Sous Vide Chicken Thighs
This recipe for Crispy Sous Vide Chicken Thighs is the best way to get a chicken thigh that is juicy and tender on the inside and nice and has crispy skin on the outside. Cook bone-in chicken thighs perfectly every time. Instructions for sous vide FROZEN chicken thighs included.
Chicken thighs and chicken legs and drumsticks are rising up as a superfood in my opinion. Not only are they cheap and budget-friendly, but they also have a higher fat content which is rich in nutrients and much better in taste.
Cooking chicken thighs can be tricky. It can be hard to get the inside tender and fully cooked while still making the skin nice and crispy. Cooking them with the sous vide method is a perfect way to get the best of both worlds.
The chicken thighs are seasoned, cooked in a water bath that is the perfect temperature, then quickly flash cooked on the grill, cast iron skillet or air fryer and that’s it! Serve them with your favorite dish!
💭What is Sous Vide Cooking?
Sous vide is a method of cooking for a longer period of time in a temperature-controlled water bath. For example, a ribeye steak is marinated and placed in a vacuum sealer bag or Ziploc bag and is submerged to be fully cooked at a temperature that is to your liking.
Once it is fully cooked, it just needs to be seared off in a hot cast iron pan while still remaining at the perfect temperature.
- Bone-In Skin-On Chicken Thighs – This cheap cut of chicken is packed with flavor and perfect for cooking sous vide.
- Butter or Ghee – Used to create tender meat and skin along with a buttery flavor.
- Kosher Salt & Black Pepper – Balances and enhances the flavor of the meat.
- Optional Seasonings: Lemon, garlic, thyme, or other herbs and spices.
- Immersion Circulator – The best immersion circulator is by Anova because it’s top-of-the-line quality and has a great app that connects with your phone. You can also use a budget-friendly brand such as the SAKI or InkBird brand.
- Vacuum Sealer – Use any basic vacuum sealer with your sous vide. You can also use these sous vide bags with a hand pump for about $15.
- Vacuum Sealer Bags – Purchase a set of different sizes for ease and variety.
- Large Pot or Sous Vide Container – If you’re cooking a lot with the sous vide, it’s helpful to have a container that’s perfectly sized to hold the immersion circulator and the food it’s cooking. Otherwise, you can use a large pot or heat-safe container.
- Sous Vide Clips or Sous Vide Weights – These accessories are made to keep the food submerged in the water while it cooks to make sure it cooks evenly. You can purchase these or use a heavy kitchen utensil and binder clips.
Check out The Best Sous Vide Accessories for a perfect cooking experience!
📖How To Sous Vide Chicken Thighs
1️⃣ Bring your water bath to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
2️⃣ While water is heating up, pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Add seasoned chicken thighs to the freezer bag or vacuum seal bag.
3️⃣ Add to the heated water bath and cook for 2 hours or 3 hours if chicken thighs are frozen.
4️⃣ Remove from the bag and pat dry on both sides with a paper towel.
5️⃣ Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add in 1 tbsp. butter, ghee, or avocado oil and wait until it begins to smoke.
6️⃣ Place dry chicken thighs face down in hot oil and cook for 1-2 minutes or until skin becomes crispy. Remove from heat and serve hot.
7️⃣If you’re not using it right away, place the cooked chicken in an ice bath for 10 minutes before storing it in the fridge for 3-4 days.
💦Water Displacement Method
Don’t have a vacuum sealer? The water displacement method works by using the principle of Archimedes, which states that a body submerged in water is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the water displaced by the body.
This means that the food in the sealed bag is cooked by the heat of the surrounding water, without coming into direct contact with the water. This cooking method is often used to cook delicate foods such as fish, eggs, and vegetables. You can use the water displacement method to properly secure your fish for sous vide using the following steps:
- Place your food in a Ziploc freezer bag, making sure to get as much air as possible.
- Seal the bag most of the way leaving a small opening at the end to let air escape.
- Submerge in the water letting the air come up to the top using the pressure of the water.
- Once the bag is submerged up to the seal, close it fully before fully submerging into the water.
⏲Best Time & Temperature For Sous Vide Chicken Thighs
Although you could cook your chicken thighs at a lower temperature, I always cook mine to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to make sure it’s safe according to food safety standards.
Chicken doesn’t follow the same rules as steak in this regard however, you could cook them at 150 to account for any extra cooking that will result in finishing the chicken thighs with a pan sear, grill, or air fry.
Best Temperature: 165 Degrees Fahrenheit – 2 Hours
🍳How To Make Crispy Chicken Thighs
The first step is to make sure your chicken is FULLY dried by patting down both sides with a paper towel after it is cooked and comes out of the Sous Vide bag. Any moisture on the skin will cause the skin to steam and result in a mushy texture.
Pan Sear Chicken Thighs: heat up a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, and add in ghee, butter, or avocado oil over high heat until it starts to smoke. Place chicken thighs skin side down for 1-2 minutes or until the skin gets brown and crispy. Remove from heat and serve.
Grill Chicken Thighs: Heat grill to 500 degrees. Brush oil or butter on chicken thighs and place on grill for 2-3 minutes or until skin gets charred to your desired outcome.
Broil Chicken Thighs: turn your oven to broil setting and brush chicken skin with avocado oil, butter or ghee. Broil for 4-5 minutes or until skin is crispy
Air Fry Chicken Thighs: To sous vide chicken thighs then air fryer, preheat air fryer for 5 minutes at 400. Brush skin with avocado oil, butter or ghee and sprinkle with garlic. Air Fry for 5-6 minutes or until chicken skin becomes crispy
🧊Sous Vide Frozen Chicken Thighs
If you are cooking chicken thighs from frozen, simply add another hour to the cooking time!
For this recipe, the chicken will need to be cooked at 165 degrees for 3 hours.
This recipe uses a simple seasoning of salt and pepper. To change up the flavor to your liking, rub seasonings on both sides of the chicken before adding it to Ziploc or vacuum-sealed bag.
- Ranch Seasoning
- BBQ seasoning
- Curry Powder
- Greek Seasoning
- Teriyaki Seasoning
- Cajun Seasoning
- Taco Seasoning
- Chipotle Seasoning
- Jerk Seasoning
♻Storing & Freezing
Storing Leftovers: Once they are cooked, they will last in the air tight bag right out of the sous vide for about 7-10 days since they are fully cooked. Once you are ready to finish them off, let them temp out for about 15 minutes on the counter, then use your favorite finishing method.
Freezing Leftovers: Wrap cooked and cooled chicken thighs in plastic wrap, then add to a freezer safe bag or airtight container for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before serving and reheating.
🦞More Easy Sous Vide Recipes
- Sous Vide Baby Carrots
- Sous Vide Lobster Tail
- Sous Vide Chicken Breast
- Sous Vide Mashed Potatoes
- Sous Vide Pulled Pork
- Sous Vide Sweet Potatoes
- Sous Vide Pot Roast
- Sous Vide Pork Chops
Sous Vide Chicken Thighs
- 4 Bone In Chicken Thighs
- 1 tbsp Butter or ghee
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- Bring your water bath to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While water is heating up, pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Add seasoned chicken thighs to the freezer bag or vacuum sealed bag.
- Add to the heated water bath and cook for 2 hours or 3 hours if chicken thighs are frozen.
- Remove from the bag and pat dry on both sides with a paper towel.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add in 1 tbsp butter, ghee or avocado oil and wait until it begins to smoke.
- Place dry chicken thighs face down in hot oil and cook for 1-2 minutes or until skin becomes crispy.
- Remove from heat and serve hot.