This Mexican-Inspired Sous Vide Frozen Salmon is a foolproof and "hands off" way to achieve perfectly cooked salmon while you make the luscious Chipotle Orange Sauce to serve with it... After the salmon soaks in a hot bath, sear it (or not) slather it with a simple pan sauce that combines chipotle, blood orange juice, pomegranate molasses, ground cumin, garlic, shallot, and sherry. This healthy salmon dish can be ready in under an hour... Delicioso!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Why Sous Vide Frozen Salmon?
Why bother with your sous vide equipment for frozen salmon? The real benefit IMHO to the sous vide method is its ability to hold ingredients at a pre-specified cooking temperature. If you are familiar with my sous vide duck breasts, or my sous vide pork tenderloin, you have heard me wax poetic, right?
The beauty of sous vide salmon (or other fish) is that the fish cooks to the same temperature throughout. Gone are the dried out edges and the under-cooked or even raw center. The salmon thaws gently in its water bath, and results in tender, flaky, silky fish. Finishing the salmon with a quick sear in a hot pan is optional.
A one-inch portion of frozen salmon takes about 40-45 minutes to cook to 125°, but it is inactive time that can be used to prepare the ingredients for the sauce and any side dishes. I think you'll find sous vide to be a perfect cooking method for frozen salmon!
🍴 What I Love About Sous Vide Salmon
- Sous vide takes the guesswork out of cooking salmon.
- Sous vide allows you to choose with precision the finished texture and doneness you prefer.
- It's a very "hands off" cooking method that frees up time for side dishes.
📋 Ingredients for Salmon with Chipotle Orange Sauce
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
Sous Vide Frozen Salmon
Chipotle Orange Sauce
- olive oil
- ground cumin
- dry sherry - I keep a bottle of dry sherry in my pantry. You can substitute a dry white wine or chicken broth if you prefer.
- chicken broth - This is an "as needed" ingredient that depends on how much you cook down the sherry and citrus juice.
- oranges - When I wrote this salmon recipe, blood oranges were in season, and they'll always be my first choice. Any orange variety will work - cara cara, navel, tangerine, clementine, etc. You need about ⅓-1/2 cup of juice (and the zest).
- chipotle pepper - Chipotle peppers aren't terribly spicy, but if you're not familiar with them, you might want to start with a little adobo and tasting it. If you have littles or heat averse eaters, you can omit them.
- pomegranate molasses - You may or may not find pomegranate molasses at your local market in the international foods aisle. You can also make your own pomegranate molasses. It's easy!
- garnishes - Pomegranate arils make a beautiful garnish. On photo day, I used pomegranate arils and chopped cilantro. Toasted pepitas, sesame seeds, lime wedges, crumbled cotija are all good options!
- NOTE: Depending on how much citrus juice you add, you may want to add chicken broth to the pan sauce.
🐟 How to Sous Vide Frozen Salmon
- Prepare your sous vide equipment. I use the OneTop Sous Vide Cooker by Cuisinart. In addition to the induction burner, the thermometer, and the app, I need a large enough saucepan to hold (without crowding) my salmon portions. This Anova sous vide cooker, and this Dash Chef 8.5 quart sous vide cooker are different, but will achieve the same results. Follow manufacturer's instructions for your model. Fill with water, and set to your desired internal cooked temperature.
- Decide on the desired doneness/internal temperature. See the simple chart below for reference. I set the temperature for 120º for wild caught salmon, and 125º for farmed salmon.
- Package the salmon for sous vide. If (as shown in my prep photos) you have vacuum sealed, single portion salmon portions, you're good to go. Otherwise, you need to package it in a water and air tight bag. You do not need a vacuum sealer. A zip bag with the air removed is fine. To remove air without a vacuum sealer, use the water displacement method.
- Place the water-tight salmon portions in the sous vide cooker. Cook to desired temperature. NOTE: Do not leave in the water bath more than 30 minutes after it reaches temperature, or the fish will start to get mushy.
- Choose your desired level of doneness. This simple chart may prove helpful, or you can read Sous Vide Salmon Recipe on Serious Eats for a more in depth look at the ins and outs of cooking sous vide salmon.
- Sous vide the salmon - Set up your sous vide cooker according to manufacturers instructions. Select a temperature according to your preference. Add the salmon, and start the cooking process. My one inch portions take about 40 minutes. You can leave the fish in the water bath up to 30 additional minutes. Beyond that, the texture of the fish will be affected.
- Prep sauce ingredients, garnishes, and start any side dishes. You will have about 30-45 minutes to chop the shallots, mince the garlic, squeeze the oranges, etc. If you're using a whole pomegranate, you may want to break it down for the arils. Chop some fresh cilantro. On photo day, I made this cilantro rice, and added frozen peas and shredded carrots.
- Sauté the aromatics - Add a drizzle of olive oil to a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and cumin. Stir until fragrant.
- Add the remaining ingredients - De-glaze the pan with dry sherry. Add orange juice and zest, chipotle pepper, and pomegranate molasses. Simmer gently for 4-5 minutes.
- Finish the sauce - Using an immersion blender or blender (be careful transferring hot liquids!), blend until smooth. Combine cornstarch with ¼ cup broth or water. Stir into the sauce, and bring to a boil. Add additional liquid as needed. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper as desired.
- Optional step - I have done it both seared and without. If you wish to sear the salmon, keep in mind it will be very tender. I recommend searing on the skin side and only on one side.
- To serve - Plate the sous vide salmon, top with a generous amount of the chipotle orange sauce, and garnish as desired. Enjoy!
Can you sous vide frozen salmon?
Yes! Prepare the sous vide, and set to desired internal temperature. The salmon can go straight from the freezer into the water.
How long can I hold the salmon at temperature in the sous vide?
Once the fish is at temperature, it can stay in its bath for about 30 minutes. Beyond that, the texture will start to get mushy.
What is the best salmon sous vide temperature?
The best salmon sous vide temperature is subjective. USDA recommends 145°, and I think that's tragic. At that temperature, the salmon will be dry (bordering on shoe leather). I suggest 120° for wild caught salmon, and 125° for farmed salmon. If you prefer firm fish, 130° is a good target temperature.
Wild salmon is leaner than farmed salmon. This means you may want to cook to a slightly lower temperature(-5°) to avoid drying out wild salmon. My personal preference is 120° for wild salmon, and 125° for farmed salmon. See What’s the Ideal Temperature of Cooked Salmon? for a more in depth explanation.
Sous Vide Salmon with Chipotle Orange Sauce.
- 2 salmon portions - 8 to 12 ounces total
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 shallots - minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic - minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 ounces dry sherry - see Ingredients in post for alternatives
- 2 medium oranges - juiced; about ½ cup
- ¼ cup chicken broth - additional broth as needed
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Set up your sous vide cooker according to manufacturers instructions. Select a temperature according to your preference.
- Prepare the sauce ingredients - minced garlic, chopped shallot, squeezed orange juice.
- Add a drizzle of olive oil to a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and cumin. Stir until fragrant (about 1 minute).
- De-glaze the pan with dry sherry. Add orange juice and zest, chipotle pepper, and pomegranate molasses. Simmer gently for 4-5 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender or blender (be careful transferring hot liquids!), blend until smooth. Combine cornstarch with ¼ cup broth or water. Stir into the sauce, and bring to a boil. Add additional liquid as needed. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper as desired.
- Plate the sous vide salmon, top with a generous amount of the chipotle orange sauce, and garnish as desired.
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.