This Sous Vide Octopus recipe is the most foolproof way to get tender, flavorful octopus. Finish it off on a hot grill or skillet to get the most perfect char on the outside. Delicious served with Romesco Sauce, Mojo Sauce or Chimichurri Sauce.
The most simple, surefire way to get octopus every time?
Truth be told, I was totally intimidated to make octopus at home because I’ve had it in restaurants where it was chewy, lacking flavor, and basically not worth it.
But I knew that with the sous vide in my arsenal, I could tackle this one.
The sous vide has been my weapon for tackling so many dishes, and it turns out perfect every time. Sous vide is the way to guarantee perfectly cooked filet mignon, tender & juicy pork chops, and the most amazing chicken breasts ever. But the dish I’d been most eager to try with the sous vide was octopus.
First things first…
What is Sous Vide?
- Sous vide, which means “under vacuum” in French, refers to the process of vacuum-sealing food in a bag, then cooking it to a very precise temperature in a water bath. This technique is amazing because it makes it virtually impossible to overcook your food. Making it perfect for cooking delicate cuts of meat and seafood, like octopus.
Octopus turns out especially great in the sous vide because the low and slow process turns the collagen into gelatin, creating that most perfect tender texture that’s not chewy at all!
I found my spanish octopus online. But you can also find it at the fresh seafood counter or frozen at some supermarkets. It was actually super affordable too! I purchased a medium sized (3 lb.) octopus at it was around $35. That will easily serve 4-6 people as a substantial main course or appetizer.
This recipe works for octopus of any size: baby, medium, or large.
How to Prepare Octopus
My octopus was fully cleaned with the head and beak still attached. You can choose to leave the head attached, and cook it, or simply remove it and dispose of it. (It’s less substantial and tasty than the legs, but can be used in ceviche, stews, etc.) You’ll also need to remove the beak. To do that, look for the black “beak” that’s in the middle of all the legs, right under where the head would be. Use a paring knife to slice around it and carve it out, then dispose of it.
How to Cook Octopus Sous Vide
- Blanch the octopus quickly in boiling water to allow the legs to curl up. Then chill in an ice water bath.
- Season the octopus with salt and olive oil.
- Vacuum seal to remove as much air as possible using a vacuum sealer or the “water displacement” technique.
- Cook for 5 hours.
- Remove from sous vide and chill in an ice water bath.
- Dry very well with paper towels. (For best results, let sit in the fridge overnight to dry out even further).
- Sear on high heat over a grill or in a skillet.
What Temperature Do You Sous Vide Octopus?
- Tender but firm: 140° F (60° C) for 24 hours (good for soups & stews)
- Very Tender & Soft: 170.5° F (77° C) for 5 hours (good for searing/grilling)
- Tender & Soft: 185° F (85° C) for 24 hours (good for salads and ceviche)
For general purposes, I prefer cooking octopus at 170.5° F for 5 hours.
How Long to Sous Vide Octopus?
- Sous vide octopus at 170.5° F for 5 hours.
Once the octopus is done cooking, it goes into an ice bath. This cooling process ensures that the skin won’t fall off. Once it is cool to the touch, you can either serve it as is, slice it, or give it a good char on a grill or in a skillet (my favorite way to enjoy octopus).
How to Get Crispy Octopus
My favorite octopus has a good char on the outside and is a bit crispy. To ensure that you get a nice char, you want to be sure to dry the octopus very well once it is done in the sous vide. Pat it dry with paper towels and be sure to dry the tentacles completely.
If time allows, my preference is to first dry the octopus with paper towels and then let it sit in the fridge overnight to dry completely. Then, I just sear the octopus right before serving.
You want to be sure to get your grill or a cast iron skillet super hot. Then char it for about 8-10 minutes, flipping occasionally.
- Opt for a lively white wine such as an Italian Verdicchio or a Pinot Gris from Oregon.
- A light-bodied, acidic red wine such as a young, slightly chilled Chianti will work well with this recipe.
What to Serve with It
- Pan Con Tomate
- Radicchio Salad with Olives & Parmesan
- Creamy Polenta
- Crispy Brussels Sprouts
- Blistered Shishito Peppers
More Sous Vide Recipes
- Sous Vide Pork Chops Recipe
- Sous Vide Lamb Chops
- Sous Vide Chicken Breasts Recipe
- Sous Vide Filet Mignon
- Sous Vide Ribeye Steak with Compound Butter
- Sous Vide Infused Vodka
- Sous Vide Homemade Limoncello Recipe
Did you try this sous vide octopus recipe?
If you loved this guide on how to sous vide octopus I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
Sous Vide Octopus
- 1 medium octopus (about 3 pounds)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil (plus additional for searing)
- Kosher salt
- Fill a large pot with water, and bring it to a boil. Preheat sous vide to 170.5 degrees.
- Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. Add the octopus to the boiling water and cook for not more than 1 minute, just until the tentacles curl up a bit. (This is optional, but ensures a nice shape for your sous vide octopus). Remove with tongs and add to the ice water bath.
- Once cool, add the octopus, olive oil and a pinch of salt to a FoodSaver bag and seal using vacuum sealer. Alternatively, you can use the water displacement method, however, I would recommend double bagging the octopus. If the octopus is very large, you may want to cut it into two or more portions.
- Place the bag in the water bath, making sure not to block the intake or output sections of the sous vide, and cook for 5 hours.
- Meanwhile, set up another ice bath. Transfer the cooked, bagged octopus to the ice bath. (This step ensures that the skin won't fall off)
- Once it is cool to the touch, you can either serve it as is, slice it, or give it a good char on a grill or in a skillet.
- To char, heat a grill or cast iron skillet to high heat. Dry the octopus very well with paper towels and drizzle it with olive oil. Cook until charred, flipping occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and serve.
This post was originally published in 2020. It was updated in 2023 to add new content. The recipe remains the same. Enjoy!