This easy sous vide chicken breast recipe is quick and versatile with the help of a sous vide precision cooker like Anova. Using easy-to-find boneless skinless chicken breasts, this recipe produces the juiciest, most tender chicken breasts of your life!
Do you have a new sous vide precision cooker? Or are you just hearing about the sous vide method of cooking?
I’ve been experimenting with sous vide recipes for years now, starting with a hack using a beer cooler and meat thermometer back in my twenties, followed by a contraption that hooked up to a manual slow cooker and took ages to warm up. Finally, finally I have a stick-style sous vide precision cooker, and all my culinary dreams have absolutely come true.
What is sous vide in the first place?
“Sous vide” means “under vacuum” in French; it’s precision cooking foods in vacuum-sealed pouches at exact temperatures for longer periods of time than you normally cook that ingredient. Here’s how and why it works:
Let’s say you want to cook a boneless skinless chicken breast (Hi. Hello.), which is optimal at about 165º and no more. To cook the very center of a chicken breast to that temperature, you need to cook it from the outside in, in contact with very high heat. This cooks the edge first, followed by the middle, then the very center. Once you get the center up to the right temperature, it makes sense that the edges and middle will be overcooked, right? Because the heat you’re using is quite high.
Cooking sous vide circumvents all of that.
Sous vide precision cookers keep a water bath at a very specific temperature (Like 146.5, as you see here). You vacuum seal up your ingredient so it’s not affected by the water or air and is given the perfect opportunity for some infusion from spices, herbs, or other seasonings. You submerge the sealed ingredient into the water bath and cook it long enough for the heated water to cook your chicken at that exact temperature all the way through to the center.
The edge is as cooked as the very center; the center is as cooked as the very edge. No more, and no less.
Finally, since the Maillard reaction (The browning or caramelization process that occurs when an ingredients has contact with high heat) has not happened, we typically finish off sous vide recipes on a skillet with a bit of fat. The result is the absolutely most tender, perfect chicken breast you’ve ever had. Ever. Period. The end. Because I said so. Sous vide chicken breast recipe = ultimate.
What’s the best sous vide chicken breast temp?
There are variations in what temp you should cook chicken breasts sous vide, but I wanted to develop a sous vide chicken breast recipe that was an easy go-to for boneless and skinless cutlets, no matter what the ultimate usage. I like to cook my boneless skinless chicken breasts at 146.5º Fahrenheit (63.6º Celsius); this produces, after searing in a little butter afterwards, a super tender and juicy chicken that’s firm but not at all dry.
Can you overcook chicken in sous vide?
The only way to overcook chicken in your sous vide cooker is to set your temp too high! Set your precision cooker at 146.5º F, finish off both sides of the chicken breast in a hot skillet with a little butter after, and you’re set.
How long do you cook chicken in a sous vide?
This recipe is all about keeping things easy, simple, and quick! I recommend cooking your boneless skinless chicken breasts sous vide for 1 hour. Some prefer to cook their chicken breasts for 75 minutes, but I find 1 hour is absolutely enough time for this sous vide chicken breast recipe, it gets those perfectly tender chicken breasts to my plate even sooner!
What if I don’t have a vacuum sealer?
No stress! You can still make this sous vide chicken breast recipe. While I have a vacuum sealer, I rarely use it, because the water displacement method is so easy and effective. How this works is:
- You place your ingredients in an appropriately-sized food storage bag, like a 1 gallon Ziploc bag, and seal halfway across the top.
- Heat your water with your precision cooker.
- Slowly lower the bag with the ingredients into the water. You will see the bag seal up around or cling to the food, since the pressure of the water has forced the air out.
- Once the food is entirely submerged, seal the rest of the bag. It should sink, not float.
How can I use sous vide chicken breast?
I love eating this sous vide chicken breast recipe on salads or with sauces like my chimichurri for a simple meal. Also try them in recipes calling for cooked chicken like my
- Healthy Mexican Chicken Meal Prep (Simply sprinkle the seasoning on the chicken breasts before cooking.)
- Healthy Chicken Alfredo with Spaghetti Squash
- Paleo Buffalo Chicken Casserole with Ranch and Cauliflower Rice
How to make this sous vide chicken breast recipe:
Fill a pot or other container of water about 1/3 or halfway full, depending on how high you need the water level for your own precision cooker. Attach the precision cooker and preheat the device to 146.5º Fahrenheit, 63.6 Celsius.
Brush your boneless skinless chicken breasts with a little olive oil.
Season them liberally with salt…
Along with fresh herbs, smashed garlic, or whatever other seasoning you like, place the chicken breasts in a gallon plastic food storage bag and seal it halfway or vacuum seal.
If you’re using the water displacement method to seal your bag, slowly lower the half-sealed food storage bag into the heated water, until the bag clings to the entire chicken breast and the bag sinks. Seal the rest of the bag.
Step away for an hour!
Remove the bags from the water bath and, if serving soon, carefully remove the chicken breasts. Discard fresh herbs, garlic, etc. Pat the chicken breasts very dry. If not serving now, chill the bags in an ice bath (Fill a medium bowl full of ice water and drop the bags in for about 15-20 minutes.), then keep in fridge until ready to sear.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add butter and, when foaming, add chicken breasts. Cook 1 minute per side, or until nicely browned. Transfer to your serving plate and enjoy!
Easy Sous Vide Chicken Breast Recipe
A versatile, easy, and quick sous vide chicken breast recipe using boneless skinless chicken breasts for super tender, moist chicken.
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 2-4 sprigs fresh herbs like thyme, if desired
- garlic see note 1
- 2 tablespoons butter ghee, or other oil, see note 3
- sous vide precision cooker
- vacuum seal bags or one-gallon locking plastic food storage bag like Ziploc
- Fill a pot or other heat-resistant container 1/3-1/2 full of hot or warm water. Preheat sous vide precision cooker to 146.5º Fahrenheit (63.6º Celsius).
- Brush or rub olive oil evenly over both sides of chicken breasts. Season with plenty of salt; crack fresh black pepper over.
- Place chicken breasts in a one-gallon Ziploc bag along with fresh herbs. Vacuum seal or use water displacement method to seal (See note 1). Place in water bath.
- Cook for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove bags and discard any herbs or garlic used. Remove chicken breasts and pat very dry with paper towels. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot.
- Add butter; when foaming, carefully add chicken breasts. Cook 1 minute per side or until nicely browned. Serve right away; there is no need to rest after cooking poultry sous vide.
Include 1-2 cloves peeled and smashed garlic in your bag with the chicken and fresh herbs for even more flavor.
To seal bags with water displacement method: Place all ingredients in a one-gallon Ziploc bag and seal halfway across the top. Slowly lower the bag into the water bath, making sure the water pressure pushes the air out as you go. The bag will cling to the chicken breasts when this happens. Once ingredients are entirely submerged (They will almost always sink, not float), seal the rest of the bag. Proceed with the recipe.
I prefer to use butter here, as it will brown much faster than regular oil. However, you can absolutely use ghee, avocado oil, or refined coconut oil; it will simply not brown the chicken breasts as well. I avoid using olive oil at such a high heat.
If you're on a Whole30, you must use ghee or oil when finishing this sous vide chicken breast recipe instead of butter. Ghee is fantastic here!