Have you heard of sous vide chicken before? The phrase simply means that the chicken was prepared under a vacuum. The food, whether it’s chicken or something else, has been vacuum sealed, and then it would be cooked at just the right temperature in a bath of water. What this does is keep the food from overcooking, ensuring that it comes out really tender and juicy.
There are a few different ways you can season chicken that is going to be put through the sous vide process. A thick sauce or dry rub is the preferred method for getting the chicken really seasoned and flavorful.
If you use a runny liquid like a marinade for the chicken, that would make it difficult to seal your meat. You can always season it afterwards, following the vacuum sealing process, but that gives you chicken that’s not as flavorful and well-seasoned.
The seasoning can’t really permeate the chicken as well as if it’s seasoned beforehand, and dry rubs and thicker sauces work best for that.
How to Cook Sous Vide Chicken
Let me walk you through how to cook chicken in this way so that it comes out right. I’m going to share with you a recipe to make sous vide chicken flavorful, and this process will use a sous vide machine.
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Black pepper, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- Fill a pot about halfway full with warm water. Warm up the sous vide precision cooker to 146 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Apply olive oil on all sides of the chicken breast evenly. Sprinkle salt and black pepper to season on all sides.
- Put your chicken breast into a resealable plastic bag, adding the garlic powder and any fresh herbs and spices, if desired. Any dry rub will work as well.
- Vacuum seal the chicken and put it into the water bath.
- Cook the chicken for an hour, and then take the bags off and get rid of any excess herbs and seasonings.
- Take the chicken breast and pack them dry with a paper towel.
- Warm a skillet on medium high heat and add butter. Once the butter has melted, add in the chicken breasts carefully.
- Cook them for a minute on each side and serve immediately. You don’t have to let them rest.
This method for how to cook sous vide chicken works primarily for chicken breasts. What if you want to cook other pieces of chicken with this method? Would you need to change anything?
How to Sous Vide Chicken Thighs
You can use the recipe above to season chicken thighs as well as chicken breasts, but if you’re cooking thighs, let me share with you step-by-step instructions to make sure they’re cooked all the way through.
Start by setting the sous vide machine 265 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare the chicken thighs with your seasonings and place the thighs into a resealable plastic bag. Run the thighs through the vacuum sealer, or you can use the water displacement method instead. Put the vacuum sealed bag of thighs into a hot water bath for an hour and a half.
To finish preparing the thighs, take the bag out of the bath of water and remove the chicken from the bag. Pat the thighs dry, season them again, and then prepare a large skillet by heating it on high and adding oil.
Allow the chicken thighs to sear for 60 seconds on both sides, or until they have browned. Then, take them out of the pan and let them rest for five minutes before serving.
How to Make Sous Vide Chicken without a Machine
If you don’t have a sous vide machine but you still want to prepare chicken this way, try what is known as the water displacement method.
Begin by heating up a large pot of water to 136 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature may need to be adjusted based on what you’re cooking and how done you want it to be.
Set a thermometer on the side of the pot, and you can use a clip clamp hold it in place, or a clothespin, if that’s all you have available. You want to keep the temperature consistent all throughout, as close as a degree or two to what you have set. You may need to adjust the burner as the chicken cooks.
Put your chicken into a resealable plastic bag, adding olive oil (or butter), herbs, and seasoning and then place the bag unsealed into the water. You want to hang the top of the bag from the pot and hold it in place using a clip or clothespin.
The bag is supposed to stay open the entire time it’s cooking, and high quality resealable bags like Ziploc bags can handle these kinds of temperatures without melting.
Then, cook the chicken for about an hour to an hour and a half, and you probably want to sear it in a pan for a minute or two afterwards before serving it up, just to give it a nice crispy outer crust. However, you can serve it straight from the bag after it’s done cooking in the pot of water.
How to Reheat Sous Vide Chicken
If you made more chicken using the sous vide than what you can eat in one sitting, you can store it in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to reheat it and eat it.
How to reheat the chicken when it is prepared with this method? You can use the water displacement method and warm it up for about 3 minutes. You could also warm it in the microwave, but it could lose some of the texture, flavor, and nutrients that way.
How to Freeze Sous Vide Chicken
If you’re going to freeze your chicken for later after you have cooked it with the sous vide method, you need to make it cool as quickly as possible. You can place it in the fridge on an open platter to allow it to cool fast or set a fan to blow on it to cool it down quickly.
Once it is cooled, you can store it in the freezer as you would any other type of cooked chicken.