Thanks Helene! I had to laugh that you brought up pineapple on pizza. It took me a while to give that one a try and Bobby still hasn’t tried it. 🙂

  4. Hotly Spiced June 19, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    I’ve always wanted to go to Kauai. So much more appealing than Waikiki. And to spend two weeks there would be incredible. Your fish dinner looks like it’s not only good for you but tasty too xx

    • mj June 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      Two weeks there was incredible! So glad we chose that island for our Hawaii trip. Hope you get to make it there some day.

  5. Lori Lynn June 19, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    Hi MJ – this is a method we’ve only used for swordfish, don’t know why I haven’t tried it on other fish, I will now. Your halibut looks perfect, love those grill marks! I’m likin’ the orzo paired with it too.

    • mj June 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      Thanks LL! Now you have me wanting to find some swordfish to try this with. 🙂

  6. Terra June 19, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    Grilled halibut is so wonderful. I remember when my family went to Oregon for a family trip. We got to see halibut being pulled out of the ocean. They are such fascinating creatures! I need to try the maynnoise for sure, I bet it keeps it so moist! Love the last pic with the puppy! Hugs, Terra

    • mj June 19, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

      Thanks Terra! I’ve never seen a halibut being pulled out of the ocean, but when we were in Alaska, I saw a halibut laying the back of a pickup truck and it cover the entire bed of the truck! The mayo does hold the moisture in. I hope you get a chance to try this method. It works!

  7. Swathi June 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    Delicious fish recipe Mj, Love that it is grilled with mayonnaise.

  8. Sandra | Sandra's Easy Cooking June 19, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    I am imagining myself on one of Hawaiian islands eating your yummy balanced meal hehe…looks very delicious, and I love those grill marks, makes it that much more tempting. Great recipe and wonderful post, I enjoyed reading it!

    • mj June 19, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      Thanks Sandra! Sure do wish this meal had been served in Hawaii. 🙂

  9. Reese June 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    Love that you recreate a dish from a place which brought back memories of fun time. I wonder if this Hawaiian style of grilling fish came from Japanese influence. Nami pointed out that they use a lot of mayo in Japanese cooking. I know mayo is even used in Japanese-style pizza. Odd, but they are tasty. The combination of mayo and dill is one of our favorite seasonings when comes to fish too!

    • mj June 19, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

      Reese – I wonder the same thing about the origin of mayo in Hawaii cooking. I guess I have some research to do.Definitely will be looking up the mayo on pizza thing. If I can get over putting it on fish, I’m sure I can get over putting it on pizza. 🙂 Oh yea – dill and mayo is a great combo! Hope you’re having a great week!

  10. Katerina June 19, 2013 at 2:13 am #

    Even though Greece is surrounded by sea fish is quite expensive here too! Nevertheless, and because I have a child who must have at least once a week fish in his diet, I buy and cook it. I use mayonnaise in turkey, I have never thought of using it in fish! Looks fantastic I will try it!

    • mj June 19, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

      I’m surprise to hear that seafood is so expensive in Greece, but it sounds like you’re like us. We try to cook it at least once a week. I’ve never used mayonnaise in turkey. Sounds interesting. Thanks for the idea!

  11. Carolyn Jung June 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    Halibut is one of my favorite fishes. That thick, snowy white flesh is incomparable.

    • mj June 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      Totally agree Carolyn!

  12. Minnie@thelady8home June 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    We have been planning to visit Hawaii for ages now, and somehow it never materializes. Sigh!! The halibut does look awesome. Bookmarking it.

    • mj June 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      Thanks Minne! Don’t give up on Hawaii. It’s well worth the effort and cost.

    • mj June 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      Thanks Minne! Don’t give up on Hawaii. It’s well worth the effort and cost.

  13. fati's recipes June 18, 2013 at 5:36 am #

    I love everything about this recipe. And that rice! Will we get a recipe for the rice?!

    • mj June 18, 2013 at 7:33 am #

      Thanks Fati! that’s actually an orzo dish and yes, the recipe is on this site. It’s my lemony orzo salad.

  14. Balvinder June 17, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    Oh yes, mayo sounds wonderful in this grilled fish. And I love how this recipe brings back to you some great time spent in Hawaii.

  15. Nancy/SpicieFoodie June 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    Halibut is one of my hubby’s favorite fish, and if he saw your post he would start drooling. Lol:) Thanks for sharing the mayonnaise tip as it would have never occurred to me. Will definitely try it next time we grill fish. I love the photo of the puppy:)

    • mj June 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks Nancy!I have to admit that when Bobby cooks it this way, it becomes my favorite fish – almost. I’m still a huge fan of salmon and fried catfish. 🙂 The picture of the puppy is one of my favorites from the many pictures that Bobby took while we were on Kauai. Of the moment was so memorable even without the picture.

  16. Nami | Just One Cookbook June 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    When I post something with mayo, I always get comments like I don’t like mayo… but guess what I’m a mayo lover and so happy to see a great fish recipe with mayo!! We usually cook salmon in foil/parchment paper and put mayo, soy sauce, and S+P along with other veggies. Very typical Japanese dish. I was super excited to see you made fish with mayo! Your halibut is perfectly grilled!

    • mj June 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

      Thanks Nami! I’m with you. I love mayo but sometimes feel guilty about using it. My sister dislikes mayo, but love Miracle Whip. Go figure. 🙂 One day soon, I’m going to make John’s (Kitchen Riffs) homemade mayo. It looks great. I’ve never used veggies with mayo. Definitely am going to have to give that a try. Sounds yummy!

  17. wok with ray June 17, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Halibut is one delicious fish. I am looking at your photo and it’s amazing how you seared it so perfectly. And of course, Hawaii is always a place to just relax, to forget about the rat race in the mainland. To me, It is just the best place to be. Well, I wish you and Bobby a fun week! 🙂

    • mj June 17, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

      Thanks Ray! I’ll show Bobby your comment because he doesn’t the majority of the grilling and you can see why. 🙂 Agree with you about Hawaii. Talk about a place to totally disconnect. It would be sinful to do otherwise.

  18. Sissi June 17, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    MJ, I am delighted to learn this daring mayonnaise method and seriously intend to use it soon on different grilled fish kinds. It sounds as surreal as the salad with uncooked dried noodles I once posted (http://www.withaglass.com/?p=12144) which…. accidentally comes from a Hawaiian cookery book (though I found it on a Japanese cookery blog). The salad was absolutely delicious and I can well believe this fish grilling method is too.
    I think there are many amazing Hawaiian recipes out there… I should buy a new cookery book…

    • mj June 17, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

      Thanks so much Sissi! You know – now that you mention it, I do remember that salad, but had forgotten that it was a Hawaiian recipe. I went back and looked at it and see that it would go great with this fish! I’ll have to remember that combination for next time we make this. Now you have me curious about more Hawaiian recipes. I’m sure I’ll see another on your site soon. 🙂

  19. Asmita June 17, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    The halibut looks so fresh and tender. Perfectly cooked. I will have to try your method with mayo. I dislike it when the fish turns dry on the grill.
    Need to start grilling soon! Will keep you posted when I try this one out. Thanks for sharing .

    • mj June 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Thanks Asmita! With this method, the fish definitely doesn’t dry out. Let me know if you try it and how you like it.

  20. Lesley June 17, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    Sounds delicious MJ. And food does taste better on the North Shore of Kauai…I LOVE Hanalei, Anini, Haena. Some day, a one way ticket!

    • mj June 17, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

      Thanks Lesley! You are SO right about food tasting better on the North shore of Kauai. When you get your vacation home over there, be prepared for a couple of house guests. 🙂 We haven’t been to any of the other islands and really don’t need to after Kauai.

  21. Liz June 17, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    My mom told me about this method decades ago…now why haven’t I tried it? It will soon be on our menu!!!

    • mj June 17, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

      Apparently it’s been around for a very long time! I’m thrilled Bobby found it in his research because it has made grilling fish steaks a breeze with awesome results.

  22. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef June 17, 2013 at 5:19 am #

    Okay I laughed at the dog watching the sunset. Absolutely beautiful dish, MJ!

    • mj June 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

      🙂 I think we spent more time that night watching the dog than the sunset. 🙂

  23. ChgoJohn June 17, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    I have heard of using mayo with fish, MJ. Glad to see that it works. I hesitate to try things like this for fear of ruining a nice piece of fish. It’s too expensive to fool with. I tend to stick with the tried and true. I will give this a try, though, and you’re right about seasoning. I want it to complement the fish, not mask it. Thanks for a great new way for grilling fish, MJ/

    • mj June 17, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

      I have to admit, when Bobby brought it up, I did hesitate, but when it comes to the grill, he is quite daring so I said “Let’s do it!” It was a huge success the first time and every time since then. Thanks for your comments as always!

  24. Kate@Diethood June 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    The photo with the fish reminded me of Nemo, “just keep swimming”… hehe 😀

    Love me some grilled halibut! Now I need to try this mayo deal you’ve got going on here!

    • mj June 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

      I thought the same thing Kate. We saw lots and lots of Nemo’s cousins. 🙂 You should give the mayo a try. It really works!

  25. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen June 16, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    I saw Mahi Mahi just the other day and was wondering how I should prepare it. I think I once did a fish recipe that had mayonnaise.. and a bunch of other stuff, but this looks so much better because the fish would be the star ingredient! And how easy would this be.. thanks so much for sharing, I’ll have to go get that Mahi Mahi! xx

    • mj June 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

      Thanks Barbara! This method does work great with mahi mahi as well. Hope you like it!

  26. Nisa Homey June 16, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Such an yummy treat my friend….the picture is so tempting 🙂

  27. Tessa June 16, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Halibut is one of my favorite fish to prepare. Using mayo on the fish is a great idea! have a great weekend MJ!

    • mj June 16, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      Thanks Tessa! Hope you’re enjoying your weekend as well!

  28. john@kitchenriffs June 16, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Great looking fish! I’ve heard of the mayo method but never tried it. Now that you’ve vouched for it, I will! Might be fun to enhance the mayo with a little cayenne. 😉 We’ve never been to Hawaii and really want to go someday. I love renting places with kitchens wherever we go – I always find new stuff to cook! Anyway, super recipe, and one that I’ll try – thank you.

    • mj June 16, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      A little cayenne – absolutely! I hope you make to Hawaii and when you do, a vacation rental is the only way to go. It gave us a base for exploring the whole island while saving money on food. Eating out in Hawaii isn’t cheap. Also, the weekly rental of a house is cheaper than staying in a hotel for a week so it’s well worth it. I think you’ll love this method of cooking fish John. Let me know if you give it a try and how you like it. Thanks! Hope you’re having a wonderful Sunday!

  29. Ramona June 16, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Hawaii is a place I wish I could visit… I had my chance when my uncle lived there for 5 years.. but I was a college student so no money for nice trips. This halibut looks spectacular and I love that it transports you to such a magical vacation. I adore that last photo… a dog looking at the sunset… how profound. 🙂

    • mj June 16, 2013 at 10:29 am #

      Hang it there Ramona. Hawaii can still be in your future. I was 50 when we finally were able to go and let me tell you that it was well worth the wait. Isn’t the dog picture a classic? We were just sitting on a beach watching the sunset when this dog came and joined us. Bobby clicked off this shot and every time I look at the picture, it reminds me of that evening.

  30. Laura @ Family Spice June 16, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    I’m always looking for new ways to cook fish. And I never heard about using mayonnaise like this! Will definitely try it out this summer!

  31. Giulietta | Alterkitchen June 16, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    So easy, but must be very tasty! This recipe is a keeper 🙂

  32. Angie@Angie's Recipes June 16, 2013 at 6:11 am #

    I adore halibut, and can’t get enough white fish. Your grilled halibut looks very succulent and delectable, MJ.

    • mj June 16, 2013 at 10:25 am #

      Thanks Angie! Halibut is actually my favorite white fish and thus hard to resist buying. 🙂

  33. Debra June 16, 2013 at 5:15 am #

    You have me wistful for a vacation, any vacation. I have cooked chicken with this method, but you now have me wistful for some grilled seafood too.

    • mj June 16, 2013 at 10:24 am #

      Thanks Debra! Chicken cooked with mayo? What a great idea! I’ve never grilled chicken using this method, but I will certainly be giving it a try. Thanks!

  34. Choc Chip Uru June 16, 2013 at 5:13 am #

    What a lovely fish to cook my friend, looks so flavoursome 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

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