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How to Grill Swordfish

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Tired of the same old tuna and salmon? Give grilled swordfish a try.


Swordfish is an excellent addition to your grilling repertoire and can increase your culinary cred. These steaks grill up quickly and have great flavor. If you can grill hamburgers, there’s no reason you can’t learn how to grill swordfish.

Selecting Swordfish


It’s always best to eat fish the same day that you buy it from the supermarket or your local fishmonger, just for the sake of freshness. Your cut of swordfish should be firm and have a good, clean smell. If it smells fishy, that’s an indication the fish isn’t as fresh as the seller would have you believe. Select steaks that are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick since these are the perfect thickness for the grill.

Preparing the Grill


You always want to preheat your grill before putting food on the metal. This not only allows you to get a good sear on the meat, it can decrease the amount of cooking time—an essential part of keeping certain foods, like lean swordfish, moist and tender. So, if you’re working with a gas grill, preheat to a medium-high temperature and close the lid for about 10 minutes. If you are working with wood or charcoal, go ahead and get the fire going, and wait until the coals are white before laying down your swordfish steaks.

Seasoning Swordfish


Season the swordfish by rubbing it with a light coating of olive oil, salt and pepper, and any other seasoning you choose. You may want to add some lemon to the oil or use other types of flavor like minced shallots, capers, chili peppers, fresh herbs—or something a little sweeter such as pineapple juice.

Time to Grill


Brush a light layer of vegetable oil on the grill to prevent the swordfish from sticking, and place the steak on the grill. Don’t walk away for too long with this fish, it has a short cooking time—only about 6 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the steak.

Go ahead and flip it at around three to four minutes, and let it finish cooking on the other side. Always use tongs when turning your swordfish. Don’t poke at it with a fork since this can dry out the meat and may tear the flesh enough to really mess up your presentation. Cook the swordfish until the meat is opaque, you don’t want to see any clear flesh at all. You can gently pull a piece of the swordfish away with a fork to see.

Swordfish is slightly sweet, so you may want to select a tangy relish or salsa to pair it with. Serve it alongside a fresh vegetable, salad or rice for a well-balanced meal. The thick and meaty nature of swordfish also lends itself well to being cut into cubes and used as the focal point of grilled kabobs.

How do you like your swordfish?

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