The present study was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary hawthorn extract (HTE) supplementation on growth performance, immune responses, hepatic antioxidant abilities, growth- and immune-related and heat shock protein genes expression and resistance to the pathogen Vibrio harveyi in Trachinotus ovatus. A basal diet supplemented with HTE at 0 (Diet 1), 0.50 (Diet 2), 1.00 (Diet 3), 2.00 (Diet 4), 4.00 (Diet 5) and 10.00 (Diet 6) g kg−1 were fed to golden pompano for 8 weeks. The highest final body weight, weight gain rate, specific growth rate, feed efficiency ratio and protein efficiency rate were observed in fish fed Diet 2 (P < 0.05). Dietary HTE significantly increased plasma complement 3, complement 4 and immunoglobulin M content (P < 0.05). Hepatic antioxidant enzymes (SOD, T-AOC, CAT, GPx, GR) significantly increased (P < 0.05), whereas MDA content decreased first and then increased in fish fed HTE supplement. After challenge with Vibrio harveyi, significant higher post-challenge survival was observed in fish fed Diet 2 and Diet 3 than the control group (P < 0.05). Transcription levels of growth-related genes (IGF-I and IGF-II) were significantly up-regulated in fish fed HTE supplement (P < 0.05), whereas HSP70 and HSP90 mRNA levels were significantly down-regulated (P < 0.05). With respect to immune-related genes, such as tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-8 (IL-8) and inhibitor protein κBα (IκB-α), upregulation was observed in the liver of fish fed with the diet supplemented with HTE. In contrast, the expression of antioxidant enzyme genes (CAT, GPx, MnSOD and Keap1) and cytokines (IL-10, TGF-β1 and TOR) was downregulated. These results indicated that golden pompano fed a diet supplemented with 0.50 g kg−1 HTE could significantly promote growth performance and growth-related genes expression, strengthen immunity, and improve hepatic antioxidative abilities and resistance to Vibrio harveyi infection.