Salmon En Papillote with Vegetables

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Salmon fillets placed on a bed of vegetables, wrapped in a parchment paper pouch (en papillote) and baked in the oven. The fish is also topped with basil compound butter for extra flavor!

Salmon En Papillote with Vegetables

I was noodling around in the kitchen looking for a dinner idea that could be made within 30 minutes. So I dug deep into those foggy memory banks from my time in culinary school and had an Aha! moment. Have you ever tried to make salmon en papillote? It’s the French way of saying “in parchment,” but it sounds more impressive and romantic in the language of love.

This recipe is easy to make. The paper pouch steams the salmon and vegetables for a healthy and flavorful meal. It sounds like a wish I would make with a magical genie! We’re all strapped for time during the week, but this delicious meal can fit right into your weekday dinner rotation.
Salmon fillet with herb compound butter and asparagus

How to cook salmon en papillote

The en papillote method was one of the first techniques I learned during culinary school. We made snazzy paper pouches that enclosed fresh vegetables, aromatics, and protein such as fish or chicken. Man, if only I knew of this technique in college, it would have made my purchases from Food4Less much more enjoyable!

Parchment Paper

Cut into the shape of a heart (aww how cute). Tear off a large piece of parchment from the roll, fold it in half, then cut a half heart shape like you would in elementary school. Add the filling on one side of the folded heart, then fold the paper over and tightly crimp the edges, they should look like paper empanadas.

The process of sealing the parchment paper with salmon inside

Pouch Ingredients

You can use any type of fish like salmon, snapper, tilapia or mahi-mahi. A 4 to 6-ounce fillet works well. I’ve tried baking an 8-ounce piece, and the vegetables cooked much sooner, and the salmon needed more time.

Select a bed of vegetables that cook relatively fast, like asparagus, trimmed green beans, thinly sliced zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, shallots, garlic or onions. I like to add some compound butter, typically a mixture of salt, pepper, herbs, lemon zest, anything you like to add some richness and extra flavor as it cooks.

Baking Sheet Pan

A half sheet size fits two wrapped pouches. Try to get a thick sheet pan because the salmon will roast under very high temperatures of 450F.

How long do you cook salmon en papillote?

It only takes 8 to 10 minutes for the pouch to puff up with steam and the paper to turn brown from the heat.

What salmon en papillote looks like before and after baking

Salmon is my preferred fish to eat because it’s packed full of nutrients like omega 3-fatty acids for brain and heart health, has a flaky flesh and cooks very quickly. For this salmon en papillote recipe, I added sliced onions, shredded carrots, and asparagus to the pouch.

You can add other tasty vegetables like bell pepper, fennel, zucchini or Bok choy, however just make sure they are sliced thin, so they are tender once the fish is finished cooking. No root vegetables like potatoes or sweet potatoes, unless you slice them very thin!

The melted compound butter seasons the fish and vegetables

Compound butter

I made a simple herb compound butter with basil, parsley, and lemon peel to melt on top. The salmon is ready when the flesh easily flakes off but is not dried out. I like to use filets that have the skin removed, so the entire piece cooks evenly. The herbs, butter, and juices from the fish seasons the bed of vegetables making the whole meal delicious.

Serve the salmon en papillote with a lemon wedge and squeeze the juice right on top, and you are ready to devour your dinner. That’s not even the best part. There is very little clean up because you can eat directly from the pouch and you don’t need any pots or pans to cook the vegetables, hooray!

How does the En Papillote method work?

No need to babysit each ingredient while it cooks. With this method all you have to do is prep the veggies, add the salmon, seasonings, and basil compound butter to the paper pouch. Once the edges are sealed, the paper pouch bakes at high temperatures of 450°F. The key is the high oven temperatures. Moisture is released from the salmon and vegetables as they cook and the liquid turns to steam at constant high temperatures above 212°F. Because the steam is trapped in the pouch and pressure cannot easily be released, the hot air quickly cooks the protein and vegetables. When the paper puffs up and expands after 8 to 10 minutes, that means steam has built up from the moisture and has cooked the food inside.

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Salmon En Papillote with Vegetables

Fresh, fast and easy salmon en papillote with vegetable recipe. Fillets are cooked on a bed of asparagus, carrots and onions with basil compound butter for a flavorful meal!
4.76 from 50 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 2
Course Entree
Cuisine French


Basil Compound Butter

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon peel, freshly grated
  • 2 teaspoons basil, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped fresh

Salmon and Vegetables

  • 2 pieces parchment paper, 18x15 inches
  • 12 ounces salmon fillets, two 6-oz pieces, skin removed
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed to 6 inches, about 18 spears
  • 1 teaspoons lemon peel, freshly grated
  • 2 teaspoons green onions, thinly sliced
  • kosher salt, to season
  • black pepper, to season
  • vegetable oil, to brush on parchment paper
  • 2 lemon wedges


Basil Compound Butter

  • In a small bowl, stir together softened butter, salt, lemon peel, basil, and parsley. Transfer to a piece of plastic wrap, twist tightly to create a small butter log. Allow it to freeze until hardened. Once frozen, slice into 4 portions.

Salmon and Vegetables

  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Cut two 18 x 15-inch pieces of parchment paper. Fold the long side in half and cut into a heart-shape. The parchment paper should be large enough to contain one portion of fish and vegetables folded in half. Brush each piece of parchment paper with vegetable oil.
  • Toss the sliced onions and shredded carrots together in a small bowl. Evenly portion the asparagus spears on half of each piece of oiled parchment papers. Place 1 cup of the onion and carrot mixture on top of the asparagus. Place one portion of salmon on each portion of vegetables, season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Top each portion of fish with sliced garlic, ½ teaspoon of lemon peel, and 1 teaspoon sliced green onions. Add 1 tablespoon of the basil compound butter on top of the fish.
  • Fold the other half of the parchment paper over the fish and vegetables. Starting at one corner, tightly crimp the edges of the paper to seal it tightly.
  • Place the pouches (papillote) on a sheet pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. When baked, the parchment paper should puff up and brown slightly.
  • Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Transfer the envelope to a plate. Carefully cut open and served with a lemon wedge.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 2
Calories 363kcal (18%)Carbohydrates 20g (7%)Protein 39g (78%)Fat 15g (23%)Saturated Fat 8g (40%)Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat 0.04gCholesterol 116mg (39%)Sodium 313mg (13%)Potassium 589mg (17%)Fiber 6g (24%)Sugar 9g (10%)Vitamin A 12200IU (244%)Vitamin C 24.8mg (30%)Calcium 70mg (7%)Iron 3.1mg (17%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Reader Interactions

32 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Anthony says

    I prepared the dish according to your recipe and it was superb. It was so delicious that my finicky gf ate her whole portion and that’s a testimony you can trust. We look forward to having it again, soon. BTW, I didn’t use skinless salmon and cooked it a few minutes longer.

  2. Erin says

    Thanks for the recipe and the technique! I made it tonight and it was delicious, and so easy for a first-timer en papillote 🙂

  3. Maria Sonntag says

    So amazing! My in-laws love salmon and they were quite impressed! I used regular green beans instead of asparagus, because it is past the season. I could not find haricot vert or I would have used those. I briefly sauteed the green beans, onion and red bell pepper in white wine and a little chicken stock, so it would all cook evenly with the salmon in 10 minutes.
    My folding skills are not that good, so only one of the four packages really looked like yours (I need to practice), but other than that it was great, thanks for this recipe!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I’m so happy that your family enjoyed the recipe Maria! The substitution of green beans instead of asparagus sounds divine. Don’t worry about the folding, I know you’ll nail it next time 🙂

  4. Sharron says

    So good! Will absolutely make this again. I had three to cook for and one of the salmon fillets was probably 10 oz. I cooked for 15 minutes and it came out great! These were thick slices ????????

  5. Donna says

    Hi! Since your butter recipe makes 4 Tbls of butter and your instructions say to use 1 Tbls per packet. Will I have 2 Tbls of the butter mixture left over? Thank you for your reply ????

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Donna- Great question! Yes, you will have extra 2 tablespoons to use. You can add more to the fish after cooking, or keep in frozen to add later to any dish you would like 🙂

  6. Kay Wakeham says

    This is an incredible recipe. I made it last night and it was the best salmon I have ever had. I used shallots instead of onions. What an easy way to prepare a meal.

  7. Deirdre says

    Absolutely loved preparing this dish and was so tasty and very little effort required??. The pics are amazing???

  8. Adele Wyatt says

    Prepared this recipe today. Was unsure how to crimp parchment paper. Any suggestions?
    Mine required cooking for 20 mins.
    We did truly enjoyed the dish.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Adele- I make pleats and then twist the end and fold it under. Cooking times will vary with the size of the salmon, I’ve definitely cooked larger or thicker pieces that needed more time. Thanks for making the recipe!

  9. Kay Wakeham says

    I love this meal. It is so satisfying and easy to make as well as to clean up after. I was so excited to actually find Alaskan King Salmon at my grocery store today. It is my favorite. I can’t wait to taste it in this recipe. Thanks Jessica for always delivering a winning meal!

  10. susyqstyles says

    I made this dish last night; however, I used grouper instead. It was SO delish! Also, I wasn’t able to make the herb butter prior, but added before baking. Turned out amazing, fresh, and light! Will be making again for sure!

  11. Karen Teeling says

    This great, BUT . . . I make meals for my mother that she can reheat in the microwave or bake in the oven later in the week or month. Can I put the papillotes together, freeze and let her bake later? If so any suggestions for when it is baked, thaw first, bake frozen and extend the time??? Thanks in advance

  12. Lynn says

    This was really excellent. Thinner salmon filet was perfect at 10 minutes. Had greens, onion, and carrots under and used olive oil instead of butter and still super. Gonna be weekly dinner!!

  13. Karen Fenichel says

    I made this with sugar snap peas and shallots and very thinnly sliced carrots. It was excellent. Would definitely recommend.

  14. Ken says

    Is parchment mandatory to work or can a flat braiser or cast iron skillet with lid work? I’d think it’d be ok if I preheated the pan.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can make the salmon in the braiser or cast iron skillet. If needed, you can add some additional moisture to the pan after checking if the pan begins to get dry but the salmon is not done cooking.

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