Grilled Potatoes and Onions

CATEGORIES: Grill, Kate, Potatoes

So if any of you are fans of Modern Family, you probably know about Phil and Claire’s ongoing silent feud about the broken stair, right? And the fact that it never gets fixed? Well, the “broken stair” in my house is the hole in our deck that used to contain a dead tree until my husband cut the tree down, so it was a hole full of spiky dead tree branches. This afternoon, I went out on the deck with my brother-in-law and, after cautioning him about the hole, I walked backwards right into said hole. This resulted in a nice, tree branch-inflicting stab wound on my hamstring right as I was about to snap a picture of my ice cream that was set to go today. By the time it had been determined that I wouldn’t die from this painful and highly embarassing incident, my light was gone. This is a roundabout way of telling y’all that I’ll have to save my dad’s favorite Tutti Fruitti ice cream for another day. The upside is that I get to highlight an older recipe inspired by my dad. The other upside is that it took my husband about an hour after my spill into the depths of hell (okay, that might be a little dramatic) to fix the deck. A true miracle, right?

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Oh, man. I love these things. My dad is Captain Dutch Oven (that’s his actual superhero name) and I grew up eating delicious, smokey things cooked outside. However, as much as I love Dutch Ovening, it’s rarely practical or efficient to spend several hours heating up charcoal brickettes and cooking in the Dutch oven. While there’s no substitution for the real thing, these come pretty dang close, thanks to a special ingredient.

One day, I walked into Williams-Sonoma not knowing that my life would be changed forever. And no, I’m not overly dramatic. They gave me a sample of potatoes they’d been cooking and they tasted JUST like the Dutch oven potatoes I’d grown up eating. The secret? Smoked paprika .

Paprika itself is very mild; it’s basically dried, ground sweet red peppers. Well, with smoked paprika, the peppers are smoked on some kind of flavorful wood before they’re dried and ground, adding an incredible sweet, natural smokey flavor (not like that artificial-tasting hickory flavor powder stuff). However, at Williams-Sonoma, it was about $15 for a little can of the stuff, imported straight from Spain. Scratch that; I went to the grocery store and found some in the spice aisle. In fact, the bottle pictured is huge and it was about $3 at Sam’s club.  Whatever you do, though, don’t leave it out; it adds awesome bacon-y flavor, sans the fat and the inherent ickiness of steamed bacon.

Anyway, give these a try at all of your summer barbecues! I honestly think if I had to pick a last meal, it would be straight from the grill; some of my happiest memories include grilled meat, potatoes and onions, corn on the cob, and lots of cold watermelon on warm summer nights.

Grilled Potatoes and Onions

1 potato per person (any kind of potatoes work; for the sake of sentimentality, I’m partial to Russetts, although red and Yukon Gold potatoes are so smooth and delicious)
1/2 small onion per person (the one pictured is a little large because I used some onions in the corn)
1 Tbsp. butter per person, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp. salt per person
Freshly-ground black pepper
Smoked paprika
Aluminum foil

Tear sheets (1 per person) of aluminum foil into about 16″ pieces. Fold each in half into a sqaure-ish and set aside.

Preheat grill. Slice potatoes into pieces about 1/8-1/4″ thick
Slice onions about 1/8″ thick

Place 1 potato in the middle of each foil square and dot with butter pieces

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then sprinkle generously with smoked paprika. Remember, paprika is super mild, so it’s hard to add too much. Top each pile with onions.

Fold edges in and secure tightly. It’s important to get a good seal because the moisture will cook the potatoes and onions and you want all those yummy juices, so if it seems like there’s not quite enough foil, wrap packet in another layer.

Turn heat on grill to low. Place each packet on the grill. Close lid for 15 minutes. Turn and allow to cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully open each packet

(or, even better, let each person open their own packet–hey, less work for you, right??)

These can also be cooked in the oven at 400 for about 15-20 minutes (just check on them to see how they’re doing) or in a panini press for about the same amount of time.


  1. I’ve never used smoked paprika. These potatoes were wonderful. I usually leave the grilling to my husband, but I did these all by myself. Thanks!

  2. I'm so glad to see this on the sidebar–hopefully more people will see it. I loved this recipe and make it all the time–I can't believe how awesome the smoked paprika makes these potatoes. So easy and awesome–good job, Kate.

  3. Thanks for this wonderful sounding recipes. Making my mouth water. Easy prepare and cleanup. Perfect. Going on the menu!

  4. I used Smoked Paprika when I grill fish and it is delicious. We are camping next week so this will be on my menu for sure! I always said if I had to have a last meal it would be fried potatoes and onions…can't wait to try these!

  5. Thank you so much for this timely post! I was planning on making the potato packets on the grill tonight and have never added smoked paprika. I will now!

  6. I just made these for the first time a few weeks ago (I know, why did I wait so long??) and my whole family and our company loved them. Great summer side dish. We did however go a *little* overboard on the paprika in a few of the packets so I will say it IS possible to add too much! lol. Still fantastic though, we loved the smokey flavor.

  7. That's it – I've been curious about smoked paprika for awhile now, but have never had a compelling reason to buy it – now I do!! I can't wait to try these!

  8. Smoked Paprika is one of my favorite spices. I buy mine from Penzey's… never looked for it at the grocery store. Thanks for posting oven instructions for there. I'll definitely be giving them a try!


  9. Wow sorry to hear about your accident…yikes! Love your recipe and it is similar to what I just posted about last week on Foodie Friday…your photos are much better though 😀 Also I like the paprika tip…I'll have to try that next time. Also I'm in the habit of chopping up the onions real small cause our kids use to fuss if I sliced them like yours…any hoot they are always delicous…have a great weekend, fondly, Roberta

  10. my daughter brought me smoked paprika or pimenton from spain it was like 70 cents! it did cause a little hiccup in customs though:)
    i can't wait to try these!

  11. Perfect timing! I was just searching for some camping food, and this will be perfect. Could we add in some meat to make it a complete meal? I've had something similar with sausage before. Thanks, as always!

  12. For all of you wondering about the meat, you could definitely add some in there! Just season some chunks of chicken ground beef patties, or add some sliced sausage and you'd have a super yummy tin foil dinner! 🙂

  13. Another tasty recipe! We tried these tonight and oh so good! I would've never come across smoked paprika on my own. I loved it.

    And thanks for the tips w/ frosting the cupcakes earlier this week. Our little party is Friday, and I'm hoping they're a success!

  14. One more question: Does anyone know how far in advanced these can be prepared? I'd like to take them camping with us (all ready to put on the grill), but I'm wondering if the potatoes would get brown…

  15. These were a big hit with my family. I've never made potato packets on the grill, but they were so easy & good, we'll definitely make them again.

  16. Thanks for the yummy, easy recipe! We love smoked paprika on potatoes. We’ve usually done them fried or baked w/ it, but this was the first time on the grill, tin foil style. Made them w/ your smokey honey mustard pork and my own baked asparagus.

  17. I made these last night after stumbling onto this blog yesterday, but I couldn’t find the right spice at Roche Brothers…
    I ended up buying ‘Hot Paprika’ which was from Puerto Rico and had more of a cayenne/chili flavor. Any ideas on where to find the correct spice in New England?
    Thanks! and I look forward to continuing to read your blog : )

    1. Hi, Emily! I’m so sorry I’m just getting back to you. You know, smoked paprika was kind of a rarity a few years ago, but I seem to find it everywhere these days. I know McCormick makes a good smoked paprika. You can also find it in kitchen shops (local shops or places like Williams-Sonoma). If all else fails, try an online retailer like

      Hope that helps!

  18. I bought a big bottle of Smoked Paprika after watching a show on Food Network and then seeing it at Costco – so I bought it. Well, I haven’t used it because it’s such a strong smokey flavor – so I stumbled across this and thought “I’ve got to try it.” So glad I did – both DH & I loved the taste that the smoked paprika gives to the onions and potatoes. This is a keeper “side dish”. And you’re right – it does remind me of dutch oven cooking.

  19. I’ve been making these on the grill for gosh over 30 years.Only I use dry onion soup as a flavor. But was looking to change them up so Smoked Paprika is on the grocery list Thank you. One thing I might suggest is to add a ice cube per packet

  20. I love your blog and cookbook but I’m feeling a little frustrated on this one. I tried the suggestion of making them in the oven but it has now been over half an hour at 400 and they still aren’t done! I haven’t tasted yet but I’m feeling a little frustrated and hoping they turn out okay. I wrapped the foil in tightly at the edges and tried to follow everything. I left the onions off because I wasn’t excited about them but I figured potatoes are potatoes. Any thoughts on why this isn’t going as I hoped?

    1. That’s seriously so weird–I mean, a whole potato baked at 400 is done in less than an hour! Is there a possibility that your oven isn’t heating up properly? I don’t have any other ideas, I’m so sorry!

  21. I’ve made these twice now in the last few weeks and plan on making them again this weekend. Our guests loved them too. Thanks for the easy and awesome recipe!

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