⬇️ Table of Contents
Sous Vide Salmon creates consistent, perfect results every time. It's easy to ensure that the fish turns out perfectly, and you never end up with overcooked or undercooked salmon.
The sous-vide method has been widely used in professional kitchens and has recently experienced a surge of interest from home cooks.
Sous vide salmon creates a tender and rich piece of fish.
Salmon cooked in sous vide bags turns out incredible. You can use most types of fat for bag poaching. I have found duck fat to give a rich flavor. The key is to select a fat you like best. I suggest using brown butter.
Salmon is a beautiful fish to cook; it has a rich flavor and works well in many recipes. That said, salmon is often cooked by frying, baking, or grilling. All these methods work, but they also have the added disadvantages of requiring higher cooking temperatures (which means more chance of the salmon burning or drying out).
There are many benefits to cooking your salmon sous vide, but one of the most impressive is how you can ensure an even temperature distribution throughout each fillet. This results in restaurant-quality food.
Professional chefs recommend cooking salmon to medium, even medium-rare. Sous vide salmon also has the benefit of being easy enough for anyone to prepare.
How To Sous Vide Salmon
This elegant preparation of salmon all comes down to technique. Sous vide cooking is mostly straightforward. Yet some strategies make the difference.
- Inspect the fish and remove any pin bones (use kitchen tweezers).
- Season the fish with sea salt. (Add only enough to cover the fish lightly. The main mistake usually happens with the seasoning and adding too much salt. Sous vide cooking requires slightly less salt than usual fish seasoning.)
- Prepare melted butter (chefs' recipe for more flavor on the recipe card below)
- Place the salmon in a temperature-safe bag and seal it, removing the air. I often use zip-lock freezer bags. (Lower the zip lock bag down into the water bath to remove the air. The air will be forced out of the bag. Then seal)
- Next, fill the sous vide temperature-safe water tub with water. (I like using the bathtub for speed.)
- Set up the sous vide machine and set the temperature accordingly to the charts below.
🌡️ What Temperature To Sous Vide Salmon
|Medium-Rare Salmon||pink all the way through - soft texture (2hr)||120-122°F / 48.8-50°C|
|Medium Salmon||pink with additional texture - very moist (90mins)||125-130°F / 51.6-54.4°C|
|Medium Plus Salmon||pink with firmer texture (30-45mins)||131-135°F / 55-57.2°C|
⏲️ How Long To Cook Sous Vide Salmon
Below are our suggestions for creating excellent moist fish using different cooking durations. It is the secret science to perfect salmon.
|Cooking Time||Cooked Results|
|30 to 45 Minutes||Fish is fully cooked with a flaky texture|
|90 Minutes||Very moist with a buttery texture|
|2 Hours||Delicious and great for repurposing the salmon; for example, adding to a salad or eggs benedict|
After you've made your choice, turn on the machine and set the temperature. The water will begin to circulate. Once the water is up to temperature, add the salmon.
I suggest securing the fish away from the sous vide machine probe to ensure the bags stay safe and away from the heat source. Option two, place a large plate over the sealed package(s). This keeps them underwater and in place.
Follow the cooking time chart above and remove the salmon when the time is up. If you cook them longer, that is ok, just not very much longer. Sometimes life happens, and getting everything ready for dinner can take longer than expected. This is the beauty of sous vide cooking, you get more time without overcooking your food.
Tools and Equipment
To cook, you will need:
- Sous Vide Machine
- Vacuum Sealer (I use a FoodSaver brand)
- A large temperature-safe pot or container (for a water bath)
- Ziploc Freezer Bags or Food-Grade Pouches
- Thermometer (Instant Read or Waterproof Digital)
- A Timer
How To Get Crispy Salmon Skin
Preheat the oven broiler 10 minutes before the fish is ready. Next, get the oven prepared by moving the oven rack to the upper middle, not the top, not directly under the broiler.
Place the cooked salmon on a roasting rack with a cookie sheet underneath. Pat the fish's skin dry with a paper towel. Very dry. Then paint on olive oil or canola oil, then place the fish under the broiler. Around 3-6 minutes. Keep an eye and do not walk away until the skin is crispy.
Type Of Salmon
The first task is selecting the type of salmon. Below is a list to choose from; note that some are seasonal, i.e., Sockeye.
In North America, Pacific salmon can be found from Alaska to California and as far inland as Idaho and Colorado (some parts of the Midwestern U.S.).
Salmon species include:
- Chinook ("king") ✅
- Coho ("silver") ✅
- Pink ("humpy")✅
- Sockeye (red) - sous vide is the only way to cook this fish, in my opinion, due to its having next to zero fat and easily drying out, more so than the other salmons listed.
Farm-Raised Versus Fresh Wild-Caught Salmon
An argument exists that supports each type of salmon. When shopping, there is an easy way to tell if one is wild-caught or farm-raised by simply looking at the filets. Wild-caught salmon have thinner white fat lines, and farm-raised have thicker white fat lines running the length of the filet.
Recipes To Try
📖 Recipe Card
- Half of One Whole Salmon 1 Filet
- Sea Salt 1 Tablespoon
- Butter 1 stick
- Garlic (Minced) 1 teaspoon
- Oyster Sauce (Replacement: Soy Sauce (2 teaspoons) Health Notice: Oyster sauce contains real Oyster.) 1 Tablespoon
- Buy salmon filets portions that are equal in size and thickness.Preparing a whole salmon, it is best to butterfly the fish by cutting straight through the middle of the fish along the spin while the fish is lying flat on a cutting board. Cut the salmon into two long large filets.Inspect the salmon using your fingers, feel for any pin bones, and remove any you see using kitchen tweezers. Ordinary tweezers will work.Next, cut the fish into pieces of equal thickness.
Temperatures To Sous Vide Salmon
- Medium-Rare / Salmon pink all the way through - soft texture (2hr) 120-122°F / 48.8-50°C
- Medium Salmon / pink with additional texture - very moist (90mins)125-130°F / 51.6-54.4°C
- Medium Plus Salmon / pink with firmer texture (30-45mins)131-135°F / 55-57.2°C
How Long To Cook Sous Vide Salmon
- From our testing, the best is 90 minutes at 125 degrees
Making The Poaching Sauce
- Melt butter over medium heat. Add as much or as little as you want. More is better to a degree. One stick of butter per half of a salmon.You can add anything you like to the sauce, but be careful of using flavors too strong and taking over the flavor of the salmon.
- Recipe: Add butter to a pot and meltMince and finely chop the garlic. Cook the garlic in the butter at a low temperature until the garlic is lightly fragrant. Remove from the heat, then add the Oyster sauce. How much Oyster sauce? It all depends on how much fish you're cooking. If you do not have any Oyster sauce, replace it with soy sauce.Add enough that the flavor comes through yet is not too strong. Oyster sauce adds a nice touch of umami, making your sous vide salmon better than the next.
- Add the poaching sauce to the FoodSaver bag or zip lock freezer bag. Move the bag around, covering the fish with the sauce, then seal the bag and remove the air.If using zip lock freezer bags, seal them by lowering the bags into the sous vide machine's water bath. As the bag lowers, the air will be forced out. Once the water line reaches the top of the bag, seal the bag closed.
- To serve, garnish the salmon with chopped chives and lemon slices.
How To Get Crispy Salmon Skin
- Preheat the oven broiler 10 minutes before the fish is ready. Move the oven rack to the upper middle, not the top, not directly under the broiler.Place the cooked salmon on a roasting rack with a cookie sheet underneath. Pat the fish's skin dry with a paper towel. Very dry. Then paint on olive oil or canola oil, then place under the broiler. Around 3-6 minutes. Keep an eye and do not walk away until the skin is crispy.
How To Cook Frozen Salmon
- Yes, it works pretty well. Here are tips for using frozen salmon, which is somewhat different from fresh salmon.Prep To Freeze: After grocery shopping, split up the pieces of salmon into personal serving portions. This is important; lightly salt the filets before going into the freezer. Seasoning solid frozen fish is difficult. What If The Salmon Came Frozen?No problem. Unseal the fish from the packaging, then add the flavored poaching butter. Then reseal the bag. Since the fish is frozen, simply salting the fish isn't ideal. Yet adding the salt to the poaching butter instead. Add salt to taste, it will depend on how much fish you're cooking. Once the poaching sauce is prepared, take a taste. Then adjust to your liking.