Perfection! Sous vide turkey breast is impossible to beat for moist, tender, succulent turkey – EVERY time. Amazing results with this method – guaranteed.
If you’ve read any of our other sous vide recipes, you’ll know that I’m completely sold on sous vide 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 method, there are no surprises.
Temperature for Sous Vide Turkey Breast
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, juicy and delicious. Note that you can do 2-3 half-breasts at the same time. If you prefer your turkey more well done, cook it at 145-146F.
Everyone has his/her favourite sides for turkey on Thanksgiving or other times. Here’s a few of ours:
- Vegetable Quinoa Stuffing (pictured)
- Homemade Vegetarian Stovetop Stuffing
- Savoury Stuffing
- Much Loved New and Old Thanksgiving Recipes (includes gravies, sides, stuffings, cranberry sauce and more)
For a few tips and things we’ve learned in the last year about sous vide cooking (after lots of practice and research), take a look at our post on 9 Really Good Sous Vide Recipes. Or scroll down below the recipe to see a great non sous-vide turkey breast recipe.
Succulent Sous Vide Turkey Breast Recipe
- 1/2 turkey breast, bone-in, skin-on (about 2.5 pounds) - or 2 pound boneless, skin on.
- 1 tbsp olive oil or melted butter
- seasonings: kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, fresh or dried rosemary (or thyme)
For searing turkey after sous vide cooking:
- 2 tsp oil with high smoke point (e.g. canola, avocado, extra light olive oil, corn, peanut) or ghee/clarified butter)
- additional salt, pepper
- PREPARE SOUS VIDE BATH: Fill water in the sous vide machine as per manufacturers instructions (not too high). Set the temperature to 144F and allow water to heat to that temperature.
- PREPARE TURKEY: You can leave the turkey on the bone if you prefer. To remove bone, slice turkey meat off as close to the bone as possible. Reserve bone for making broth for gravy if desired. Rub oil or butter on all sides of turkey breast. Generously season all sides with kosher salt and pepper, a little garlic powder and fresh chopped (or dried) rosemary or thyme. Fold back top of sous vide bags 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. (Note 1). TO MAKE AHEAD: Turkey can be refrigerated in the bag for a couple of days.
- COOK TURKEY SOUS VIDE: When temperature of sous vide machine reaches 144F, submerge the vacuum sealed bag into water. Cover and cook for minimum 2 3/4 hours and a maximum of 5 hours. Remove 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 a paper towel.
- MAKE IT LOOK BEAUTIFUL (OPTIONAL): The turkey is perfect to eat as is, but if you want a pretty presentation, you can flash sear it in a pan or grill in 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 high/medium high (about 8 out of 10). Place skin side down, pressing into pan on all corners to fully brown the entire skin side. for a total of 1-2 minutes.
- SLICE AND SERVE: Slice horizontally and serve with gravy if desired, cranberry sauce and other sides.
- Instead of a vacuum sealer, you can use a heavy zipper-lock 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.
No sous vide? Here’s an oven-roasted turkey breast recipe
Roast Turkey Breast With Pear Chutney (get the recipe)
If you like turkey thighs, here’s a great sous vide recipe:
Glazed Sous Vide Turkey Thighs get the recipe