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.
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. ✅
What’s in This Grilled Salmon Recipe?
Here’s a full rundown of the ingredients for grilled lemon butter salmon; it’s a very simple recipe that’s well-balanced and nutritious, with a pungent bite from the garlic and green onions, plus 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.
How To Grill Salmon
Now comes the fun part! Once your ingredients are gathered and prepped, it’s time to assemble the foil packet.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
Tips for Success
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!
Easy Serving Ideas
To serve, I recommend making your favorite potato, pasta, or salad. When it comes to this balanced and flavorful salmon dish, almost any side dish works beautifully! Here are some easy options to try:
- Baked Potatoes: A baked potato is a classic choice, and these Air Fryer Baked Potatoes are guaranteed to be crispy and tender. They’re perfect for just about any meal and pair nicely with lemon-butter salmon.
- Spaghetti Squash: Keep things low-carb with this simple recipe for Creamy Spaghetti Squash. It’s a warm, alfredo-style dish that gives your meal a boost of veggies, fat, and protein.
- Chopped Salad: 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 grilled salmon.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Leftover salmon should be stored in the fridge, in airtight containers, or in zip-top bags. It will keep for up to three days.
- To reheat salmon, place it in a covered skillet over low heat. Allow the salmon to heat until it reaches a safe internal temperature (145˚F). You can also reheat salmon in a 350˚F oven until heated through.
- I do not recommend freezing cooked salmon – after thawing, the texture of the salmon can be mushy. However, it will still be safe to eat. But, if you want to freeze your leftovers, just place them in freezer bags and freeze them for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Lemon Butter Grilled Salmon
- 1.5 to 2 pound 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
- Cut out a large piece of foil, about 20"x20".
- Place the salmon on top of the foil, skin side down.
- Season 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 salmon from the grill and let stand for about 5 minutes.
- Garnish with parsley, cut, and serve.
- Parchment Paper instead of foil: Suitable for oven baking, but avoid it for grilling due to 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.
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.