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.
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
Pictured Recipe: Cabbage & Smoked Sausage Grill Packets with Caraway
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
- Smoked sausage
- Fish (salmon, tuna, halibut, cod, tilapia)
2. Add Veggies
Pictured Recipe: Cajun Shrimp Grill Packets with Tomatoes & Okra
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:
- Baby potatoes
- Bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Green beans
- Sugar snap peas
- Summer squash
- Sweet potatoes
3. Finish with Your Favorite Flavors
Pictured Recipe: Chicken & Sweet Potato Grill Packets with Peppers & Onions
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
- 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
Pictured Recipe: Steak & Potato Grill Packets with Blue Cheese & Rosemary
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.