Sous Vide Chicken Drumsticks are the simplest way to make juicy, tender, flavorful chicken. There are only three steps: season, sous vide, and sear!
These chicken legs are seasoned simply and then sous vide cooked to perfection. When the skin is seared at the end, it crisps up, resulting in the best chicken drumsticks ever!
WHAT IS SOUS VIDE?
Sous vide cooking is a water bath cooking method that involves sealing food in a bag and then cooking itV at a precise temperature in a water bath. In French, it means “under vacuum.”
SEASONING FOR SOUS VIDE CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS
These sous vide chicken drumsticks are incredibly simple to make, and the seasoning blend is ideal:
- Simply combine paprika (mild or smoky), garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in a mixing bowl. It’s Keto-friendly and pairs well with chicken or pork.
- You can also use any other seasonings or dry rub you want. A simple seasoning of salt and pepper would also suffice.
- I also like to drizzle with olive oil before rubbing the seasoning on the chicken for added flavor. It will aid in the seasoning’s adhesion to the meat.
HOW TO VACUUM SEAL THE BAG WITHOUT A VACUUM SEALER?
If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, place the seasoned chicken in a zip-loc bag and vacuum-seal it using the water displacement technique: seal all but one corner of the bag, then slowly place it into a large pot of water.
Make sure that everything below the zip-line is submerged in water before sealing the rest of the bag.
HOW TO SOUS VIDE CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS
1. MAKE THE SOUS VIDE
Place the sous vide circulator in a water bath and set the temperature to 160 degrees F. Make sure the container you’re using is big enough to hold all of the chicken you’re going to cook.
2. MAKE THE CHICKEN
Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. The chicken should then be placed in an airtight bag for cooking. In the bag, arrange the drumsticks in a single layer. If you have a vacuum sealer, seal the chicken with it. If not, place the chicken legs in a zippered freezer bag and use the water displacement method to remove the majority of the air.
3. PREPARE THE CHICKEN
Once the water bath container has reached the desired temperature, place the bagged drumsticks in it. Allow it to cook, undisturbed, for 2-4 hours at 160° F. Check on the chicken every now and then to make sure the bag hasn’t floated to the top. If it begins to float, weigh it down with a plate or heavy spoon.
4. THE CHICKEN SHOULD BE SEARED.
After the chicken has finished cooking, sear it in a hot pan or on a grill to crisp up the skin and brown the chicken. This adds flavor to the chicken and enhances its appearance. So, about 10 minutes before serving, heat a cast iron skillet or other heavy pan on medium high heat. Allow it to heat for 5 minutes before removing the chicken from the water. Remove the chicken from the bag and pat it dry. Add a tablespoon of oil to the skillet and brown the chicken drumsticks on both sides, turning them quickly. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter once it has browned.
5. PREPARE A HONEY GARLIC SAUCE (OPTIONAL)
To make a sticky sweet sauce for the chicken legs, reduce the heat to medium and add 6 cloves minced garlic to the skillet, stirring to brown. Then stir in the remaining sauce ingredients – water, honey, rice vinegar, and soy sauce – for a minute or two, or until the sauce thickens. Distribute the sauce over the chicken drumsticks.
WHAT TEMPERATURE DO YOU SOUS VIDE CHICKEN LEGS?
I experimented with various temperatures and found that 165°F (74°C) is my preferred temperature for sous vide chicken drumsticks.
If you want more tender meat, cook them at around 150°F. There may be some pink hues around the bones, but it is safe to eat.
If desired, garnish with sesame seeds and chives. This chicken goes well with rice or a simple salad. You can also serve the chicken without the sauce and eat it plain.
HOW LONG SHOULD CHICKEN LEGS BE SOUS VIDE COOKED?
Cooking time for chicken legs is slightly longer than for chicken breasts. The drumsticks take about 2 hours to cook, but you can leave them in the sous vide warm water bath for an extra 30 minutes.
- If you’re using a Suvie, place the chicken drumsticks in the protein pan and broil for 10 minutes on each side. Broil for an additional 10 minutes if you prefer extra crispy skin, checking frequently to ensure the chicken does not burn.
- Alternatively, in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat some vegetable oil. You should use a high-smoke-point oil, such as vegetable oil, and avoid using olive oil if at all possible.
- Place the chicken drumsticks in the hot pan, taking care not to splash any oil. Press the chicken down with a spatula or your fingers to ensure that as much of the skin as possible comes into contact with the pan.
- It is more difficult to achieve a crispy skin on chicken legs than on chicken thighs simply because their shape makes them more difficult to sear.
- So I make chicken thighs if I want really crispy skin. This chicken is also delicious with a homemade or store-bought barbecue sauce.
MAKE AHEAD FOR MEAL PREP
- You can make this chicken ahead of time and freeze it for later use. If you are not going to eat the chicken right away, remove it from the sous vide water and place it in an ice water bath.
- The ice water will assist in cooling the chicken so that it can be safely refrigerated. Refrigerate the chicken for 3-5 days after it has cooled.
- When ready to serve, sear it in a hot skillet or on a hot grill as directed to brown it and finish heating it up.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s fine to use the sous vide with frozen chicken legs. Simply increase the cooking time by 45 minutes to ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Chicken leg quarters or chicken drumsticks will work just as well.
It’s difficult to overcook chicken in a sous vide. It should not overcook as long as the temperature is not set higher than 165 degrees F.
The US Food and Drug Administration recommends cooking chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F. At this temperature, foodborne bacteria are killed almost instantly, making it the safest. Cooking chicken at lower temperatures for longer periods of time, on the other hand, is just as safe. If you prefer a slightly moister chicken thigh, you can safely cook it to 155°F as long as it remains at that temperature for at least 2 minutes.
Even after 6 or 8 hours in the water bath, it will still be edible. After 4 hours, the texture and flavor will begin to deteriorate slightly, but it will not be overcooked.