How Long To Grill Fish In Foil: A Complete Guide

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Grilling fish in foil is a popular and delicious way to cook seafood. It helps to retain the moisture and flavors of the fish while also preventing it from sticking to the grill. However, getting the cooking time just right can be a challenge. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how long to grill fish in foil, ensuring that you achieve perfectly cooked fish every time.

Factors Affecting Cooking Time

The cooking time for grilling fish in foil can vary depending on several factors. The thickness and type of fish, the temperature of the grill, and personal preferences for doneness all play a role. It is essential to consider these factors to achieve the desired results.

1. Thickness of the Fish

The thickness of the fish fillet is a crucial factor in determining the cooking time. Thicker fillets will require more time on the grill, while thinner ones will cook faster. As a general rule of thumb, for every inch of thickness, you should grill the fish for about 10 minutes.

2. Type of Fish

Different types of fish have different textures and densities, which can affect the cooking time. For example, dense fish like salmon or halibut will require more time to cook compared to delicate fish like tilapia or trout. It is important to consider the type of fish you are grilling and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

3. Grill Temperature

The temperature of the grill also plays a significant role in the cooking time. Preheating the grill to medium-high heat is generally recommended for grilling fish in foil. This temperature ensures that the fish cooks evenly and prevents it from drying out. However, you can adjust the heat based on your grill’s specific settings and the thickness of the fish.

Recommended Cooking Times

Here are some recommended cooking times for grilling fish in foil:

1. Thin Fish Fillets (1/2 inch or less)

If you are grilling thin fish fillets, such as tilapia or trout, you will need to cook them for about 4-6 minutes per side. Make sure to check for doneness by gently inserting a fork into the thickest part of the fillet. The fish should be opaque and easily flake with a fork when it is fully cooked.

2. Medium-Thick Fish Fillets (1/2 to 1 inch)

For medium-thick fish fillets like snapper or sea bass, grill them for about 6-8 minutes per side. Again, use a fork to check for doneness. The fish should be opaque and flake easily when fully cooked.

3. Thick Fish Fillets (1 inch or more)

Thicker fish fillets, such as salmon or halibut, will require a longer cooking time. Grill them for about 8-10 minutes per side. As always, check for doneness by inserting a fork into the thickest part of the fillet. The fish should be opaque and flake easily when fully cooked.

Tips for Grilling Fish in Foil

To ensure the best results when grilling fish in foil, consider the following tips:

1. Properly Prepare the Foil

Before placing the fish on the foil, make sure to brush it with some oil or cooking spray to prevent sticking. You can also add some herbs, spices, or citrus slices to enhance the flavor.

2. Use a Meat Thermometer

Investing in a meat thermometer can be beneficial when grilling fish. It will help you determine the internal temperature of the fish and ensure that it reaches the recommended safe temperature of 145°F (63°C).

3. Avoid Overcooking

Overcooking fish can result in dry and rubbery textures. Keep a close eye on the fish while grilling and remove it from the heat as soon as it reaches the desired doneness. Remember that the fish will continue to cook for a few minutes even after it is removed from the grill.


Grilling fish in foil is a simple and delicious way to enjoy seafood. By considering the factors that affect cooking time and following the recommended guidelines, you can achieve perfectly grilled fish every time. Experiment with different types of fish, seasonings, and cooking times to find your favorite combination, and enjoy the mouthwatering results!