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Sous Vide Turkey Thighs

You can’t argue with tender, moist, flavorful and stress-free. That sums up sous vide turkey thighs glazed with maple syrup, Balsamic, Dijon and orange zest. I know there are a lot of turkey dark meat doubters out there, but you just might change your mind when you taste these turkey thighs.

Sous Vide Turkey Thighs with Maple Balsamic Glaze

The soft tender meat emboldened by the glaze and sauce is simply delicious. I admit even I was surprised and I’m a dark meat lover.

Roasted turkey thighs can be chewy, tough and stringy. The sous vide method creates a whole different universe for thighs. And the best part is they only take about 20 minutes of hands on time.

I have tried this recipe with bone-in turkey thighs. I recommend removing the bone before you start for more even cooking, super easy slicing and a much better presentation. Here’s a video on how to debone and turkey thigh. Or, ask your butcher to do it. 

For those who are new to this cooking method:

Sous vide is a technique in which food, sealed in a bag, is immersed in a water bath and cooked at a very precise, consistent temperature. This cooks the food to perfection – the exact temperature (e.g. medium rare) that you choose. No worries about overcooking. Meats are amazingly tender. And the whole process is pretty much stress free.

I have an ‘oven’ type sous vide machine from Cedarlane Culinary that works great. The sous vide immersion stick, of course, is perfect for this sous vide turkey thigh recipe too. 

I love to serve these turkey thighs with quinoa, Basic Mashed Potatoes, Root Vegetable Mash, Mushroom Spinach Couscous or Curried Rice with Raisins.

Sous vide tips 

We’ve been experimenting with sous vide for several years. Our post on Best Sous Vide Recipes includes:

  • great sous vide recipes,
  • tips on do’s and dont’s of sous vide cooking, and
  • links to several experts’ time and temperature charts which are the holy grail of sous vide.

Make ahead turkey thighs

  • You can vacuum seal (or zipper lock) and refrigerate the thighs for a few days before cooking.
  • The sous vide process can be done ahead of time (or just leave the sealed bags in the water an extra 30-60 minutes). Glaze and broil the cooked thighs just before serving.

Other turkey recipes you might like

How to make sous vide turkey

boneless turkey thighs, fresh rosemary,oil, salt, pepper, seasoning
Main ingredients: boneless turkey thighs, fresh rosemary, oil, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning
 Turkey Thighs being vacuum sealed in bag
Vacuum seal thighs (or use the zipper lock bag method)
vacuum sealed turkey thighs
Sous vide thighs at 150F (65C) for 2.5-4.5 hours. 
maple dijon orange glaze ingredients
Make the glaze with maple syrup, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, Dijon and rosemary.  Half will be used to glaze the thighs, the other half to make a sauce if you like.  
Sous Vide Turkey Thighs cooked on paper towel
Remove cooked thighs, pat dry
glazed Turkey Thighs
Glaze turkey thighs and broil for 2-3 minutes. Brush with additional glaze.
sliced sous vide turkey thighs on cutting board 1
Slice and sprinkle with orange zest and parsley if desired.

sliced sous vide turkey thighs over quinoa on plate with orange slices 2

forkful of turkey thigh meat

sliced boneless Turkey thighs on plate over quinoa with glaze f
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4.64 from 19 votes

Sous Vide Turkey Thighs

You can't argue with tender, moist, flavourful and stress-free. That sums up Sous Vide Turkey Thighs glazed with maple syrup, Balsamic, Dijon and orange zest. The hands on time for this dish is about 20 minutes. The rest is hands free. What a pleasure.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 10 mins
Total Time3 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Sous Vide
Servings: 3 -4

Equipment

  • sous vide equipment - oven type or immersion stick

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless turkey thighs, with or without skin, Note 1 (1.5-2 pounds total)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning or thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • OPTIONAL BRINE: salt, peppercorns, sugar Note 1

Glaze

  • 2 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp good Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp orange zest, divided
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp each, salt and pepper

Turn Glaze into Sauce

  • 1/2 cup turkey juices/broth
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • GARNISH: sea salt, chopped parsley, extra orange zest

Instructions

  • BRINE TURKEY THIGHS (OPTIONAL): Note 2 
  • PREPARE SOUS VIDE BATH: Fill water in the sous vide tub as per manufacturers instructions (not too high). Set the temperature to 150F and allow water to heat to that temperature.
  • PREPARE TURKEY FOR SOUS VIDE: Mix oil and poultry seasoning in a small cup. Rub mixture all over turkey thighs and tuck edges under to make an even roll. Place small sprig of rosemary under each thigh or sprinkle some dried rosemary on thighs. Don't put in too much rosemary or the flavors will be overpowering.
  • SOUS VIDE TURKEY: Place thighs side by side in freezer zipper-lock bag. Slowly lower bag into water. The pressure of the water will press air out of bag. When bag is just above water line and air is mostly out, seal (zip up) bag. Cover and cook for minimum 2 1/2 hours and a maximum of 4 1/2 hours. (If thighs are fairly large, I cook them for 3 1/2 to 4 hours). Remove from water bath. Take thighs out of bag and remove skin if there is any. Reserve juices for sauce. Pat turkey dry with a paper towel.
  • MAKE GLAZE/SAUCE: In a small cup, whisk together all Glaze ingredients including 1/2 teaspoon orange zest. Half of glaze will be used to glaze thighs - the rest to make the sauce.
    To make sauce, add remaining glaze, cornstarch, turkey juices/broth, 1/2 teaspoon orange zest and salt and pepper to taste to a small sauce pan. Heat on medium high for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until slightly reduced and thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings (syrup, salt, orange, etc).
  • FINISH AND SERVE: Place thighs on foil lined pan, brush with glaze all over and broil for 2-3 minutes (the top only) 6 inches from heat at top. Remove and brush with glaze again. Add garnish of orange zest and parsley if desired. Slice and serve with sauce drizzled on top or on the side.
3

Notes

  1. How to debone a turkey thigh. Here's a video
  2. To brine turkey thighs (optional): I  buy kosher turkey, already brined, but you can easily brine thighs yourself to add flavour: Fill ziploc bag with 3 cups room temperature water, 3 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon, 6-8 peppercorns. Massage to dissolve salt and sugar. Place thighs in bag, seal and let sit in fridge for about 1-2 hours. Don't brine too long as boneless thighs are not very thick.
  3. To Make Ahead: The turkey thighs can be vacuum sealed and kept in the refrigerator for a few days before cooking. The sous vide process can be done ahead of time (or just leave the sealed bags in the water an extra 30-60 minutes). Glaze and broil the cooked thighs just before serving.
Nutrition values do not include garnishes or optional brining which will increase the sodium level. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Sous Vide Turkey Thighs
Amount Per Serving (3 g)
Calories 430 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 141mg47%
Sodium 1272mg55%
Potassium 608mg17%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 43g86%
Vitamin A 18IU0%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 39mg4%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Pretty easy and results are impressive! I did the optional brining but not sure if it’s necessary. I didn’t have poultry seasoning – used bouquet garni. Yum. And the glaze is really good.

  2. I couldn’t get boneless thighs; how would you adjust this for bone-in thighs? (Also, i don’t have orange zest. But I do have orange juice. Could I use a minute amount of that for the flavor?) It sounds delicious, and I’m itching to try it!

    1. Here’s what I would do: If you are willing, remove the bone before cooking the thighs. If you can’t or don’t want to, sous vide at 148F and increase the cooking time to 4-4.5 hrs. Instead of making a glaze then the sauce, just make the sauce with 1/4 cup turkey juices and 1/2 cup orange juice and 2 tsp cornstarch. Taste and adjust with the other glaze ingredients as needed. Brush half on while broiling then use the rest when serving. The orange flavor may not be quite as intense but will hopefully still come through. Good luck and hope you like it!

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