Packet-grilled Lake Whitefish

serves 3-4

Coregonus clupeaformis, more commonly known as lake whitefish, is a type of whitefish found in North America’s Great Lakes (and other inland lakes). These cool water fish are important commercially in the Great Lakes. Initially feeding on plankton (hey, who doesn’t love plankton!), lake whitefish switch their diets to small animals such as snails once they grow to a certain length.

This mild-flavored fish is a protein powerhouse, with 28 grams in a 4-ounce portion, with about 10 grams of fat.

It’s easy to prepare lake whitefish on the grill. I like to put it in a foil packet with some butter and herbs—cleanup is simple, too!

Packet-grilled lake whitefish
What you’ll need

  • a grill
  • paper towels
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • aluminum foil


  • 1 pound fresh lake whitefish, boneless and skin-on
  • butter, melted
  • flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped*
  • chives, chopped*
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper

Making the Packet-Grilled Lake Whitefish

  2. Prepare your grill to medium/medium-high (a 5-Mississippi count with a charcoal grill, which is what I use)**
  3. Meanwhile, prepare your fish by rinsing it and patting it dry with paper towels.
  4. Cut 3 or 4 pieces of aluminum foil—these will be the packets. Brush a little butter on the matte side of the foil.
  5. Cut your fish into 3-4 equal pieces, placing each (skin side down) onto a piece of foil.
  6. Brush each piece of fish with butter (1/2 to 1 tablespoon each), then season each with salt and pepper.
  7. Add 1-2 tablespoons of chopped herbs on top of the fish.
  8. Drizzle each piece of fish with some lemon juice.
  9. Seal the packets and then, using your knife, piece the packets 2-3 times near the TOP. This is to allow some steam to escape.
  10. Place packet on grill and close grill cover.
  11. After about 15 minutes, check to see if the fish is done. If it flakes easily, separating with just a nudge of a fork, it’s ready. If there is still some resistance, close the packet and let grill for another 5 minutes.
  12. Serve and eat. You may wish to add a little more lemon juice if desired.

This will work for other mild whitefish as well.

*You can use any combination of herbs that suit you, such as dill or thyme. If using thyme, though, use 1 sprig per piece of fish.

**If using a charcoal grill, hold your hand 4 inches above the grate and start counting. If you can say “Mississippi” 5 times before it gets too hot and you have to pull your hand away, the fire is ready.


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