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Sous Vide Chicken Breast

Sous vide chicken breast is hands down the best way to cook chicken. It results in a tender, moist chicken breast without the risk of over-cooking. Every single time.

Sous vide is the coolest cooking technique since, well… ever! It's a really simple process that makes it basically impossible to overcook your food.

Sous vide is French for "under vacuum". To cook chicken sous vide, you vacuum seal all of your ingredients in a bag and then cook them in a water bath set to a precise temperature for a specific period of time, without having to worry about burning or drying out any parts.

Tender & juicy chicken breasts reason enough to break out the sous vide. They are great for meal prep and salads because they stay nice and moist while still getting fully cooked through; plus you can prep everything ahead of time so dinner comes together on super-short notice - which means more family dinners, and less stress.

I'm excited to announce that this easy sous vide recipe was developed for you in partnership with Avid Armor. AND, they've generously offered a discount code JUST for my kitchen buddies! Use CRAVE to save!

This sous vide chicken breast recipe is dedicated to the best chicken!

Drizzling poaching butter over the sous vide chicken breast.

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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 --> New to sous vide cooking? Learn more about it with my sous vide 101 guide!

No. 2 --> Cool your chicken in between the sous vide and the sear. This is optional, but creates a better finished product by reducing the likelihood of overcooking the chicken.

No. 3 --> Check out the sponsors for this post, Avid Armor! Their products are amazing. I absolutely cannot get over the chamber vac I've got, the build quality is incredible, it's beyond easy to use, and it's not so over the top large that I can't move it around by myself. They've also generously offered a discount code JUST for you, kitchen buddies! Use the code CRAVE to save on your purchase!

Key Ingredients

Chicken breast: Depending on your desired results, you can use either boneless skinless chicken breasts or skin on chicken breast. I prefer boneless skinless, but that's just me!

Seasonings: There are few things in life that can't be improved with seasonings. Sous vide chicken breast is greatly improved by adding some salt, pepper, and a little fresh herb. I love rosemary, I can't get enough of the citrus pine aroma. Thyme, parsley, ginger, and tarragon are all awesome options.

Ingredients required for sous vide chicken breasts.

How To Cook Chicken Breast Sous Vide

PREPARE THE CHICKEN

  1. Prepare your water bath, and set the temperature to your desired texture. 145f = soft, juicy with no stringiness, 150f = juicy, tender, and slightly stringy texture, 160f = less juicy, but still tender, traditional stringy texture.
  2. Season chicken breasts by brushing with olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper, and adding desired fresh herbs.
  3. Place chicken breast into vacuum sealer bags in a flat layer, and seal. If you don't have a vac sealer, see below for alternatives.

COOK THE CHICKEN

  1. Add sealed chicken breast to the sous vide water bath and cook for 2 hours. This is flexible, if you get busy right at the 2 hour mark, you can leave the chicken in the bath for up to 4 hours - it won't get overcooked as it can never exceed the temperature set, however, after 4 hours, the proteins start to break down and breast may turn mushy.
  2. Near the end of the cook time, preheat a heavy skillet, I like to use cast iron, over medium heat. Add the butter. Once fully heated, remove chicken from the vac seal bag and blot the breasts dry with a paper towel. Add the chicken breast to the pan, and toss the herbs into the butter. Sear both sides for 45 - 60 seconds on each side, spooning the heated butter over the top while searing.
  3. Serve immediately, optionally, drizzle with the herbed butter.

Sous Vide Chicken Breast From Frozen

If you're a dedicated meal prepper, or you're like me and buy chicken breasts in bulk then vac seal before tossing in the freezer for later, then you're in luck!

This sous vide recipe can easily be adapted to frozen chicken breast. Here's the trick: add 1 hour to the cook time!

So if you'd normally cook chicken for 2 hours at 145f, then toss in some frozen chicken breasts and cook it for 3 hours. Bob's your uncle!

Side view of a sliced chicken breast cooked sous vide.

No Vacuum Sealer? No Problem!

While I highly recommend a vacuum sealer for sous vide recipes, I understand that not everyone has access to one. There are a couple work arounds:

Ziplock bags: To cook chicken breast in ziplock style bags, use HEAVY-DUTY FREEZER BAGS. Once the chicken, olive oil, and desired seasonings have been added to the bag, use the water displacement method; slowly lower the open bag into the water, allowing the water pressure to squeeze out the air. Close the bag once you've removed as much air as possible.

Silicone bags: To cook chicken breast in REUSABLE SILICONE BAGS, lay them into a single layer in the bag, add the oil and seasonings, then manually remove as much air as possible then seal the bag.

Why Cook Chicken Breast Sous Vide

There are many reasons cooks begin cooking sous vide, if you're like me, you started to cook sous vide because of your absolute inability to know there's a cooking method out there that you don't use. HA!

But now I know better. I firmly believe that the quality of chicken breast that comes out of a sous vide is reason enough to start cooking this way!

Cooking chicken breasts sous vide will result in delicious, tender and juicy, and unlike any chicken breast you've ever eaten. The science behind it is fascinating, and the taste is incredible.

When cooking chicken breast traditionally, the breast is subjected to higher temperatures than desired doneness temperature, this causes the outside to reach cooked temperature before the center. By the time the center reaches cooked temperature (165f), everything else is likely overcooked.

Water, on the other hand, is a fantastic heat conductor, so submerging a vacuum-sealed chicken breast into a water bath allows you to cook it to a specific temperature - all the way through. Allowing the chicken breast to cook completely through without overcooking delivers the most delicious chicken breast you'll ever have.

Sliced chicken breast on a plate garnished with rosemary.

Best Sous Vide Chicken Breast Temp

When choosing the temperature at which to sous vide your chicken breast there are a few considerations and some mental gymnastics.

We've all learned that in order to be safe, chicken must be cooked to a temperature of 165f, right? Wrong! Food safety and pasteurization rely on both temperature and time.

Cooking a chicken breast to an internal temperature of 165f pasteurizes it instantly. But the quality leaves something to be desired. By playing with time and temperature, we can customize our chicken breast to our desired result.

Note: See Baldwin's Pasteurization Chart for more information.

Going one step beyond pasteuriation - you should consider the effect of the time and temperature have on texture of the chicken breast.

145f: a soft, juicy, firm chicken breast that shows no "stringiness" that a traditionally cooked chicken breast usually exhibits.

150f: Juicy, tender, and slightly stringy chicken breast. This temperature is great for chicken that will be served cold as well as warm. This is my prefered temperature for sous vide chicken breast.

160f: Less juicy, but still tender, chicken breast. Cooking chicken breast at this temperature results in a stringy texture very similar to traditionally cooked chicken. This chicken is great for shredded or pulled chicken. I recommend newcomers to sous vide chicken breasts start here as it's the most familiar in texture and appearance to traditionally cooked chicken.

More Sous Vide Recipes

Batch + Storage Information

Batch:

As written, this recipe cooks two chicken breast, which is enough for my family of 4 as a meal. It can easily be doubled, quadrupled, or halved, based on your available chicken and space in the sous vide. If extending the recipe, ensure that no more than two chicken breast are sealed per bag. This helps to ensure even heating throughout.

Make ahead/ meal prep:

If you eat a lot of chicken breast through the week, this is a wonderful meal prep recipe - simply portion out the chicken breasts, one or two per bag with desired seasonings, and cook as directed. When cooking for meal prep, I like to seal my breasts one per bag with different seasoning for each bag.

Remove the bags from the sous vide water bath after cooking and chill in an ice bath for 10 or so minutes before placing them in the fridge for later use.

Storage:

Store your sous vide chicken breast in the fridge for up to 5 days. This goes for both opened and sealed vacuum bags.

You can also freeze your cooked chicken by either tossing the sealed bags into the freezer, or preparing them, as in shredding, chopping, or slicing, before sealing and placing in the freezer. This makes a quick and easy cooked protein on uninspired nights!

Drizzling pan butter on the sous vide chicken.

Recommened Equipment

AVID ARMOR Chamber Vacuum Sealer: This is a beautiful piece of culinary machinery. I ohh'd and ahh'd when I got it home! I cannot get over how much better a chamber vacuum sealer works than a bar-style sealer. This well-made sealer is going to be a fixture in my kitchen for years and years and years. If you cook, hunt, or harvest a lot, you'll definitely be interested in this unit. Use the discount code CRAVE to save on your purchase!

At this time, Avid Armor is not shipping to Canada, but they are working towards international shipping. I will keep this updated as that changes!

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📖 Printable Recipe

Drizzling poaching butter over the sous vide chicken breast.
Yield: 2

Sous Vide Chicken Breast

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

The most tender and juicy chicken breast you've ever cooked. It's also the simplest method of cooking a whole chicken breast. This recipe will show you how to cook sous vide chicken breasts so that they're moist and tender every time!

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, thyme, or parsley, etc
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Prepare your water bath, and set the temperature to your desired texture. 145f = soft, juicy with no stringiness, 150f = juicy, tender, and slightly stringy texture, 160f = less juicy, but still tender, traditional stringy texture.
  2. Prepare chicken breasts by brushing with olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper, and adding desired fresh herbs.
  3. Place chicken breast into vacuum sealer bags, and seal. If you don't have a vac sealer, see below for alternatives.
  4. Add sealed chicken breast to the sous vide water bath and cook for 2 hours.
  5. Near the end of the cook time, preheat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. Once fully heated, remove the chicken from the bag and blot dry with a paper towel. Add the chicken breast to the pan, and toss the herbs into the butter. Sear for 45 - 60 seconds on each side, spooning the heated butter over the top while searing.
  6. Serve immediately, optionally, drizzle with the herbed butter from the skillet.

Notes

sous vide chicken breast from frozen

This sous vide recipe can easily be adapted to frozen chicken breast. Here's the trick: add 1 hour to the cook time!

no vacuum sealer? no problem!

Ziplock bags: To cook chicken breast in ziplock style bags, use HEAVY-DUTY FREEZER BAGS. Once the chicken, olive oil, and desired seasonings have been added to the bag, use the water displacement method; slowly lower the open bag into the water, allowing the water pressure to squeeze out the air. Close the bag once you've removed as much air as possible.

Silicone bags: To cook chicken breast in REUSABLE SILICONE BAGS, lay them into a single layer in the bag, add the oil and seasonings, then manually remove as much air as possible then seal the bag.

Batch:

As written, this recipe cooks two chicken breast, which is enough for my family of 4 as a meal. It can easily be doubled, quadrupled, or halved, based on your available chicken and space in the sous vide. If extending the recipe, ensure that no more than two chicken breast are sealed per bag. This helps to ensure even heating throughout.

Make ahead/ meal prep:

If you eat a lot of chicken breast through the week, this is a wonderful meal prep recipe - simply portion out the chicken breasts, one or two per bag with desired seasonings, and cook as directed. When cooking for meal prep, I like to seal my breasts one per bag with different seasoning for each bag.

Remove the bags from the sous vide water bath after cooking and chill in an ice bath for 10 or so minutes before placing them in the fridge for later use.

Storage:

Store your sous vide chicken breast in the fridge for up to 5 days. This goes for both opened and sealed vacuum bags.

You can also freeze your cooked chicken by either tossing the sealed bags into the freezer, or preparing them, as in shredding, chopping, or slicing, before sealing and placing in the freezer. This makes a quick and easy cooked protein on uninspired nights!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 263Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 121mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 19g

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Chicken breast sous vide pinterest graphic.

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