Fried Chicken > Can you sous vide fried chicken

Can You Sous Vide Fried Chicken?

Sous vide cooking has become increasingly popular in recent years. The technique involves cooking food sealed in airtight bags submerged in temperature-controlled water. This allows you to precisely control the temperature and achieve perfectly cooked results every time. But can you use sous vide to “deep fry” chicken to get that crispy fried exterior? Let’s take a closer look.

Can You Sous Vide Fried Chicken?

The short answer is yes, you can absolutely sous vide fried chicken to get a juicy interior and crispy exterior. However, it does require some special preparation to achieve the crispiness of traditional fried chicken.

To start, you would cook the chicken sous vide as normal by seasoning it, vacuum sealing, and cooking in a water bath at the desired temperature (around 146F for breasts, 176F for thighs). This tenderizes the meat and keeps it very moist and juicy. The key steps to getting a crispy crust are:

    • Thoroughly chill the cooked sous vide chicken in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This helps the skin dry out.
    • Pat the chicken very dry before breading. Use paper towels to absorb moisture.
    • Coat the chicken in a breading or batter. A basic flour, egg wash, breadcrumb breading works well.
    • Shallow fry the breaded chicken in 1/4 inch of 350F oil for just 1-2 minutes per side. The bubbling oil helps the steam crisp the coating.
    • Finish cooking in a 425F oven on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes. This ensures the coating is fully crispy.

The chilling, breading, and quick shallow fry followed by oven finish allows you to get remarkably crispy, crunchy fried chicken with a beautifully cooked, juicy interior thanks to sous vide. It takes some extra effort compared to deep frying, but gives you much more control and less mess. While sous vide fried chicken requires a few more steps, it can yield phenomenal results.

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Getting Started with Sous Vide Chicken

Sous vide is actually a great technique for cooking chicken. It helps keep the meat incredibly moist, tender and juicy. To sous vide chicken, you’ll want to season the meat, vacuum seal it, then cook it submerged in water at the desired temperature.

For chicken breasts, 146°F for 2 hours yields excellent results. For chicken thighs or legs, you’ll want to cook them around 176°F for at least 4 hours.

Once the sous vide cooking time is up, you’ll need to sear the exterior of the chicken briefly on high heat to get a nicely browned outside. But this searing alone won’t give you the craggy, crispy fried coating you get from deep frying.

Developing a Crispy Exterior

To get a crispy exterior on sous vide chicken, you’ll need to employ a few extra tricks:

Chill Before Searing

Chilling the sous vide chicken in the fridge for at least 30 minutes will help the skin dry out. This allows it to get crisper in the sear. Be sure to pat it very dry as well.


After chilling and drying, coat the chicken in a breading or batter before searing. The coating will protect the meat and crisp up beautifully. A simple flour, egg, and breadcrumb breading works very well.

Shallow Fry Quickly

Rather than a typical sear, shallow fry the breaded chicken in 1/4 inch of 350°F oil for just 1-2 minutes per side. The bubbling oil will create steam to really crisp the coating.

Finish in a Hot Oven

After shallow frying, place the chicken pieces on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Finish in a 425°F oven for 5-10 minutes to ensure the coating is perfectly crispy.

Is Sous Vide Fried Chicken Worth It?

While it does take some extra effort, sous vide fried chicken can be phenomenal. You get juicy, tender chicken thanks to sous vide, with a remarkably crunchy and flavorful fried exterior. It’s significantly easier and less messy than deep frying. The chicken also absorbs less oil compared to deep frying.

Sous vide allows you to nail the ideal doneness for chicken every time. And the ability to thoroughly chill and dry the exterior before frying is a major advantage. So for joyfully crispy chicken minus the hassle of deep frying, sous vide fried chicken is well worth a try!

Can you use a sous vide to deep fry?

No, a sous vide immersion circulator cannot be used to deep fry foods. Sous vide relies on cooking sealed foods in a temperature controlled water bath. It does not involve oil.

While sous vide chicken can be finished with a short shallow fry to crisp the exterior, the sous vide cooker itself cannot provide the high temperatures or oil needed to deep fry.

You would need a separate deep fryer or pot of oil heated to around 350-375F to deep fry foods. The sous vide helps cook the interior, but cannot crisp through deep frying alone.

How to make chicken skin crispy after sous vide?

To make chicken skin crispy after cooking it sous vide, take these steps: Chill the cooked chicken thoroughly in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. This helps the skin dry out. Pat the skin very dry with paper towels. Coat the chicken with breading or batter.

Shallow fry in hot oil (325-350F) for just 1-2 minutes per side to steam and crisp the coating. Finish on a wire rack in a 400F+ oven for 5-10 minutes until extra crispy. The chilling, drying, breading and quick shallow fry + oven finish helps produce crispy skin on otherwise juicy sous vide chicken.

Is it a good idea to sous vide chicken?

Yes, sous vide cooking is an excellent technique for chicken. It helps the meat stay incredibly moist and tender thanks to the precise low temperature cooking. Sous vide allows you to dial in the ideal level of doneness, especially for chicken breasts.

The controlled environment prevents overcooking. While searing is needed after to brown the exterior, sous vide yields extremely juicy, foolproof chicken. The ability to pasteurize the meat at lower temperatures also enhances food safety.

Does sous vide make chicken more tender?

Sous vide does make chicken much more tender compared to other high-heat cooking methods. Because the meat is cooked below boiling temp in a sealed bag, it tenderizes without drying out or becoming tough.

The collagen in chicken breaks down into gelatin more easily at sous vide temperatures, helping the meat become succulent and tender. Seared correctly after sous vide, you can get extremely tender chicken with a nicely browned crust.

So in summary, sous vide can absolutely help you achieve fried chicken with a shatteringly crispy exterior and wonderfully juicy interior. With some chilling, breading, shallow frying and oven finishing, you can enjoy sensational sous vide fried chicken from the comfort of your own kitchen


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