Sous vide boneless chicken breast is the easiest, most reliable way to make unbelievably tender chicken for salads, sandwiches, meal prep, and more.
Why we love this recipe
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are both a staple of many home kitchens and remarkably tricky to cook well. Cooking them sous vide eliminates the guesswork and creates beautifully tender, wildly consistent results. They're:
- Great on their own as the centerpiece of a simple meal
- Equally great as an ingredient in other recipes
- Flexible — add any seasonings you like
- Make-ahead friendly
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make this recipe.
- Start with good-quality boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Refer to the section below for our favorite sources.
- Simple salt and pepper are all you need, but the sky's the limit if you'd like to jazz things up. I've used my mom's homemade basil salt here, and we've got lots more flavor suggestions below.
Our favorite sources for meat
For years, I've been sourcing our meat from Butcher Box. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.
More recently, we've also become big fans of Cooks Venture for chicken.
How to make it
Here's what you'll do to make this simple recipe.
- Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Place chicken in a single layer in a gallon-sized zip-top freezer bag and partially seal the bag.
- Fill a deep pot or food storage container partway with water. Submerge the partially sealed bag into the water so that all ingredients are covered with water but no water gets into the bag. Now you'll perform the water displacement method of sealing the bag. Use one hand to help squeeze air out of the bag (the water itself does the heavy lifting here, but you'll help it out) and the other hand to finish sealing the bag's zip top. Remove bag from water and set aside. Clamp your sous-vide cooker to the side of the pot and set the temperature to 150°F and the timer for 90 minutes. (The timer wont start until the water reaches cooking temperature.) When water is preheated, carefully place the sealed bag back into the water. You can clip the bag to the side of the pot if you like.
- When the timer sounds, remove bag from water. Chicken is ready to eat!
Chicken plays well with so many flavors. Here are a few of our super-easy favorites.
- Herbes de Provence
- Italian seasoning
- Poultry seasoning
- Taco seasoning (1 teaspoon chili powder+ 1 teaspoon ground cumin + ½ teaspoon smoked paprika + ½ teaspoon dried oregano)
- Greek-inspired (1 teaspoon dried oregano + ½ teaspoon dill weed + ½ teaspoon garlic powder + ½ teaspoon onion powder)
Seasoned salts (swap in for regular salt)
- Basil salt
- Truffle salt
- Herb salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + 2 minced garlic cloves + a thinly sliced shallot + 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + 2 minced garlic cloves + 1 thinly sliced lemon + 2 sprigs fresh thyme + ¼ cup capers
Expert tips and FAQs
In French, sous vide means "under vacuum." In culinary terms, it refers to a cooking method where you seal the ingredients into a bag, submerge the sealed bag in carefully temperature-controlled water, and cook the food "low and slow" until done. This technique is much simpler and easier than you may think, and it results in exceedingly tender proteins.
Technically you don't need any special equipment at all to cook sous vide. However, it's critical that you're able to keep the water at a very consistent temperature over a long period of time. That's why it's super-helpful to invest in a sous-vide cooker. These days there are plenty of them on the market, and they're less-expensive than you may think.
You do NOT need any additional fancy equipment, despite the many specialty products out there and people trying to sell them. You need a fairly deep pot or other heat-resistant container, but any kind will work. (I used a regular pot for several years and more recently invested in a food storage container, just because I felt like it.
Some people have a vacuum sealer and special bags, but it's truly not necessary. You can use regular zip-top freezer bags from the grocery store and the simple water displacement method to seal them.
100%. It's a natural for meal prep and advance cooking to use in recipes throughout the week, and it's great hot, cold, or at room temperature. After cooking, cool completely (in a bowl of ice water if you're not going to use it right away), and then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a year.
How to use it
Use sous vide chicken breast in any recipe that calls for cooked chicken. Here are some of our favorites:
- 2 pounds (908 grams) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels.
- Season on both sides with the salt and pepper.
- Arrange in a single layer in a gallon-size zip-top freezer bag. Partially seal the bag.
- Fill a deep pot or food storage container partway with water. Place bag into water, submerging all ingredient without letting any water enter the bag. Use one hand to gently squeeze air out of the bag (the water does the heavy lifting for you) and the other hand to finish sealing the bag. Remove bag from water.
- Clamp your sous vide cooker to the side of the pot. Set temperature to 150°F and timer to 90 minutes — it won't start until water preheats (see note).
- When water is preheated, add the bag back to the pot. Clip it to the side if you like. Cook for 90 minutes.
- Remove cooked chicken from bag. You can serve it as-is, or slice, dice, or shred it to use in any recipe calling for cooked chicken.
- Refer to the Additional Seasonings section in the post for suggestions if you'd like to kick up the flavors a bit.
- If your chicken breasts are thicker than about 1 ½ inches, set the timer for 120 minutes instead of 90. Base the timing on the thickest part of the chicken. Sous vide is very flexible, so the thinner parts won't overcook.
- You can make this recipe in advance. If not using right away, chill the chicken — still in the bag — in a big bowl of ice water right after cooking. Transfer to the fridge for up to a week, or slice, dice, or shred and then freeze for up to a year.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 66Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 382mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 12g