Honey Mustard Grilled Salmon in Foil
Grilled Salmon in Foil couldn't be any easier or more delicious, making it a perfect weeknight meal or impressive enough to serve guests. This easy tutorial on How to Grill Salmon in Foil eliminates all of the guesswork and delivers gloriously juicy salmon by first bathing the salmon in a tangy, sweet and spicy Cajun honey mustard marinade, sealing the fish in foil, then grilling (or baking) until flaky tender in about just 15 minutes. The steam-cooking that occurs on the grill guarantees that your fish is beautifully moist and tender with slightly smoky undertones; no flipping the salmon and no worrying about it sticking! I’ve included all the best tips for how to know when salmon is finished cooking, what temperature to cook salmon to, what to serve with salmon, and more! Finish off this effortless Grilled Salmon dinner with a side of watermelon feta salad and loaded potato salad for the perfect summer meal.
Servings 6 -8 servings
- 1 large salmon fillet, skin removed (about 3 pounds)
HONEY MUSTARD MARINADE
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/3 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried parsley, dried oregano, dried thyme, onion powder, pepper
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Line a large baking sheet (large enough to hold your salmon) with heavy duty foil (or double the foil) that is 6-inches longer than your salmon (so you can fold the sides up). Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray. Place salmon in the center and fold the foil up snuggly around the salmon; set aside. Whisk all of the marinade ingredient together in a medium bowl. Pour the marinade evenly over the top of the salmon. Let the salmon marinate at room temperature for 20-40 minutes. Preheat your grill the last 15 minutes of marinating time to 375-400 degrees F with the lid closed.
When ready to grill, evenly space the cubed butter over top of the salmon. Place a second piece of foil on top and fold the edges under to form a sealed packet, leaving a little tented room at the top for air circulation.
Carefully slide the salmon packet directly onto the grill. Close the grill and cook salmon for 15-20 minutes depending on thickness, or until the salmon registers 130-135 degrees on an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part. (1-inch thick salmon can take as little as 10 minutes, 1 ½-inch thick salmon will take closer to 20 minutes.)
To remove the salmon from the grill, carefully slide the foil packet back onto the baking sheet with the help of a spatula (careful, the foil packet will be hot!). Remove the top foil (watch for steam). Spoon the buttery sauce accumulated at the bottom of the foil all over the top of the salmon. Let the salmon rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Season with freshly cracked salt and pepper to taste; garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
- Baked salmon in foil. Add the salmon to the foil and marinate per recipe instructions. Bake in foil on top of a baking sheet in the oven at 400°F for 10-20 minutes, closer to 10 minutes for 1 inch, closer to 20 minutes for 1 1/2 inch.
- Salmon in foil. If you do not want your salmon to touch the foil directly, you can lay a sheet of parchment paper on top of the foil. Cooking food directly in foil is a health concern to some, but the aluminum adds to your diet is negligible (I've detailed this in the post below). Still, so do whatever makes you the most comfortable.
- Use a baking sheet! Adding the salmon to the baking sheet makes for easy transportation of the salmon to and from the grill. The less you have to handle the foil salmon packet, the better, because there will be less chances of it tearing. You don’t want to accidently poke a hole in the foil, otherwise the marinade and the juices will seep out and you’ll be left with a mess and less juicy salmon.
- Don’t over-marinate salmon. Because fish is so tender, 45 minutes is the maximum amount of time you should marinate with an acidic marinade. If the fish is left too long in the marinade, it can become mushy. This means you have to start heating your grill after the salmon has been marinating for 15-30 minutes.
- Remove foil away from you. Transfer cooked salmon to a heat-proof flat surface from the baking sheet and carefully remove the top piece of foil. It will release a lot of steam, so take care to remove the foil away from you.
- Reseal the fish or pop it back on the grill. If you don’t have a meat thermometer and your salmon appears a bit underdone, simply wrap it back up in the foil and let it rest on the counter for a few minutes. If it’s severely underdone, pop it back on the grill. In either case, take care, salmon can progress from undercooked to overcooked very quickly.
- How to serve salmon (leftovers): see post for all sorts of ideas to serve the salmon, including leftovers.
- Salmon packets with vegetables. This grilled salmon in foil recipe can easily be made into individual salmon foil packets with veggies. Before marinating, slice the raw salmon into individual fillets and make a packet for each person, plan on 1-2 fillets per pouch. Make sure to leave room for some veggies. Lightly grease the foil, add the salmon fillet(s), then pour the marinade over top. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes before adding the butter and veggies of choice. You will want to use quick cooking vegetables such zucchini, summer squash, asparagus, or cherry tomatoes. Avoid longer cooking vegetables such as carrots, broccoli or potatoes unless you par-boil or steam them first. Seal up the foil packet and grill per recipe instructions.
The salmon should only be marinated for 30-45 minutes then grilled right away. If you want to prep the recipe in advance, you can:
- Prep salmon: add the salmon to the lightly greased foil, seal and store in the refrigerator.
- Prep marinade: whisk the marinade ingredients together and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator WITHOUT the salmon for up to 3 days.
HOW TO STORE and reheat
- To store: store leftover salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. The leftovers (if there are any) are wonderful in scrambled eggs, pasta, tacos, burritos, rice bowls, salads, etc. I’ve included all sorts of ways to enjoy leftover salmon in the post.
- To freeze: you can freeze leftover salmon for up to 3 months. To freeze, place individual salmon fillets in a freezer size bag along with any extra sauce, squeeze out excess air to preserve freezer burn, label and freeze. I love the option of pulling out individual salmon fillets and have added this particular salmon recipe to scrambled eggs and salad for the win! Thaw salmon in the refrigerator overnight then reheat per any of the below methods.
- To reheat from the fridge: gently reheat the salmon in a skillet, covered, for about 5 minutes or in the microwave at 30-second intervals. You can also warm the salmon in foil in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 275 degrees F, until it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F to 130°F. Take care not to overcook the salmon or it will become dry.