Fish en papillote or fish in parchment is a simple and healthy way to prepare fish. The fish turns out flaky and flavorful and produces a light broth from the method of steaming in the parchment paper packet. It’s a lovely light meal or for a special meal with your sweetie.

Ingredients needed: fish of choice, tender vegetables of choice (julienne carrots, celery, peppers, green onions), lemon, salt, olive oil, parchment paper

Tender white fish steamed with tender vegetables in a parchment packet.

I did not grow up in a family that regularly ate fish.  Salmon patties and grilled tuna steaks that my dad made when in my later years at home were the extent of the fish in our diet.  That’s probably because I grew up in the south/midwest and fresh fish wasn’t readily available.

I have had requests to share more recipes for fish, so I thought I would share this easy French-inspired recipe for fish en papilliote. It sounds fancy, but really all it means is steam fish in a parchment paper packet.  It’s very easy to do and produces tasty results. The French know their food! Read my FAQs for tips before cooking this dish.

Delicate white fish filet on top of julienned vegetables and baked in a parchment packet.

Fish in Parchment FAQ

What kind of fish is best for fish en papillotte?

I prefer tender white fish, for example:

  • Halibut
  • sea bass
  • cod
  • tilapia

What vegetables are good for the fish packet?

Tender quick cooking vegetables or thinly sliced harder veggies work great for this method. Use any that are in season or that you enjoy.

  • peppers
  • spinach
  • squash
  • zucchini
  • baby bok choy
  • onions
  • tomatoes
  • olives
  • capers
  • julienned carrots and celery

What does julienne mean?

Julienne is simply a cutting technique where you cut vegetables into short, thin slices.  It’s perfect for fish in parchment because there is a short cook time, and the vegetables will cook quickly when cut like this.

How do I know when my fish is done?

You will know the fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork or when the internal temp reaches 145 degrees F.

Can I use other seasonings?

Absolutely! Fresh herbs, vinaigrettes, herbed butter, and citrus would be great additions to fish en papillote. Use your creativity to come up with interesting flavor combinations that sound good to you. I have provided a basic recipe here, but you can certainly customize the flavors to suit your taste.

Fish in parchment (fish en papillote)

Delicate white fish cooked simply in a parchment paper packet on top of tender vegetables. Easy and delicious!

Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Keyword fish en papillote, fish in parchment
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Author Tara Buss


  • 4 white fish filets tilapia, cod, halibut, flounder, sole, etc
  • 2 carrots julienne
  • 1 celery rib julienne
  • 1 red pepper sliced thinly
  • 4 green onions sliced on diagonal
  • 4 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 lemon sliced thinly
  • 4 18 inch pieces parchment paper


  1. Divide the cut vegetables into four portions and place them in the middle of the parchment paper squares.

  2. Add a drizzle of olive oil or a pat of butter and sprinkle with salt (about 1/8 tsp).

  3. Place fish on top of vegetables, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with more salt, (about 1/8 tsp).

  4. Place two thin slices of lemon on top of fish.

  5. Fold parchment in half over the fish and vegetables and roll edges together to create a half moon shaped packet. Make sure your seal is tight.

  6. Place parchment packets on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily and reaches an internal temp of 145 degrees F.

More fish recipes to try: