Chicken breasts are one of the most magical things to sous vide because it turns an often dry and overcooked meal into a tender and juicy one. It’s also very easy to use to meal prep for the week for quick and easy lunches!
If you replace the chicken in your favorite recipes with this sous vide version you’ll be blown away by how juicy it is. I love to use sous vide chicken breasts chopped up in chicken salad, in stir fries and grain bowls, on top of Caesar salads, or simply with some tasty sides and a nice sauce.
This recipe works for both boneless, skinless breasts as well as ones that still have the skins and bones. I generally prefer skinless because the skin is harder to crisp up after sous vide, but either are great!
How To Sous Vide Chicken Breasts
Chicken breasts are one of the easiest dishes to sous vide. Start by sprinkling the chicken with salt and any spices you like. I use garlic and coriander a lot, but most spice rubs work well.
Dried spices work best because some fresh spices, like garlic and ginger, will come out tasting bitter.
Add the chicken to the sous vide bag in a single layer and seal it. This can be done using an edge-style sealer like a FoodSaver or even Ziploc Brand Freezer Bags.
Cook the chicken until it is pasteurized and safe to eat, usually about 2 to 4 hours depending on the size of the chicken and the temperature you are using.
Once it’s done, you can either eat it as is or dry it off and sear it to add some browning to the meat.
You can also leave it in the bag and chill it in ice water. It will then last in the refrigerator for more than a week and can be used in future meals.
What Temperature To Use?
Traditionally cooked chicken needs to be cooked to 165°F (74°C) but with sous vide you can hold it at your desired temperature long enough to make it just as safe to eat. This means you can cook them much lower, resulting in a very tender and juicy chicken.
My preference is 140°F (60°C), which takes an hour and 35 minutes for a 1” thick breast, 2 and a half hours for 1.5” thick, and 3 and a half hours for 2” thick.
Many people also like 149°F (65°C) for a more traditional texture. At that temperature you can reduce the cook time by about 40 minutes.
But remember those are the minimum timings, you can easily go an hour or two longer with no loss in quality! You can discover exactly how this works for thicker breasts by using sous vide chicken pasteurization charts.
Can I Sous Vide From Frozen?
If you want to cook from frozen you can add 50% to the above cooking times, there’s no need to defrost first! This makes sous vide a great option for sous vide food prep.Print
4 (1 – 1.5-in. thick) chicken breasts
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. canola oil for searing
Preheat a water bath to 140°F (60°C).
Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with the salt, garlic powder, and coriander.
Place in a sous vide bag in a single layer and seal it.
Place in the water bath and cook for 2 and 1/2 hours, or until pasteurized.
Remove the sous vide chicken breasts from the bag, pat them dry with a paper towel or dish cloth.
Heat a pan over medium-high heat.
Add the canola oil and quickly sear the chicken breasts for about 1 or 2 minutes per side, just enough time to develop some color in the coating.
Remove from the heat and serve.
This post originally appeared in November 2021 and was republished in August 2022.