Sous vide turkey breast is an absolute game-changer. Cooking sous vide allows you to make perfectly juicy and tender turkey breasts, every single time. Time to say goodbye to the days of dry turkey, and hello to juicy meat cooked exactly how you want it.
For this recipe, I created salty, garlicky and herbaceous compound butter that perfectly compliments the flavor profile of the turkey. This butter compound has all the salt and flavor the turkey breast needs for epic taste.
Furthermore, coating the breast in this butter amplifies the Malliard reaction in the oven, which creates a picture-worthy sear.
Add sous vide turkey and garlic herb compound butter together and you have a fool-proof method of making an unforgettable meal.
Bone-in or Boneless Turkey Breast?
The first step is determining whether you should purchase bone-in or boneless turkey breast for this recipe. The quick answer, either cut will result in tender, juicy meat. Also, either can be used interchangeably for most sous vide recipes.
That being said, we prefer using bone-in turkey breast. They tend to be juicer and more flavorful, and the meat around the bone is to die for.
An essential part of cooking sous vide is putting ingredients in an air-tight bag or container. The two most common techniques to package your ingredients are vacuum sealing and using the water displacement method.
A vacuum sealer removes all the air and seals the contents of a plastic bag through a vacuum. Ensuring the food is airtight and properly sealed prevents the bag from floating, which can result in uneven cooking.
The displacement method is a technique where you first place your food and marinades in a sous vide bag, submerge the bag in a container of water, and allow the pressure to force all the air out of the bag.
Both of these methods work for this recipe, so use whichever you feel more comfortable with!
Can You Sous Vide Frozen Turkey Breast?
The quick answer is, absolutely! Cooking frozen foods sous vide is an ultra convenient, safe way to prepare your protein. Just take the food directly from the fridge, repackage it (unless you know the bag is sous vide safe) and let the sous vide work its magic.
The only thing you'll need to adjust is the cook time. If you are cooking frozen turkey breast sous vide we recommend adding an additional hour to the cook time, so four hours total.
Time and Temperature
We found that cooking the turkey breast at 60C/140F for 3 hours is the perfect combination. Leaving the breast in for 3 hours results in a juicy bird. Also, cooking it at a temperature of 140F is the sweet spot for tender and succulent meat.
Just make sure you have a reliable sous vide that accurately regulates the temperature of the bath or your results may vary (check out the Anova or Joule). If you want to explore other time and temperature options, check out our cooking guide here.
Placing in an Ice Bath
Once the turkey breast is finished cooking in the sous vide, I recommend immediately transferring it to an ice bath. An ice bath is the term for a big bowl or cooler filled with ice and water.
Placing the bird in the ice bath for 10 minutes will cool down the external temperature and make it easy to spread the butter compound. If the external temperature is not cooled, the butter will instantly melt.
Finishing the Turkey Breast
Searing is the most critical step in the sous vide process. Getting a deep, rich sear can make your food look like it is Michelin star quality. Failing to do so will make your dinner guests wonder why they let you cook again.
If you want to get an amazing sear on your turkey breast, you’ve got to:
1. Pat your meat completely dry
2. Coat generously with compound butter
3. Finish at high temps to achieve a deep, rich sear
Applying Compound Butter
First, pat the meat completely dry using paper towels. After the meat is dry, coat the breast generously with the compound butter. The most effective way to spread the butter evenly on the bird is with fork or a silicon spatula.
Note that the external temperature of the turkey breast needs to be cool to properly apply butter. Please drop the breast in an ice bath or chill in a refrigerator until chilled prior to applying the butter.
Searing the Breast
Last, cook the turkey breast at high temperatures to achieve a deep, rich sear. We suggest baking the breast in the oven at 450F for 10 to 15 minutes.
This high temperature ensures the butter will melt quick, which amplifies the Malliard reaction and results in a nice crust. Also 10 minutes will make sure the internal temperature of the bird is at serving temperature.
Sous Vide Machine – This one is obvious. To cook sous vide, you’re going to need a device to precisely regulate the temperature of the bath water. The two best sous vide machines in the game right now are the Anova Precision Cooker and the Breville Joule.
The main difference between the two is that with the Anova you can control the device both manually and with a mobile device, and with the Joule you can only control the device by using your mobile device. Either way, both sous vide machines are top class and you can’t go wrong with either choice.
12-quart Container – Although you can use a basic stockpot for your sous vide cooking needs, I highly recommend buying a large plastic container. They are inexpensive and spacious, so you won’t have to worry about cooking a big roast in a small pot. I recommend a 12 quart Rubbermaid container, as it is BPA free, sturdy, and large enough for just about anything you will be cooking.
Container Lid – If you are going to buy a plastic container, I highly suggest buying a compatible lid for it. When you sous vide for a long duration, the heat of the water causes evaporation. With a lid, it eliminates a majority of the evaporation so you can cook for hours care-free.
Roasting Pan and Rack – Having a quality roasting pan for this recipe can help achieve an excellent sear in the oven. Made In offers the best quality and price, which is why it is our favorite pan brand.
Next Level Sous Vide –Looking to take your sous vide skills to the next level? The Next Level Sous Vide eCookbook will push your culinary boundaries with 65 delicious recipes that are equally approachable and tasty. With pro tips and a detailed explanation of the sous vide process, you will be on your way to maximize your sous vide skills.
Check out our full list of recommended gear here.
Sous Vide Turkey Breast Recipe
- 2 - 3 lb skin-on turkey breast half
- 4 sage leaves, whole
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Set sous vide machine to 60C/140F.
Place turkey breast in a sous vide bag with 4 sage leaves, and remove the air through a vacuum sealer or the displacement method. Drop turkey in the bath for 3 hours.
In a bowl, mix together softened butter, garlic, sage, thyme, salt and pepper together until the compound butter is spreadable.
Remove bag from bath and immediately transfer to ice bath to chill for 10 minutes. Once cooled, discard sage, and place turkey breast on a paper towel lined cutting board. Thoroughly pat the turkey breast until dry.
Preheat oven for 450F. Spread half the garlic herbed compound butter underneath the skin of the turkey and the other half on top of the skin of the turkey. Place breast on a baking rack pan and cook for 10 - 15 minutes.
Remove turkey breast from oven. Let rest for 5 minutes. Carve the turkey breast into slices, and enjoy this delicious piece of meat. *Pro tip - brush the excess butter and garlic mixture from the pan onto each piece before serving.