How to Sous Vide Chicken Drumsticks

Tender, juicy, and incredibly easy to cook, chicken drumsticks the low-key MVPs of the kitchen. While they are often upstaged by the popular breast and wings, drumsticks, like chicken thighs are versatile, affordable, and incredibly tasty if cooked correctly.

Like all dark chicken meat, drumsticks are pretty forgiving and less prone to drying out than breasts. However, there are still benefits to cooking them using Suvie and sous vide. Sous vide adds a layer of control and precision that allows you to prepare chicken drumsticks to the exact level of doneness you prefer.

Temperature and cooking times for chicken drumsticks

155°F*1-3 hoursVery juicy, firm
160°F1-3 hoursTender and juicy
165°F1-2 hoursExtremely tender but less juicy
*Please note that some of these temperatures are lower than what the FDA recommends. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of food-borne illness.

Like most sous vide meats, the longer you cook, the more tender your meat will become. Chicken drumsticks, like thighs, are one of the most forgiving meats to sous vide so they are a great place to start for beginners.

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

Ingredients and Tools

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


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


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:

Suvie Cook Settings

Bottom Zone: Sous Vide at 155-165°F for 1-3 hours (based on desired doneness)

Top Zone: Sous Vide at 155-165°F for 1-3 hours (based on desired doneness)

Once the cook is finished, remove the chicken from the water bath or pan.

Remove the chicken from the bag and pat dry with a paper towel. 



If you’re using your Suvie, place the chicken drumsticks in your protein pan and place them under the broiler for 10 minutes on each side. 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 such as vegetable oil while avoiding olive oil if possible.

Place the chicken drumsticks 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 5 minutes each side.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipes to try

Chicken Cacciatore


Is it safe to cook chicken below 165°F?

The USFDA recommends cooking chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F. Foodborne bacteria will be killed almost immediately at this temperature which makes it the safest. However, chicken cooked to lower temperatures for longer periods of time are just as safe. If you want a slight moister chicken thigh you can safely cook it to 155°F provided it stays at that temperature for at least 2 minutes.

Can I use any type of plastic bag?

You can, however, make sure that they are made from polyethylene. Some branded 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. 

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. 

Will this method work with whole chicken legs?

It will! This technique will work with any dark chicken meat pieces such as thighs and whole chicken legs.

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.

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1 year ago

What’s the point of the “*Please note that some of these temperatures are lower than what the FDA recommends.” warning since the FDA recommendations are not applicable to sous-vide cooking? You’re going to scare people away for no reason.
Pasteurization of harmful bacteria in food is a function of time and temperature. Sous vide is perfectly safe at those temperatures if it was left in the bath long enough.

1 year ago
Reply to  DrWhat

I’m new to this way of cooking, and now confused. I thought chicken had to be cooked to 170 to be safe. My Joule says 158 for 3 hours. So confused.

Caroline Pierce
Caroline Pierce
1 year ago
Reply to  Lisa

Hi Lisa, pasteurization is a measure of time and temperature. Chicken held for 2 minutes at 155°F will pasteurize in the same way that cooking chicken to 165°F for less than 1 second will also pasteurize it. You can cook chicken to 136°F degrees and safely eat it, but it must be held at that temperature for nearly 80 minutes to be pasteurized (the texture probably wouldn’t be very good, however). Here is the link to the USDA guidelines. The chart is on page 37 if you want to learn more. The relationship between time and temperature is the reason… Read more »