Simple Salmon in Foil (grill and oven options)

By Ann Fulton

Jump to recipe
A short list of everyday ingredients makes this easy salmon recipe shine. The simple foil packet locks in flavor and moisture--and makes cleanup a snap!

A short list of everyday ingredients makes this quick-cooking salmon recipe shine. The simple foil packet locks in flavor and moisture–and makes cleanup a snap!

 

This was a difficult recipe to name because all the components contribute something special:

Garlic, dill, and lemon. Salt and pepper. A “knob” of butter, as they say in the UK. 

The ingredients are minimal, and they aren’t fancy. Yet they come together in a deliciously satisfying way. 

Happily, the recipe has more to offer beyond a short list of impactful ingredients:

The prep is brief. The cooking time is short. And the cleanup? Crumple the foil and the dishes are done! 

Ultimately, if a recipe is flavorful and simple, we’re more likely to make it, right? 

A short list of everyday ingredients makes this easy salmon recipe shine. The simple foil packet locks in flavor and moisture--and makes cleanup a snap!

Of course, the foil serves a purpose other than easy cleanup. 

First, the foil is especially helpful when grilling, as it prevents sticking and makes flipping a large fillet unnecessary. The packet also locks in moisture—but opening it towards the end of the cooking process, when the fish is still undercooked, ensures that it doesn’t overcook. 

Prefer not to grill? I’ve also made this recipe many times in the oven. The recipe instructions note the minor adjustments, and the foil performs the same meaningful role. 

Should I take the skin off the salmon or leave it on? It’s a good question and comes down to personal preference and perhaps the type of salmon used. I tend to use wild-caught salmon and leave the skin on.

I provided a few extra details and helpful tips relating to cooking salmon with and without the skin in this short video. ⬇️ 

 

 

How do I avoid over-cooking salmon? Over-cooked salmon will be dry and lacking in flavor, and we don’t want that. The best way to avoid overcooking is to check a little early and use a quick-read thermometer. This will troubleshoot for any variances based on oven or grill, farmed or wild fish, and thin versus thick fillets.

I like to cook wild salmon to an internal temperature of 120℉ and farmed salmon to 125℉, which will be a shade under medium. The reason for the difference is that wild salmon tends to be leaner than farmed and will dry out sooner. Also keep in mind that the fish will continue to cook for a few minutes after removing it from the grill or oven.

A note on the garlic: As you assemble the packet, melting the butter in the microwave (or in a small pot on the stovetop) with the minced garlic in it enhances the flavor of the garlic while infusing the butter.

Not a garlic fan? You may omit it or use one clove instead of two or three. That said, my family enjoys it when I go heavy on the garlic, as it mellows during the cooking process and adds an element we enjoy. Feel free to use personal preference as a guide and adjust the recipe to taste. 

What to serve with the salmon?

The flavor of this salmon is welcoming to a plethora of side dishes. Lemon, garlic, and fresh herbs serve as an underpinning in many cuisines, so it’s hard to go wrong. I serve this salmon with seasonal vegetables, from asparagus, zucchini, and green beans to broccoli, baked potatoes, and Brussels sprouts.

Likewise, grains of all kinds are fair game, and the packet juices will add flavor to even the most simply cooked rice. We also enjoy the salmon as a protein addition to a hearty, salad-based meal. (So many choices, but this one and this one are calling my name at the moment!)  

A short list of everyday ingredients makes this easy salmon recipe shine. The simple foil packet locks in flavor and moisture--and makes cleanup a snap!

If you prefer the salmon not touch the foil directly, line the foil with a piece of parchment paper just long enough to set the fish on. Just be sure none of the paper sticks out when the packet is sealed as it will burn. The parchment will also make transfer of the salmon easier, although it may be served straight from the foil packet. 

A short list of everyday ingredients makes this easy salmon recipe shine. The simple foil packet locks in flavor and moisture--and makes cleanup a snap!

Quick prep and easy cleanup make this omega-3-rich meal a weeknight favorite; the flavor makes it worthy of company. Whether grilled or baked in the oven, the foil packet locks in moisture and makes cleanup a snap!

Simple Salmon in Foil (grill and oven options)
Yield: 4 servings
Garlic, dill, and lemon join forces in the most delicious of ways in this heart-healthy recipe that's worthy of the weekly lineup. As an added bonus, prep and cleanup are a breeze and the cooking time is short!
Ingredients

• 1½ pound side of salmon*
• 2 tablespoons (28g) butter**
• 2-3 cloves garlic, minced (or more/less to taste)
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
• 2 teaspoons (10ml) lemon juice plus the zest of 1 lemon
• ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (I use about ½ teaspoon)
Optional for serving: a few sprigs fresh dill and lemon wedges

Instructions

Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

For the grill: preheat an outdoor grill to medium (about 375℉), and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with a long piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil or a double layer of regular foil. Lightly coat the foil with baking spray, and then place the salmon on top.

Place the butter and minced garlic in a small, microwaveable bowl, and heat in the microwave to melt. Alternatively, you could melt on the stove. Stir in the dill, lemon juice, and zest, and then spread evenly over the salmon. Sprinkle the salmon with the salt and pepper.

Bring the sides of the foil up and over the salmon, folding and sealing at the top and sides, and leaving a little space at the top for air to circulate. If your piece of foil is not big enough, place a second piece on top and fold the edges to form a sealed packet.

Carefully slide the salmon packet onto the preheated grill. Close the lid and grill the salmon for 10-15 minutes, or until the salmon is almost (but not quite) cooked through at the thickest part. Cooking time will vary based on thickness of salmon, and farmed salmon will take a few minutes longer than wild. If your fillet is thin (around 1-inch thick) check on the early side to ensure your salmon does not overcook. If your fillet is very thick, it may need longer.

At this point, carefully open the foil so that the top of the fish is uncovered (be careful of the hot steam). Close the lid and continue to cook until the fish is cooked through completely, about 2-3 minutes more. It’s better to err on the side of undercooked in the previous step. The sealed packet will retain moisture, but the unsealed packet will help you determine when the fish is perfectly cooked. I look for an internal temperature of 120℉ for wild salmon and 125℉ for farmed salmon. Keep in mind the fish will continue to cook for a few minutes after removing it from the heat.

Remove the salmon from the grill. You can use the foil to lift it back onto the baking sheet.

Serve the salmon with an additional sprinkle of chopped, fresh dill and lemon wedges for squeezing, if desired.

For the oven: prepare the salmon as described above, except preheat the oven to 375℉ and bake according to the same times and internal temperatures provided for wild or farmed salmon. When baking, I place the foil packet on a rimmed baking sheet, just in case one of the edges isn’t well sealed and it leaks. Again, cooking times will vary based on thickness of fish, whether it’s wild or farmed, individual oven, and preferred level of doneness; check early and use a quick-read thermometer (or cut into the fish and take a peek) for perfect results.

Notes & Tips

*I use wild sockeye salmon with skin on. You could use skinless and/or farmed salmon if preferred. Farmed fillets tend to be thicker and have more fat, which mean they will take longer to cook to temperature.

**To make the recipe dairy-free: use 2 T olive oil in place of the butter.

If you prefer the salmon not touch the foil directly, line the foil with a piece of parchment paper just long enough to set the fish on. Just be sure none of the paper sticks out when the packet is sealed as it will burn.

Storage and leftovers: the USDA says that leftover salmon will keep safely in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. I make sure to reheat very gently so as not to dry out. Leftovers may also be enjoyed at room temperature, as is or over a salad or grain-based bowl, flaked into scrambled eggs, or added to avocado toast.

 

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *