Lean, full-flavored, and surprisingly delicate, halibut is a perfect main act in a healthy weeknight dinner. Like salmon and tuna, halibut is a fish that greatly benefits from sous vide cooking. This precise cooking method allows you to cook this delicate fish to its ideal temperature and texture without drying it out. Follow this simple guide to prepare perfectly cooked halibut every time. 

Temperature and cooking times for halibut

TemperatureTimeResult
125°F*30-60 minutesRare, tender,  slightly flaky
130°F30-60 minutesMedium, firm, moist, and flaky
135°F30-60 minutesWell done but still moist, flaky
*Please note that some of these temperatures are lower than what the FDA recommends. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of food-borne illness.

Depending on the thickness of the halibut, we recommend cooking it for between 30-60 minutes. Certain tougher proteins benefit from some extra time in the sous vide water bath however fish should be removed as soon as possible. If the halibut is left in the Suvie or sous vide bath for longer than an hour it will start to develop a dry texture.

Follow this link to find out more information about Suvie cooking times and temperatures

Ingredients

  • Halibut fillets
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil or butter

Equipment

  • Suvie or sous vide wand
  • A large pot (if using a sous vide wand)
  • Freezer safe sealable plastic bags

Directions

Season the halibut generously on both sides with salt and pepper, place in a sealable freezer bag (remove air from the bag using the water displacement method). Add 2 tbsp of olive oil or some butter and seal the bag. 

If you’re using a sous vide wand, pre-heat your water bath to the desired temperature.

Vacuum seal bag using our DIY vacuum-sealing guide. If you want your fish brined you can store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before cooking to allow the seasoning to penetrate the fish. 

If you are using Suvie, place the bag in the protein pan and cover with water. Cook using the following settings:

My Cook > Multi-Zone Settings

Protein: 125-135 degrees, 30 minutes – 60 minutes (or follow our Protein Cooking Guide)

Vegetable: 0 minutes

Starch: 0 minutes

Once the cook is finished, remove the fish from the water bath or pan. 

Remove the fish from the bag and place on a paper towel. The halibut will be quite delicate so try and be as careful as possible. Remove the skin, this is considerably easier after the fish has been in the sous vide bath. 

Finishing

Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil or butter in a skillet over high heat. Once the oil begins to smoke place halibut pieces in the pan and sear for about 30-45 seconds. Baste the top of the fish and continue to sear for 30 seconds. Flip over and brown the other side for another 30 seconds. Remove from pan.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipes to try

Miso-Tahini Halibut with Zucchini Salad

Halibut with Cilantro-Lime Butter

Tomato-Basil Halibut with Wild Rice and Green Beans

FAQs

Should I add oil during the sous vide process?

You don’t have to, but we strongly recommend it. Unlike steak or chicken, fish benefits from a little bit of fat during the sous vide process. 

Can I leave the halibut in sous vide for longer than 60 minutes? 

As with all proteins, at low temperatures, halibut that is left in the sous vide bath for too long will develop a soft texture that some may find unpleasant. At higher temperatures, the fish will become overly dry. 

What’s the chalky white substance on the exterior of the fish?

You may notice a white film forms on the exterior of your fish after it has cooked. This is albumin, a water-soluble protein that coagulates when heated and is completely safe to eat. It’s the same protein you find in egg whites and milk. Simply rinse or carefully brush off the albumin with a paper towel to remove.

Note: Adding oil to the sous vide bag should help to inhibit the development of the albumin.

Do I need to brine my halibut?

You don’t have to but some find that it enhances the texture of the finished fish. To dry brine halibut, simply season with salt, place in a plastic bag and store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

Where can I get vacuum sealed proteins?

If you don’t want to fuss with vacuum sealers and ziplock bags you can skip the store and order the Suvie Protein Box. Just put together your ideal combination of preseasoned, portioned, and vacuum-packed high-quality meat, poultry, or fish. We deliver it to you frozen in a carefully-packed box.

Should I remove the skin before the sous vide process?

If your halibut fillets still have skin on wait until the end of the sous vide process before you try and remove it. The heat will have broken down the connective tissue, making the skin far easier to remove. 

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