Home » COOKING METHODS » Sous Vide Recipes » Sous Vide Salmon Recipe with Caper Sauce

Sous Vide Salmon Recipe with Caper Sauce

The extra time this sous vide salmon recipe takes to cook is worth it.  It’s guaranteed cooked-to-perfection with a lemony-tangy caper sauce to top it off.

Sous Vide Salmon with Lemon Caper Sauce

If you haven’t had sous vide salmon before, you will be amazed with the results.

For me, salmon normally takes about 20 minutes to get on the table. So I was skeptical about this method of cooking. Would it really make a big difference?  The sous vide process takes at least double the time, not including heating up the water and brining the salmon. So definitely longer than roasting or grilling.

Well, I’m convinced. I don’t bother cooking salmon sous vide every time, but I’ve certainly used this cooking method again and again.

What I love about sous vide salmon

  • The temperature or done-ness is exactly what you choose from top to bottom.
  • The texture is soft and moist. The color is vibrant. The taste – delicious.
  • And, bonus, it takes the guess work out of “is it done?”.

I finish off the salmon with a simple caper sauce of garlic, butter, lemon, capers and parsley. It just takes a few minutes to pull together and adds a wonderful tangy, lemony zip to the mellow salmon. If you’re unfamiliar with capers, they are little salty tangy flower buds.

Try serving this sous vide salmon recipe with Mushroom Spinach Couscous, Lemon Dill Rice-Orzo. or lemon herb cauliflower ‘rice’ for a lower cal option.

Tips

If you’re looking for general tips about sous vide cooking regarding preparation, set up, temperature, timing and finishing, check out our best sous vide recipes and tips.

Here are specific tips relative to this sous vide salmon recipe.

Sous vide salmon temperature

  • The equipment you use can make a bit of a difference. The first time around, I suggest going with the manufacturer’s guide. Then adjust from there. With my Supreme oven-type sous vide machine, I chose a temperature of 125F/52C.
  • Serious Eats and Anova show a chart with these descriptions:
      • 115F/41C translucent and starting to flake
      • 120F/49C very moist, tender, flaky
      • 130F/54C more cooked
  • I also found a video by Sansaire that shows you exactly how each cooking temperature will look – with their immersion circulator (scroll to the second video). Brilliant.

Sous vide cooking time

  • The general rule of thumb for salmon is:
      • 30-45 minutes for a thickness of 1 inch or less
      • 45-60 minutes for a thickness of 1-2 inches
      • My salmon is usually somewhere in between so I go with 40-45 minutes.

Brining

  • Brining salmon before sous vide cooking is not essential, but a good idea if you have the time. An extra 30 minutes. Brining means bathing in salt water.
  • It helps prevent the white albumen that forms from seeping out and it adds flavor.
  • To brine, simply place the salmon in a ziploc bag or container of a salt water solution for 30-60 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

Portions

  • A typical serving portion of salmon is 5-6 ounces (140-170g). For bigger eaters, like my husband, I serve at least 8 ounces (1/2 lb or 226g).

Caper Sauce

  • If you make the sauce ahead while the salmon is cooking, hold back the parsley and add it when you warm the sauce just before serving to maintain its vibrant green color.

Tailor To Your Taste

  • Needless to say, you can use whatever sauce you like. Some great options besides the caper sauce are a basil-mayo sauce,  a spicy sweet Thai sauce or a maple-balsamic sauce.

Make Ahead

  • The salmon can be cooked ahead, cooled in the sealed bag in an ice bath and kept in the fridge for a 2-3 days to be served cold.
  • Or, to reheat, gently warm the salmon in the bag by sous vide at 100F for an hour.

Here are a few of our best salmon recipes

All these salmon recipes can be made in 20-30 minutes

salmon, chives capers, butter, parsley, garlic, lemon, oil, salt, pepper
Gather the ingredients: salmon, chives (or green onions) capers, butter, parsley, garlic, lemon, oil, salt, pepper
seasoned raw salmon fillets in zipper lock bag
Put salmon (after brining if you did that) in a zipper lock bag with some chives and olive oil. Then plunge into heated sous vide water to cook.
2 salmon fillets in bag after sous vide cooking
After cooking sous vide, gently remove salmon from bag. It’s delicate.
caper sauce in pan
Make caper sauce in small pan in a few minutes.
Sous vide salmon with caper sauce in pan 1
Place salmon in pan and spoon over caper sauce. Or plate salmon and spoon over sauce.
piece of salmon on plate showing inside
This salmon was cooked at 125F/52C sous vide for 40 minutes. Moist and beautifully soft texture.
piece of Sous Vide Salmon with Caper Sauce on plate F
Print Recipe Pin Save Recipe

Rate this recipe here

4.8 from 15 votes

Sous Vide Salmon Recipe with Caper Sauce

The extra time this sous vide salmon recipe takes to cook is worth it. Guaranteed cooked-to-perfection with a lemony-tangy caper sauce to top it off.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
optional brining30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Sous Vide
Servings: 2
Author: Cheryl

Equipment

  • Sous vide equipment: oven-like machine or immersion circulator.

Ingredients

  • 2 salmon fillets, skin on or off (1/3-1/2 pound each)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped green onions or chives

Caper Sauce

  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated (3 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
  • 3 tablespoon softened butter
  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • PREPARE SOUS VIDE BATH: Fill water in the sous vide machine as per manufacturers instructions (not too high). Set the temperature to 125F/52C (for slightly above medium rare) and allow water to heat to that temperature. HINT: start with hot water to reduce heating time. Note 1 to choose other temperatures.
  • PREPARE SALMON: Brine salmon if you have time (optional but good). Note 2. If you don't brine, generously season the salmon with salt, pepper. Either way, add chives and drizzle with olive oil.
    To vacuum seal bag (Note 3 to use zipper lock bag instead), fold back top of a sous vide bag about an inch to create a flap (this ensures no food touches the top of the bag where it gets sealed). Insert both salmon fillets, ensuring no overlap. Unfold the flap and vacuum seal the bag using a vacuum sealer.
  • SOUS VIDE SALMON: When temperature of sous vide reaches 125F (or whatever temp you choose), submerge sealed bag with the salmon into the water. If using ziploc bag, follow directions in Note 3. Timing: if salmon is 1/2-1 inch thick, cook minimum 30 minutes, maximum 45 minutes; if salmon is 1-2 inches thick, cook minimum 40 minutes, maximum 60 minutes. I usually cook mine for 40-45 minutes.
  • MAKE CAPER SAUCE: While the salmon is cooking, heat a small saucepan to medium with oil. Add garlic and saute for a minute, not letting it burn. Add capers and lemon juice. Cook for a minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in butter and chopped parsley until sauce is smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
  • FINISH DISH: Remove the salmon from the water bath. Cut open the bag and remove the salmon. If one side of salmon has skin, slide a spatula between the skin and the bottom of the flesh and lift off the salmon onto a plate without the skin. (or flip salmon over and peel off skin). Discard skin. Pour sauce over salmon and serve.

Notes

  1. Cooking temperature:
    • The equipment you use can make a bit of a difference. The first time around, I suggest going with the manufacturer's guide. Then adjust from there. 
    • Serious Eats and Anova show a chart with these descriptions:
      • 115F/41C translucent and starting to flake
      • 120F/49C very moist, tender, flaky
      • 130F/54C more cooked
    • Here's a video by Sansaire that shows you exactly how each cooking temperature will look - with their immersion circulator (scroll to the second video). 
  2. To brine salmon: Fill a ziploc bag with 2 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt. Squish around to dissolve salt. Place salmon in a ziploc bag, seal and place in fridge for 30 minutes (or up to 60 minutes). Rinse in cold water and pat dry.
  3. Alternative to vacuum seal: Instead of vacuum sealing the bag, you can use a ziploc bag. Place salmon inside and do on seal bag. Lower bag in water just until top of bag is just above water (water will push air out), then seal bag. 
  4. Make Ahead
    • The salmon can be cooked ahead, cooled in the sealed bag in an ice bath and kept in the fridge for a 2-3 days to be served cold.
    • To reheat, gently warm bagged salmon by sous vide at 100F for an hour
 
Nutrition values are estimates and will vary with size of salmon used. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Sous Vide Salmon Recipe with Caper Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 401 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 124mg41%
Sodium 984mg43%
Potassium 906mg26%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 35g70%
Vitamin A 963IU19%
Vitamin C 19mg23%
Calcium 36mg4%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?We'd love you to rate it above under 'rate this recipe' or in the comment section below. Thanks!

The sous vide salmon recipe, originally posted in 2017, has been updated with new information, tips and pictures. 

4 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I find 117-118 to be the ultimate salmon. Anything higher can easily be mimicked with another cooking implement.

    For ease of cook + time saving: have you ever brined during sous vide? There is some controversy over “pulling salt through proteins” with longer cook times, but salmon is so permeable anyway. If you’re going to precook the salmon in the sous vide you’ll end up with too much brining, but if it’s for same day consumption you save time.

    Finally – the final step of quick sear is critical for the crunch skin and caramelized texture. 30-40 seconds on both sides super hot oil. You won’t be disappointed! Without the sear the salmon straight out of the sous vide can be a little “canned and bland” from a texture perspective (this really goes for most meats to be honest, a high heat crust is still essential).

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments Brian. A short brine could be good I agree. I’m afraid I don’t eat the skin so no crisping in this recipe 🙂 The caper sauce is bold enough to avoid any blandness I hope.

  2. You guys are about the only 350mill in a world of 7+bill people who still insist on the Fahrenheit scale. At least show the conversion to the vast majority.

    OTT recipe looks good. I will give it a try

    OTOH …..try lower temps. 52C is _tops_ for me for salmon. I often cook at 48C.

    1. Actually I live in Canada and use the metric system except for recipes for some reason. You make a good point though. I’ll start adding the metric conversion more regularly.

      I recently tried lower temps and loved the results. I’ll be updating the post soon to offer more options. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating