Honey Garlic Sous Vide Chicken Thighs are super juicy, tender and full of flavor. Sous vide method cooks these chicken thighs to the perfect doneness, and then a quick sear produces the amazing crispy skin on the outside. With tips on how to cook from fresh or frozen.
Why sous vide chicken thighs
In an effort to bring the best chicken recipes, I’m excited to share this foolproof honey garlic sous vide chicken recipe with you! You may think it takes less time to cook chicken thighs on the stove or in the oven, but sous vide method guarantees the most delicious chicken with the perfect texture EVERY TIME! You can control the temperature precisely, so you’ll never overcook or undercook your chicken – it’s my new favorite way to cook dinner. Totally a game changer!
Sous vide means “under vacuum” in French. It’s a water bath cooking method by sealing food in a bag, then cooking for a long time to a very precise temperature in a water bath. It’s low-stress cooking by eliminating short windows of time for perfect doneness and produces even texture edge to edge!
How do you make sous vide chicken thighs
If you’re new to sous vide, I recommend reading my guide for What is Sous Vide Cooking. It has everything you need to get started.
Sous Vide Cook the Chicken: First, preheat your sous vide machine to 165°F (74°C). Then season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place the chicken into a zip-lock bag, and vacuum seal the bag using the water displacement technique (see recipe for detailed instruction). Cook the vacuum-sealed chicken thighs in the sous vide water bath for 1 hour.
Finish with a Quick Sear: I like to finish with a quick sear to add some beautiful color to the chicken thighs. You can sear immediately for 1 minute each side after they they come out of the water bath. But if you’d like to have the crispy skin, you’ll need to let them cool down in the ice water bath so that they won’t get overcooked in the skillet. Heat a skillet on the stove over medium heat, add the chicken thighs skin-side down. Sear for 4-5 minutes until the skin is crispy, and then cook the other side for 30 seconds.
Make the Sauce: Add all the sauce ingredients in a skillet, cook until it thickens. Serve the chicken over rice or potatoes, and drizzle with the sauce.
Tips for sous vide chicken thighs
- I recommend using skin-on and bone-in chicken thighs for this dish, as they hold their shapes better than boneless chicken and you’ll get crispy skin on the outside.
- Make sure you arrange your chicken thighs in one single layer in the zip-lock bag. You can use two bags if needed.
- Make sure to wipe off any moisture using paper towels before searing, as the dry surface helps to sear properly and produces the crispy skin.
Temperature and time
For this recipe, I suggest cooking the chicken thighs to the internal temperature of 165°F, which is the recommended temperature by USDA. At this temperature, the chicken is tender and juicy. Below is the summary if using other temperature and time:
|Temperature||Sous Vide Cooking Time||Texture|
|140°F / 60°C||1 ½ – 4 hours||Very soft, tender and juicy|
|150°F / 66°C||1 – 4 hours||Soft and juicy|
|165°F / 74°C||1 – 4 hours||Traditional tender and juicy|
|165°F / 74°C||5 – 8 hours||Fall-off-the-bone tender|
Honey garlic sauce
The sauce is savory and sweet, and is really quick to make. You can use it on chicken thighs, chicken breasts and even pork or fish! The best part? You will probably have all the ingredients at home already.
- Soy Sauce: You can use low sodium soy sauce if you’d like to reduce salt intake.
- Lemon Juice: You can also use white vinegar or cider vinegar.
I also like to add 2-3 tablespoons of the juices from the chicken thighs after they’re cooked in the bag.
How to sous vide frozen chicken thighs?
If your chicken is frozen, you need to separate the pieces first so that they are not frozen together. This helps them cook evenly.
Then follow the same instructions as cooking fresh chicken thighs, and add 30 more minutes of cooking time in the sous vide water bath.
You can easily turn this sous vide chicken thighs to other flavors by changing the sauce. Here are some sauce ideas:
- Lemon Butter
- Garlic Butter
- Taco Seasonings
How to meal prep and serve sous vide chicken thighs
Sous vide chicken thighs are the best way for making meal prep chicken. After removing them from the sous vide water bath, you can store them in the fridge. As they’re vacuum-sealed, they last much longer. When you’re ready to cook them, simply sear them in the skillet until cooked through. They’re great with pasta, potatoes, and carrots. You can also use them in salad or sandwiches.
More Sous Vide Recipes You’ll Love
Honey Garlic Sous Vide Chicken Thighs with Crispy Skin
- 5-6 chicken thighs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or you can substitute white vinegar or rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- chopped parsley optional
- Preheat the Sous Vide 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).
- Prepare the Chicken: Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on a plate. Then place them to a zip-lock bag and arrange in a single layer.
- Seal the bag using the “water displacement” technique or a vacuum sealer. (Just seal all but one corner of the bag. Slowly place it in the water bath, and make sure everything below the zip-line is covered by water. Then seal the rest of the bag.)
- Sous Vide Cook Chicken Thighs: Place the bag in the warm water bath and cook for 1 hour. (Make sure the chicken thighs are fully submerged while the seams of the bag are above water. You can add heavy kitchen items to weigh the bag down if necessary.)
- Sear the Chicken: Remove the chicken from the bag and keep the juices. Pat dry the chicken with paper towels. (Make sure the surface is completely dry).
- You can sear the chicken immediately by heating a skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and butter. When butter is completely melted, add the chicken thighs skin side down, cook for about 1 minute until the skin is nicely seared. Flip and cook the other side for 1 minute. (If you prefer to have a crispier skin, you can place the bag to an ice water bath and let the chicken cool for 15 minutes. Sear the skin side for about 5 minutes, and flip and sear the other side for 30 seconds. Remove from the pan.)
- Make Honey Garlic Sauce: In the same pan, add garlic, honey, lemon juice, and soy sauce together with 2-3 spoons of the juices from the bag. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 4-6 minutes. (Taste the sauce, and more honey or soy sauce based on your preference.)
- Add back the chicken in the skillet and drizzle the sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately! Garnish with finely chopped parsley if desired.