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Sous Vide Turkey Breast

Perfection!  Sous vide turkey breast is impossible to beat for moist, tender, succulent turkey – EVERY time. Amazing results with this method – guaranteed.

And don’t just think Thanksgiving. Turkey can be a light summer dinner, too, when served with lighter sides and accompaniments such as peach chutney, mango salsa, savory peach sauce or cranberry relish

Succulent sous vide turkey breast. Tender, moist and cooked to perfection from edge to edge.

Why sous vide a turkey breast

If you’ve read any of our other sous vide recipes, you’ll know that I’m completely sold on the sous vide method for its easy, walk-away, stress free benefits.

Once you master a few simple rules, you are pretty much sure to achieve tender, moist meat with precise control over the done-ness you choose.

Unlike the oven or grill, the temperature is the same from edge to edge and not, for example, overcooked on the outside and under cooked in the middle. Incredibly reliable.

As for turkey, I hate, hate, hate dry-as-a-bone turkey that you can choke on if not soaked in gravy. With traditional methods, a whole turkey is tough to get right as the different parts of the turkey cook at different rates. Turkey breasts are easier, but you often still have to hold your breath when you slice into it.

With the sous vide turkey, there are no surprises. Just a simple boneless turkey roast recipe, cooked sous vide to achieve a juicy, succulent, tender turkey breast every time. 

For a few tips and tricks we’ve learned in the last couple of years about sous vide cooking (after lots of practice and research), take a look at our post on Best Sous Vide Recipes

Cooking Temperatures and Time 

I do suggest experimenting with your preferred ‘cook’ from super soft and moist to the more traditional. 

There are some wonderful websites that show clear pictures of the different levels of ‘cook’ to help you choose. Here is one from Serious Eats on Sous Vide Turkey Breast.  

For this recipe, I used a temperature of 144F for 2 3/4 hours and the turkey was outstanding – flavorful, tender and juicy. If you prefer your turkey a bit more well done with no pink at all, cook it at 145-146F.

Note that you can do 2-3 half-breasts at the same time if you have a large enough vessel. 

Great Side dishes for sous vide turkey breast

Everyone has his/her favorite sides for turkey on Thanksgiving or other times.  Here’s a few of ours:

Make Ahead

  • To prepare ahead, the turkey breast can be seasoned, sealed in a vacuum bag and refrigerated for a couple of days before cooking.
  • If cooking the same day, you have an additional 2 hour window to keep the turkey in the sous vide bath (up to 5 hours total) without affecting the temperature and texture.
  • To cook it a couple of days ahead, sous vide the turkey, cool it down for 10-15 minutes in an ice bath, then place bag with the turkey in the fridge. To warm the turkey (retherm it), place in water bath at 140F/60C for 45 minutes to an hour. Then pat dry and sear if desired. 

Other turkey recipes you might like

How to make sous vide turkey breast

turkey breast, oil, garlic pepper, salt, pepper, rosemary
1/2 bone-in turkey breast, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper
turkey breast meat and bone separated
Cut breast meat from the bone to create a skin-on boneless turkey breast.
turkey breast in sous vide bag
Season breast and vacuum seal in bag (or place in zipper lock bag and remove as much air as possible with the displacement method) to prepare for sous vide cooking.
turkey breast after sous vide cooking
Cook breast at 144-146F for 2 3/4 hours in sous vide water bath. Remove from bag and pat dry with paper towels.sous vide turkey breast seared on skin side

Sear skin in hot pan for 1-2 minutes with a touch of oil for a nice presentation.

sliced sous vide turkey breast on cutting board
Slice turkey and serve.
sous vide turkey breast sliced on plate with stuffing p4
sous vide turkey breast sliced on a plate with quinoa stuffingf
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4.77 from 38 votes

Sous Vide Turkey Breast

Perfection! Sous vide turkey breast is impossible to beat for moist, tender, succulent turkey – EVERY time. Amazing results with this method – guaranteed.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 50 mins
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Main Course, make ahead
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1/2 turkey breast, bone-in, skin-on (about 2.5 pounds/1.13kg) – or 2 pound/0.91kg boneless, skin on.
  • seasonings: kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, fresh or dried rosemary or thyme (or poultry seasoning)

For searing turkey after sous vide cooking:

  • 2 teaspoon oil with high smoke point (e.g. canola, avocado, extra light olive oil, corn, peanut oil or ghee/clarified butter)
  • additional salt, pepper

Instructions

  • HEAT SOUS VIDE WATER BATH: Fill sous vide container with water. Set temperature on your immersion circulator (or box sous vide) to 144F/62.2C (or 145-146F/63C if you want no pink) and allow water to heat to that temperature. About 10-15 minutes.
  • PREPARE TURKEY FOR SOUS VIDE:
    Remove bone (optional): To remove bone from turkey breast, slice turkey meat off as close to the bone as possible. You can leave the turkey on the bone if you prefer. Reserve bone for making broth for gravy if desired.
    Season: Generously season all sides of breast with kosher salt and pepper, a little garlic powder and fresh sprig of rosemary or thyme (or dried) or poultry seasoning.
    Place turkey breast in bag: Use vacuum sealer or displacement method (Note 1). If using a vacuum sealer, fold back top of vacuum bag about an inch to create a flap (this ensures no food touches the top of the bag where it gets sealed). Insert turkey breast and shape it to an even thickness (to cook more evenly). Unfold flap and vacuum seal the bag using a vacuum sealer. Turkey can be refrigerated in the bag for a couple of days.
    Submerge into sous vide bath: When temperature of water bath reaches 144F (or 145-6F), submerge bag into water. (Note 1 for displacement method)
  • COOK TURKEY SOUS VIDE: Cook time is a minimum 2 3/4 hours and a maximum of 5 hours. Remove turkey from sous vide machine and remove from bag. Reserve juices to make a gravy if desired (there will not be a lot of juices though). Pat turkey dry with paper towels.
  • MAKE IT LOOK BEAUTIFUL (OPTIONAL): The turkey meat is now perfect to eat as is, but if you want a pretty presentation and crispy skin, you can pan sear or grill it skin side down on high heat 1-2 minutes. First, season turkey lightly again on all sides. To sear skin side: Heat oil in a heavy pan to medium-high heat (about 8 out of 10). Place skin side down, pressing into pan on all corners to achieve a golden brown over the entire skin side for a total of 1-2 minutes. To grill: Grill skin side down on high heat for 1-2 minutes.
  • SLICE AND SERVE: Slice horizontally and serve with gravy if desired, cranberry orange relish and other sides.
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Notes

  1. Displacement method (instead of a vacuum sealer): You can use a freezer grade zipper-lock bag instead of a vacuum bag. Place turkey breast in 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.
  2. Make Ahead:
    • To prepare ahead, the turkey breast can be seasoned, sealed in a vacuum sealed bag and refrigerated for a couple of days before cooking.
    • If cooking the same day, you have an additional 2 hour window to keep the turkey in the sous vide bath (up to 5 hours total) without affecting the temperature and texture.
    • To cook it a couple of days ahead, sous vide the turkey, cool it down for 10-15 minutes in an ice water bath, then place bag with the turkey in the fridge. To warm the turkey (retherm it), place in water bath at 140F/60C for 45 minutes to an hour. Then pat dry and sear if desired. 
Nutrition values are estimates.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Sous Vide Turkey Breast
Amount Per Serving (0 g)
Calories 398 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 151mg50%
Sodium 948mg41%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Protein 56g112%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!
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This recipe has been updated from the originally published recipe in 2017. 

18 Comments

  1. Do you have any advice about Sous Vide cooking a fresh turkey breast roll (a light and some dark meat roll) which was rolled by a butcher and is about 3.5-4lb weight?

  2. The FDA recommends cooking turkey to an internal temperature of 165F. Yet, every sous vide recipe I’ve seen for turkey calls for much lower temperature. So I don’t know what to think.

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe. The turkey breast was really delicious. I didn’t change anything. Put it on the grill to finish it off and it needed nothing else. Thanks fir sharing this.

  4. Excellent recipe and good advice!
    Another option is to take the turkey breasts and season them (without salt) and apply some sage leaves to the front and back of the breast meat, leaving them sealed in a bag for 24 hours before opening the bag(s) and sprinkling the breasts with kosher salt and re-sealing before cooking. One of the great aspects of sous vide is that the breasts will cook evenly and will retain a lot of tenderness and moisture at one or two days post-cooking, when the best part of Thanksgiving (the leftovers!) begins.

  5. Hi! I have a turkey ‘tenderloin’ that I want to sous vide…though it won’t be as delicious as bone-in and skin-on turkey breast…do you have approximate temp & time for that type of turkey cut? Thanks!

    1. Hi Shari, Since the tenderloin is part of the turkey breast, I would use the same temperature and time – about 145ºF / 62.8ºC (or 146F) for 2 1/2 to 4 hours. Hope that helps and hope it turns out great.

  6. This was the moistest, most succulent turkey breast I’ve ever had … anywhere, fine restaurants included. This will be my go-to recipe from here out!

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