Discover how to make the BEST Sous Vide Chicken Breasts. Every time, this foolproof recipe yields perfectly tender and juicy chicken.
It also includes suggestions for flavoring your chicken breasts in a variety of ways. Frozen chicken breasts can also be sous vide.
WHAT IS SOUS VIDE IN THE FIRST PLACE?
In French, “sous vide” means “under vacuum,” and it refers to the practice of precisely cooking foods in vacuum-sealed pouches at precise temperatures for longer periods of time than you would normally cook that ingredient.
Here’s how it works and why it works:
Let’s say you want to cook a boneless skinless chicken breast which should be cooked to 165oF or less.
To cook the very center of a chicken breast to that temperature, you must cook it from the outside in, over extremely high heat.
This cooks the edge first, then the middle, and finally the very center.
It stands to reason that once the center has reached the proper temperature, the edges and middle will be overcooked, right? Because the heat you’re using is extremely high.
Cooking sous vide circumvents all of that.
Sous vide precision cookers maintain a water bath at a precise temperature (Like 146.5, as you see here).
You vacuum seal your ingredient so that it is not affected by water or air and has the perfect opportunity for infusion from spices, herbs, or other seasonings.
You immerse the sealed ingredient in the water bath and cook it long enough for the heated water to cook your chicken all the way through to the center at that exact temperature.
The edge is just as cooked as the center; the center is just as cooked as the edge. There is nothing more or less.
Finally, because the Maillard reaction (the browning or caramelization process that occurs when an ingredient comes into contact with high heat) did not occur, we usually finish sous vide recipes on a skillet with a bit of fat.
The end result is the most tender, perfectly cooked chicken breast you’ve ever had. The ultimate sous vide chicken breast recipe.
HOW TO SOUS VIDE CHICKEN BREASTS
You can easily sous vide chicken breasts if you can cook pasta.
Because boneless skinless chicken breasts don’t have a lot of flavor on their own, seasoning and the addition of fresh thyme or other herbs are crucial to adding wonderful flavors.
- Fill a large pot or container halfway with water, then set the sous vide machine to 145° F / 62.7° C.
- Drizzle olive oil over the chicken breasts, then season liberally with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and garnish with a few fresh thyme sprigs on each side.
- Transfer the chicken to a vacuum seal or Ziplock bag in a single layer, making sure it is as close to the water bath as possible, along with any sauce or marinade if using.
- Vacuum seal or use the water displacement method (a primer on this is provided below), and then carefully submerge into the water bath.
- Clip the bag to the container’s side to keep it in place and submerged.
- Cook the chicken for 1 12 to 2 hours at 145° F. (the result will be the same within this time window).
- Remove the bag from the water bath and remove the chicken from the bag; if using later or planning to sear, chill in the bag.
- Take into account searing (optional if you have skinless)
TOP SOUS VIDE CHICKEN BREAST RECIPES
- Chicken with Herbed Butter Sauce – It’s all about the sauce in this dish. The harmonious combination of chicken juice, butter, and herbs resulted in a brilliant sauce. Put the heavenly sauce on succulent sous vide chicken breast and you’ve got yourself a crowd-pleasing meal.
- Shredded Chicken – This recipe employs the sous vide method to create shredded chicken that is both simple and delicious. Cooking the chicken breast sous vide eliminates all guesswork. Every time, you’ll have tender, juicy shredded chicken for all of your needs.
- Chicken Parmesan – This is our take on a traditional Italian dish, chicken Parmesan. This recipe contains every delectable component you could want in a dish. Chicken breasts fried in breadcrumbs, tomato sauce, pasta, and cheese Almost nothing beats that, in my opinion.
ADVANTAGES OF SOUS VIDE FOR CHICKEN BREASTS
- Every time, the food is perfectly cooked: there’s no guesswork; it’s just science, and it works.
- The texture is delightfully tender and juicy.
- You can cook without using any added fat.
- Convenient and hands-free: Can be prepared or even cooked ahead of time (see below for details).
- Allows you to entertain dinner party guests while the sous vide works its magic.
- You can season the bag with flavors that will be infused into the chicken as it cooks, but I like to keep it simple with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and thyme.
BONE IN OR BONELESS CHICKEN BREAST?
The first step is to decide whether to buy bone-in or boneless chicken breasts for this recipe.
The short answer is that either cut will produce tender, juicy meat. In addition, for most sous vide recipes, either can be used interchangeably.
However, we prefer to sous vide boneless skinless chicken breast. Because of the sous vide, this cut is leaner and more versatile, as well as equally juicy.
RECOMMENDED SEARING METHODS FOR CHICKEN BREAST
Searing is by far the most important step in sous vide cooking. You’ll need to get a rich sear on your food if you want it to look Michelin-star quality.
If you don’t, your dinner guests will wonder why they let you cook again.
If you want a fantastic sear, you must:
1. Using a paper towel, completely dry the meat.
2. Season liberally with salt or seasoning of choice.
3. Extremely high temperatures are used to sear.
At this point, you should decide on the best searing method. We recommend pan searing, grilling, or using a searing torch for chicken breasts.
The trick is to heat up the pan, grill, or torch before searing for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. This produces a quick, high-quality sear while not drying out the breast.
HOW TO SEASON SOUS VIDE CHICKEN BREASTS:
To season my chicken, I like to use a dry rub or a thick sauce. The reason for this is that the bag must be vacuum sealed prior to the sous vide cooking process.
Marinades with a lot of liquid can make the sealing process difficult. Here are some flavor combinations that I like to use for seasoning from the start.
But keep reading because I have another method for seasoning the chicken breasts after they have been sous vide.
Options for dry rub:
- Oregano + Lemon Zest
- Rosemary + Orange Zest
- Seasoning for Tacos
- Cajun Flavoring
- salt for seasoning
- Barbecue Sauce
- Mustard Honey
- Pesto with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- The Mojo Sauce
- Chimichurri Dressing
You can season your butter in a variety of ways. Garlic, lemon zest, and fresh herbs are some of my favorite seasonings.
You can also add some heat by adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or horseradish.
HOW TO MAKE COMPOUND BUTTER:
- Combine softened butter, garlic, and fresh herbs in a mixing bowl.
- Roll into a log on a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour or freeze for 15 minutes to firm up.
- Cut into rounds and serve with chicken, steaks, bread, or vegetables.
CHICKEN WINE PAIRINGS:
- This dish would pair well with a Viognier or unoaked Chardonnay.
- If you want to go with a red, I’d recommend a Pinot Noir or another light-bodied red.
- Hard, oaky tannic reds should be avoided as they can overpower the delicate flavors of the chicken.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A VACUUM SEALER?
No need to worry! This sous vide chicken breast recipe is still available.
I have a vacuum sealer, but I rarely use it because the water displacement method is so simple and effective. This is how it works:
- You put your ingredients in a large enough food storage bag, such as a 1 gallon Ziploc bag, and seal halfway across the top.
- Using your precision cooker, heat the water.
- Lower the bag containing the ingredients into the water slowly. Because the water pressure has forced the air out, the bag will seal up around or cling to the food.
- Seal the rest of the bag after the food has been completely submerged. It should sink rather than float.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SOUS VIDE CHICKEN BREASTS?
Cook the chicken sous vide for at least 1 hour. After an hour, it can be kept in the sous vide bath for up to four hours without losing texture.
SOUS VIDE FROZEN CHICKEN BREAST:
Simply add 30 minutes to the cook time if you want to sous vide frozen chicken breasts. So, cook the chicken sous vide for at least 12 hours.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO OVERCOOK SOUS VIDE?
It’s fine to soak your chicken breasts in water for up to 4 hours. The meat may then break down too much and become mushy as a result. Because the meat is kept at the proper temperature, your chicken will never “overcook.”
CAN YOU REHEAT CHICKEN SOUS VIDE?
One of my favorite parts about sous vide is that you can reheat leftovers with it. It’s the perfect way to reheat a chicken breast or other cut of meat because it will never overcook it.
HOW DO YOU REHEAT CHICKEN SOUS VIDE?
Heat your water to 140-degrees. Reheat for 1 hour (up to 4 hours).
Frequently Asked Questions
Set the sous vide to 145°F. Using your preferred method, vacuum seal the chicken breasts. Each bag contains two chicken breasts, salt and pepper, fresh herbs, and lemon slices. Cook for 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
The texture of the meat is one of the factors that contribute to food being “tasty.” Cooking it for too long will result in a mushy texture that lacks the bounce or “snap” that makes most meat appealing. So, yes, sous vide chicken breasts can be overcooked; it just happens in a different way than traditional cooking.
Is it safe to cook chicken sous vide? 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!