How to Cook with Cedar Plank

salmon with lemon cooked on a cedar plank

If you love smoky flavors, you must learn how to cook with cedar plank! Nothing in the world will compare to succulent and delicious meats, and more you can cook with a cedar plank!

There is something so appealing about wood. The smell, color, and texture of wood have a special way of making us feel connected to nature. This powerful characteristic isn’t limited to aesthetics, though; wood can enhance so much more, like food. Learning to cook with cedar planks can unlock the rustic world of wood-infused foods like never before! Come on a journey into the heart of the culinary forest with this awesome guide on how to cook with cedar plank!


What is a Cedar Plank?

Grilling cedar planks

Cooking on a cedar plant is a traditional way to infuse bold smoky, and woody flavor into your cooking. You soak and then heat a flat piece of cedar wood to use as your actual cooking surface. This awesome technique adds rich forestry flavor to fish, steak, and vegetables.

The cedar planks used for cooking are specially cut and smoothed to make them perfect for cooking. They can typically be found in the grocery store, Amazon, or hardware store near the grilling supplies. To avoid fires, the planks should always be soaked in water before heating.


Why Cook with a Cedar Plank?

The most common dish cooked on a cedar plank is fish, and that is because the plank adds woodiness and also protects the delicate fish from the hot temperatures of the grill’s flames. This encompasses the main reason to cook not just fish but any food on a cedar plank. It adds bold flavor and protects food from hot grill flames.


How to Store a Cedar Plank

Believe it, or not cedar planks can be reused for cooking again! Rinse the plank very well with only water, and then freeze it until you’re ready to use it again.

Always resoak the cedar before using. Wet wood doesn’t burn, so this step is essential for kitchen safety. Generally, 2 hours is a good amount of soaking time before cooking with the plank.


How to Cook with a Cedar Plank

If you love to experiment and elevate foods with your cooking, then this handy grilling tool is what you’ve been waiting for. Here are some great ideas to start your adventure cooking with cedar plank!



Fish is easily the most common use for these delicious wood planks. Cooking fish with cedar makes it so rich, smoky, and interesting you will wonder why you’ve ever had it without the wood!

Cooking fish with a cedar plank is so easy. Preheat the grill and prepare your fish. Before seasoning the fish lay it on the cedar plank and add dry or wet seasonings. Place the whole fish-topped plank on the hot grill and cook the fish through, flipping as needed.

Alternatively, prepare the fish the same but cook the fish in a preheated oven. This is a great idea for the cold summer months when you’re craving some grilled flavor. You may want to place a baking sheet on the rack below the plank to catch drippings.



Vegetarians and vegans can still enjoy delicious cedar plank flavor! Use a cedar plank to help enhance your favorite grilled vegetables. This cooking trick works well with large vegetables like squash or eggplant.

To cook a squash or eggplant on a cedar plank, start by cutting the vegetable in half lengthwise. Rub the inside of the vegetable with a little olive oil and dry seasonings, then place it on the pre-soaked cedar plank.

Cook the cedar plank vegetable in a hot oven or preheated grill until they’re tender enough to pierce with a fork.



There is nothing like the aromatic flavor of cedar to level up your favorite steak. Grab the perfect cut, and let’s get grilling!

Make a delicious rub or simple steak seasoning blend and coat the meat well. Place the seasoned steak on a well-soaked cedar plank. Cook the steak on the cedar plank until it is about 115°F internally, and then place it in a preheated pan to sear for 1-2 minutes per side.



The light white meat of chicken is perfect for infusing rich woodiness, and there is no better way than to cook it on a cedar plank! It’s a great trick to amp up the flavor of your favorite barbecue chicken recipe.

This method of cooking chicken is so easy! Prepare your chicken with a spice rub and place it on a pre-soaked cedar plank. Cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F on a preheated grill or oven. Serve the chicken directly on the plank for a rustic barbecued presentation!



cedar plank for grilling fish and meat

Are Cedar Planks Toxic?

No, if you are using cedar planks that have been sourced and cut for grilling and food purposes, the planks are safe. If you purchase food-grade cedar planks from a grilling supply company, you are perfectly safe and non-toxic!

Don’t just walk into the lumber department and buy any “cedar” wood you see; these boards may have treatments that make them unsafe. The grilling companies use delicious western red cedar to make flavorful wood planks designed to be food-safe.


Final Thoughts

Learning to cook with cedar plank can open up a wooded world of delicious barbeque dishes and more. Let your creativity run wild, making whatever wonderfully woody dish your taste buds can imagine!


Additional Kitchen Resources

If you can’t get enough grilled flavor, try these resources for more information on deliciously charred foods!


Written by Laurie Graves

Laurie is a 50-something wife and boy mom, who loves to share easy recipes, DIY home ideas, and food hacks. She truly believes that with a little inspiration, anyone can make their home and meals feel special.