Making this foil-baked haddock is super easy. Perfect for when you want a no-fuss, quick-clean-up meal that tastes amazing!
Keeps the fish moist and all the flavors locked in. No pans to wash. Also a total win if you're in hosting mode.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Low effort, great taste – the foil packet method bakes your fish to perfection. And it's plain simple, stress-free cooking. Plus the flavors are so vibrant!
- Perfect any day, any time – whether you're making it for a weeknight dinner or serving to guests, it never fails to impress.
- Scalability – the recipe scales up effortlessly if you're feeding a crowd. And there's less washing up, thanks to cooking in foil packets.
- Variability – You can use this recipe with a variety of fish (see substitutions and variations below).
Here are some helpful notes on ingredients you'll need. See the recipe card below for exact quantities.
- Haddock – fresh or frozen, and skinless. I almost always use the latter (a quick way to thaw frozen fish here before you start cooking). Haddock is delicate fish and breaks apart easily, so cutting longer fillets into halves or thirds makes the handling easier.
- Onion – sliced yellow or white onions. Don't cut too thick or they won't cook properly.
- Red bell pepper – aka capsicum. Remove the seeds, then cut into slices.
- Cooking oil – I prefer olive oil but any neutral tasting cooking oil is fine.
- Butter – use unsalted butter to be able to fully control the saltiness in the dish.
- Garlic – mince very finely or grate it. Using fresh only.
- Salt and pepper – for seasoning and depth of flavor.
- Dried dill weed – for a deliciously herby touch.
- Crushed red pepper flakes – the quantity is not a lot and it adds some nice gentle heat. But feel free to omit.
- Lemon juice – for some citrusy lightness. Don't use bottled ones. Fresh is the best.
- Fresh parsley (optional) – some chopped leaves for a pop of green.
- Lemon slices or wedges (also optional) – so everyone can adjust/increase tanginess to their liking.
How to bake haddock in foil
Follow these simple, photo-assisted instructions to bake some delicious haddock in foil packets. Check out recipe card below for a printable version that has quantities, instructions and notes in one place.
Step 1: First preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Then put butter in a bowl and microwave 30 seconds. Add minced garlic, salt, black pepper, dried dill, crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil and mix. Microwave another 15 seconds. Add lemon juice, mix and set aside.
Step 2: Lay 2 pieces of aluminum foil – each 50cm (20 inches) long – on a flat surface. Place a parchment paper piece of the same length on top of each. Pat dry the haddock pieces/fillets then divide these among your parchment sheets – place them in the center, no stacking. Put sliced onion and red bell pepper around the fish on each parchment. Then drizzle the butter mixture over the fish and vegetables.
Step 3: To make the packets, fold the two short sides of the parchment over the food (like we wrap gifts). Now tuck the two opposite open ends underneath to finish making the packet. With this parchment packet sitting in the center of the foil, fold the foil over and crimp the edges to seal.
Step 4: Place the foil packets on a baking sheet and bake 13 to 17 minutes or until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). Once cooked, put each packet on a deep plate. Carefully open the foil, then parchment. Fold the foil down but not all the way, creating a pouch to hold the juices. Serve the fish in the open packet. Sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley and a bit of lemon zest (optional). Serve with lemon slices/wedges and enjoy.
- Uneven cooking: Fillets should ideally be of even thickness and fully defrosted before you begin. If using pieces of varying thickness, bake the thick ones a few minutes longer. Tip: I use a permanent marker on the foil to identify the packs that need additional time.
- Dry fish: This will happen when you overcook fish. Check for doneness (with a thermometer or fork) slightly ahead of the suggested time.
- Lack of crispness: Well this cooking method is not for those looking to get a crispy exterior. Fish and veggies basically steam in that foil. But for textural contrast you can serve it with sides like a fresh crisp salad or roasted potatoes.
- Too salty: Did you use salted butter? If so, the quantity of added salt should have been reduced.
Substitutions and variations
- Other fish: You can substitute haddock with other flaky white fish like cod, halibut, tilapia, flounder or pollock. The cooking times for these will be different (a quick google search will help with that).
- Oil alternatives: Any neutral cooking oil such as canola, vegetable or grapeseed oil can be used in place of olive oil.
- Herb alternatives: You can use fresh dill instead of dried (3:1 ratio of fresh-to-dried herbs). If dill isn't your thing, tarragon or thyme will be great too.
- Adjusting heat: Want less heat? Omit red pepper flakes, or replace with sweet paprika. If you wish to up the spice (as I do), double the quantity of flakes or add finely chopped fresh chili.
- Lemon juice substitute: Fresh lime juice is the best replacement (1:1 ratio).
- Garnish variations: Use fresh cilantro, chives or fresh dill instead of parsley for a different but equally fresh finishing touch.
- Additional flavors: You can add a splash of white wine in the butter mixture. Or put chopped sun-dried tomatoes or olives in the packet (before baking).
- Vegetable swaps: Feel free to replace red bell pepper with sliced green, yellow or orange variants. Or use their combo. For a different veggie twist, use thinly sliced zucchini, cherry tomatoes or capers.
What to serve it with
- Couscous or white rice: Great for absorbing all those tasty juices.
- Veggies: Something like a mix of baked carrots, parsnips and beets. Or try sautéed spinach or green beans.
- Garlic bread: Perfect for mopping up any leftover flavorful juices.
- Roasted potatoes: Zest these up with some lemon and dill to mirror the fish flavors.
- Fresh salad: Think mixed greens with a lemony dressing.
- Creamy polenta: Mild flavor that pairs great here.
- Quinoa salad: Mixed with fresh herbs and some lemon.
- Pasta salad: Like an orzo salad with lots of veggies and a simple but tangy dressing.
Storage and reheating
- Storage: Let the fish cool down, then transfer (along with the veggies and juices) to an airtight container. Store in fridge for up to 2 days. A big nope to freezing – fish and veggies will have a different texture when they thaw.
- Reheating: Preheat your oven to 275°F (135°C). Put the leftovers on a baking dish, cover with foil and leave it in for 15 to 20 minutes. Don't be tempted to crank up the heat. I don't like to microwave baked fish, it changes the texture. But if you must, microwave at 50 percent power in 30-second spurts until heated through.
Just so you know
- For those who may be new to cooking with haddock – it’s a white, flaky fish, mild in flavor and a superb canvas for various seasonings and prep methods.
- When buying fresh fish, always look for a clean scent - think ocean breeze, not a “fishy” smell.
- Wondering why use parchment and foil together? Well, acidic ingredients like lemon juice can react with foil. Parchment also works as a barrier and keeps your fish from sticking to the foil.
- Handling the hot foil packets with care is very very important to avoid steam burns. Open them slowly and carefully and away from your face.
- Scaling this recipe up for a gathering? Use the “+” sign on the recipe card below to modify the servings – the ingredient quantities will adjust automatically.
- 12 ounces (340 g) haddock fillets - skinless – cut longer fillets into halves or thirds (Note A)
- 1 (110 g) medium onion - sliced
- 1 (119 g) medium red bell pepper - deseeded and sliced (aka capsicum)
- 3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter - (Note B)
- 3 cloves garlic - finely minced or grated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoons olive oil - or any cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice - freshly squeezed, or fresh lime juice
Garnishes (optional but recommended)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 lemon slices or wedges - I like to sprinkle some lemon zest too
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- In a microwave-safe bowl, put butter and microwave 30 seconds. Add minced garlic, salt, black pepper, dried dill, crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil and mix. Microwave another 15 seconds. Then mix in lemon juice and set aside.
- Lay 2 pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil – each 50cm (20 inches) long – on a flat surface. Place a parchment paper piece of the same length on top of each foil piece (see Note C below).
- Pat dry the haddock pieces/fillets with kitchen paper towel. Divide these among your parchment paper sheets – place them in the center (lay side by side, no stacking, like you see in my photo). Then put sliced onion and red bell pepper around the fish on each parchment.
- Give the butter mixture a quick mix, then drizzle over the fish and vegetables (divide it evenly).
- To make the packets, fold the two short sides of the parchment over the food (like we do when wrapping gifts). Now tuck the two opposite open ends underneath to finish making the packet. With this parchment packet sitting in the center of the foil, fold the foil over and crimp the edges to seal.
- Place the foil packets on a baking sheet and bake 13 to 17 minutes or until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). It's ok to poke the thermometer through the foil. Or you can carefully open the pouch and see if the fish easily flakes with a fork.
- Using oven mitts, place each pack on a deep plate. Carefully open the foil, then the parchment paper. Let the steam escape away from you. Fold the foil down but not all the way, creating a pouch to hold all the liquid.
- Serve the fish in the foil so each bite can be dipped in the flavorful juices. Sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley and a bit of lemon zest (optional). Serve with lemon slices/wedges and enjoy.
- Step-by-step photo instructions
- Recipe troubleshooting
- Substitutions and variations (full list)
- Serving ideas
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