How to Grill Vegetables Using Foil

How to Grill Vegetables Using Foil
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Grilling ribs and vegetables are a part of many family’s traditional backyard barbeques. But there are some vegetables that you can’t grill straight on the grates. This is where foil can save the day.

Many vegetables will fall through the grill grates, or they are too delicate for the grill. Knowing how long it takes to grill vegetables in foil is necessary and will make you a better grill master. This article will help you successfully grill vegetables and give you tips you can use on other food items. 

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Wrapping Food in Foil

Foil is a very versatile kitchen tool and can be used in so many different ways. One of the best ways it can be used is on the grill. There are many ways to use foil when grilling, but probably the most common way is to wrap food in foil then grill it.

By doing this, you can contain any food with the addition of liquids, fats, and seasonings without anything leaking or seeping out while it is being cooked or grilled. Aluminum foil can also allow foods that could not customarily be cooked on a grill to be cooked with ease.

The foil will protect the food inside the packet while also cooking it at the same time. You will be able to grill anything you want while still getting that grilled or smoky flavor obtained from the grill that everyone loves.

Foil Packet Dinners

Foil packet dinners, also known as “hobo dinners,” are incredibly easy to make, cook, and are incredibly delicious. It is a packet formed from aluminum foil that is stuffed with any number of ingredients such as vegetables, meats, liquids, seasonings, and fat.

The packet is then grilled on the grill grates so that everything cooks together and obtains the smoky flavor a grill produces that an oven can’t provide. Everything cooks together and melds very well, and most of the time, you never have to move the packet or flip it when you are grilling it.

When the foil is made into a foil dinners packet, it acts as a small oven for the food inside. The aluminum foil is a great conductor of heat, and even though it is very thin like paper, it can still retain heat very well. It’s a very cheap alternative to using the oven.

And cleanup is effortless; throw the foil away or recycle it. It can also act as a plate, no dishes required. Once the food is cooked, you can eat straight out of the packet. This method is preferred for camping and even tailgating parties.

Grilling Vegetables in Foil

When you grill vegetables, most of the time, they need to be a veggie that can hold up on the grill and won’t fall apart or melt once it starts to cook. Some vegetables also burn very easily.

For instance, cabbage is tough to grill straight on the grates, especially if it is shredded. This is when foil comes into play to save the day. Just wrap the cabbage in foil with any fluid, fat, or seasoning you want and throw it on the grill.

It will cook just like if you used a sauté pan but will have a smoky or grilled flavor. In most cases, it will also cook faster than if you cooked it on the stovetop.

But knowing how long it will take to grill vegetables in foil will be determined by its density and quantity.  Other factors could be additional items in the foil packet and the grill’s temperature.

If you choose dense veggies and pack them in tight with no fluid, it will take longer, so allow extra time. Additionally, if the quantity of vegetables in the foil package is large, you should also add additional cooking time.

If the lid is closed on the grill, the grill’s temperature will rise much higher and cook the veggies much faster. But all in all, it really should not take all that long to cook vegetables in foil.

Steps to Grilling Our Top Three Vegetables in Foil

We have three vegetables that we like to cook on the grill. These vegetables are goto sides for any dinner or barbeque party. Below you will find the basic steps to get you started grilling vegetables in foil.

corn grilled in foil

Grilling Corn in Foil

  1. Cut a piece of foil large enough to wrap your ear of corn two or more times
  2. Shuck corn and trim the ends
  3. Brush with melted butter and lightly salt
  4. Wrap tightly with the foil ensuring to seal tightly
  5. Grill on high for 20 minutes for medium doneness  

If you would like a char on your corn, remove from foil and place on the grill for five minutes.

To add an extra sweet flavor to your corn, use a tablespoon of sugar. If you stir in sugar with your melted butter before you brush your corn, it will add that extra sweet corn flavor.

Grilling Cauliflower in Foil

  1. Cut cauliflower into large chunks (aka florets) and rinse well
  2. Cut each chunk in half straight through the stem
  3. Season cauliflower lightly with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  4. Layout a large piece of foil the size of a quarter sheet pan and lightly spray with olive oil
  5. Place cauliflower evenly in the center of the foil and fold edges up
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of water and seal the foil into a pouch
  7. Grill on high for 25 minutes for medium doneness

If you would like to char, you will need to remove from the pouch early as cauliflower will get soft when fully cooked and fall apart on the grill grate. Consider a grill mat or a grill bag to char your cauliflower without dropping it through the grate.

Also, add broccoli to this preparation, and you will have a delicious mix of healthy vegetables.

asparagus grilled in foil

Grilling Asparagus in Foil

  1. Trim half an inch from the bottom end of each asparagus stock, then rinse well
  2. Layout a large piece of foil the size of a quarter sheet pan
  3. Spread asparagus out on the foil in the middle and fold up the edges
  4. Spray the asparagus well with olive oil
  5. Season with garlic powder
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of water and seal the foil into a pouch
  7. Grill on high for 15 minutes for medium doneness

If you would like to add additional seasoning, feel free, but go lightly. Consider choosing a little pepper, smoked paprika, or dried lemon peel for the perfect flavor addition. Replacing the water with lemon juice will add a zesty flavor to your grilled asparagus.

Charing asparagus is a desired choice, but it will fall through the grill if not careful because of the shape. Grill mats are always a good go-to for items that benefit from direct exposure to the grill but might fall through the grates. We like to pre-char then place in a foil pouch to finish.

Why Use Grill Mats to Grill Vegetables?

There are two main reasons for using foil for cooking vegetables: retaining moisture and preventing them from falling through the grate. Grill mats are the solution for vegetables falling through the grate, grill mats.

Most grill mats are made from a fiberglass cloth coated with a synthetic polymer such as PTFE. This construction makes the mats flexible and durable as long as you don’t exceed the recommend heat rating.

The mats are available in two styles, sheets, and mesh. While sheets are useful, we stick with mesh style grill mats to allow smoke and flames to get to the food while letting oils and excess juices free.

Mesh grill mats are easy to trim for custom sizes for small grills and smoker. A good pair of kitchen shears will make easy work of getting your grill mat to a custom size.

Another option is a grill bag made of a mesh mat folded in half and sealed on the sides. We love these bags for zucchini because it sticks to grill grates and gets soft in the middle of the cooking process.

Conclusion

We have outline four main factors to how long it takes to grill vegetables in foil. Density, quantity, grill temperature, and additional items can all affect the total time. 

Start with our tips, and keep in mind that practice makes perfect. Finally, take notes so you can dial it in on your grill.

Check out our article How to Cook Fish on the Grill with Foil

FAQ

How long do you grill vegetables in foil?

As long as the vegetables are not packed in too tight, have some fluid or fat included with them, and are cooked over medium-high heat, it shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes. This can vary depending on those factors, as well as the selection of vegetables used in the foil.

How long do you grill foil packets?

For an average size foil packet filled with about a pound of veggies like squash and root vegetables with butter, it should take no longer than 15 minutes over medium-high heat, if not less.