10 Best Sauces for Swordfish: Savor the Taste of the Sea

Swordfish is a robust, meaty fish that can stand up to big, bold flavors. Its dense, steak-like texture makes it the perfect candidate for sauces that cling and add moisture. While swordfish is delicious on its own, the right sauce can take it to the next level, enhancing the fish’s natural flavor and adding complementary accents.

This article explores 10 of the best sauces for swordfish to give you inspiration for your next meal. We’ll cover everything from classic butter and herb sauces to unique fusions using ingredients like yogurt and chimichurri. Read on to discover new and exciting ways to sauce up your swordfish!

1. Lemon Butter Sauce

A simple lemon butter sauce is one of the most popular options for swordfish. The bright, tangy citrus cuts through the fish’s natural fattiness while the butter provides richness. This easy pan sauce only requires a few ingredients:


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook swordfish as desired, either grilling, pan-searing, or baking.
  2. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
  3. Once foaming, add the lemon juice, zest, garlic and parsley. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Remove pan from heat and season sauce with salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon sauce over cooked swordfish fillets or steaks.

The brightness of the lemon balances beautifully with the swordfish’s richness. Serve with sides like rice pilaf or roasted potatoes.

2. Cilantro Lime Sauce

For a fresh, tangy sauce with Mexican flair, try pairing swordfish with a cilantro lime sauce. The lime juice gives it zing while the cilantro offers herbaceous flavor. It comes together in minutes:


  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, garlic and honey until well combined.
  2. Season with salt and pepper. For a thinner sauce, add more olive oil to reach desired consistency.
  3. Spoon sauce over grilled, baked or pan seared swordfish.

The tart lime and fresh cilantro make an invigorating match for swordfish’s rich meatiness. For serving, try alongside Mexican-style rice and beans or grilled corn.

3. Garlic Lemon Sauce

Amp up the brightness of a lemon sauce by adding plenty of garlic. The combination of tangy citrus and aromatic garlic makes a mouthwatering sauce for swordfish.


  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, capers and parsley.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Spoon sauce over swordfish right before serving, either drizzled over or on the side for dipping.

The lemon and garlic are a perfect pair, cutting through the swordfish’s richness. For Mediterranean flair, serve with tomatoes, olives, and chickpeas.

4. Pineapple Salsa

For a sweet, tropical twist, try topping swordfish with a fresh pineapple salsa. The sweet and tangy fruit makes a delicious contrast to the fish.


  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a bowl, mix together all ingredients except salt.
  2. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Spoon salsa over cooked swordfish to serve.

The pineapple’s acidity balances the swordfish while the jalapeño adds a touch of heat. Serve this swordfish with coconut rice and black beans for a tropical meal.

5. Chimichurri Sauce

Originating from Argentina, vibrant green chimichurri sauce is a perfect match for swordfish. Herbs, garlic, vinegar and olive oil come together to create a tangy, herbal marinade and sauce.


  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a food processor, pulse together all ingredients except oil and vinegar.
  2. Scrape down sides and, with processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil and vinegar. Blend until nearly smooth.
  3. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper, or vinegar if desired.
  4. Marinate swordfish in chimichurri sauce for 30 minutes up to overnight. Or spoon over cooked fish to serve.

The herby chimichurri sauce infuses the swordfish with bright flavor. Serve it with sliced tomatoes and cilantro rice.

6. Spicy Tomato Sauce

For an easy, crowd-pleasing sauce, whip up a spicy tomato sauce to top your swordfish. The richness of the tomato balances the fish, while chili flakes provide a touch of heat.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes and basil. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.
  3. Remove skillet from heat. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon tomato sauce over cooked swordfish to serve.

The classic combination of tomato and basil allows the swordfish to shine. This dish would pair nicely with parmesan polenta or pasta.

7. Bacon Cream Sauce

For an indulgent, rich sauce, try a bacon cream sauce with your swordfish. Crispy chopped bacon is simmered in cream to create a decadent topping.


  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Add the shallot to bacon drippings and cook for 2 minutes until softened.
  3. Stir in cream and simmer for 5 minutes until slightly thickened.
  4. Whisk in Dijon and chives. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon sauce over cooked swordfish. Top with crumbled bacon.

The rich cream sauce accentuates swordfish’s natural fattiness. For a well-rounded meal, pair it with roasted asparagus and parmesan risotto.

8. Mango Avocado Salsa

For a cool, creamy sauce with tropical flair, try making a mango avocado salsa. Sweet mango and rich avocado pair deliciously with swordfish.


  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a bowl, gently mix together the mango, avocado, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Be careful not to mash the avocado.
  2. Season with salt.
  3. Spoon salsa over grilled, baked or pan-seared swordfish.

The creaminess of the avocado balances the swordfish beautifully. Serve over cilantro lime rice for a casual, summery entree.

9.Brown Butter Sage Sauce

For an upscale twist, try topping swordfish with a brown butter sage sauce. Browning the butter adds nutty depth while the sage provides an aromatic accent.


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, swirling constantly, until butter begins to brown.
  2. Add sage leaves and cook for 1 minute until crispy. Remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over swordfish.

The nutty browned butter enhances swordfish’s richness. For an elegant meal, serve with sauteed mushrooms and roasted fingerling potatoes.

10. Balsamic Reduction

For an easy sauce that adds a pop of sweet and tangy flavor, whip up a thick balsamic reduction to drizzle over your swordfish.


  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 sprigs thyme


  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add all ingredients. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half and syrupy.
  3. Discard thyme sprigs. Spoon balsamic reduction over cooked swordfish fillets.

The balsamic reduction concentrates the vinegar’s sweetness and acidity into a rich glaze for the swordfish. Serve with sauteed greens and parmesan polenta for a complete meal.

Complementary Sides for Saucy Swordfish

The right side dishes can take your sauced swordfish to the next level. Here are some of my favorite pairings:

  • Rice pilaf – A simple rice pilaf soaks up and complements lighter sauces like lemon butter or chimichurri.
  • Pasta – Chewy pasta stands up well to tomato-based sauces and balsamic reductions spooned over swordfish.
  • Polenta – Creamy parmesan polenta is a refined base for rich, herbaceous sauces.
  • Roasted vegetables – The sweetness of roasted veggies offsets tangy sauces, especially garlic lemon or cilantro lime.
  • Sauteed greens – Bitter greens help cut through heavy cream or butter-based sauces.
  • Garlic bread – Buttery, garlicky bread is ideal for mopping up robust sauces.

Cooking Methods for Saucy Swordfish

To make the most of your flavorful sauces, choose a cooking method for your swordfish that works well with toppings. Here are some options:


Get nice char marks on swordfish steaks or kebabs while keeping the interior moist. Grilled swordfish pairs perfectly with fresh salsas, chimichurri, herb sauces and lighter butter sauces.


Baking swordfish fillets or steaks in the oven allows the fish to gently cook while absorbing any marinades or thicker sauces. Use for tomato-based, cream sauces and glazes.


In a hot skillet, pan-seared swordfish gets a crispy exterior while retaining a tender and flaky interior ideal for drizzling sauces over. Works well with reductions and quick pan sauces.


Under the high heat of the broiler, swordfish fillets caramelize on the outside. Broiled fish stands up especially well to fruit salsas and herb sauce toppings.

Putting It All Together

Now that you’re inspired to match swordfish with creative sauces, here is a handy chart to help you figure out sauce and side pairings:

SaucePotential Sides
Lemon ButterRice pilaf, asparagus
Cilantro LimeBlack beans, corn, salsa
Garlic LemonTomato salad, couscous
Pineapple SalsaCoconut rice, greens
ChimichurriTomatoes, polenta
Spicy TomatoPasta, garlic bread
Bacon CreamMushrooms, fingerling potatoes
Mango AvocadoRice, grilled vegetables
Brown Butter SageSauteed greens, pasta
Balsamic ReductionParmesan polenta, roasted veggies

The possibilities are endless for saucing up swordfish! I hope this guide gives you inspiration to experiment with flavors, cooking techniques and pairings for your next swordfish dinner.

Best Sauces for Swordfish

Explore 10 best sauces for swordfish in this article. From zesty lemon butter to tangy chimichurri, discover delicious pairings to elevate your next swordfish meal.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course sauce
Cuisine greek, Mediterranean
Servings 1


  • Lemon Butter Sauce
  • Cilantro Lime Sauce
  • Garlic Lemon Sauce
  • Pineapple Salsa
  • Chimichurri Sauce
  • Spicy Tomato Sauce
  • Bacon Cream Sauce
  • Mango Avocado Salsa
  • Brown Butter Sage Sauce
  • Balsamic Reduction


  • Pat swordfish steaks dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook fish 3-4 minutes per side until opaque and flakes easily.
  • Make your sauce while fish cooks.
  • When fish is cooked, remove from pan and keep warm.
  • Add your finished sauce to the pan with the fish drippings. Heat briefly while stirring.
  • Spoon sauce over plated swordfish to serve. Garnish with herbs.
Keyword Best Sauces for Swordfish

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