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How to Sous Vide Chicken Breasts

When it comes to planning your weekly meals you can’t go wrong with the humble chicken breast. As delicious and versatile as they are ubiquitous, there are thousands of ways to serve this dinnertime staple. The only major downside of chicken breasts is their tendency to dry out when overcooked. That’s where sous vide comes in. Cooking chicken breasts using Suvie or sous vide allows you to cook them to the exact level of doneness without fail. Follow this simple guide to prepare perfectly moist and tender sous vide chicken breasts every time.

TemperatureTimeResult
150˚F1-3 hoursVery juicy, soft and tender
155°F1-3 hoursVery juicy, tender
160°F1-3 hoursFirm and juicy
165°F1-3 hoursFirm but less juicy, slighty stringy

There’s no limit to the length of time you can sous vide chicken breast, however, if left in the bath for too long the texture will become tacky and unpleasant. 

Follow this link to find out more information about Suvie cooking times and temperatures

Ingredients and Tools

  • Chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary or sage
  • Vegetable oil

Equipment

  • Suvie or sous vide wand
  • A large pot (if using a sous vide wand)
  • Vacuum sealer and bags or Freezer safe sealable plastic bags

Directions

If you’re using a sous vide wand, pre-heat your water bath to the desired temperature

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.

Place chicken in a plastic bag, add any herbs you intend on using and vacuum-seal. Follow our guide if you are using the water displacement method

If you are using Suvie, use the following settings:

My Cook > Multi-Zone Settings

Protein: 155-165 degrees, 1 hour- 3 hours (or follow our Protein Cooking Guide)

Vegetable: 0 minutes

Starch: 0 minutes

Once the cook is finished, remove the chicken from the water bath or pan and remove from the bag and pat dry with a paper towel. If you prefer skinless breasts, now is a good time to remove them. The connective tissue will have broken down making it easy to remove.

Finishing

If you intend to serve your chicken cold you can skip the steps below. Sous vide chicken is great as a basis for some homemade chicken salad, just make sure to debone the breasts and remove the skin. 

If you’re using your Suvie, place the chicken breasts, skin up, in your protein pan and place them under the broiler for 10 minutes. If you prefer extra crispy skin broil for an additional 10 minutes, checking often to ensure that the chicken doesn’t burn.

Alternatively, heat some vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. You’ll want to use an oil with a high smoke point so avoid olive oil if possible. Place the chicken, skin side down, in the hot pan being careful to avoid any splashing oil. Press the chicken down with a spatula or with your fingers to make sure as much of the skin is making contact with the pan as possible. Cook until the skin is crispy, about 2 minutes. 

Flip and cook the underside for 1-2 minutes. 

Remove chicken from heat and debone. Serve and enjoy!

FAQs

Are the cooking temperatures safe?

Our recommended cooking temperatures for Sous vide and Suvie are lower than what the USDA recommends, however, cooking times and temperatures are long enough and high enough for “pasteurization” to make your food safe. The USDA recommendations indicate the temperature needed to instantly kill food pathogens. By cooking for a longer time at a lower temperature we are able to achieve the same effect. However, high-risk populations should use extra caution when preparing foods below the USDA recommended temperatures.

Can I use any type of plastic bag?

You can, however, make sure that they are made from polyethylene. Some branded plastic bags are made using polyethylene which is a BPA and dioxin free plastic that can safely handle sous vide cooking temperatures up to 190°F. Some generic branded plastic bags are made using cheaper polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which cannot handle high temps and contains chemicals that can leach into food. 

Where can I get vacuum sealed proteins?

If you don’t want to fuss with vacuum sealers and ziplock bags you can skip the store and order the Suvie Protein Box. Just put together your ideal combination of preseasoned, portioned, and vacuum-packed high-quality meat, poultry, or fish. We deliver it to you frozen in a carefully-packed box.

Bone-in or bone out?

Everyone has their preferences when it comes to chicken. This cooking process will work equally well in both cases. If you prefer deboned chicken, we recommend removing the bones at the end of the sous-vide process. The chicken will be so tender that the bones will come away easily and it will save you having to fumble around with a boning knife. Bone and skin also works as a natural insulator and will prevent the chicken from overcooking. 

Can I use frozen chicken?

Yes! This technique will work with frozen chicken pieces. If you’re cooking straight from the freezer just add an additional hour to the sous vide time. 

Can I refrigerate the chicken after the sous vide process and sear it later

For food safety reasons, we recommend consuming your chicken soon after cooking.

Do I have to use skin-on chicken pieces?

No, this recipe will work with boneless and skinless chicken breasts. If, however, you plan on removing the skin we recommend doing so after the sous vide process. Once cooked, the connective tissue will have broken down making it far easier to remove the skin.

Recipes to try

Chicken Parm

Chicken Saltimbocca

Sesame Chicken

Creamy Mushroom Chicken

Mediterranean Chicken Bowl

Crispy Chicken Breast with Wild Rice, Cranberry and Apple Salad

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