Baked Salmon in Foil

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Baked Salmon in Foil is flaky, moist, and cooks hands-off in under 30 minutes. The foil packet traps moisture inside as the salmon cooks resulting in flaky, flavorful fish. Top it with lemon dijon sauce.

salmon on a bed of greens

There are so many ways to cook salmon, but this may be one of my favorites. To make this easy salmon recipe, you enclose the salmon in a foil packet, place it on a baking sheet, transfer it to a preheated oven, and the result is perfect every time!

If you’re hesitant about cooking salmon, this method is for you! The foil traps in moisture so there’s less risk of the salmon getting overcooked and / or drying out.

As a bonus, I liked to cook the salmon on a bed of beans and greens (chickpeas and chard), add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a simple tangy sauce for a healthy, colorful, one pan dinner.

If you’re in the market for more salmon recipes, be sure to check out broiled salmon with honey paprika glaze and pan-seared salmon with gnocchi and sage butter.

greens and chickpeas in a white bowl

How to Bake Salmon in Foil

  1. Heat the oven to oven to 400°F.
  2. Spread a large piece of foil out on top of a baking sheet.
  3. Add the salmon to one half of the piece of foil and season it with salt and pepper. Top with lemon slices.
  4. Enclose the salmon in foil, pinching the edges to seal.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the salmon flakes easily with a fork and registers 125˚F in the thickest part. (See below for more details on checking to see if the salmon is done.)
  6. Serve warm!
foil wrapped salmon on a sheet pan

The Best Temperature for Baking Salmon

If you are baking salmon in foil packets, it’s a good idea to bake it at a slightly higher temperature than if you are baking it without the foil. The higher temperature will heat the inside of the foil packet more quickly but will also trap in moisture, keeping the salmon flaky and moist. The best temperature for foil-baked salmon is 400°F.

roasted salmon filets on a bed of greens and chickpeas in foil

How to tell when salmon is done cooking

The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145°F. This yields well-done salmon. However, salmon will continue cooking in the residual heat of the pan when you are done, so you can remove it from the oven when it is between 125˚F and 135˚F and leave it in the foil packet so that it gently continues heating through. If the salmon flakes easily with a fork, this is also a great indication that it is done cooking.

Ingredients for foil-baked salmon

  • Salmon – I like to buy pre-sliced salmon fillets because they are so easy to serve. You can also use one whole piece of salmon in this recipe. Be sure to season it with some salt and pepper before cooking. 
  • Swiss Chard – These colorful greens will cook down to tender underneath the salmon. Discard the tough stems and chop the leaves well before preparing. It will seem like a lot of greens when you start, but they cook WAY down. 
  • Canned Chickpeas – Also sometimes labeled as garbanzo beans. Be sure to drain and rinse them before using. 
  • Red Wine Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil – These make a light vinaigrette for the greens and beans. If you don’t have red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar will work.
  • Capers, Garlic, Lemon slices – Don’t skip these – they add salty, tangy flavor to the dish that goes well with the fish. 
mixed greens in a salad spinner

How to Make Creamy Lemon Dijon Sauce

I have to tell you that the Creamy Lemon Dijon Sauce included in this recipe has basically become our house sauce. It’s just plain yogurt whisked with lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, and a pinch of salt. I use it over fish as in this recipe, as a dip for veggies, spooned over chicken breast, and even as a salad dressing. The measurements are just a guide – feel free to adjust it to taste depending on how you want to serve it! 

spooning sauce over foil-roasted salmon

Why Cook Salmon in Foil

A tightly sealed foil packet traps moisture and flavor inside so that the salmon stays flaky, tender, and perfectly moist. Whereas other cooking methods can lead to dried out fish if cooked for even a minute too long, a foil packet gives you extra wiggle room so the roasted salmon will stay moist even if cooked longer than needed.

salmon and greens with sauce in foil on a sheet pan

Possible Variations

  • Change Greens – Swiss chard cooks down and becomes tender during this cooking method, but other greens would work well here. Kale or collard greens would also be great and are more sturdy so they’ll have more texture after cooking.
  • Change Beans – Try this with any other canned beans – pinto or white beans would be great. 
  • Use Another Fish – This method works well with almost any other type of fish. Just adjust the cook time based on the thickness of the fish.

FAQs

Skin on or off?

Either way! The salmon will cook the same way and in the same amount of time whether you remove the skin or not. However, the salmon skin will not get crispy using this cooking method, so you likely won’t want to eat it.

What should I serve with this?

With chickpeas, chard, and a simple sauce, this really is a complete and one-pan meal. However, if you’re looking to add something else on the side, it’s great with warm bread, pasta with a simple butter sauce, or even with fresh fruit.

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Baked Salmon in Foil Recipe

Enclosing salmon in a foil packet keeps it moist and tender while it cooks. Cook the salmon over chard and chickpeas and finish with lemon dijon mustard sauce.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Half Sheet Pan
  • aluminum foil

Ingredients 

Salmon, Chickpeas, and Greens:

  • 4 large leaves Swiss chard, stems discarded and leaves finely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar (sub white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 4 fillets salmon (about 6 ounces each; see note)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

Creamy Lemon Dijon Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • Pinch Kosher salt

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Place a large piece of foil on top of a sheet pan. Toss chard and chickpeas with vinegar, olive oil, capers, garlic, and salt. Spread out on one half of the sheet pan.
  • Top chard and chickpeas with salmon. Season salmon with some salt and pepper and top with the lemon slices.
  • Enclose salmon and seal foil tightly. (Note: You may have to really compress the chard to fit inside the foil packet. It will seem like a lot, but will cook way down.)
  • Transfer sheet pan with salmon to oven and cook until salmon flakes easily with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. (This will vary a bit depending on the thickness of your salmon. The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork and registers between 125˚F and 145˚F in the thickest part. See note for tips on the ideal temperature for baked salmon.)
  • While salmon cooks, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, honey, and a pinch of salt.
  • Serve creamy lemon sauce over salmon and greens. Enjoy!

Notes

How to tell when the salmon is done – The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145°F. This yields well-done salmon. However, salmon will continue cooking in the residual heat of the pan when you are done, so you can remove it from the oven when it is between 125˚F and 135˚F and leave it in the foil packet so that it gently continues heating through. If the salmon flakes easily with a fork, this is also a great indication that it is done cooking.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 672mg | Potassium: 1116mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3022IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $12.00
Calories: 316
Keyword: easy dinner, foil-packet, seafood, sheet pan meal
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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