Forget dry chicken! Sous vide poached chicken breasts are tender and juicy, making them perfect on their own or added to chicken salad.
I promise I won’t cover this in every post, but if you’re new to sous vide, I want to once again discuss cooking temperatures and food safety (if you already know all of this, skip ahead). Because honestly, this was the part I struggled to understand at first, and nowhere is it a more relevant topic than with these sous vide poached chicken breasts.
The chicken is cooked for two hours at 150ºF. We’ve all been taught to cook chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF. So what gives? I go over this topic more thoroughly in my Sous Vide and Food Safety post, but let’s review:
What we’ve been taught about food safety has been greatly simplified, and for good reason. Keep it simple stupid; everyone wins. However, killing harmful bacteria isn’t just about cooking meat to a specific temperature, it’s about the length of time the food maintains that temperature. The second chicken reaches 165°F, it’s safe to pull it from the oven because that temperature instantly kills the bacteria.
Now, did you know that if you cook chicken to 160ºF, it takes 14 seconds to kill Salmonella? Or if you cook the chicken to 155ºF, it takes 50 seconds to kill it? According to the USDA, most food pathogens are killed at 130ºF (54.5ºC) if you give them the right amount of time.
The sous vide provides plenty of time to kill off harmful bacteria at lower temperatures. Make sense? So even though this chicken is cooked at 150ºF, it’s perfectly safe. I bet you’re hungry after all of that discussion about Salmonella, so let’s get to the chicken!
How to Make Sous Vide Sous Vide Poached Chicken Breasts
equipment and tools
(I’ve included affiliate links to the exact brands I used)
- Sous vide immersion circulator
- A container for the water
- A gallon-size freezer bag
- Kitchen tongs
- Optional: sous vide magnets or weights (I didn’t need them for this recipe, but they never hurt)
- Optional: A bag clip (note: if your water vessel has a lid, you might not need a bag clip)
Season the chicken liberally on both sides with salt, pepper, and any additional spices. Place in the freezer bag, press out as much air as possible, then seal.
Lower into the water bath, using tongs to assist pressing the bag under the water. Once the bag is almost fully submerged, open it slightly to release any remaining air, then reseal.
Cook for two hours, then carefully remove the bag. The chicken is now cooked and ready to serve!
Sous Vide Poached Chicken Breasts
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- Optional: additional spices such as granulated garlic or Italian seasoning
- Fill a large container with water. Using a sous vide immersion circulator, bring the water temperature to 150ºF (65.5º).
- Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, and any additional spices. Place the chicken in a single layer in a 1-gallon resealable freezer bag, pressing out as much air as possible and sealing the bag. Pressing the bag over the edge of a table can help remove the air. Clip weights or attach weighted sous vide magnets to the bottom of the bag to help weigh it down. If using magnets, you can also attach some near the top.
- Slowly lower the bag into the water bath until fully submerged, using kitchen tongs if needed to assist pressing it down. Once the bag is almost completely submerged, open one small corner to release any remaining air, then reseal the bag and clip it to the corner. (Note: If your container has a lid, you might not need the clip; simply fold the top of the bag over the edge and cover with the lid). If your container doesn’t have a lid, top with foil or plastic wrap to prevent water evaporation.
- Cook for 2 hours, then carefully remove the bag. Remove the chicken from the bag and serve.