Sous vide chicken breast recipes are easy to find. There are recipes a plenty on all the regular sous vide cooking websites, blogs and YouTube channels. Check out a range of those recipes here on our curated recipe library of 200+ sous vide recipes.
Now you would have thought that cooking sous vide chicken breast would be an easy task right? Surprisingly enough there is some contention in the sous vider community about whether sous vide chicken breast is really the best cut of chicken to use for your sous vide cooking. In the experience of many sous viders, frozen chicken breast is particularly tricky to cook well. In fact, the majority of people strongly suggest that you do not sous vide chicken breast from frozen. Fresh is best.
Start your sous vide cook with frozen or fresh chicken breast?
Many sous viders have had failed cooks when they have tried to cook chicken breast from frozen. Even the ever successful Sous Vide Everything channel show a failed sous vide cook when they cooked sous vide chicken breast from frozen. The overwhelming feedback suggests that cooking chicken breast sous vide is best done with fresh meat and not frozen meat. If your chicken breast is frozen, we recommend you defrost it before starting your sous vide cook.
Cooking temp and times tips from sous viders who have given sous vide chicken breast recipes a whirl
Here are a range of temperatures that people swear by when cooking sous vide chicken breast. As you know the temperature you cook at for sous vide will depend on the thickness of the chicken breast. In that sense, it is really difficult to follow any of the suggestions below without knowing which sous vide immersion circulator they are using and the thickness of your chicken breast. You may need to “adjust to taste” or experiment a little in the beginning:
Don’t make these classic sous vide chicken breast recipe mistakes
We’ve rounded up some mistakes to avoid when following a sous vide chicken breast recipe:
- Don’t add citrus to your chicken breast prior to your sous vide as it changes the texture of the chicken
- Make sure that the temperature you cook at is not too high. It will alter the texture of your chicken
- Don’t cook your sous vide chicken breast for too long. This can make the chicken breast break down too much
- Don’t cook your chicken breast from frozen. Results have been decidedly awful where people have cooked from frozen
- Go light on the butter. It pulls out the fat soluble flavor into the liquid melted butter
The best sous vide chicken breast marinades and sauces
Obviously if you are following a specific sous vide chicken breast recipe you will be offered marinade and sauce inspiration within the recipe itself. But if you are looking to mix it up a bit, here are a few delicious alternatives, recommended by real life sous viders:
- Marinade your chicken breast in soy, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger
- Consider sous vide chicken legs rather than chicken breast. They are delicious with duck fat, garlic and thyme
- Use the left over juices from your sous vide food pouch to make a sauce. Thickened it with a little butter
- Create a brine (salt water is the simplest, but there are many recipes for different brines) and let the chicken sit in the brine for about an hour to an hour and a half. Afterwards, season the chicken breast with whatever seasoning you want and cook it accordingly with the sous vide method
- Use a brine the night before your sous vide cook of 1 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp sugar to 1 cup of water for 2 pieces of chicken in a zip lock bag. Refrigerate, don’t freeze. When ready to cook, rinse the pieces, dry and place in vacuum bags
The best way to finish off your sous vide chicken breast dish
As always there is plenty of feedback from sous viders about the best way to finish off their sous vide chicken breast meals. Here are just a few of their suggestions you might like to consider:
- Instead of using a kitchen torch, sear the chicken in a really hot cast iron in a mixture of oil or butter
- Consider using clarified butter as the smoke point is high. It gives it a nice flavor
- Toss your sous vide chicken breast in a searing hot cast iron pan for a nice medium chicken breast. Brown it in a little oil in a skillet.
- Before your sous vide cook, lightly flour and sear your chicken breast in a hot pan with oil. Don’t put butter in the bag. Just salt, pepper, and maybe a bit of oil. And finally consider tenderizing the chicken before cooking. If you do it correctly, the chicken will be juicy and very flavorful without being chewy or rubbery
- For a more consistent result, consider defrosting your chicken breast first so it comes to room temperature. Then add it to your water bath and start your sous vide cook
Is sous vide chicken breast the right cut of chicken for a delicious meal?
The sous vider jury is out on whether chicken breast is the best cut of chicken for sous vide cooking. So if chicken breast is not the best cut of chicken for a sous vide cook, what cut of chicken is better?
If you are a passionate sous vider, you should try cooking sous vide chicken breast at least once. That way, you can form your own opinion about whether sous vide chicken breast lives up to sous vide’s deliciousness standards for you. Once you have done that, you will have a better sense for whether you want to consider other darker cuts of chicken such as thighs and legs.
Further reading and tools
Check out the latest sous vide cooking recipe apps. These apps contain an endless list of sous vide recipes for you to try.
Instagram is always a great source of inspiration for sous vide recipes. Try using hash tags such as #sousvide and #sousvidechicken. Another handy hashtag is the brand of your sous vide immersion circulator or water oven. For example, #anovafoodnerd or #cookingwithjoule. You will see loads of sous vide cooking recipe inspiration from those who have the same sous vide machine as you.