The best way to make sure your boneless skinless chicken breasts are truly tender and juicy every single time is with sous vide. This method is so simple, just 1 hour in the water bath, and you really can’t mess it up. This recipe also works for chicken tenders and you can use frozen chicken, no problem.

Sous vide may just be the easiest way to cook chicken breasts and they will come out perfectly every single time. If you’re new to sous vide and simply wondering what sous vide is, this recipe is a great way to get started.

Season, vacuum seal, drop in water bath, and that’s it! You can even sous vide whole chicken and chicken thighs. With this method, your chicken will be chicken-ier, juicier, and just cooked better than oven-cooked chicken every time.

I have tons of recipes in my cookbooks to make your sous vide chicken breasts delicious, including rubs, marinades, and sauces.

Why I love to sous vide chicken breasts

Yes, there are plenty of other ways to cook chicken breasts that are “easy.” But with those methods, there’s always a risk of under or overcooking. So, why do I like sous vide for this cut?

  • They are always cooked perfectly. Always juicy, always exactly how I like.
  • All I have to do is drop them into a water bath and set a timer, leaving me free to make side dishes or whatever. Even with that timer, it’s okay if it takes me 10 minutes, even an hour, to actually get to them. No babysitting.
  • Practically no clean up. I just toss the vacuum seal bag when I’m done or put the reusable bag in the dishwasher! Any recipe that doesn’t include a pan to scrub is a winner in my book.
  • I can go straight from the freezer to the sous vide water bath, no defrosting required.

Once you sous vide chicken breasts, you’ll never go back. I’ve heard from so many people that they didn’t really dig this ubiquitous cut before trying sous vide – I get it: they can be dry, boring, etc. – but this really is a game changer.

My favorite approach is to buy a bunch of chicken breasts on sale, season them with a variety of marinades and rubs, vacuum seal, and freeze. When I need something for lunches or dinner, I grab a pack from the freezer and throw it right into the sous vide water bath. This is what my cookbook, Sous Vide Meal Prep, is about, and there are tons of great seasoning recipes in there!

Time and temp options

The below times and temps are for boneless, skinless chicken breasts that aren’t frozen. If you are using bone-in or frozen boneless chicken breasts, add an hour to the minimum cook time.

My favorite time and temperature for sous vide chicken breasts is 1-2 hours at 150 degrees F.

ResultTempTimeTime (Frozen)
Very soft texture, little moisture loss140 degrees F
60 degrees C
2-4 Hours3-4 Hours
Tender and close to “traditional” texture, still juicy150 degrees F
65 degrees C
1-4 Hours2-4 Hours
Traditional texture, slightly stringy, more moisture loss160 degrees F
71 degrees C
1-4 Hours2-4 Hours

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    Get the Recipe:

    The JUCIEST Sous Vide Chicken Breasts

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour
    Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
    Yield: 4 people
    Sous vide is the best way to make sure you never cook dry, boring chicken breasts again. They're ready in as little as an hour and always perfect, every time. Perfect for meal prepped lunches or easy dinners!

    Ingredients
     

    • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • kosher salt, optional
    • freshly cracked black pepper, optional

    Instructions
     

    Prep

    • Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper or your favorite spice blend.
    • Add to vacuum seal bag and remove the air and seal, or use a freezer safe zipper top bag and another air removal method.
    • At this point, you can freeze the chicken breasts or sous vide immediately. If sous viding immediately, preheat a water bath according to the options below and cook according to the times below.

    Sous Vide Time and Temperature Options

    • Very soft texture, little moisture loss: 140 degrees F: 2-4 Hours (3-4 if frozen or bone-in)
    • Tender and close to “traditional” texture, still juicy: 150 degrees F: 1-4 Hours (2-4 if frozen or bone-in)
    • Traditional texture, slightly stringy, more moisture loss: 160 degrees F: 1-4 Hours (2-4 if frozen or bone-in)

    To Finish

    • Finishing after sous viding is optional for chicken breasts. If you do want to finish, I recommend a pan sear. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
    • Once hot, add butter or oil. Sear until browned, about 1 minute on each side.

    Notes

    What if I don’t have a vacuum sealer?

    If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, there are lots of other air removal methods you can use with zipper top, freezer safe bags or reusable silicone bags, like Stasher Bags. Thanks to these methods, a vacuum sealer is more of a convenience thing and I find it comes in handy when I’m batch prepping food for the freezer to sous vide later!

    Can I overcook the chicken?

    The short answer is no, you can’t overcook chicken with sous vide! Since the cooking environment is the temperature you want your meat to come to, it’s impossible to overcook. Pretty cool, huh?
    However, if you leave it in the water bath too long, you can over tenderize it and make it a bit mushy. This is why I suggest never cooking chicken breasts longer than 4 hours.

    Why can I cook chicken at a lower temp than 165 degrees F when sous viding?

    The information provided by experts like the USDA around food safety often sacrifices detail in favor of being easy to understand. Which I get! But 165 degrees F isn’t the full story.
    Temperature guidelines are there to make sure you kill bacteria, the big one being salmonella when we’re cooking chicken. We want to pasteurize the chicken. Pasteurization is related to both time AND temperature.
    The reason 165 degrees F is the gold standard is because chicken is instantly pasteurized at that temperature. The lowest temperature I offer for cooking chicken is 140 degrees F. If your chicken is 140 degrees F all the way through for at least 27.5 minutes, it will be pasteurized! And I recommend a minimum of 2 hours to allow for plenty of time for it to get to temperature and be there for far longer than 27.5 minutes.
    At 145 degrees F you only need 9.2 minutes, at 150 degrees F you only need 2.8 minutes, and at 155 degrees F you only need 47.7 seconds! Pretty neat, huh?
    To learn more about this, I recommend this article from Serious Eats.

    A note on searing

    If you want to, you can sear them in a skillet with olive oil or butter when they’re done, but usually I don’t bother.

    To meal prep for the freezer:

    • After sealing your chicken breasts in a vacuum seal bag, you can cook immediately, refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze to cook later.
    • When you’re ready to cook, place in a preheated water bath set to your desired temp from the chart below for 1-4 hours (add an hour when cooking from frozen or for bone-in chicken breasts).
    Cuisine: American
    Course: Dinner
    Author: Chelsea Cole
    Calories: 97kcal, Protein: 18g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 98mg, Potassium: 314mg, Vitamin A: 25IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 1mg
    Did you make this recipe?Mention @aducksoven on Instagram or tag #aducksoven.

    Common Questions

    Can I sous vide multiple chicken breasts in one bag?

    Absolutely. Just make sure they aren’t stacked, even better if they aren’t quite touching. You want water to be able to surround each of the chicken breasts for the most even cook.

    Can I sous vide frozen chicken breasts?

    Yes you can! I do it all the time. Just add about an hour of cook time.

    Can I use this recipe for chicken tenders?

    This recipe will work for chicken tenders, too! No adjustments needed.

    Do I need to sear the chicken breasts?

    You can for color and texture, but there’s no need if you don’t want to. I typically don’t sear my chicken breasts.