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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What to Serve with Grilled Salmon in Foil
- Grilled Portobello Mushrooms. Grilled mushrooms are a delicious, easy side dish that offers a meaty flavor. Try my Grilled Portobello Mushrooms recipe.
- Grilled Sweet Potato Fries. Serve your Grilled Salmon in Foil with these Grilled Sweet Potato Fries for a fun and easy summer dinner!
- Grilled Asparagus. Most often, we do Grilled Salmon in Foil with asparagus. You can cook it right alongside the salmon. See this Grilled Asparagus for a recipe.
- Broccoli. Grilled Broccoli and Roasted Broccoli are stellar ways to make it.
- Carbohydrates. Serve your Grilled Salmon in Foil on top of a bed of rice like Lemon Rice, alongside Healthy Potato Salad or Grilled Potatoes, or with Grilled Corn.
- Roasted Vegetables. Roast a hearty side dish of vegetables in the oven to serve with your Grilled Salmon in Foil. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Roasted Zucchini would all pair nicely. Or a a mix of Oven Roasted Vegetables.
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.
- Lemon Pepper Salmon. You can also use this lemon pepper seasoning on the grill.
- Whole30 Salmon. A great way to make a salmon fillet.
- Soy Ginger Salmon. This glaze would also work nicely on grilled salmon.
- Salmon Patty Recipe. You can make these with leftover grilled salmon too.
- Salmon Burgers. If you make these on the grill, I suggest using a grill-proof skillet or grill pan. Flip halfway through.
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
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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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°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.
- 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.
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Came out great! I used Rosemary. It was a large filet and a windy cool day, so had to go 25 minutes.
Thank you for sharing this kind review, Eric! I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe!
So delicious!!! Dried dill weed, lemon dill Himalayan salt and extra garlic were the only differences in mine. I definitely recommend leaving skin on, it got all crispy and yummmm.
Sarah, I am so pleased to hear it! Thanks for sharing this lovely review!
Looks excellent! I just need to save it somewhere where I can look at it again when I’m cooking…!
I hope you love the recipe if you try it, Karen!
This was a delicious recipe!! I have never been successful in preparing salmon, but this was a winner. Thank you!
I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the recipe, Jackie! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Came out perfect and so easy even i could handle it
Thank you for sharing this kind review, Mitch! I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe!
Excellent, easy recipe. Thanks! It took about 20 mins on the BBQ
I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the recipe, Wyns! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Excellent recipe. Super easy and salmon came out perfectly cooked with just a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.
I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the recipe, Jill! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
My goodness I am not a grill master… but I impressed everyone with this recipe! It was the best Salmon we have had! I agree fool proof. The tips in the foil and cook time spot on 400 degree perfect timing.
I’m SO happy that you enjoyed it, Toni! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
This turned out really well! I grilled 1.3 lbs of salmon for about 18 minutes and with 8 minutes left I threw the zucchini, asparagus and portobello mushrooms on the grill next to it. Everything was done at the same time and the whole family enjoyed! I had finally perfected the oven method of cooking salmon, but now with the warmer weather here, needed to perfect the grilling method & this recipe did the trick! Thanks!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed the salmon, Maria! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
This was so delicious!!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Patty! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Is this grilled with direct (over the coals) or indirect heat (not over coals)?
Bob, I actually do this on a gas grill, but I think you could do either (I’d probably do direct if you need to choose). The key is to make sure the grill is the right temp—about 375 degrees. If you try the recipe, I’d love to hear how it goes!
This was delicious! The whole family enjoyed this recipe. Thanks!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Danielle! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
SO easy and SO good! Looks fancy and tastes amazing! How have I never grilled fish before?! To die for! Thank you so much!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Pam! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
This may be my new favorite Salmon recipe. The dill, lemon, garlic, and butter work so well together!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Ryan! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Hello Erin, I just bought a lovely piece of fresh Atlantic salmon with the skin on. Can I make this recipe with the skin on ? Your recipe sounds delicious. I look forward to grilling it on my gas bbq tomorrow night !!
Hi Anastasia! You can leave the skin on if you prefer. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Delicious and easy! The dill, lemon, and garlic complimented each other perfectly.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Laura! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
So delicious! I didn’t have fresh dill, so used dried, and it was so good! Also, I was making 3 pounds, so moist and flavorful.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Stacy! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
This salmon recipe is so good and so easy! I made it last month and my husband….not necessarily a salmon lover, loved it. I’m making it again tonight and it is staying in our monthly rotation. Thank you.
I’m so happy that it was a hit, MaryKay! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Sensational! I added to my keepsake book. I served it with brown rice medley with grilled peppers and baby zucchini in balsamic glaze olive oil + spices marinade.
This fabulous meal gave us a lot of pleasure ?
I am lucky to have found it!
Thank you Erin!
YAY Tamara, I am so pleased to hear it! Thanks for sharing this lovely review!
Home run! Liked it so much, I bought your book.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Peter! THANK YOU for sharing this kind review and for ordering my book!
This is my 3rd time cooking your recipe. My family loves it, even the teens. Thank you.
I’m so happy that it’s been a hit, Robin! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
This is amazing…perfect every time…and I make a lot of salmon! Thank you! Wonder if you could do this with shrimp?!
I’m so happy that you’ve enjoyed the recipe, Suzanne! I’d recommend checking out one of the delicious shrimp recipes on my website!
SO YUMMY ?
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Catherine! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
I loved this. It was really easy to make and it tasted delicious! It added so much flavor. I did whole little potatos with olive oil, salt and dill also in foil on the grill ( I precooked them in the microwave to lessen the grill time). My family is not a big fan of salmon and they loved it. Mom for the win!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe, Emily! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Delish! My favorite recipe for Salmon.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Grace! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
so amazingly good!!! It was my 1st grilling lol and I nailed it because of your recipe! Thank you, even kids cleaned their plates
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Petra! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Superb and simple to do. The results were just as expected. Great
So happy to hear it, thank you!
I served this to guests and they LOVED it! I used a 3# piece of salmon so I doubled everything. I used a combination of peeled orange, lemon and lime slices. (I don’t like the flavor of rind). I used a generous amount of fresh parsley instead of dill. I used 2 TBS olive oil for the 3 pounds. And about 8 minced garlic cloves. It got rave reviews. I was nervous because I had never made it before. I cooked it for 18 minutes as it was very thick and served it immediately so there was no time for it to cook more once removing. I might have cooked it 2 minutes less, but, it was not dry at all and it was moist and juicy but not at all rare, which grosses me out! A very pretty presentation! Thanks for a great and very easy salmon option!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Sheri! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Excellent, my grandson and I just made this tonight for the family, we had baked potatoes and asparagus
First time using the grill for both of us, I am grandchildren sitting
Thanks so much for easy to follow recipe 👍
Hi Patricia! So glad you enjoyed the salmon! Thank you for this kind review!
Nutritious and tasty.
Pleased everyone in the family, including the kiddos!
So glad your family enjoyed it Kerstin! Thank you for this kind review!
i have to watch my sodium intake and i was wondering if you can put your sodium intake at the end of your recipe i cant have no more then 2300 or less a day. but i am going to try your baked salmon in foil it sound real good. this is the first time i been on your page. if you no the sodium intake on the salmon will you please let me no. I m looking forward to more of your healthy food recipe.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH
Hi Alanda! I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online (myfitnesspal.com is popular). I hope that helps!
I made this exactly as directed. It was not bad, but I have made other salmon recipes that I preferred over this. I thought the lemon and dill were a little over-powering. I also like my salmon to get little bits of crisp, so I’m not sure I will use a foil packet for salmon again. It was fun to try something different and still made for a good dinner. I’m sure folks who really like lemon and dill will enjoy it.
I did make your grilled sweet potato fries and those were very good and easy!
Hi Jessica, I’m sorry to hear that this recipe fell short of your expectations. I (and other readers) truly enjoyed this dish, so I really wish you would’ve too!
I used fennel fronds and dill, and it was great.
Hi Cornelia! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
This recipe calls for far too much garlic. The salmon filet I used was over two pounds and the garlic ruined the recipe for everyone. I had to rinse the cooked salmon off before we could eat it and not have to throw out an expensive cut of fish. The method itself produced a moist and perfectly cooked farmed salmon filet. The dill and lemon were very good. If you decide to try the recipe, I would either omit the garlic completely, or perhaps use 1 -2 cloves and saute the minced garlic in the butter first and till fragrant but not browned for 60-90 seconds over low heat. Then strain out the garlic pieces. I served this with sushi rice and a corn and tomato summer saute seasoned with basil and minced chives.
I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy the recipe, Gail. Many other readers have tried it and loved it, but I know everyone has different tastes. I truly wish you would have loved it!
I actually liked the basic recipe very much! I have made it again since using the technique I wrote about above (lightly sauteing the minced garlic in the butter and then discarding the garlic pieces.) This added a nice, light garlic touch to the dish so the dill and lemon also came through. We use a lot of garlic and enjoy it but with the delicate flavors in this dish, I thought a lighter touch was needed and it worked out very well. This way, the recipe will be a keeper!
Very delicious salmon.
Hi Mim! So glad you enjoyed the salmon! Thank you for this kind review!
Loved this recipe! Followed your recipe to the letter and it was perfect!
It’s our favorite salmon dinner now! My husband can be a picky eater at times but always looks forward to this meal. Thank you!!
Hi Grace! So glad you enjoyed the salmon! Thank you for this kind review!
Wow! We have made this several times and it’s always delicious! We love the Whole 30 Salmon recipe as well. We wanted to incorporate more fish into our diet but I didn’t have any recipes. These have both become staples. Thanks, Erin!
Hi Irene! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
I work very hard catching salmon on Lk Huron in northern Michigan. Although this receipt “looks” outstanding sadly the taste is HORRIBLE. It was so bad I had to through 3/4’s of my fillet away.
I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with this recipe, Jim. I know it’s frustrating to try a new recipe and not have them turn out, so I really wish you would’ve enjoyed them!
Made it this weekend for a healthy Labor Day. I’m a girl still learning to grill and have a tendency to overcook out of fear, but this was perfect. Light flaky and a relief it came out so well. Thank you!
Hi Cindy! So glad you enjoyed the salmon! Thank you for this kind review!
Flavors are good, but 14-18 minutes is waaaay to long except if you’re cooking thick fillets. Any thinner fillets should come out several minutes earlier
Hi Thomas! This is why I specifically say in the blog post “The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your salmon.” This is why I also have a whole section dedicated to “How to Tell When Salmon is Finished Cooking” to give everyone pointers as to make sure they are cooking their salmon correctly.
Great ideas. I like to take the salmon and put blobs if butter on top the blind of the soft port wine cheese. It comes out with a cheesey crust top.
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.
Hi Kim! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
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.
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.
Hi Tim! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Your recipe was wonderful. Best grilled salmon ever.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Michael! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Absolutely perfect and delicious ! I used your dill and lemon tips!!!next time I’ll try the brown sugar method
Hi Diane! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
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!
Hi Michelle! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
This recipe is on repeat at our house!
Hi Amanda! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Not a big salmon fan but this tasted awesome.
Hi Jim! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
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!
Hi Lisa! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
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!
Hi Eva! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!