Tender Grilled Salmon {or Foil-Baked}

This simple grilled salmon (can also be foil-baked!) made with every day pantry ingredients is out of this world delicious! Tender and so flavorful!

Tender Grilled Salmon {or Foil-Baked}

Because making and serving salmon to my family is a bit of a rare occurrence around here (thanks to a larger family and a bursting at the seams grocery budget), I treat the whole process with great respect.

Meaning, I’m not going to waste my time experimenting on iffy new recipes when I already have a few tried-and-true favorites.

This tender grilled salmon is my go-to for salmon 99% of the time (with this maple pecan crusted salmon a pretty close second favorite). If you’ve made this grilled salmon, you probably understand why.

Everyday, simple ingredients prove they are so much more than a sum of their parts in this recipe resulting in the most tender, flavorful, delicious salmon ever.

Tender Grilled Salmon {or Foil-Baked}

While this salmon is amazing grilled, it is also fantastic wrapped in foil and baked in the oven (or tossed right on the grill in foil).

What you lose in golden crispy grill marks you probably make up for in concentrated flavor as the salmon bakes in the foil packet.

During the summer months, I usually cook the salmon right on the grate of my grill (this CampChef pellet grill). I’ve never had an issue with the somewhat fragile salmon sticking to the grill.

Here are my two tips: 1) preheat the grill for at least 15-20 minutes, and 2) oil the grates with a pastry brush dipped in canola or avocado oil right before adding the salmon.

But since salmon is often on the menu when we have company passing through town* in less pleasurable grilling months, I very often employ the foil packet method in the oven, and it is such an easy way to make perfect salmon.

*Don’t worry, if you are one of my family members or friends that gag at the thought of seafood or salmon (I know who you are), I promise to take seafood completely off the menu when you stay with us and choose some other deliciousness to serve you; we’ll save the salmon for those that love it as much as we do.

Tender Grilled Salmon {or Foil-Baked}

That last disclaimer has me super curious, actually. If you have a second, I’d really love to know:

Are you a salmon lover or a salmon hater?

Do tell. I’m fairly sure I’m mature enough to handle the response and continue our friendship despite your response.

I’ve had a lot of really great salmon in restaurants over the years (it’s one of my top choices if on the menu), but I can honestly say that this home cooked tender grilled salmon rivals them all.

So simple to prepare, you know it has to be good if it’s still a favorite after nearly a decade!

And served, as pictured, with homemade buttermilk biscuits and that ridiculously yummy summer roasted veggie orzo salad, it is one of the best meals ever.

Tender Grilled Salmon {or Foil-Baked}

What To Serve
Summer Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad or Roasted Potato Salad
Buttermilk Biscuits

Yield: 6-8 servings

Tender Grilled Salmon


  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets, preferably skinless
  • Lemon pepper seasoning, to taste
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup oil, like vegetable, canola, or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Season salmon fillets on both sides with lemon pepper.
  2. In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, water (or broth), oil, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes (if using) until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Place the salmon in a large ziploc bag or shallow dish and pour the marinade over the top, coating the salmon evenly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
  4. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  5. Clean the grates well and lightly coat in oil. Grill the salmon (discarding excess marinade) for 5 to 7 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until the salmon flakes easily with a fork and the flesh looks opaque. Plan on about 10-14 minutes total cooking time for every inch of thickness (and add about 10 minutes for each additional inch). I find it’s easiest to flip on the grill using a large, flat, metal spatula vs tongs so the salmon doesn’t fall apart.
  6. Alternately, the salmon can be baked (or grilled in foil). After marinating, wrap each salmon fillet in a foil packet (I like to drizzle a tablespoon or so of marinade over the top before sealing the packet).
  7. Grill for about 15 minutes or bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes (again, exact time will depend on the thickness of the salmon).


This recipe was originally posted way back in 2008. It still remains one of my favorite salmon recipes ever. Over the years, I’ve altered a bit to include the garlic powder (or fresh garlic) in the marinade (instead of sprinkling garlic powder over the salmon fillets), but you could continue doing it the old way. No prob. I’ve also found I don’t need/like the extra salt originally called for in the recipe, but if you do, continue to season the fillets with salt before adding the marinade.

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