Sweet and Spicy Swai Fish with Citrus Salsa | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Friday, March 22, 2019

Sweet and Spicy Swai Fish with Citrus Salsa

Swai fish is a very mild, meaty white fish that is farm raised primarily in Asia and is very reasonably priced. Frozen Swai fish is the perfect choice for this easy baked fish recipe for Sweet and Spicy Swai Fish with Citrus Salsa. As swai recipes go, this one is a winner! If you like mild white fish like tilapia or cod, you'll love swai too!

Sweet and Spicy Swai Fillets with Citrus Salsa on a red plate with rice and broccoli   

As I have mentioned many times in the past, I don't make fish at home enough. I do like tilapia loins, and try to keep them stocked in the freezer so I can make recipes like Cajun Baked Tilapia Loins and Almond Crusted Tilapia. But, I am so happy to find another mild white fish variety that we like and that won't break the budget. When fish is mild like tilapia and swai, it's good to bump up the flavor with a fish recipe full of flavor. This swai fish recipe really delivers on flavor!

This Sweet and Spicy Swai Fillets with Citrus Salsa swai fish recipe elevates the mild white fish to a whole new level of yumminess!  And, most importantly, it's a healthy baked fish recipe the whole family will love.

What is Swai?

Swai is similar to tilapia, but more mild than tilapia. It has the texture and shape of catfish. It's quite delicious.  I don't know if it's available fresh, but I have seen it frozen in many markets.  I bought the frozen fillets I used in this recipe from Target-Simply Balanced brand. A bag of 24 oz. of fillets cost me around $7.00.  They are individually wrapped, so they are quick and easy to defrost in a pan of cool water. There are 5 to 6 fillets per bag.  They are boneless and skinless. And, for those turned off by the smell of fish...NO FISHY SMELL...none whatsoever!

Swai fish nutrition

According to the package, a 4 oz. serving of Swai fish fillets is 100 calories, 2g total fat, 0g carbs,  21g protein, and 0g fiber.

Can you substitute Swai for another kind of fish in recipes?

The answer is YES! The recipe inspiration for this dish came from Allrecipes and called for salmon. When I priced salmon at the store, I had major sticker shock.  With the never-ending winter from Hell we have had this year and my most recent gas bill, I knew salmon was not in the budget and I would be subbing another kind of fish.  I settled on Swai. Swai was a good substitute for salmon in this fish recipe.

Fish varieties you can use in this recipe:

  • Swai
  • Salmon
  • Tilapia
  • Cod
  • Halibut
  • Flounder
  • Mahi Mahi

Sweet and Spicy Swai Fillets with Citrus Salsa on a red plate with rice and broccoli

Sweet and Spicy Swai Fillets with Citrus Salsa is an easy baked fish recipe!

This whole recipe comes together very quickly! You can have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. I'm a huge fan of easy and healthy fish recipes like this one!

I'll be honest, while we loved the rub on the fish and I loved the easy preparation and cooking method, we weren't crazy about the grapefruit called for in the salsa.  If you a fan of grapefruit, you may like it. If not, don't even try. Just make a substitute. Use fresh oranges or canned Mandarin oranges instead! You will still get the nice citrus "pop" in the salsa, without the bitterness of the grapefruit.

This is a great, heart healthy recipe for Lent, or anytime of the year when you want to enjoy seafood.

Yield: 4 servings

Sweet and Spicy Swai Fish with Citrus Salsa

Sweet and Spicy Swai Fish with Citrus Salsa is an easy baked fish recipe made with the mild white fish, Swai that's perfectly seasoned then topped with a zesty citrus salsa.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 12 MINStotal time: 22 mins


  • 1 tsp. paprika (I used smoked)
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. dried leaf thyme
  • 1/4 fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to your liking)
  • 1 tsp. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 - 4 oz. Swai fillets, defrosted if frozen
  • 2 tsp.  Corn Oil
  • 1 cup orange or grapefruit sections, coarsely chopped OR 1- 11 oz. can of mandarin oranges, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Make the rub: In small bowl, combine the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar.
  3. Coat the Swai fish fillets with corn oil. Evenly sprinkle all surfaces of the fish with the spice rub. Place in shallow baking pan with sides.
  4. Bake for 10 -12 minutes, or until fish flakes easily. (adjust bake time if using bigger fillets)
  5. While fish is baking, prepare the salsa by combining the grapefruit or mandarin oranges, green onion, red pepper, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper in a small bowl.
  6. Serve salsa on top of or on the side of the Swai.
fat (grams)
carbs (grams)
protein (grams)
Created using The Recipes Generator

When it comes to healthy fish recipes, you really can't beat the flavor and ease of preparation with these Sweet and Spicy Swai Fillets with Citrus Salsa. They make a wonderful light meal anytime of the year.

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  1. I want to come to dinner at your house because your dishes always look so darn pretty! I'm not much for fish, but would love to try this with chicken!

    1. thanks! You are welcome to join us anytime!!

  2. Looks great! My husband loves swai- and I love that it's cheap! I can't stand catfish so I substitute it in catfish recipes often :-)

    1. I found it very similar to catfish, and we like catfish...so it's a good alternative. I love the price too!

  3. I've never even heard of that fish before! Love the citrus notes in this one!

  4. Your photos are ridiculous. Did you get a new camera? I mean wow - magazine quality! I've bought swai but for some reason it grosses me out to eat it very much - like the texture is funky to me or something. Been a while though and next time I'll try Target's. I was buying from Walmart and Walmart can not be trusted - lol.

    1. Awe...thanks V. Yes, I got a new one for Christmas. I still have ton of learning with it...but it's coming along. Target's was good. :)

  5. I haven't tried this type of fish yet. Grumpy is so picky when it comes to fish I usually only will buy Cod. We have to start thinking about MAY. We are driving through for my Nephew's graduation remember? :)

    1. I have not forgotten...in fact...I am totally looking forward to it! :)

  6. I've never heard of Swai. Now I want to find it. The citrus salsa would be delicious with any fish. Thanks for the great recipe Renee!

    1. I think it's relatively new to our area, Roz. I really like it, in fact, I bought another package at Target this past weekend. I hope you can find it!

  7. This fish is new to me" I love how you prepared it Renee.

    1. When you are eating fish, look for it...I know you and I both love the tilapia loins from target, and these are just as good, if not better in my opinion! :)

  8. this recipe looks amazing i am making for dinner tonight. Swai is also known as Basa. it varies in name based on where you live. also on allrecipes there is a fabulous recipe for basa in a tomatillo sauce and the only thing i change is i only put a little salt in mixture try then add more, i added more salt and leave under broiler until most of water is gone from sauce and there is thick slightly brown top.
    i ts really easy to make.

  9. I made this recipe last night. Can we say AMAZING!!!! My dinner guest already asked if they can have this again soon. 10 stars and great idea about using the mandarin oranges.

    1. thank you so much for your review. I am so glad you and your guests enjoyed it! :)

  10. Tried this tonight. I have never been much of a fish eater but I love tilapia and am trying to start eating healthier. I can't say I'm a big fan of Swai, texture or flavor, but the rub brought out the sweetness of the fish very nicely. I changed up the salsa for what I had on hand- lemon and frozen peppers and onions. So I just cooked them up on the same pan and they were quite good together! Sauted some delicious summer squash and I was going to make some rice but got so excited about the smells in my kitchen that I forgot!

    1. So glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Thank you for the review.

  11. It was a wonderful recipe, although I improvised slightly. I did not have any citrus so I used peaches which were marinated in orange juice . I serve the fish with risotto and broccoli and I also made a side of beer bread which used pumpkin beer. For such a bland fish this came out excellent the spice and the seasonings were amazing I will definitely make this again. Thank you.

    1. Your impromptu changes sound perfect and I love what you served it with. So glad this recipe was helpful to you and thanks for leaving a review!


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