Salmon in Foil is a perfect dish for a busy weeknight meal! Light yet flavorful and delicious, this recipe is quick and simple to make, taking no more than 20 minutes from start to finish.
Salmon in Foil, or SHA-ke no Hoiru Yaki (鮭のフォイル焼き) in Japan, is a fast, simple and delicious dish. You can make the entire recipe in 20 minutes. I grew up eating this dish as my mom had various versions of “salmon in foil” that she prepared when she was short on time.
Watch How To Make Salmon in Foil
Salmon in Foil wins every aspect for a busy weeknight meal: easy and simple to make, takes no more than 20 mins, light yet flavorful and DELICIOUS!
3 Benefits of Cooking Salmon in Foil
1. Moist and tender salmon
First things first, no one likes dry salmon. Cooking the salmon in foil is all about keeping the moisture and the tenderness trapped inside. Covering the salmon in foil, and cooking on low heat, also ensures the proper steaming process, which keeps all the delicious juice locked in resulting in a lush and delicate salmon!
2. Versatile recipe
I am hesitant to call today’s recipe “my” recipe as thousands of people make very similar dishes. I wanted to keep today’s recipe as simple as possible to give you recipe ideas for busy nights. I highly recommend testing and swapping ingredients and seasonings with the same cooking method. I included some of my suggestions below. However, I personally love this particular recipe as you can taste the ingredients (salmon, mushrooms, veggies) themselves without overpowering the flavor with seasonings. This is the essence of Japanese cooking.
3. Quick Cook and Easy Clean Up
There is no pre-heating required (as opposed to oven method), and you can literary cook the salmon in 12 minutes. FAST! If you can wrap up all the ingredients in foil in 8 minutes, this is a 20-minute meal!!
As the whole meal is wrapped in aluminum foil, it’s the pretty easy cleanup after the delightful meal. Since there is no oil or sauce, you don’t have to clean the stove or the frying pan!
Variations for Salmon in Foil
If you have tried this recipe and want to test some variations, here are some suggestions for your next salmon in the foil dish.
- Enoki mushrooms
- King oyster mushrooms
- Green leafy vegetables (cut vegetables into julienned strips so they will cook fast)
- Butter + Lemon
- Butter + Garlic
- Butter + Shio koji
- Butter + Soy sauce
- Butter + Miso
- Butter + Ponzu
- Mayo + Miso
- Mayo + Soy sauce
- Miso + Mirin
- If using salty seasonings, add in sugar, mirin, etc.
My favorite way to enjoy this dish is to drizzle on Homemade Ponzu.
Do We Add Water in the Frying Pan?
I thought some of you may wonder about this – don’t we need to add water to steam? The answer is no; the salmon will be steamed inside the foil, so water is not necessary for steaming. The majority of Japanese “Salmon in Foil” recipes do not require any water to cook the salmon in foil.
But how about the frying pan? Will it be damaged by the heat? My pan has never damaged by this cooking method. If you are worried, you can add water but you need to cook an extra 2 minutes or longer. The water in the pan distributes gentle heat so it requires more time for the onion to cook through.
With layers of textures and flavors, this salmon in foil is predictably foolproof, every single time. Serve with steamed rice and miso soup, and maybe a side of salad if you have extra time. With this recipe in your back pocket, you will have more reasons to cook up healthy meals for yourself and your loved ones.
If you are interested in other easy meal ideas, check out Weeknight Meal Ideas: 15 Easy Japanese Recipes.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
- 2 fillets salmon (roughly 8.5 oz / 240 g)
- salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ onion
- 2 inch carrot (5 cm)
- ½ shimeji mushrooms (1.8 oz / 50 g)
- 2 shiitake mushrooms
- 2 strands chives
- 1 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter (divided)
- 1 Tbsp sake (divided)
- 2 Tbsp ponzu or soy sauce (for drizzling) (See Notes for homemade recipe)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Sprinkle kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides of the salmon fillet.
- Thinly slice the onion and cut the carrot into julienne strips.
- Cut off the bottom of the shimeji mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms. Break up shimeji mushrooms with your hands and thinly slice shiitake mushrooms.
- Cut the chives into small pieces.
- Prepare two 12” x 12” (30 x 30 cm) sheets of aluminum foil. Thinly spread the butter in the center on both sheets.
- Place half of the onion slices and put the salmon on top, skin side down.
- Put two kinds of mushrooms and then carrot julienne strips on top of the salmon.
- Add ½ Tbsp sake and ½ Tbsp butter on top.
- Bring the top and bottom aluminum foil over the salmon and fold a few times. Then bring the sides together and fold few times to make sure the foil is tightly closed and there is no opening. Repeat the same process for the second salmon.
Place the two sets of salmon in foil on a frying pan and cover with a lid (no need to add water). Cook the salmon over medium heat for 2 minutes, then medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can bake at preheated 400 ºF (200 ºC) oven for 12-15 minutes.
Carefully open the aluminum foil to enjoy the salmon, sprinkle chives and drizzle ponzu or soy sauce on top. Enjoy!
Ponzu: For the homemade recipe, please click here.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.