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What are Some Tips for Sous Vide Chicken Breasts? - Ask Jason

I get a lot of great questions from my readers. In order to help out everyone else I'm answering some of the most popular ones here on the blog. Have something you need help with? You can ask me on Facebook, contact me directly, or view all of the Ask Jason questions!

I bought the sous vide to tackle my archenemy, chicken breast. I always overcook it and I'm hoping sous vide would help. I've yet to make one that turns out though. Maybe I'm just used to dry chicken and the sous vide ones have such a different texture.

- Janel Vee

Note: The following article is an edited transcript from the video.

I think chicken breast is something that some people cook with sous vide the first time and they love it. It changes their appreciation of sous vide and chicken breasts forever. Other people really struggle with chicken breasts for years. It's an interesting phenomenon to me.

I really like sous vide chicken breast; I eat it a lot for lunches and on salads. Half of the time I'll just sous vide it, skip the sear, dice it up and eat it. I love how moist and tender it comes out. However, it does have a slightly different texture.

Sous vide chicken tikka masala 2

When I was cooking traditionally, I really tried not to overcook my chicken. I tried to cook it between 150°F (65.6°C) and 155°F (68.3°C), so I think I was more used to a little moister chicken than if you cook it to 160°F (71.1°C) or 165°F (73.9°C) like a lot of people do. With sous vide there is a different texture to it.

I like to sous vide chicken breasts at 140°F (60°C). I feel like the texture is the most traditional-like that you can get from sous vide without it being overcooked. In addition, it still retains a lot of moisture.

Note: Here is some more information about why you can cook chicken to a lower temperature using sous vide.

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I know some people go down to 135°F (57.2°C) or even 130°F (54.4°C). To me it seems kind of raw tasting and the texture is just too different; it's safe, but emotionally I'm still squeamish about the rawish look. Whereas to me at 140°F (60°C) it looks cooked and tastes cooked, but the chicken is still extremely moist and tender.

If you don't like the texture of it at 140°F (60°C) because it tastes too raw to you, try bumping up the temperature by about 5 degrees at a time. Perhaps, try 145°F (62.8°C) or even 150°F (65.6°C). Just because I really like it a 140°F (60°C) doesn't mean you have to. You may find that 150°F (65.6°C) might be perfect for you; it's still going to be moister than when you cook chicken traditionally.

C13 chicken

It's going to turn out a lot better also if you use high quality chicken breasts. If you have frozen chicken that comes in the frozen patties, it might not turn out as good because it's a lower quality chicken. There might be nothing you can do with it besides adding heavy sauces. However, even a lower quality chicken can still taste better with sous vide.

Note: Here is some more information about how to sous vide chicken.

Looking for a few good sous vide chicken recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

If you like this you can get more than 85 inspiring recipes to get you on your way to sous vide success. It's all in my best selling book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Sous Vide - Get Your Copy Today!

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Jason logsdon headshot This article is by me, Jason Logsdon. I'm an adventurous home cook and professional blogger who loves to try new things, especially when it comes to cooking. I've explored everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to pressure cookers and blow torches; created foams, gels and spheres; made barrel aged cocktails and brewed beer. I have also written 10 cookbooks on modernist cooking and sous vide and I run the AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com website.