Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon

Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon! This is an easy freezer meal, plus it makes the best fish EVER. Simple teriyaki marinade with soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 to 70 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds salmon or salmon fillets, 1-inch thick
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cornstarch, for thickening the sauce
  • Sliced green onions or chopped cilantro, to serve

Special equipment:

  • The Joule or other sous vide immersion circulator
  • Quart-sized freezer bag (I use Ziploc)

Method

1 Get ready: Pull out 4 freezer bag, and label each bag with the recipe and the basic cooking instructions (you'll thank me for this later when you're trying to remember which recipe to follow!). Flip the zip-top edge of the bag outward, forming a cuff around the bag. This helps the bag stay open and upright.

Fill a large bowl or stock pot with 4 or 5 inches of water. Lay out a kitchen towel.

Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon

2 Make the teriyaki marinade: Whisk together the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, and vinegar for the marinade.

Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon

3 Cut the salmon into 4 portions (if not already done). Aim for equal portions, though it's fine if they are different shapes. If you're buying at fish counter, you can also ask the person at the counter to do this for you.

Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon

4 Season the salmon: Divide the garlic and ginger between the fillets (about 1 teaspoon of each per fillet). Use your fingers to spread the garlic and ginger evenly over the surface of the salmon. This step helps them stick to the surface of the salmon after the teriyaki marinade is added.

Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon

5 Transfer the salmon to freezer bags: Slide one fillet into each bag. Usually the fillets fit in the bottom of the bag (as pictures), but it's fine if they are sideways.

Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon

6 Add the marinade and seal the bag: Holding the bag upright, add about 3 tablespoons of marinade to the bag. Flip the cuff back up and seal the bag almost closed, leaving about an inch un-zipped.

Holding the bag by the unzipped portion, submerge the bag in the pot of water. Use your other hand to gently press out any air pockets from around the salmon. Lower the bag right up to the unzipped portion so that all the air bubbles are forced out, then pinch the bag closed.

Lift the bag out of the water; the plastic should hug the sides of the salmon, pressing right up against the fish. If it doesn't, or if you see any big air bubbles around the salmon, repeat sealing the bag. (Read more here.)

Transfer the bag to the kitchen towel and pat dry. Repeat with adding the marinade and sealing the remaining freezer bags of salmon.

Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon

7 Cook or freeze the salmon: If desired, skip to the next step and cook the salmon right away. Otherwise, freeze the salmon overnight or up to 3 months. The marinade will become opaque but may not completely solidify; this is normal. Even if you plan on eating the salmon within a few days, I'd recommend freezing it so that the fish doesn't over-marinate.

Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon

8 When ready to cook, heat the sous vide bath: Fill a large pot with at least 6 inches of water. Add the Joule (or other sous vide device) and heat the water to 122F.

Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon

9 Cook the fish: Once the sous vide bath is heated, add as many salmon fillets as you'd like to cook. (Do not thaw frozen salmon.) It's fine if the tops of the bags poke out from the surface of the water, but the salmon itself should be completely submerged. Add additional water if needed to cover.

Cook fresh (unfrozen) salmon for about 40 minutes, or cook frozen salmon for 70 minutes. Salmon can be left in the sous vide bath for up to 30 minutes after the end of cooking without significant change in flavor or texture (after 30 minutes, it starts to get a little mushy).

When done, pull all the bags from the water and lay them on a kitchen towel. Pat the bags dry.

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10 Make the teriyaki sauce: Holding the bag over a microwave-safe measuring cup, snip one of the corners of the bag and empty the teriyaki marinade into the cup. Add water as needed so that you have 1/4 cup of liquid for every salmon fillet you have prepared. Whisk in 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch for every 1/4 cup of liquid.

Microwave on high in 30 second bursts, whisking between each burst, until the sauce thickens and bubbles around the edges (about 30 seconds for each quarter cup). If it doesn't seem to be thickening, whisk in another 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch for each 1/4 cup and continue heating.

Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon

11 Serve the salmon: While the sauce is heating, slide each salmon fillet out of its bag and onto a plate. If you'd like crispy skin (optional), warm a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear the salmon, skin-side down, for a few minutes or until the skin is browned and crispy.

Transfer each fillet to a plate, drizzle each one with sauce, and sprinkle with sliced green onions or chopped cilantro. Serve warm.

Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon Sous Vide Teriyaki Salmon

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Comments

  • Janel

    How do you use this recipe if you start with frozen vacuum packed Salmon?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Janel! Check the temperature and safety rating for the plastic your salmon is packaged in. If it’s safe for cooking and rated above the cooking temperature of the salmon, then you can cook the salmon in its original packing. If it’s not (or if you’re not sure), then remove the salmon from the original packaging and repackage it in a freezer zip-top bag like those specified in the recipe. I hope that helps!

  • Randy

    I followed the recipe and the salmon turned out soft and mushy. Temp too low? Other recipes I’ve seen for salmon use 130 degrees. It was not appealing.

    • Emma Christensen

      Thanks for the feedback, Randy! How long did you cook the fish for? If you let it cook for much longer than 30 minutes, then the fish does start to get a little soft and mushy. It also might just be a matter of preference! If you like firmer, more well-done fish, then by all means cook it at 130F!

      • Brendan

        Try sprinkling a little salt on the fish before bagging. The teriyaki may not be salty enough to brine it. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt experimented with dry-brine, wet-brine, and no brine sous vide salmon. Here’s what he said:

        “The difference is quite striking, with both the salmon that was water-brined and the dry-brined salmon coming out with a firmer, more pleasant flesh. Without any brine, salmon cooked at lower temperatures can taste mushy and watery; at higher temperatures, it will taste dry and chalky. With brine, salmon at low temperatures has a smooth, buttery texture, and at higher temperatures, it retains more moisture.”

  • Carrie Havranek

    This looks great! Sous vide for the masses!

  • bodrum gezilecek yerler

    I want to this :) Thanks :)

  • Susan

    Who needs more ways to add plastic to our ecosystem and who needs to risk releasing toxic chemicals into their food if the temp goes too high? Food storage bags are not regulated by the FDA for safe cooking as other food containers are. This registered dietitian will NOT be trying this. I’ll stick to baking salmon in parchment paper.

    • Anita

      agree 100%

      • Travis

        If you dont want to use plastic get glass jars they wprk well just remember to make sure the lids are tight

  • Dawn

    Thank you for this recipe, Emma. As you know, I asked you for a salmon sous vide recipe, so I am delighted. I think I might try using Ultra Gel as a thickener, adding it before starting the sous-vide. Although your method in the microwave is very easy, I would prefer to just wash up the one container from making the marinade! Ultra Gel should stand up to the long slow cooking just fine. :D I will let you know how it works out.

    • Emma Christensen

      Oh hooray! I hope you like the recipe! Let me know how adding the thickener to the sous vide bag works for you. I was curious about doing that, but haven’t had a chance to try it yet.

  • Nonny O'yourbiznoise

    1) If you want to eel better about the plastics used in your sous vide, use the BPA free vacuum seal bags sold or/by the various meal sealer machine companies. If you have one of the newer machines they have a “seal without vacuum” function that works great on liquid filled bags, just push as much air out by hand as possible.
    2) I personally won’t be making any fish following these sous vide directions. MOST fish borne pathogens live quite well up to about 135-140 degrees F (probably why USDA recommends cooking fish to 145). But you can decide for yourself.

  • Connie

    Is it really okay to cook foods in plastic bags immersed in boiling water? With all that we know (and don’t know) about the hazards of plastics and food, it seems risky at best. I won’t be trying this recipe for that reason, though I wish for a non-plastic alternative, as the cooking method makes perfect sense for a perfectly cooked piece of fish. Except for the plastic.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Connie! I personally feel comfortable cooking sous vide in plastic, especially the thicker freezer bags. Remember that the temperature of the water never gets above boiling, so the plastic definitely stays inert. For more info, check out our first post on cooking sous vide. All this said, I think it’s definitely a personal choice and what you feel comfortable with. Thanks for commenting!

    • Mike Goody

      Connie, the water is not boiling – 122degF is 90 degrees below the boiling point of water – you could put your hand into water at 122 degrees, so your argument about the risks associated with plastics doesn’t hold water. If you’ll forgive the pun…………

    • Travis

      You can get plenty of air tight jars that can be used . Just need to remember it may take extra time to heat as glass not compleatly surounding food , nor as thin as vac bags