Crispy Sous Vide Chicken Thighs are juicy, tender, and flavorful.
The sous vide method cooks these chicken legs at 165°F for 1 hour to perfection, followed by a quick sear or grill to produce the amazing crispy skin on the outside. With instructions on how to cook from fresh or frozen ingredients.
If you enjoy our Teriyaki Chicken Bowls and Sous Vide Chicken Breasts, you’ll love these savory and sweet sous vide chicken thighs.
WHY SOUS VIDE CHICKEN THIGHS
I’m excited to share this foolproof honey garlic sous vide chicken recipe with you as part of my mission to bring you the best chicken recipes!
You may believe that cooking chicken thighs on the stove or in the oven takes less time, but the sous vide method guarantees the most delicious chicken with the perfect texture every time!
You can precisely control the temperature, ensuring that your chicken is never overcooked or undercooked – it’s my new favorite way to cook dinner. This is a game changer!
In French, sous vide means “under vacuum.” It’s a water bath cooking method that involves sealing food in a bag and then cooking it for an extended period of time at a precise temperature in a water bath.
It’s low-stress cooking because it eliminates short time windows for perfect doneness and produces even texture from edge to edge!
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE SOUS VIDE CHICKEN THIGHS
- I recommend the Joule immersion circulator.
- A package (you can just use a stockpot, or my favorite sous vide containers are Everie containers)
- A vacuum sealer, such as the Mueller vacuum sealer, or simply a plastic zipper top bag. To assist you, I have a blog post all about air removal methods!
- My favorite way to sear is in a cast iron skillet.
HOW DO YOU MAKE SOUS VIDE CHICKEN THIGHS
- Sous Vide Cook the Chicken: Preheat your sous vide machine to 165°F (74°C). The chicken thighs should then be seasoned with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a zip-lock bag and use the water displacement technique to vacuum seal the bag (see recipe for detailed instruction). In the sous vide water bath, cook the vacuum-sealed chicken thighs for 1 hour.
- Finish with a Quick Sear: To add some beautiful color to the chicken thighs, I like to finish with a quick sear. After taking them out of the water bath, sear them for 1 minute on each side. However, if you want crispy skin, you’ll need to cool them in the ice water bath so they don’t overcook in the skillet. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the chicken thighs, skin-side down. Sear for 4-5 minutes, or until the skin is crispy, and then flip for 30 seconds.
- Make the Sauce: In a skillet, combine all of the sauce ingredients and cook until thickened. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and serve over rice or potatoes.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST SOUS VIDE CHICKEN THIGHS
Here are a few pointers to help you pull this off successfully:
- Always season the chicken thighs before sous-viding (recipes in the next section!).
- While cooking, keep the chicken completely submerged. To accomplish this, I like to use sous vide magnets and/or place a ceramic plate or bowl in the water on top of them.
- After cooking and searing bone-in thighs, I like to remove the bone with a pairing knife and slice the chicken thighs to make them easier to serve and eat.
- Make sure your chicken thighs are in a single layer in the zip-lock bag. If necessary, use two bags.
- Before searing, make sure to wipe away any moisture with paper towels, as a dry surface helps to sear properly and produces crispy skin.
MARINADES AND SEASONING OPTIONS
You have options for enhancing the flavor of your chicken thighs!
Place the chicken thighs in a bag with the marinade. Remove the air and seal the hole. Yes, the chicken thighs can be cooked in the marinade! In fact, the marinade also works well as a sauce.
Season with a seasoning blend or a rub of your choice. Remove the air and seal the hole. Here are a few of my favorite seasoning combinations:
- Blend of the Mediterranean
- Sriracha Honey Garlic
- Dijon Rosemary
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt and freshly cracked black pepper are my go-to seasonings. Remove the air and seal the hole.
HONEY GARLIC SAUCE
The sauce is savory and sweet, and it comes together quickly. It’s great on chicken thighs, breasts, and even pork or fish!
Soy sauce, lemon juice, honey, and garlic are all you need. I also like to add 2-3 tablespoons of the juices from the cooked chicken thighs in the bag.
HOW TO SOUS VIDE FROZEN CHICKEN THIGHS?
If your chicken is frozen, you must first separate the pieces so that they do not freeze together. This ensures that they cook evenly.
Then, proceed as if you were cooking fresh chicken thighs, but add 30 minutes of cooking time in the sous vide water bath.
TIME AND TEMPERATURE FOR SOUS VIDE CHICKEN THIGHS
Cooking times for chicken thighs can be approached in a variety of ways. I like chicken thighs that are just beginning to pull away from the bone while remaining juicy.
When I have the time, 165 degrees F for 6 hours is my favorite! Cooking time for bone-in chicken thighs should be at least 2 hours.
|Very juicy and firm
|150 degrees F65 degrees C
|Juicy, mostly tender
|155 degrees F68 degrees C
|Juicy and completely tender
|165 degrees F74 degrees C
|Fall off the bone texture (bone-in only)
|165 degrees F74 degrees C
HOW TO FINISH SOUS VIDE CHICKEN THIGHS
You do not have to finish boneless chicken thighs if you do not want to. In fact, I almost never do!
A quick sear in a very hot skillet with olive oil or butter, on the other hand, can make them look more appealing. Finishing on a very hot grill is another option.
I always finish bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs when cooking them. Melt butter or olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Sear the skin side down first until it is a deep golden brown color. The skin will be sensitive, so don’t push it away. When it’s browned, it’ll easily pull away. Cook until golden brown on the other side, then serve.
WHY CAN I COOK CHICKEN AT A LOWER TEMP THAN 165 DEGREES F WHEN SOUS VIDING?
Food safety information provided by experts such as the USDA frequently sacrifices detail in favor of simplicity. Which I understand! But 165 degrees F isn’t the whole picture.
Temperature guidelines are in place to ensure that bacteria, the most common of which is salmonella, are killed when we cook chicken.
The chicken will be pasteurized. Pasteurization is affected by both temperature and time. The gold standard is 165 degrees F because chicken is instantly pasteurized at that temperature.
The lowest temperature I recommend for cooking chicken is 140°F. Your chicken will be pasteurized if it reaches 140 degrees F all the way through for at least 27.5 minutes!
And I recommend at least 2 hours to allow plenty of time for it to reach temperature and stay there for much longer than 27.5 minutes.
At 145°F, you only need 9.2 minutes, at 150°F, you only need 2.8 minutes, and at 155°F, you only need 47.7 seconds! Isn’t it amazing?
Frequently Asked Questions
The temperature used for tender sous vide chicken thighs is normally 141°F up to 156°F (60.6°C to 68.9°C), and I personally believe 148°F (64.4°C) is the best temperature for the best results. I usually leave them to cook for 4 to 6 hours.
It will not overcook because it will not go above the temperature of the set water. Do not cook the meat for more than 4 hours, as the texture and flavor begin to change at that point.
Yes! Even though it is not cooked to 165°F, sous vide chicken is safe to eat. While the FDA recommends cooking the chicken to 165°F in order to pasteurize it, pasteurization is actually determined by both the temperature and the time it is at that temperature.
I recommend cooking your boneless, skinless chicken breasts for 1 hour sous vide. Some people like to cook their chicken breasts for 75 minutes, but I find that 1 hour is plenty of time for this sous vide chicken breast recipe, and it gets those perfectly tender chicken breasts to my plate even faster!