Weeknight dinner-making just got easier. Our simple, mess-free technique for cooking in packets keeps seafood, meat and vegetables tender and juicy. The best part? Fewer dishes!

Joy Howard
May 08, 2018
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Grilling season has arrived, and we've got a game plan that makes quick (and clean!) work out of cooking with fire even on a weeknight. In just a few simple steps, and with minimal cooking equipment, you can get dinner from the grill to your table in less than 30 minutes. What's the secret? Making grill packets-bundles of your favorite proteins, blended with fresh veggies, herbs and spices, wrapped in foil and ready to cook. It's the perfect recipe for an effortless warm-weather meal-and a great way to use up all those garden veggies.

How to Make Foil-Packet Meals on the Grill

All you do is place your ingredients onto a piece of foil, fold it up and cook it on the grill. As the food heats up, it creates steam, which gently cooks your food, making it juicy and tender. Follow our foolproof steps to get started.

All you do is place your ingredients onto a piece of foil, fold it up and cook it on the grill. As the food heats up, it creates steam, which gently cooks your food, making it juicy and tender. Follow our foolproof steps to get started.

1. Pick Your Protein

Nearly any protein can serve as a starting point for a delicious packet meal. To encourage even cooking, opt for something that can be cut into bite-size pieces like boneless, skinless chicken breast, sirloin tips or smoked sausage. Fish and seafood also make a tasty option. Plan on 2 to 4 ounces of protein per person to create a balanced meal. Try:

  • Chicken breast
  • Sirloin tips
  • Sausage
  • Smoked sausage
  • Fish (salmon, tuna, halibut, cod, tilapia)
  • Shrimp

2. Add Veggies

The direct heat of a grill fired to medium-high heat can cook most veggies in 20 minutes or less-even hearty ones like potatoes or carrots-so pick your family's favorites. This is a great way to use up vegetables you have in the produce drawer or whatever you have growing in the garden. You can maximize nutrients by choosing a blend of fresh veggies that are in season. Just like the proteins, larger vegetables should be cut into ½- to 1-inch cubes. A generous 1 1/2 cups raw chopped vegetables for each eater will provide a healthy portion. Try:

  • Asparagus
  • Baby potatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccolini
  • Cabbage
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Green beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Potatoes
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Summer squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Zucchini

3. Finish with Your Favorite Flavors

Enhance the flavors of your other ingredients by adding a large sliced onion and 1 or 2 minced garlic cloves for every 6 servings. From there, you can customize the packets by adding spices, fresh herbs, vinegars or other condiments. Try:

  • Cajun seasoning
  • Caraway seeds
  • Chili powder
  • Crumbled blue cheese
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Red-wine vinegar

4. Wrap It Up

Once all the ingredients are prepped, stir them together in a large bowl with a bit of olive oil, then divide the mixture evenly among large sheets of heavy-duty foil that have been coated with cooking spray. Delicate proteins like shrimp should be placed on top of the veggies before wrapping. To close each packet, gather the long edges of the foil and crimp, then fold up the ends.

5. Grill It

Depending on your protein, you'll want to fire up the grill to medium-high or high heat. For seafood packets, grill for 10 to 12 minutes on one side, or until cooked through. For all other proteins, grill 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve right away and use caution when opening. Very hot steam will escape each packet when torn apart.

More Easy Dinners on the Grill:

Need some help figuring out dinner? Thankfully we have this nifty tool that does the work for you! All you do is select a few ingredients you want to use in your meal, click, "Search Recipe", and a bunch of dinner recipes that use those items pop up. Select the one you want to make and you'll have dinner on the table in no time!