Lemon Butter Grilled Salmon

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Lemon Butter Grilled Salmon is a healthy, zesty seafood recipe that only takes a minute to prep, and cooks in about half an hour! You’ll love this flavorful salmon recipe seasoned with fresh herbs, garlic, and green onions.

overhead shot of Lemon Butter Grilled Salmon in foil topped with green onions, sliced lemons, and parsley.


 

Grilled Salmon in Foil

When it comes to cooking fish, there’s no better combination than good-quality fillets, real butter, fresh lemon, and garlic. Talk about tempting! And, although you might feel intimidated about cooking a whole salmon fillet, it doesn’t have to be difficult. This easy foil packet cooking method takes all the guesswork out of the process. Just fire up the grill (or oven), and let the foil do the rest!

Grilled lemon butter salmon is a healthy dinner that’s a snap to make.

For this recipe, I use fresh thyme, green onions, garlic, and lemon zest to flavor the fish. However, you could easily swap in other ingredients that you enjoy: fresh sprigs of dill, some minced shallot, lime instead of lemon, or whatever you like! Dinner? Done. ✅

close up shot of a whole cooked salmon fillet set on a piece of foil and topped with lemon slices, herbs, and green onions.

What You’ll Need

Here’s a full rundown of the ingredients for grilled salmon. It’s a simple recipe that’s well-balanced and nutritious, with a pungent bite from the garlic and green onions and the light richness of butter and fresh lemon.

  • Salmon: I used a large, whole salmon fillet with the skin on, but this recipe would also work with individual fillets, skin on or off. You’ll need 1.5 to 2 pounds, total. 
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.
  • Thyme: Finely chop some fresh thyme leaves, or substitute dried thyme if you prefer.
  • Green Onions: The green onions should be thinly sliced, for sprinkling over the salmon fillet.
  • Garlic: Mince or press some fresh garlic. I don’t recommend using powdered garlic in this recipe – the intense, roasted flavor of powdered garlic isn’t as good as bright, fresh garlic cloves in this recipe.
  • Lemon and Lemon Zest: Zest the lemon, and then slice it. 
  • Butter: Cut the butter into thin pats for scattering over the fish.
  • Parsley: Chopped fresh parsley makes a pretty optional garnish.
overhead shot of a raw and whole Salmon filet set on a piece of foil topped with green onions

How To Grill Salmon

Now comes the fun part! Once your ingredients are gathered and prepped, it’s time to assemble the foil packet.

  1. Arrange the Salmon on the Foil. Cut a large piece of foil, about 20 inches square. You will need a wide roll of foil to do this. Lay the salmon fillet on top of the foil, skin side down, and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper. 
  2. Top the Salmon. Sprinkle the top of the salmon with the chopped thyme, green onions, and garlic, plus the lemon zest. Arrange the lemon slices on top, followed by the pats of butter. 
  3. Seal and Rest. Fold the foil over the salmon. Then fold the edges of the foil over twice, to make a sealed packet. Let the packet rest on the counter for about 10 minutes.
  4. Grill the Sealed Packet. While the fish is resting, preheat your grill to medium-high ( 375˚F to 425˚F). Next, place the salmon packet on the grill, and cover the grill. Let the salmon cook for about 18 minutes.
  5. Grill the Opened Packet. Open up the foil packet (carefully do this away from your face, to avoid getting burned by the steam). Close the grill again, and let the opened salmon packet cook for 5 to 8 more minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through. Check it for doneness using an instant-read meat thermometer (the internal temperature should register at 145˚F).
  6. Enjoy! Let the grilled salmon rest for about 5 minutes before garnishing with parsley and serving.

How Long To Grill Salmon

Cooking time largely depends on the thickness of the fillet and the heat of your grill. It also depends on how close the salmon is to the actual heat source. In general, a whole salmon fillet takes about 25 minutes to grill on medium-high heat.

To bake instead of grill, bake the salmon foil packet for 15 to 18 minutes at 375˚F, then open the packet and continue to roast for 10 more minutes or until the internal temperature of the fish registers at 145˚F.

overhead shot of Lemon Butter Grilled Salmon in foil topped with green onions, sliced lemons, and parsley.

Recipe Tips

Bring out the best in your ingredients with these easy tips and variations. Making this grilled lemon butter salmon is so simple, and these helpful suggestions make it even simpler!

  • Parchment Paper: If you would rather not use foil for your packets, you can use parchment – but only if you are baking the fish in the oven. Parchment is likely to catch fire on an outdoor grill.
  • Oven Method: To bake the salmon in foil in the oven, preheat your oven to 375˚F. Bake the salmon packet for 15 to 18 minutes, and then open up the packet and continue to bake for 10 more minutes, or until the internal temperature of the fish registers at 145˚F.
  • Add Veggies: If you’d like to grill some vegetables while you’re grilling the fish, go for it! I recommend making separate veggie packets and using tender summer vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and green beans, which cook quickly. Season with salt and pepper, add a little olive oil, and grill until done! OR, just make these Cheesy Bacon Potato Foil Packets!
  • Spice Things Up: You can go in all kinds of great directions with the seasoning in this recipe. Salmon plays well with pan-Asian flavors, Cajun seasoning, and lots of other flavor profiles – so feel free to change it up!
close up shot of a whole cooked salmon fillet set on a piece of foil and topped with lemon slices, herbs, and green onions.

Easy Serving Ideas

To serve this grilled salmon, almost any side dish works beautifully! A baked potato is a classic choice, and these Air Fryer Baked Potatoes are guaranteed to be crispy and tender.

Keep things light and low-carb with this simple recipe for Creamy Spaghetti Squash. Juicy, summery chopped veggies are at their colorful best in this easy, summery Chopped Egg, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad. This crowd-pleasing favorite makes a healthy lunch or dinner when paired with flavorful lemon butter salmon.

close up shot of a whole cooked salmon fillet set on a piece of foil and topped with lemon slices, herbs, and green onions.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Leftover salmon should be stored in the fridge, in airtight containers, or in zip-top bags for 2 to 3 days. You can also freeze it for 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

To reheat, place the fish in a covered skillet over medium-low heat until heated through. You can also reheat salmon in a 350˚F oven until heated through.

ENJOY!

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5 from 10 votes

Lemon Butter Grilled Salmon

You’ll love this Lemon Butter Grilled Salmon recipe, seasoned with fresh herbs, garlic, and green onions.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1.5 to 2 pounds whole salmon fillet, skin-on
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 whole lemon, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into thin pats
  • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
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Instructions 

  • Cut out a large piece of foil, about 20"x20". Place the salmon on top of the foil, skin side down.
  • Season the fish with salt and pepper, and add fresh thyme. Sprinkle the top of the salmon fillet with green onions and garlic, plus lemon zest.
  • Add lemon slices on top of the fillet, followed with pats of butter.
  • Fold the foil over the salmon and seal it shut. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high; about 375˚F to 425˚F.
  • Place the salmon packet on the grill; cover the grill and cook for about 18 minutes.
  • Carefully open up the foil packet away from your face.
  • Close the grill and continue to cook for 5 to 8 more minutes, or until salmon is cooked through. Check for doneness with an instant-read meat thermometer; salmon is cooked through when internal temperature registers at 145˚F.
  • Remove the salmon from the grill and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with parsley, cut, and serve.

Notes

  • Parchment paper instead of foil: Parchment paper is suitable for oven baking, but it should be avoided for grilling due to the fire risk.
  • Oven Method: Preheat the oven to 375˚F and bake foil-wrapped salmon for 15 to 18 minutes; open up the foil packet, and bake for 10 more minutes or until the fish’s internal temperature registers at 145˚F.
  • Add Veggies: Grill quick-cooking veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, and green beans in separate packets.
  • Spice Things Up: Play around with pan-Asian flavors, Cajun seasoning, etc. Salmon is versatile and takes on various flavors. 

Nutrition

Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 119mg | Potassium: 616mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 379IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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18 Comments

  1. JANE RITCHUK says:

    Made this for dinner last night. We like fish a lot. Made some minor changes, used 2 Salmon steaks instead of a fillet, used chives instead of green onions (that’s what I had) but pretty much everything else the same. Came out perfect!! Tender and flaky. I most often will broil my salmon with Teryaki or Balsamic (both delicious) but can come out dry if not watching carefully. This is easier and better imho.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I am very glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for chiming in! 🙂

  2. Jen says:

    The only way I’ll make salmon now! This recipe is just too good!!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s great! I’m very happy you loved it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  3. Catalina says:

    Who can resist this salmon dish?! It seems to be healthy and delicious!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I hope you’ll enjoy it! 🙂

  4. Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert says:

    This Lemon Butter Grilled Salmon looks perfect! I need to add this to our menu soon!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I hope you’ll enjoy it! 🙂

  5. Heather Rose says:

    What a fantastic dish, my family loves salmon! They all loved this.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank you so much! I hope you and your family will enjoy it! 🙂

  6. Juliane says:

    This is making me hungry and I just ate 😂

    1. Elizabeta Micevska says:

      😀 I hope you’ll enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  7. Erik says:

    Looks like something my MIL would love!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you’ll enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  8. Beth says:

    Holy. Moly. That looks so good! I’m going to try making this and adding some wood chips to the grill.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That sounds great! I hope you’ll enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  9. April says:

    I’m not a huge fish fan, but my kids like it so we gave this a try the other night. It is *chef’s kiss* perfect! Probably the best salmon I’ve ever had.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s great to hear! I am very glad you and your family enjoyed it! Thank you for chiming in! 🙂