If you’re looking for the best way to cook tilapia, try Sous Vide Tilapia! This method cooks delicately in a temperature-controlled water bath to ensure a perfectly cooked piece of tilapia that’s ready for finishing or eating as-is!

sous vide tilapia

Tilapia is a freshwater fish that is popular in aquaculture. It is a mild-flavored white fish that is low in mercury. It tastes like a cross between bass and halibut and is a popular fish because it’s a high protein, low carb, and low fat.

One of the best traits about tilapia is that it takes on whatever seasoning you add to it making it super versatile!

While there are many ways to cook this tender white fish, we think the best is cooking it sous vide. Sous vide (pronounced “sue-veed”) is a French cooking method that means “under vacuum.” It’s a method of cooking food in a sealed bag at a very precise, consistent temperature. This low and slow cooking method allows for food to be cooked evenly throughout without any guesswork!

Why Sous Vide Method Is The Best Way To Cook Fish

  • Tilapia is one of the quickest and most delicate foods to cook, making it one of the most challenging to cook perfectly. The sous vide method takes all the guesswork out of cooking fish and results in a perfectly cooked piece of fish every time.
  • Tilapia cooked using the sous vide method is incredibly moist and flavorful and has a texture that is unlike any other type of cooked fish. This method of cooking also allows you to cook fish to your exact liking, whether you prefer it rare, medium, or well done.
  • In addition to being cooked perfectly every time, sous vide tilapia is also extremely versatile. It can be served with a variety of sauces and sides, making it a perfect dish for any occasion.

🐟Key Ingredients & Helpful Tools

  • Tilapia – You can find tilapia in most grocery stores in the seafood section or in the frozen section. To choose the best tilapia, go for wild-caught over farm-raised and look for fish that has been sustainably sourced if possible. You can use fresh or frozen for this recipe.
  • Seasonings – Simply season the fish with salt, pepper, garlic powder, or your favorite seasonings. You can also add a pat of butter or two to the bag to add a rich buttery flavor.
  • Immersion Circulator – The best immersion circulator is by Anova because it’s top-of-the-line quality and has a great app that connects with your phone. You can also use a budget-friendly brand such as the SAKI or InkBird brand.
  • Vacuum Sealer – Use any basic vacuum sealer with your sous vide. You can also use these sous vide bags with hand pump for about $15.
  • Vacuum Sealer Bags – Purchase a set of different sizes for ease and variety.
  • Large Pot or Sous Vide Container – If you’re cooking a lot with the sous vide, it’s helpful to have a container that’s perfectly sized to hold the immersion circulator and the food its cooking. Otherwise, you can use a large pot or heat-safe container.
  • Sous Vide Clips or Sous Vide Weights – These accessories are made to keep the food submerged in the water while it cooks to make sure it cooks evenly. You can purchase these or use a heavy kitchen utensil and binder clips.

Check out The Best Sous Vide Accessories for a perfect cooking experience!

sous vide accessories

💧Water Displacement Method

Don’t have a vacuum sealer? The water displacement method works by using the principle of Archimedes, which states that a body submerged in water is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the water displaced by the body.

This means that the food in the sealed bag is cooked by the heat of the surrounding water, without coming into direct contact with the water. This cooking method is often used to cook delicate foods such as fish, eggs, and vegetables. You can use the water displacement method to properly secure your fish for sous vide using the following steps:

  1. Place your food in a Ziploc freezer bag, making sure to get as much air as possible.
  2. Seal the bag most of the way leaving a small opening at the end to let air escape.
  3. Submerge in the water letting the air come up to the top using the pressure of the water.
  4. Once the bag is submerged up to the seal, close it fully before fully submerging into the water.

💦How To Sous Vide Tilapia

1️⃣Heat the water bath: Choose your desired temperature using the table below and fill your pot or sous vide container with water. Add the immersion circulator and set the correct temperature.

2️⃣Prepare the fish: Pat the tilapia dry completely, then add desired dried seasonings and/or butter. Place the tilapia in a vacuum-sealed bag in a single layer or use the water displacement method to remove the air.

3️⃣Sous vide the tilapia: Once the water has come up to temperature, submerge the fish into the water bath and use weights or clips to keep it down. Cook for 30-45 minutes depending on the size or if it’s frozen.

4️⃣Finish and serve: Once it’s finished cooking, remove from the water bath with tongs and carefully open it. Pat dry with paper towels, then use any of the finishing methods below. Adjust seasonings and enjoy!

⏲️Best Time and Temperature To Cook Tilapia

What temperature do you sous vide tilapia and for how long? This depends on how well you like it cooked and what type of fish it is. Generally, you can expect your fish to be cooked in about 30 minutes at a temperature ranging from 130F – 145F for the best flavor and texture.

  • Rare: 130F for 30 minutes – This will produce a fish that is slightly pink in the center and will have a more raw taste. Use this time and temperature if you plan on finishing the dish with a high heat method.
  • Medium: 140F for 30 minutes – This is the perfect temperature to cook your fish if you’re looking for something with a slightly firm texture while still being moist and tender. This is the temperature you want to aim for if you are planning on finishing or browning the top.
  • Well Done: 145F for 30 minutes – This will give you a fish that is cooked all the way through and has a slightly firmer flaky texture but is still moist and delicious. Use this temperature if you are planning to eat the fish without finishing to avoid overcooking.
broiled tilapia

🍳Finishing

There are 4 ways to finish your fish after it has been cooked sous vide. Keep in mind that fish can be extremely delicate after cooking with all of its moisture so handle your fish with care to prevent it from breaking.

  • Skillet – This is the best way to finish sous vide fish. Simply heat up a skillet on medium-high heat with some oil. Sear each side of the fish for about 1 minute or until it becomes slightly browned and crispy. Remove from the pan and serve immediately.
  • Broiling – To broil sous vide fish, preheat your oven to the highest broil setting. Place your fish on a lightly oiled baking sheet and place it in the oven. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until the top becomes slightly browned and crispy. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
  • Grilling – Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates. Grill your fish for 1-2 minutes per side or until it becomes slightly browned and crispy. Remove from the grill and serve immediately.
  • Air Fryer – Preheat your air fryer to 400F. Place your fish in the air fryer and cook for 3-5 minutes or until it becomes slightly browned and crispy. Remove from the air fryer with a spatula and serve immediately.

👩🏻‍🍳Chef’s Tips

  • Tilapia is often very delicate and is even more delicate when cooked in its own juices. Make sure you are removing and finishing the fish carefully to keep it from breaking.
  • Because the seafood gets cooked in its own moisture, the seasoning will go a long way! Start with less than you think you need to and add more when finishing.
  • If you’re not enjoying your fish right away, remove it from the sous vide and immediately place it in an ice bath for 10 minutes. Then, store in the fridge for up to 3 days before finishing and serving.
  • If you’re using frozen tilapia, add 15 minutes more of cooking time to ensure its thawed properly. You may only need to add 5 minutes for thinner cuts of fish.

🧂Seasoning Ideas

Tilapia is one of the most versatile foods because it can take on the flavor of anything you pair it with. Try these serving suggestions and seasoning ideas!

  • Cajun seasoning, grilled and served with remoulade sauce
  • Lemon pepper, pan-seared and served with a lemon butter sauce
  • Garlic herb, broiled and served with a creamy dill sauce
  • Smoked paprika, air fried and served with a honey mustard dipping sauce
  • Fresh herbs, grilled and served with a balsamic glaze

🦐More Sous Vide Seafood Recipes

  • Sous Vide Lobster Tail
  • Sous Vide Frozen Shrimp

👩🏻‍🍳 Did You Enjoy This Recipe? 💗

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broiled tilapia

If you’re looking for the best way to cook tilapia, try Sous Vide Tilapia! This method cooks delicately in a temperature-controlled water bath to ensure a perfectly cooked piece of tilapia that’s ready for finishing or eating as-is!

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 2

Calories: 169kcal

  • 12 oz Tilapia (2- 6oz filets)
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Choose your desired temperature using the table below and fill your pot or sous vide container with water. Add the immersion circulator and set the correct temperature.

  • Pat the tilapia dry completely, then add desired dried seasonings and/or butter. Place the tilapia in a vacuum-sealed bag in a single layer or use the water displacement method to remove the air.

  • Once the water has come up to temperature, submerge the fish into the water bath and use weights or clips to keep it down. Cook for 30-45 minutes depending on the size or if it’s frozen.

  • Once it’s finished cooking, remove from the water bath with tongs and carefully open it. Pat dry with paper towels, then use any of the finishing methods below. Adjust seasonings and enjoy!

Best Time and Temperature To Cook

What temperature do you sous vide tilapia and for how long? This depends on how well you like it cooked and what type of fish it is. Generally, you can expect your fish to be cooked in about 30 minutes at a temperature ranging from 130F – 145F for the best flavor and texture.

  • Rare: 130F for 30 minutes – This will produce a fish that is slightly pink in the center and will have a more raw taste. Use this time and temperature if you plan on finishing the dish with a high heat method.
  • Medium: 140F for 30 minutes – This is the perfect temperature to cook your fish if you’re looking for something with a slightly firm texture while still being moist and tender. This is the temperature you want to aim for if you are planning on finishing or browning the top.
  • Well Done: 145F for 30 minutes – This will give you a fish that is cooked all the way through and has a slightly firmer flaky texture but is still moist and delicious. Use this temperature if you are planning to eat the fish without finishing to avoid overcooking.

Finishing

There are 4 ways to finish your fish after it has been cooked sous vide. Keep in mind that fish can be extremely delicate after cooking with all of its moisture so handle your fish with care to prevent it from breaking.

  • Skillet – This is the best way to finish sous vide fish. Simply heat up a skillet on medium-high heat with some oil. Sear each side of the fish for about 1 minute or until it becomes slightly browned and crispy. Remove from the pan and serve immediately.
  • Broiling – To broil sous vide fish, preheat your oven to the highest broil setting. Place your fish on a lightly oiled baking sheet and place it in the oven. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until the top becomes slightly browned and crispy. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
  • Grilling – Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates. Grill your fish for 1-2 minutes per side or until it becomes slightly browned and crispy. Remove from the grill and serve immediately.
  • Air Fryer – Preheat your air fryer to 400F. Place your fish in the air fryer and cook for 3-5 minutes or until it becomes slightly browned and crispy. Remove from the air fryer with a spatula and serve immediately.

Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 678mg | Potassium: 527mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 14IU | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg