Parchment Paper Fish Packets
It may sound fancy, but parchment paper baking is a super easy method to prepare fish. Everyone in the family can add their favorite toppings (or leave them off). Toss the packets on a sheet pan, throw them in a hot oven and a few minutes later, dinner is done.
Cooking fish in an airtight paper pouch is not only easy, but fast and healthy. Parchment paper fish packets are traditionally known as fish “en papillote,” a French term for the technique. If you can’t find parchment cooking bags, you can use parchment paper sheets wrapped over the fish and tightly cinched closed.
You can use any type of fish in this recipe. My kids prefer this with white fish, like halibut or wild cod. The fish in these photos is Arctic char (a cold water fish that’s delicious!).
As far as toppings, get creative! Just make sure they’re quick cooking because the fish is done is a flash. Here are a few ideas:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Haricot vert (slightly thinner and more tender than green beans)
- Fresh herbs (chives, basil, parsley, mint, etc)
- Finely chopped shallot, garlic or scallions
- Pesto or romesco
- Good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- Lemon slices or lemon juice
- A splash of white wine
- Capers or pitted olives
Can you cook frozen fish in parchment?
I wouldn’t. There’s more moisture in frozen fish and it would be best to let the fish defrost and rest before cooking. If you’re using frozen fish, such as Fish Fixe (use code SITK for $10 off your first order) or wild frozen fish from Costco or Trader Joe’s, transfer to the refrigerator the night before you plan to cook it.
Can I use brown paper bags instead of parchment paper?
Don’t substitute a paper bag. Parchment is made for cooking at high heat in the oven. A paper bag might catch on fire. And we don’t want that!
How do you know when the fish is done?
Use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature of the fish, it should register 143-145 degrees. You can insert the thermometer through the parchment paper, just make sure it’s in the middle of the filet (and not touching the sheet pan). Or carefully tear open the parchment to take the temperature, but be careful because the steam that’s released is very hot.
Looking for more seafood recipes?
Parchment Paper Fish Packets
- 6 ounces haricot vert
- Fresh herbs: Basil, thyme, chives or parsley
- 4 (4-ounce) fish filets (snapper, flounder, cod, grouper, halibut, swordfish, salmon, Artic char)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, sliced or quartered
- Preheat oven to 400°. Divide the first 3 ingredients among 4 (17-inch) squares of parchment paper. Top each with 1 fish fillet. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper; drizzle with olive oil and squeeze lemon on top.
- Bring parchment paper sides up over the mixture; double fold the top and sides to seal, making packets. Place packets on a baking sheet.
- Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 143° to 145° when inserted through the paper into fish.
- When finished, remove from oven and place each packet on a plate; cut open. Sprinkle fish with additional fresh herbs and lemon juice, if desired. Serve immediately.
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