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Sous Vide Chicken Drumsticks are the easiest way to make juicy and tender chicken that’s full of flavor. Only 3 steps: season, sous vide, and sear! These chicken legs are rubbed with simple seasoning, and then sous vide cooked to perfection. The skin crisps up when seared in the end, making the best chicken drumsticks ever!
This no-fail recipe is one of my family’s favorite. No brining or marinating needed. The sous vide method guarantees the success EVERY TIME and you can customize with your favorite seasonings!
I don’t cook a whole chicken very often, as my kids always want the legs. So I usually make these Sous Vide Chicken Drumsticks or Sous Vide Chicken Thighs so that everyone is happy. This recipe is so easy and it never fails!
With sous vide cooking, you can control the temperature precisely, so you’ll get the chicken with unparalleled juiciness without worrying about overcooking or undercooking the meat.
It’s also low-stress cooking by eliminating short windows of time for perfect doneness, and your chicken will be evenly cooked edge to edge. You’re going to love this one!
What is Sous Vide?
Sous vide cooking is a water bath cooking method by sealing food in a bag, then cooking to a very precise temperature in a water bath. It means “under vacuum” in French.
Seasoning for Sous Vide Chicken Drumsticks
These sous vide chicken drumsticks are really easy and the seasoning blend is perfect:
Simply mix together paprika (mild or smoky), garlic powder, salt and black pepper. It’s Keto and goes well with chicken or pork. You can also substitute other seasonings or dry rub that you like. A simple salt and pepper seasoning would work too.
I also like to drizzle with some olive oil for extra flavor before rubbing the seasoning on the chicken. It will help the seasoning to stick on the meat better.
How to Vacuum Seal the Bag without a Vacuum Sealer?
If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can place the seasoned chicken into a zip-loc bag, and vacuum-seal the bag using the water displacement technique: just seal all but one corner of the bag, and then slowly place it into a large pot of water. Make sure everything below the zip-line is covered by water, then seal the rest of the bag.
What Temperature Do You Sous Vide Chicken Legs?
I have tested out different temperatures, and 165°F (74°C) is my favorite temp to sous vide chicken drumsticks. If you’d like to have more tender meat, you can cook them around 150°F. Be aware that there will be some pink hues around the bones, but it’s safe to eat.
How Long to Sous Vide Cook Chicken Legs?
Chicken legs need to be cooked slightly longer than chicken breasts. It takes about 2 hours to cook the drumsticks, but it’s ok to leave them in the sous vide warm water bath for an extra 30 minutes.
Sear on the Grill or Skillet
After sous vide cooking, your chicken is fully cooked. It’s ok to serve right away, but I like to finish with a quick sear so that you will have crispy skins around the drumsticks.
Heat a grill or skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s very hot, add the chicken and sear for 1 minute each side until it turns nice and brown.
What is a Good Side Dish for Sous Vide Chicken Drumsticks?
One reason I love this sous vide chicken legs recipe is that it pairs well with almost any side dish out there. Here are some homemade side dish ideas:
If You Like this Recipe Try these Out:
Easy Sous Vide Chicken Drumsticks Recipe (+VIDEO)
- 6 chicken drumsticks (fresh or frozen*)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
- 1 teaspoon paprika (or smoked paprika)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pre-heat the water bath: Fill a large container or pot with water. Attach the sous vide precision cooker and set the temperature to 165°F (74°C).
- Place the chicken drumsticks on a plate and rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil on all sides.
- In a small bowl, whisk together paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper until combined. Then rub half of the seasoning evenly over the chicken legs.
- Place the seasoned chicken legs to a zip-lock bag and arrange in a single layer.
- Seal the bag using the “water displacement” technique: seal all but one corner of the bag, and slowly place it in the cold water. Make sure everything below the zip-line is covered by water. Then seal the rest of the bag. (Feel free to use a vacuum sealer if you have one.)
- Place the bag in the sous vide water bath and cook for 2 hours. (Make sure the chicken is fully submerged while the seams of the bag are above water. You can add heavy kitchen items to weigh the bag down if necessary.)
- When the timer goes off, remove the chicken from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. (Be very gentle and not to break the skin.)
- Sprinkle the rest of the seasoning over the cooked chicken drumsticks.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining oil (if using a grill, you can rub cooked chicken with the oil). When it gets smoking hot, add the chicken drumsticks, cook for about 1 minute each side until nicely seared.
- Remove the chicken from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
- *If you use frozen chicken, add 30 more minutes to the sous vide cooking time.
- Store cooked chicken legs in an airtight container in the refrigerator and it can last 3-4 days. They’re great for meal prep. Alternatively, you can freeze them for up to 3 months.
Editor note: Originally published March 23, 2020 and updated June 23, 2020.