Seasoned boneless, skinless chicken breasts I can just throw in the water bath are my cheat code for always having healthy lunches and dinners ready to go around our house. They’re so easy, pack a ton of flavor, and don’t even require finishing (unless you want to!).

Why sous vide? It’s probably the easiest way to cook chicken breasts that exists and they will come out perfectly every single time.

If you’re looking for even more sous vide tips and tricks, make sure to check out my cookbooks.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Sous Vide Chicken Breasts
  2. What You Need to Make Sous Vide Chicken Breasts
  3. Marinades and Seasoning Options
  4. Tips for Cooking Sous Vide Chicken Breasts Perfectly
  5. Time and Temperature Options
  6. Why can I cook chicken at a lower temp than 165 degrees F when sous viding?
  7. Other Sous Vide Chicken Recipes
  8. Sous Vide Chicken Breast Recipe

Why Sous Vide Chicken Breasts

Yes, there are plenty of other ways to cook chicken breasts that are “easy”. So, why sous vide them? A few reasons!

  • They will be cooked perfectly. Always juicy, always exactly how you like.
  • All you have to do is drop them into a water bath and set a timer, leaving you free to make side dishes or go about your day. No babysitting.
  • Practically no clean up. Just toss the vacuum seal bag when you’re done or put your reusable bag in the dishwasher!

What You Need to Make Sous Vide Chicken Breasts

Want to get a detailed list of all my favorite sous vide tools? Drop your email address and I’ll send it to you!

Marinades and Seasoning Options

The process for chicken breasts is so simple – another reason it’s one of my favorite proteins for sous vide cooking!

Chicken breasts in lemon marinade on sheet pan on yellow terrazzo surface.

For flavor, you have a few choices:

  1. Add the chicken breasts to a marinade in a bag. I have tons of marinade recipes in my cookbook Sous Vide Meal Prep! Remove the air and seal. Yes, you can cook the chicken breasts in the marinade! In fact, the marinade makes a great sauce.
  2. Season with a seasoning blend or rub. I have several great rub recipes in my cookbook Sous Vide Meal Prep, or a pre-made one works, too. Remove the air and seal. Some of my favorite seasoning blends:
  3. Simply season with salt and pepper. I always use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Remove the air and seal.

Not sure how to remove the air from your bag and seal it? Make sure to check out my blog post about Air Removal Methods.

Don’t forget about a great sauce, like my Spicy Chimichurri.

Tips for Cooking Sous Vide Chicken Breasts Perfectly

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).

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. I just diced them up, add them to a tupperware container, and refrigerate for use throughout the week!

Time and Temperature 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.

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

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.

Other Sous Vide Chicken Recipes

Ready to sous vide all the chicken? Make sure to check out these sous vide chicken recipes, too!

Sous Vide Chicken Breast Recipe:

5 from 2 reviews

Get the Recipe:

Sous Vide Chicken Breasts 101

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 2 hrs
Yield: 4 people
Seasoned boneless, skinless chicken breasts that can be thrown in the water bath are my cheat code for always having healthy meals ready to go around our house. They're easy, can pack a ton of flavor, and don't require finishing (unless you really want to!).

Ingredients
 

  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • kosher salt, optional
  • freshly cracked black pepper, optional
  • your favorite spice blend, 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)
  • Tender and close to “traditional” texture, still juicy: 150 degrees F: 1-4 Hours (2-4 if frozen)
  • Traditional texture, slightly stringy, more moisture loss: 160 degrees F: 1-4 Hours (2-4 if frozen)

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

Avoid cooking longer than 4 hours or chicken breasts can get soft.
Cuisine: American
Course: Chicken, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Sous Vide
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.