Sous vide salmon is an absolute game changer. This revolutionary method allows you to make perfectly moist and flaky salmon, every single time. Time to say goodbye to the days of dry salmon, and hello to juicy fish cooked exactly how you want it.
In this recipe, we will walk you through everything you need to know to make the best salmon of your life. From how to sous vide salmon, to how long to sous vide, to different searing methods, this recipe has it all.
Selecting Quality Fish
I always recommend using high quality proteins in my recipes, especially when it comes to fish. Purchasing salmon that is wild-caught and sustainably-sourced tastes better and is better for the planet. Over fishing messes with food chains and ecosystems, and farmed fish can be packed with harmful antibiotics or diseases.
That's why buying sustainably wild-caught fish is always on my list whenever possible.
Sous Vide Salmon Brine
To brine a protein, submerge the meat in a mixture of salt and cold water. Brining allows the meat to absorb extra liquid and salt, which results in juicy, flavorful meat that won't dry out as easily during cooking.
To create a brine for sous vide salmon, please do the following:
- First, create the brine by using a ratio of 1 tablespoon of salt per 1 cup of cold water.
- Next, pour the brine solution into a container that is large enough to fit the fish.
- Fully submerge the salmon in the brine, and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Last, gently rinse the fish off with cold water and prepare the salmon for packaging.
An essential part of the sous vide process is putting ingredients in an air-tight bag or container. The two most common techniques to package your ingredients are vacuum sealing and using the water displacement method.
A vacuum sealer removes all the air and seals the contents in a plastic bag through a vacuum. This process ensures the food is airtight and properly sealed, and prevents the bag from floating which can result in uneven cooking. If you are in the market for a vacuum sealer, I’d recommend the Anova sealer.
The displacement method is a technique where you first place your food and marinades in a sous vide bag, submerge the bag in a container of water, and allow the pressure to force all the air out of the bag.
Either method works for salmon. Note that if you are adding a marinade in the bag, please make sure your vacuum sealer is capable of sealing liquids. If not, please use the displacement method.
Salmon Time and Temp Chart
The time and temperature guide below is the product of years of extensive testing, and will take the guesswork out of cooking sous vide. Simply select a temperature based on your desired doneness, then determine the length of the cook.
Sous Vide Salmon Temp
|Soft, buttery, moist
|104 – 115F / 40 – 46C
|115F / 46C
|Slightly flaky, tender, moist
|116 – 125F / 46.5C – 51.5C
|125F / 51.5C
|Firm, flaky, moist
|126 – 135F / 52 – 57C
|131F / 55C
Sous Vide Salmon Cooking Time
|30 minutes to 1 hour
Cooking salmon sous vide at 52C/125F for 45 minutes is our favorite time and temperature. Cooking the fish for 45 minutes is the sweet spot for a tender, very moist salmon. Also, cooking at a temperature of 125F results in a firm, slightly flaky fish with unbelievable texture.
Although this combination of time and temperature is our favorite, we recommend you explore different combinations to find your personal favorite. Cooking fish sous vide yields a unique texture that you can’t achieve through other cooking methods, and is worth trying.
To explore other time and temperature options, check out our cooking guide.
Can you Sous Vide Frozen Salmon?
The quick answer is, absolutely! Cooking frozen foods sous vide is an ultra convenient, safe way to prepare your protein. Just take the food directly from the fridge, repackage it (unless you know the bag is sous vide safe) and let the sous vide work its magic.
The only thing you'll need to adjust is the cook time. We recommend adding an additional 30 minutes when cooking frozen salmon sous vide, so an hour and 15 minutes total.
Best Way to Sear Salmon After Sous Vide
A cool thing about cooking fish sous vide is that searing is not required. You can literally go from bag to plate if you want. However, the fish comes out of the bag an opaque color that is not the most appealing.
If want your food to look like it is Michelin star quality, you are going to have to get a rich sear on it.
To get a great sear on your salmon, you’ve got to:
1. Pat the fish completely dry with a paper towel
2. Season generously with salt or seasoning of your choice
3. Sear at extremely high temperatures.
At this point you want to determine the best searing method. For fish, we suggest either pan searing or using a searing torch. The trick is getting the pan or torch extremely hot, then searing for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Either method will result in a quick, high-quality sear without drying out the fish.
Top Sous Vide Salmon Recipes
Salmon with Ginger Miso Glaze – This ginger miso salmon is an Asian inspired dish that will make your mouth drool. You can quickly whip up the marinade at home and glaze your salmon with it. Give it a try stat.
Salmon with Lemon and Dill – This lemon dill salmon is a healthy, delicious recipe that will keep you wanting more. The lemon and dill are perfect compliments to the fish, but will not overpower.
- Cilantro Lime Salmon – In this recipe the salmon is cooked to perfection using a sous vide, then covered in a delicious cilantro lime butter sauce. The result? A masterful tasting salmon that you can whip out for any occasion.
Sous Vide Machine – This one is obvious. To cook sous vide, you’re going to need a device to precisely regulate the temperature of the bath water. The two best sous vide machines in the game right now are the Anova Precision Cooker and the Breville Joule.
The main difference between the two is that with the Anova you can control the device both manually and with a mobile device, and with the Joule you can only control the device by using your mobile device. Either way, both sous vide machines are top class and you can’t go wrong with either choice.
12-quart Container – Although you can use a basic stockpot for your sous vide cooking needs, I highly recommend buying a large plastic container. They are inexpensive and spacious, so you won’t have to worry about cooking a big roast in a small pot. I recommend a 12 quart Rubbermaid container, as it is BPA free, sturdy, and large enough for just about anything you will be cooking.
Container Lid – If you are going to buy a plastic container, I highly suggest buying a compatible lid for it. When you sous vide for a long duration, the heat of the water causes evaporation. With a lid, it eliminates a majority of the evaporation so you can cook for hours care-free.
Cast Iron Skillet – If you are looking to take your searing game to the next level, we recommend investing in a cast iron skillet. By using a cast iron in this recipe, you’ll achieve a deep sear on the protein. Cast irons are also extremely handy for searing just about any and all sous vide meat. Lodge offers the best quality and price, which is why it is our favorite cast iron brand.
Next Level Sous Vide –Looking to take your sous vide skills to the next level? The Next Level Sous Vide eCookbook will push your culinary boundaries with 65 delicious recipes that are equally approachable and tasty. With pro tips and a detailed explanation of the sous vide process, you will be on your way to maximize your sous vide skills.
Check out our full list of recommended gear here.
Best Sous Vide Salmon
- 1 lb fresh salmon
- Salt and pepper (or seasoning) to taste
Set sous vide machine to 52C/125F.
Season the salmon with salt and pepper (or seasoning) to taste. Place the salmon in a sous vide bag, and remove the air through a vacuum sealer or the displacement method. Drop salmon in the bath for 45 minutes.
Remove bag from bath. Gently take salmon out of the bag, pat dry and lightly re-season with seasoning.
Heat medium size skillet on high and add oil. Sear the fish skin side down for 1 minute, flip the salmon and sear for 30 seconds - 1 minute fish side down. Remove from pan, serve and enjoy!