How long to Sous Vide Chicken Breast?

How to Sous vide Chicken
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Temperature control is a critical thing if you want to get the juiciest and moistest chicken. In addition to temperature control, timing is also a critical factor in sous vide. Cooking times using sous vide range from as little as 20 to 30 minutes (food such as scrambled eggs, and thin fillets of fish) to as long as 72 hours (for very tough meats and short ribs).

Each sous vide cooking oven or immersion circulator comes with a time and temperature table. These tables guide you as to how long food, chicken breast, for instance, should come to temperature. The time that chicken breast will take to cook to reach its desired temperature will depend on its thickness.

Sous Vide Chicken Breast: Getting the Times Right

The idea that chicken breasts are the easiest to cook is not quite fair. It can be discouraging for rookie cooks to get under- or overcooked breasts. Preparing a chicken breast that is juicy, crispy and has a golden skin is quite the challenge. However, chicken breasts show the best difference between sous vide and other traditional cooking methods. These traditional methods are quite aggressive and timing is crucial, unlike in sous vide.

Regardless, it is possible to overcook your chicken breast in sous vide cooker, but it is a little more difficult to do it. The time it takes to soften your chicken breast depends on the time it sits at a given temperature. It is possible to leave your chicken breast at serving temperature in the water oven for more than the least required time, usually 4 hours. The chicken will remain perfectly cooked until it is time to serve it.

As mentioned before, the thickness of the chicken breast determines the time it will take to reach the desired temperature for it to cook. Chicken breast takes at least 45 minutes to cook properly. Thicker pieces of chicken breast will take longer to cook.

You may think that overcooking your chicken breast will make it tenderer. Instead, overcooked sous vide chicken will end up tasting mushy. There is a stark difference between chicken cooked at the same temperature for 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 24 hours. It is evident that timing has more effects than temperatures when you take it to the extremes.

The Effect of Timing on Sous Vide Chicken Breast

Sous vide chicken breast will have different textures when cooked at the same temperature over a period of 24 hours. Chicken breast sous vide for two hours will be nice and retain its juiciness but will have a resilient chew.

On the other extreme end, when your sous vide it for 24 hours the chicken becomes too tender. It becomes too tender to the extent that when you touch it with your index finger, your fingerprints remain on the surface without bouncing back.

The recommended time to sous vide chicken breast is no longer than 4 hours. This will give you the best texture. It will not be too tender or too resilient to chew. Two hours may even give better results when you sous vide chicken breast.

Timing and Temperature Chart for Sous Vide Chicken Breast

The following table gives the best times and temperatures to perfectly sous vide chicken breast. From the table, there is no timing range that exceeds the 4-hour mark. Therefore, you can sous vide chicken breast between one to four hours to get unparalleled levels of juiciness.

Texture of Chicken Breast Temperature Range of Time
Juicy and tender for cold chicken salad 1 to 4 hours
Very Soft and Juicy, served hot 1.5 to 4 hours
Slightly stringy, tender, and juicy, served hot 1 to 4 hours
Traditional, slightly stringy, juicy, and firm, served hot 1 to 4 hours

How to Sous Vide Chicken Breast

With the time and temperature chart for cooking chicken breast, you can precisely get the exact result you want. You are probably wondering how you should go about the whole process of how to sous vide chicken breast. The following easy steps show how easy it is to prepare your chicken breast.

Step 1

Using the time and temperature chart above, preheat the sous-vide precision cooker or immersion circulator to the desired temperature. Season your chicken with pepper and salt as you allow your water bath to come to the right temperature.

Step 2

After seasoning your chicken breast, you can place it in vacuum bags or zipper-lock bags. Ensure that you expel air from the zipper-lock bags and leave the last inch of the top unsealed. You can seal this part just before you completely submerge your bag in the preheated bath. If using a vacuum bag follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to seal the bag.

Step 3

Once you seal your zipper-lock bag or vacuum bag, drop the bag in the preheated water bath. Ensure that you do not block parts of your immersion circulator or precision cooker that intake and spit out water. A properly sealed chicken breast should sink. Follow the timing chart above to cook your chicken breast.

Step 4

Once your chicken breast is ready, remove it from the sealed package and get rid of any herbs or aromatics. Using paper towels, pat the chicken dry on all sides. Depending on your preferences, you can choose to finish cooking your chicken on a grill or a pan.


You can control the texture and level of juiciness on your chicken breast when you cook it sous vide. Sous vide precision cookers and immersion circulators make it is quite easy to get the timing and temperatures right. This is in comparison to using aggressive traditional means that require you get the timing perfectly.

Following the temperature and timing chart for sous vide chicken breast makes it easy for you to get the perfect results. You can get unparalleled levels of texture and juiciness on your sous vide chicken breast. However, the recommended times for cooking chicken breast is 4 hours with 2 hours giving better results.