When I cook boneless and skinless chicken breast using sous vide they never turn out dry. Instead, it always comes out moist and tender.
When using normal cooking methods a lot of heat is applied to the outside of the meat. To completely cook the middle of the meat the outer portion is overcooked dry and tough. By using sous vide we use a stable temperature over a long period of time to bring all of the meat to the same temperature.
Chicken especially breast is one of the safest meat for a person with gout. But even chicken breast should be limited to four to six ounces per day. These breasts were around ten ounces each so each breast is two days worth. So the recipe card will show each breast is two portions.
When cooking sous vide salt is about the only seasoning that will penetrate the meat. You can add garlic and herbs to the bag but they only season the outside. I always add a tiny pinch of salt to the bag with my protein. It does penetrate and gives the meat a nice flavor. But a little does go a long way so only add a tiny amount.
I never knew that there was an actual measurement for a pinch of salt. When I was decided to write this post it was time to research the official "how much salt is in a pinch of salt?" Well, apparently a pinch of salt is 1/6th of a teaspoon.
When sous vide this batch of chicken a little less than 1/16th of a teaspoon was added to each bag. If the chicken needs more it can be added later when we season prior to searing.
Is sous vide chicken safe?
If proper food handling, cooking and chilling methods are followed then chicken cooked using sous vide is very safe.
Only buy chicken from places with high turnover and a good reputation. Limit which surfaces come into contact with raw chicken. For more safety tips for raw chicken visit the CDC website.
The chart above shows hold time versus temperature to achieve pasteurization. Higher temperatures require less time to achieve pasteurization. Note for the chart above the time starts after the internal temperature has been achieved. In our case, after achieving 147F we must hold that temperature for 7.4 minutes. The data for the chart is from the USDA and can be downloaded here.
That is all well and good but since we do not have a thermometer in the chicken how do we know when it is safe to eat? Well since the temperature of the water bath is constant it can be calculated based on thermodynamics. If you're like me and do not want to calculate it just jump over to the sous vide timing ruler.
If you're going to immediately sear and consume the chicken you do not have to achieve complete pasteurization. But since it's only an extra couple of minutes why not?
Our breasts were one inch thick and we cooked them at 147F so our time was one hour and fifteen minutes. At 147F the breast will still have some pink and a few red specks but it's still nice and juicy.
If you do not want any pink of red spots sous vide to 150F. It will still be moist but will have a slightly different texture.
I have sous vide chicken breast at 137F for a long time. They were very juicy but kind of mushy and had lots of red spots. For most people, the big red spots are a turn-off. Note: My wife would not eat it.
While we are talking about the internal temperature of the chicken. Dark meat should be cooked to 165F.
The recipe card will show one breast but since the machine will be on four will get cooked. The other three will go into the freezer to be ready when I need them.
I am taking the chicken breast direct from the package it came in and place it in a freezer bag. Tongs were used so that I did not have to touch the chicken. The top of the bags was rolled do to prevent contaminating the seal. Place the chicken in the bag roll the bag back to normal Add a small pinch of salt to each bag. Now we're ready to seal.
If you have a vacuum sealer use vacuum seal bags and seal them up. But I wanted to show the water displacement method.
After the chicken is in the bag smooth it out. It will take on the shape that it is in the bag. If it's flat then it will be easier to sear. After the chicken is flat slowly lower the bag with the top open into the water. This should start to push out the air. When the water is almost up to the seal then zip the bag closed.
When you have all of the bags sealed place them in the refrigerator.
Set the temperature on your sous vide machine and let the water bath come up to temperature. I am using a food storage container but if you have a big pot you can use that.
When the water bath is up to temperature clip the bags to the container. Just space them out so you can get water flow around the bags. Sous vide to the required time.
As soon as I take the chicken out of the hot water bath they get put into an ice water bath. This will quickly cool them from the danger zone to the safe cold zone.
At this point, the chicken is fully cooked and ready to eat. It's just not seasoned very well and does not look appetizing. But it would be great in chicken salad. But that is for another post.
We can store the extra sous vide chicken in the refrigerator for two days. Or we can store it in the freezer for up to six months. Before putting them in the freezer dry off the bags or they could stick to your freezer.
To thaw frozen sous vide chicken breast take them out the night before. Place onto a plate and into the refrigerator to thaw.
Let's season our chicken, today we will lightly season since this post is focused on method more than anything else.
Remove the breast from the bag and use paper towels to dry it off. After it is dry add a little oil and rub it around. This will help the seasoning stick.
After coating the breast with oil season with whatever season you like. Today we used garlic and chili powder. Simple flavors and the chili powder gives a nice color.
Place your pan on high heat and add oil with a high smoke point. I used peanut oil. When you are worried that the oil is going to smoke or it just starts to smoke had your chicken. If it was not dry then it will splatter like crazy. Cook until you get some color on this side then flip. It should take less than a minute.
Now brown the other side. This will also go quick.
Use some tongs to brown the edges. The total cooking time should be less than three minutes. This will avoid overcooking the chicken. It is now ready to serve.
You can see that the center of the chicken has a very faint pink color to it.
If you enjoyed this recipe you might also like sous vide chuck roast steak.
Sous vide boneless chicken breast
- Sous vide
- 10 oz Chicken breast Boneless and skinless
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1/16 teaspoon Chili powder
- 1/16 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon Oil
- Place the chicken breast into a bag. Slowly put the bag into container of water up to the seal. Zip the bag shut. Attach bag to the side of the side of the container.
- Turn on the sous vide device and heat water to 147F. Sous vide for 1 hour and 15 minutes. If the breast is thicker than 1 inch it should cook longer.
- Remove the bag from the container and place into a bowl of ice water.
- After the chicken has chilled remove from the bag and pat dry. Add 1/2 teaspoon of oil and rub onto the breast. Season both sides of the breast.
- Heat pan on medium high heat and add oil to the pan. When the oil just starts to smoke had the seasoned chicken breast. Cook until the breast get some color and flip over. When the breast has color on all sides remove from the pan and serve.