4 Summer-Friendly Cedar Plank Fish Recipes

Summer is the time of year for long, sunny days and laughter-filled evenings as people get together for a delicious, barbecued dinner. If you’re looking for something new to grill this season, why not try cedar plank fish? It’s a great way to add a bit of smoky flavor to a seafood dish, and it’s sure to be a hit with your family and friends. Here are four cedar plank fish recipes to try:

Planked Whitefish With Cilantro-Lime Butter

Planked whitefish cilantro butter tilapia

If you’re looking for a cedar plank fish recipe but are worried that the smoky flavor may be too overwhelming, then this Serious Eats recipe is for you. The woody flavor of the cedar along with the butter enhance the fish without masking its taste.


  • 4 medium whitefish fillets, such as Tilapia
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 medium serrano pepper, seeded and finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 cedar planks, soaked for 1 hour prior to use


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, cilantro, serrano pepper, lime juice and lime zest until well combined.
  2. In another small mixing bowl, combine the salt, chili powder and black pepper. Season both sides of the fish with this mixture.
  3. Make sure your grill is cleaned, oiled and preheated and then place your cedar planks over the hottest side of the grill. Once the planks begin to char and smoke, flip the planks over and move to the cool side of the grill. Place the fish on top of the planks, close the barbecue and grill the fish for 15–20 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and begins to flake.
  4. Once it’s cooked, remove the fish from the grill and top with the cilantro-lime butter. Serve and enjoy!

Cedar-Planked Char With Wood-Grilled Onions

Cedar Planked Char Barbecue Fish

Small whole fish like char, trout, walleye and bass are great to use on cedar planks due to their size, flavor and texture. They’re also easily found in lakes across the country. If you’re a fisherman looking for a new way to grill your catch of the day, this Epicurious recipe is a delicious choice.


  • 4 whole fish such as Arctic char or trout
  • 8 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 8 sprigs fresh dill
  • 8 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 stems fresh chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 4 lemons, halved
  • 4 medium onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 large or 2 medium cedar planks


  1. Preheat and prepare your barbecue so that it has a hot fire on one side and no fire on the other side.
  2. Cut into the fish along its belly to make a cavity. In each cavity, place 2 sprigs each of tarragon, dill, parsley and 2 stems of chives. Season the fish with salt and pepper, and place on the plank(s).
  3. Brush the onions and cut sides of the lemon with the olive oil.
  4. When the barbecue is hot, place the planks on the fireless side of the grill. Set the onions and lemons directly on the side that’s over the fire, and then close the lid.
  5. Remove the onions and lemons from the barbecue when they have nice grill marks. This will probably take 2–3 minutes for the lemons and 15–20 minutes for the onions. Continue to cook the fish until it’s opaque and begins to flake, about 45–60 minutes total.
  6. Remove from the grill, fillet the fish and serve it on a platter with the grilled lemons and onions.

Cedar Plank Tilapia With Fresh Chimichurri

cedar plank tilapia chimichurri barbecue

This tasty Food Network recipe features Tilapia, a great healthy fish, smoked on a cedar plank and topped with a chimichurri sauce. While this recipe is intended for oven baking, it can also be used for the grill. If you’re a fan of chimichurri, this Tilapia recipe is a must-try!


  • 4 Tilapia fillets (about 5 ounces each)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided in 2 portions
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, firmly packed
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2–3 garlic cloves
  • 1 large cedar plank or 4 small cedar planks


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place your Tilapia fillets on one large cedar plank (or four small ones), and then season the Tilapia with salt and pepper.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, chili powder, one teaspoon of ground cumin and sugar. Mix until well combined, then spread the mixture over the tops of the fillets. Bake the fillets for 10–15 minutes or until they’re tender.
  3. While the Tilapia is cooking, combine the parsley, cilantro, olive oil, red wine vinegar, water, garlic cloves and remaining ground cumin in a blender. Puree the chimichurri mixture until it’s smooth. When the Tilapia is done, spoon the chimichurri over the the fish and serve.

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Maple-Mustard Glaze

Cedar Plank Salmon Summer Barbecue

This recipe from CBC’s Best Recipes Ever list is low in ingredients but loaded with delicious, smoky flavor. The maple-mustard glaze adds a bit of spicy sweetness to the fish, while the smoke from the cedar plank complements the salmon. This recipe works well for a last-minute barbecue on a hot summer night.


  • 1 1.5 pound salmon fillet
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 12”x7” untreated cedar plank


  1. Soak the cedar plank in water for at least 30 minutes. Then place the salmon fillet on top.
  2. Whisk together maple syrup, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Brush half of the maple-mustard glaze over the salmon.
  4. Place the plank on the grill over medium-high heat. Close the lid and let cook for 10 minutes, then brush the salmon with the remaining glaze. Close the lid again and let cook for another 10–15 minutes, until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
  5. Halve the salmon lengthwise and then cut into slices. Transfer the fish to a serving plate and enjoy!

Next time you’re thinking of barbecuing, try one of these cedar plank fish recipes. You’ll love the unique smoky flavor that cedar-planking adds to your dinner.

Photos: Joshua Resnick / Shutterstock.com, Serious Eats, Sergey 0506 / Shutterstock.com, Topnatthaton / Shutterstock.com, Joshua Resnick / Shutterstock.com