Grab your big girl (or big boy) apron, your tongs, and your attitude, because we’re conquering culinary fears with this easy, perfect, you-can’t-mess-it-up Grilled Salmon in Foil.

The best Grilled Salmon in Foil topped with lemon and dill

Even if you are intimidated to cook fish (I was for years!) or intimidated to use the grill (yep, I was scared of that too), this grilled salmon recipe is foolproof.

I’ve included all the best tips for how to grill salmon, ways to flavor salmon, what to serve with salmon, and more!

This post is your grilled salmon toolkit.

This recipe is based on my go-to Baked Salmon In Foil.

Before grilling season leaves us, I’ve had on my mind to adapt, test, and perfect that much loved baked salmon recipe to the grill. Today is the day!

  • Read on for detailed photos and step-by-steps for how to cook grilled salmon in foil.
  • At the bottom of the post, I’ve included a recipe for grilled salmon with lemon and dill (and garlic and butter). It’s a lovely combination.
  • You can follow those flavor recommendations or use the same grilling method with one of the other suggested variations below.
Best Grilled Salmon in Foil topped with dill and lemon to serve with vegetables

How to Make Grilled Salmon – EASY and Perfect Every Time

While you can grill salmon without foil (like this exceptional Cedar Plank Salmon), I find that the best way to grill a fish is with a foil packet.

  • Using foil to make a packet around the salmon keeps the salmon moist when grilling. It ensures the salmon turns out perfectly tender and flaky, not dry.
  • With the foil method, you also don’t need to worry about the salmon falling apart or sticking to the grill grates.

Avoid sad, stuck-on, dry salmon: use foil to grill!

Fresh salmon to be cooked to 145 degrees F on the grill for Grilled Salmon in Foil

How to Make the Best Grilled Salmon

1. Start by Selecting The Best Fish

  • Look for salmon that is bright pink in color, that smells fresh but not fishy, and, if possible, is wild caught.
  • For more information on how to pick salmon, see How to Cook Salmon.

2. Lay a Large Sheet of Foil on a Baking Sheet

  • You’ll want a piece large enough to fully wrap around your piece of fish, with plenty of overhang on all sides to make a foil packet.
  • I recommend using a heavy-duty foil or at least slightly thicker foil, as it is less prone to tearing.
  • The baking sheet is there so it’s easy to carry to your grill. When you’re done grilling, you can slide the foil packet right back onto it, then carry it straight to the kitchen (or your table).
  • If you do not want your food to touch the foil directly, lay a sheet of parchment paper on top of the foil to act as a barrier. Cooking food directly in foil has been noted as a health concern by some, so do whatever makes you the most comfortable.
Fresh lemon slices and dill in foil to be topped with salmon for Grilled Salmon in Foil

3. Place Half of the Herbs and Citrus on the Foil

  • Most often, I do a simple grilled salmon: a few sprigs of herbs and lemon slices. I like dill, but you can use any mix of fresh herbs and citrus that you like.
  • If you use a stronger herb like rosemary or dill, be more sparing on the herbs. Herbs like parsley or cilantro are more delicate, so you can be more generous.
  • For citrus, use lemon, lime, or orange (or try all 3!). Of these, lime is the strongest.
  • Of course, you don’t have to use lemon and herbs—you can use salmon that’s rested in your favorite marinade, or a different blend of herbs and seasonings.

4. Arrange the Salmon on Top

  • Place the salmon on the foil skin side down, flesh side up.
  • If you realize your sheet of foil is too small, simple tuck a second one behind it.
Fresh salmon, lemon slices, and dill on foil to be grilled for Grilled Salmon in Foil

5. Add Butter, Garlic, and Seasonings

  • For grilled salmon, I’ve been loving the flavor of melted butter. Two tablespoons are all you need for a full 1 ½ pounds of fish. Worth it!
  • If you prefer not to use butter or need the grilled salmon in foil dairy free, you can use olive oil or another cooking oil of choice.
  • For seasonings, I like minced fresh garlic, along with plenty of kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Be generous with the salt and pepper! The more fish you have, the more you need.
  • Place more herbs and citrus on top.
Grilled asparagus and Grilled Salmon in Foil cooked to 145 degrees on the grill

6. Seal the Foil Packet and GRILL!

  • Salmon should be grilled over medium heat, about 375 to 400 degrees F. This recipe is written for grilled salmon in foil on a gas grill, and it also works for a charcoal grill, Traeger grill, or Big Green Egg.
  • Once you close the grill lid, the salmon should cook for 14-18 minutes, until almost completely cooked through at the thickest part. The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your salmon.
Grilled Salmon in Foil with the skin removed topped with lemon and dill

How to Tell When Salmon is Finished Cooking

The eternal question! The greatest of salmon crimes (in addition to under seasoning) is overcooking.

  • As this Salmon Temperature Guide outlines, the best way to tell if salmon is done is to use an instant read thermometer like this one. Remove the salmon at 135 degrees F, then let it rest.
  • The FDA recommends cooking salmon to 145 degrees F, but its temperature will continue to rise as it rests.
  • If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can check for doneness by taking a sharp knife and peeking into the thickest part of your salmon. If it is beginning to flake, but still has a little translucency in the middle, it is done.
  • If your piece is thinner (around 1-inch thick) check several minutes early to ensure your salmon does not overcook. If your piece is very thick (1 1/2 inches or more), it may need longer.
Grilled Salmon in Foil topped with lemon and dill and a side of grilled asparagus on a white plate

What to Serve with Grilled Salmon in Foil

More Ways to Season Grilled Salmon

In addition to the dill and lemon grilled salmon below, here are more tasty suggestions to keep the recipe feeling fresh:

  • Grill Salmon in Foil with Capers. For a bright, slightly Italian spin, use a few sprigs of thyme in place of the dill and reduce the salt to ½ teaspoon. Sprinkle the finished fish with 1 to 2 tablespoons of drained capers.
  • Grilled Salmon in Foil with Lime. Use lime for the lemon and cilantro in place of dill. Enjoy alongside a Skinny Margarita.
  • Grilled BBQ Salmon in Foil. Instead of the melted butter and garlic, brush 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce (try this homemade barbecue sauce) on the salmon before grilling. Top with lemon slices as directed.
  • Grilled Salmon in Foil with Soy Sauce. For an Asian spin on your Grilled Salmon in Foil, swap out the melted butter for 1/4 cup of soy sauce. Drizzle the soy sauce over the salmon and top with garlic as directed before placing on the grill. Because of the high sodium content in soy sauce, you can also omit or reduce the added salt. This version would be delicious served with Asian Noodle Salad.
  • Grilled Salmon in Foil with Brown Sugar. A sweet twist on this Grilled Salmon in Foil! Stir 1/4 cup brown sugar into 1/4 cup melted butter, and brush evenly over the salmon. Top with the garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon as directed.

More Ways to Cook Salmon

Yes, we adore baked or grilled salmon in foil, but there are also many other healthy salmon recipes that don’t use foil.

Asparagus, lemon, and dill served with Grilled Salmon in Foil on a white plate

Have you made a simple grilled salmon fillet before?

If you try this recipe or have other salmon grilling tips, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Have to Flip Salmon on the Grill?

No, you do not need to flip salmon when grilling (in fact, if you do try to flip it, you’re very likely to have it stick and fall apart). The foil packet method in this recipe does an especially good job making sure the salmon cooks evenly without flipping.

Is It Better to Grill Salmon with the Skin Off or On?

Since the skin is easy to remove after salmon is cooked, you can grill it with the skin off or on. Leaving the skin on can help the keep the salmon moist and deter overcooking, so if you are on the fence or new to cooking salmon, leave it on. If you prefer the skin is off for presentation purposes, if you grill the salmon in foil, you can remove the skin, since you don’t need to worry about the salmon falling apart.

Which Side of Salmon Do You Grill First?

If you grill salmon directly on grill grates, grill it skin side down. Do not grill it face side down, as the flesh is likely to tear and stick. With the foil packet, you don’t need to worry about sticking. You can also place a cast iron skillet on the grill and make Pan Seared Salmon.

Grilled Salmon in Foil topped with lemon, dill, garlic, and butter

Grilled Salmon in Foil

4.77 from 46 votes
How to make Grilled Salmon in Foil. Easy step-by-step for PERFECT, flaky salmon every time. Tips for how to know when salmon is finished and flavor ideas!

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins

Servings: 4 (6 oz) Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 pound side of salmon skin off or on
  • 1 small bunch of fresh dill divided
  • 1 medium lemon plus additional for serving
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or canola oil or olive oil
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium (about 375 degrees F). Line a rimmed baking sheet (large enough to hold your piece of salmon) with a large piece of aluminum foil. If you prefer your food not to touch the foil directly, lay a piece of parchment paper on top (be sure none of it pokes out when the packet is sealed).
  • Lightly coat the foil with baking spray. Then, arrange a few sprigs of dill down the middle. Cut the lemons into thin slices and arrange half of the slices down the middle with the dill. Place the salmon on top.
  • Drizzle the salmon with the melted butter. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Scatter the garlic over the top, then lay a few more springs of dill and the remaining lemon slices on top of the salmon. Chop a tablespoon or so of the remaining dill and reserve for serving.
  • Fold the sides of the aluminum foil up and over the top of the salmon until it is completely enclosed. If your piece of foil is not large enough, place a second piece on top and fold the edges under so that it forms a sealed packet. Leave a little room inside the foil for air to circulate.
  • Carefully slide the wrapped salmon onto the grill. Close the grill and grill the salmon for 14-18 minutes, until the salmon is almost completely cooked through at the thickest part. The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your salmon side. If your piece is thinner (around 1-inch thick) check several minutes early to ensure your salmon does not overcook. If your piece is very thick (1 1/2 inches or more), it may need longer.
  • Open the grill, and carefully open the foil so that the top of the fish is completely uncovered (be careful of hot steam). Close the grill, and continue grilling until the fish is cooked through completely, about 3 minutes more. Watch the salmon closely to make sure it doesn’t overcook. Remove the salmon from the grill (I like to use the foil to lift it right back on top of the baking sheet). If it still appears a bit underdone, you can wrap the foil back over the top, and let it rest for a few minutes. Do not let it sit too long—salmon can progress from "not done" to "over done" very quickly. As soon as it flakes easily with a fork, it's ready.
  • To serve, cut the salmon into portions. Remove the topmost sprigs of dill and discard. Sprinkle with freshly chopped dill and top with an extra squeeze of lemon as desired.

Notes

  • This recipe is best enjoyed the day that it is made, as salmon usually dries out when reheated. If you have leftover salmon, try serving it room temperature over a salad the next day or flaking and scrambling it with eggs.
  • TO MAKE DAIRY FREE: Swap olive oil or the oil of your choice for the unsalted butter.
  • TO MAKE WHOLE30/PALEO: Swap olive oil or the oil of your choice for the unsalted butter
  • For more tips about how to tell when salmon is done or ideas to vary up this recipe to different tastes, see blog post above.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving (6 oz)Calories: 301kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 34gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 109mgPotassium: 871mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 262IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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103 Comments

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  1. I followed the tips of grilling at about 400 degrees, using an instant read thermometer, removing the salmon when just under 140 degrees and letting rest for 5 minutes before opening the packet. It turned out great – tender, moist and flaky. I will use this method again since there’s nothing worse than dry, overcooked salmon.5 stars

  2. I’ve been making this recipe for a very long time, and I have a couple of “tries” for you. First, along with the lemon I like to add an onion just sliced and not chopped or cut up. I also like to add a little paprika to the spices.

  3. Did this today on my pellet grill and the family loved it! Added limes and oranges to the mix. It was flakey and moist! Thank you will do it again.5 stars

  4. Absolutely perfect and delicious ! I used your dill and lemon tips!!!next time I’ll try the brown sugar method
    Thank yoi5 stars

  5. Dude. This truly is no fail. Followed recipe to a T. The results.. AMAZE-balls!! So succulent, delicious and flavourful. Going in the regular rotation. Thanks so much Erin!5 stars

  6. I’m always hesitant to make salmon as my husband complains if it’s overcooked but I found this recipe and it was so easy and delicious…hubby was impressed!!! Thank you!5 stars

  7. This was so incredibly easy and tasty! … bonus: clean up is a breeze. Moist, flakey and flavorful. Looking forward to cold leftovers with a salad. This will definately be my new go-to salmon recipe. Thank you!5 stars

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