How to Grill with Foil Packets

If you're only cooking foil packets around the campfire, you're missing out! These simple grill foil packets make the ultimate quick-and-easy dinner plan.

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Whether you’re feeding a crowd at a backyard barbecue or rushing to put a homemade dinner on the table after work, you can’t go wrong when you grill foil packets. They’re super simple to put together, and they cook without dirtying up the kitchen. As a bonus, you can make almost anything in a foil packet that you would cook in the oven or on the stovetop, from filling sausage and potato packets to ones filled with seafood, chicken, beef or vegetables. Once you start exploring the possibilities, you may never go back to regular cooking!

Benefits of Foil Packet Grilling

Foil packets are used as easy camping meals, but there are so many reasons to grill them at home, too. For starters, clean-up couldn’t be easier. There are no pots and pans to scrub, and you don’t even need to use a plate if you don’t want to: Serve the packets directly from the foil. If you’re cooking the packets outside on the grill, you won’t heat up the house by turning on the oven, either.

If you needed any more convincing, foil packets are also the ultimate prep-ahead meal. Pack them full, seal ’em up and stack the packets in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook. Easy, peasy!

How to Make a Foil Packet for Grilling

To create a foil packet, tear off several 12-inch pieces of aluminum foil. You’ll want to use two sheets per packet to protect the food from the direct heat of the grill, ensuring it will all cook evenly. Place the ingredients in the center of the foil and tightly seal the packet to trap the steam inside.

Our go-to method for sealing these packets is to bring the long sides of the foil sheet together over the center. Crease the sides together and tightly fold downwards to create a 1-inch fold. Continue to fold downwards until the foil lies flat against the packet’s top. Then, use the same folding method to bring the short sides inward.

When all the packets are sealed, preheat the grill or the oven for medium to medium-high heat, about 400 to 425°F. Add the packets and cook away!

Tips for Foil Packet Grilling

Grilling foil packets is easy, but you’ll have a better time if you follow a few expert tips.

  • Invest in heavy-duty foil. The lightweight stuff will tear, creating a frustrating cooking experience. Stock up on Reynolds wrap ($5) for your summer grill prep.
  • Use enough foil. Prepare more than enough foil to completely cover the food. For larger packets, this could be as large as a 12 by 18-inch piece of foil.
  • Enure the fillings will cook evenly. Everything cooks together in a foil pack, so you’ll want to follow the same rules as sheet pan dinners. Cut the veggies into same-sized pieces, and don’t try to pack long-cooking potatoes together with quick-cooking shrimp.
  • Make sure you have enough moisture. It’s important to trap the steam inside to keep the ingredients from drying out, and you need moisture to create steam. For most recipes, adding high-moisture vegetables like zucchini is enough to get you there, while others use condiments like salsa or tomato sauce. If you’re cooking grains inside the packet, you’ll want to add some water or broth to the mix.
  • Be careful when opening the packet. All that trapped steam is super hot, and it can definitely burn your hands. Use grilling gloves ($20) to open the packet, or poke a small hole in the packet before attempting to open it fully.

Perfect Foil Packet Recipes for the Grill

Taste of Home

Lemon-Dill Salmon Packets

This salmon recipe couldn’t be easier. Simply spread some softened butter onto the center of an aluminum foil square, add a salmon fillet and season it with salt and pepper. Toss in some sliced onion, dill sprigs, basil and a lemon slice before sealing it up. When the salmon flakes easily with a fork, about eight to ten minutes, dinner is served.

Taste of Home

Foil-Packet Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

These packets contain all the flavor of an authentic jambalaya with a fraction of the fuss. Toss together 1/2-inch slices of andouille sausage, peeled and deveined shrimp, chopped onion, green pepper, celery, garlic and diced tomatoes. Add your favorite Creole seasoning, a cup of instant rice, a can of tomato sauce and a little bit of chicken stock. After about 20 minutes, the rice should be cooked through, and the shrimp will be bright pink.

Taste of Home

Sizzling Tex-Mex Fajitas

Who says you need cast iron to make fajitas? Instead, throw all your fajita ingredients on the grill and say goodbye to scrubbing pans! Start by wrapping some sliced onions and bell peppers in foil with a little oil and seasonings. Then, toss the packet on the grill alongside a marinated steak, and the veggies will be tender by the time the steak is cooked.

Taste of Home

Chicken Ole Foil Supper

This foil packet contains everything you need for a filling meal: seasoned chicken, black beans, corn and salsa. Just combine all the ingredients and cook the packets for about 20 minutes, until the chicken reaches 165°F. After you let the steam escape, add some melty cheese and crunchy green onions to finish this dish.

Check out more of our favorite wrap-and-cook foil packet recipes.

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Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay is a professional chef, recipe developer, writer and developmental editor. After years of working in restaurant kitchens, she turned to writing to share her skills and experience with home cooks and food enthusiasts. She's passionate about using local, organic ingredients and teaching others how to incorporate seasonal food into their diet. Lindsay still cooks professionally for pop-up events, writes for several publications and is the co-author of two books about Ayurveda.