Grilled trout in foil is the best way to cook these fish fillets especially when the weather is nice. Each trout filet is tender, flaky, full of flavor that is subtle, and slightly nutty, but not overly fishy like other varieties. The best part is that it’s ready in 20 minutes, making it a quick, healthy, and easy meal.
You can use this trout recipe on a charcoal grill or gas grill and even leave the entire fish whole. Our personal preference is to cook just the filets in a closed packet so it stays nice and juicy. Even though salmon is a fan favorite and normally takes the fish spotlight, trout also has a mild flavor and is a good source of omega-3.
Don’t let the season go by without making grilled shrimp skewers or grilled pizza. Both are easy meals that go great with most summer side dishes. Serve any of these with a side of blueberry caprese salad, creamy grape salad, or Chinese buffet green beans.
What do I Need for this Recipe?
- rainbow trout – debone, clean the fish, and butterfly before starting.
- Olive oil – some like to use vegetable oil instead.
- unsalted butter – by using unsalted you can control the salt content easily.
- sea salt and coarse black pepper – if you grill the fish directly, it will add a nice little crisp, plus they add flavor.
- garlic – you can also use garlic powder in place of the minced garlic.
- fresh lemon juice – brings out the flavor of the fish.
- lemon zest – be careful when zesting. Do not zest past the white part or it will make the fish bitter.
Garnish grilled trout with fresh dill, thyme, or tarragon. We also like to place lemon slices (grilled) on top just before serving. Drizzle with lemon juice and homemade garlic butter sauce.
Heavy-duty aluminum foil – this makes foil packets easy to handle without puncturing and leaking.
Variations and Substitutions:
- Whole fish – before eating, use a sharp knife to remove the scales if you plan on eating the fish skin.
- Grilling without foil – you can also make this recipe and grill the fish directly on the grill. Use cooking spray so it doesn’t stick to the grates. After flipping the trout, finish cooking over indirect heat.
- Different kinds of fish – use the same ingredients in this foil recipe to make salmon, tuna steaks, or swordfish on the grill.
- Baking – build the trout packets, then place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
PREP: Heat the grill to high heat. If using a charcoal grill, you want there to be hot coals before placing the trout packets on. Rinse each trout fillet in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Step 1: Lay out a double thickness of heavy-duty foil onto your work surface. Drizzle the cooking oil on top, then add the fresh trout.
Step 2: Add a little more oil to the inside of the filet.
Step 3: Combine the melted butter, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and thyme sprigs in a small bowl and whisk. Brush the seasoning mixture over the trout.
Step 4: Place the lemon slices on top and fold the sides of the foil to close to make a packet.
Step 5: Cook the packet over high heat, then flip after 3-4 minutes. Continue grilling for another 3 minutes.
Pro Tip: Either open the packet or keep it closed until it’s finished cooking. The trout is done once the fish flakes and is opaque in color. You can flip the trout so the flesh side is down on the grill grate to get the grill lines.
GARNISH: Top with grilled lemon slices and fresh herbs before serving.
- Cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of the fish.
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the fish is 145 degrees before serving. If you leave it wrapped in a sheet of foil before serving, it will continue cooking.
- If you are purchasing your trout from the grocery store, be sure it’s fresh.
- Most of the time, stores will debone and clean the fish for you.
Did you know that when it’s time for rainbow trout to spawn, they will return to the area they were born?
Even though both are from the family, steelhead stays in salt water until they return back to rivers to breed. Rainbow trout are primarily freshwater fish and are smaller than their counterpart. Taste-wise, steelhead resembles salmon, while Rainbow is mild and nutty.
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the oven or air fryer.
We love throwing veggies on the grill along with the trout. For hot summer days when we’re trying to keep out of the kitchen, we typically mix up a big pasta salad for the side – like our Amish macaroni salad, Amish potato salad, or a caesar pasta salad.
- 2-3 pound rainbow trout boned and cleaned (butterflied)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Several slices of lemon optional
- Several sprigs of fresh thyme or your favorite fresh herbs – dill or tarragon also go nicely
- Heat the grill to high heat.
- Meanwhile, rinse trout and pat dry. Place a few sheets of aluminum foil on your work surface and drizzle a bit of olive oil on the foil, then place the trout on top.
- Open up the trout and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Use your fingers or a pastry brush to spread evenly over the flesh.
- In a small bowl, combine melted butter, salt, pepper, minced garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and the leaves of two sprigs of thyme.
- Spread the seasoning mixture over the trout.
- Place a few slices of lemon over one side of the trout and fold close. Wrap the trout loosely with the foil to make a packet.
- Cook the foil packet over high heat on the grill, flipping after 3-4 minutes. Cook for another 3 minutes.
- You can finish cooking the trout within the foil packet; cook until the flesh is opaque and flakes apart easily with a fork. Alternately, open up the foil packet and fold open the trout. Carefully flip the trout, flesh side down, on the hot grill for 1-2 final minutes to create a little browning and some pretty grill lines.
- Serve trout immediately with grilled lemon slices and fresh herbs for a beautiful presentation.
You can also use this recipe, create the foil packets, and then place them on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven. Cook for 10-12 minutes in a 400°F oven.