Salmon Packets with Lemon Butter

Salmon Packets with Lemon ButterI’m not a fan of salmon. It’s okay I guess. But I am a fan of really easy recipes that make almost no dishes dirty! So I just had to try these salmon pouch thingies, as pinned here. maybe this would be the recipe to change my mind about salmon!

I originally saw them pinned by Paula Hall, and I would tell you where the idea came from, but all that was pinned was a picture.

It’s not Paula’s fault, since she pinned from Alicia Black and Alicia probably pinned from someone else, but as a PSA today, I’d like to say this: when pinning, please avoid pinning images directly from Google Image Search and other such sources. Pin from the original creator, like the blog, Etsy, etc. Otherwise, you aren’t showing them any pin love at all, and your followers can’t go back to the original source to find more cool stuff from the same person. Be a polite pinner!

Okay, PSA over, on to the recipe, which was definitely easy and yummy! Luckily, this one was easy enough to figure out from the description, even without the original source recipe.

Gather your ingredients – this one is easy. There are only four: salmon, lemons, butter, and sea salt. I like the grinder kind, but any sea salt will do, and if you don’t have that in the house, just use regular salt and call it a day.

I go for unsalted butter. That’s what I always buy. Most recipes call for it, and if you really need salted butter instead, you can just add 1/4 tsp per unsalted stick to achieve the same results. Being able to control the sodium level is always good, especially if you’re on a diet. Why? Take a look at any low fat health foods or frozen “healthy” meals you have in the house. Most are LOADED with sodium because that’s how they get their flavor sans fat.

Okay, sodium rant over. The key take-away here is that you should buy unsalted butter.

Start by slicing your lemons. You will need about two per piece of fish.

As you’re slicing, save the little nubby ends to squeeze on your hands when you’re done. If there is any fishy smell, the lemon juice will get rid of it better than just washing your hands with soap and water. This tip is courtesy of my roommate Leighann. She used to work in a fish market, so she knows what’s up.

Next, it’s time to assemble the packets. Make a bed of lemons on a piece of tin foil, add fish (skin side down), sprinkle with sea salt, and slice small pieces of butter over the whole thing. I used about 1/2 a stick per packet. It should look something like this:

Yep, I added more butter than is shown in the pin. This is why I buy unsalted butter – because technically that makes it healthy butter, and how can adding more of a healthy thing be bad for you? You should thank me for adding more butter and making this dish healthier.

My logic might be slightly warped. This is a judgement free zone.

Wrap up your packets, put them on a cookie sheet to catch any butter seepage, and stick the packets in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes.

So here’s what’s up: The description on this pin said to back at 300 degrees for 25 minutes. That just didn’t seem like enough to me, and when I pulled them out, they were clearly not done. Undercooked salmon is not a good idea. So I cranked the over to 350 and put them back in for another 30 minutes.

The cuts of fish I used were a little on the thick side and I started at 300 instead of 350, so if you have a normal cut of fish, doing 35 minutes at 350 should get you there.  If you have thicker fish, you’ll probably need more like 45 – 50 minutes.

Here’s what they look like right out of the oven:

See all the white goo stuff (albumin)? That’s what happens to salmon when it is done. If you still see raw-ish looking orange and no albumin at all, they need more time.

Note: the more you cook, the more albumin you’ll see, so if your fish is overdone there will be a ton. Better quality fish usually means you’ll see more albumin. It doesn’t look the prettiest, but it is totally edible and is actually protein, not fat, even though it looks kind of like fat.

We were starving that night, and after waiting and waiting and waiting for the salmon to be done…meh. I’m just not a salmon girl. The buttery lemon sauce that oozed in the packets was yummy and the fish was really moist, but I think I’m going to try this again with a different kind of fish that I like more than salmon. It’s a personal preference though; if you like salmon, you will probably like this recipe!

A great observation we made at dinner was that this is a fantastic camping or tailgating recipe. There’s very little prep, you can toss them on the grill or fire, and you don’t even really need a plate.

Clean up was a snap. As long as you’re careful to not get butter everywhere, just roll up the foil and toss it when you’re done.

A special thanks goes out to Leighann and her boyfriend William for being Pinter-Taste-Testers this week! Here they are enjoying the salmon dinner:

Want to try this recipe yourself? Here’s the printable:

Salmon Packets with Lemon Butter
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 4 salmon filets
  • 8 lemons
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • sea salt
  1. Tear tin foil into squares large enough to create packets for the fish.
  2. Slice lemons and create beds on the tin foil squares. Use about two lemons per packet.
  3. Add fish to the packets.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  5. Cut butter into slices and place on top of fish. Use about ½ stick per packet.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (longer for thicker cuts). Alternatively, add packets to grill or campfire.


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Allison is one of the co-founders here at The PinterTest Kitchen. She also works as a content marketing consultant and freelance writer - find out more at

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