Sous Vide Turkey Breast: Very Easy How To Guide

Nicole Austin

We'll teach you how to sous vide turkey breast — or even a whole bird.

I am always looking for an easier way to cook difficult foods to perfection. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just a family feast I was in the mood to make, turkey is a delicious dinner that my family enjoys.

But turkey can be stressful — you finally get the turkey to thaw out, you want to be sure you don’t store it in the fridge too long, and now you have to find the perfect way to cook a turkey to keep it from being dry, or raw when the rest of your dinner is done.

This is where sous vide turkey comes in, and we think you’re going to love it!

Sous Vide Turkey Breast Photo

What is Sous Vide?

French for “under vacuum” and pronounced soo-VEED, this cooking method sounds a lot harder than it is.

The most basic description of sous vide cooking is cooking food that is sealed in an airtight container (usually vacuum sealed, hence the name) by placing it in temperature-controlled water.

It is also sometimes referred to as LTLT (low-temperature, long-time) cooking.

Contained within that bag, along with your protein of choice, are various spices, herbs, sauces, or marinades that will add flavor to your food while it cooks.

Sous vide used to be reserved strictly for restaurants or private chefs, but with the accessibility of the required tools, it is now a popular form of cooking. A lot of people prefer it for the safety and simplicity of it all.

Without having to handle heavy cookware, use a heated cooktop, or risk contact with flames, smoke, or steam, sous vide is arguably one of the easiest ways to make a delicious dinner that will wow your dinner guests.

Home cooks might find it a little tricky the first time, as it's a pretty distinct method and requires longer cooking time, but with our sous vide turkey breast recipe below, you'll quickly see the benefit of  the sous vide technique for cooking turkey meat at a low temperature in order to get delicious, juicy meat.

Sous Vide Turkey Breast Picture

What Are the Benefits of Sous Vide Cooking?

Sous vide is one of our favorite cooking methods for the following reasons:


This method is so exact that the risk of over-cooking your meal is very low. Sous vide foods may lose perfect texture over time, but will be safe with prolonged cook times.

Maintains the juicy texture

Meat that is cooked using other methods is prone to shrinkage due to drying out.

Sous vide meat, in comparison, retains all juices and does not reduce the overall weight of the meat.

This is because the fibers in the meat contract slowly with this method, as opposed to rapidly, when using other traditional methods.

If you’re looking for a way to make your budget-friendly flank steak taste the best it can get, sous vide is the way to go, for example.

Instant Pot Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin Image

Evenly cooked food

Sous vide foods are cooked evenly throughout.

The pot of water surrounding the sealed meat is kept at a regulated temperature, meaning your food will never rise above that temperature and become burnt.

Improved flavor

The meat retains moisture and the added herbs, spices, or other ingredients will make the flavor richer.

Food lasts longer in the fridge

Traditional sous vide requires vacuum sealed foods, which last longer in the refrigerator (up to one week), making it worth your time and money.


While we are generally referring to meats, sous vide eggs, vegetables like Brussels sprouts, potatoes, and more are delicious and can also be cooked to perfection.

Instant Pot Turkey Breast with Carrots and Homemade Gravy Pic

What Are the Cons of Sous Vide Cooking?

Nothing is perfect.

We admit that there are some downsides to any method of cooking — sous vide is not immune!

Longer cooking times

Because this method involves lower temperatures, it takes a longer period of time to cook the food thoroughly. An air fryer is a better option of you need an approach for juicy turkey that takes less time.

Inconsistent results

Some meats and vegetables do not respond consistently to this method of preparation.

Requires special equipment

The purchase of an immersion circulator is essential to sous vide. This draws water from the source, heats it up to an exact temperature, then releases it.

This precise heating and circulating is the reason sous vide foods are successful, so you can’t skip this step unless you’re looking to buy a water oven with a fixed tub.

You'll probably need a sous vide machine and a sous vide bag supply as well.

Food safety risks

While the precise temperature control of sous vide cooking allows it to be safer than some other methods, there are some concerns that are typical with any type of cooking.

Follow these safety tips:

  • Do not allow your food to rest for a long period of time after cooking, to prevent bacterial growth.

  • Use discretion and common sense when eating food that has been stored in the fridge for longer than 3 days. Although vacuum sealed foods are safer, nothing is immune from potential risk.

  • Do not consume raw or undercooked food that has been prepared sous vide.

Now that we got the basics out of the way, let’s get back to business!

Roasted Turkey Picture

Can You Sous Vide Bone In Turkey Breast?

Yes — you can. And honestly, bone-in turkey breast is one of the better cuts to prepare sous vide.
I’ll tell you why.
The bone in the turkey aids in the low and slow cooking method by helping slow the distribution of heat.
This means that the heat doesn’t travel into the meat quite as quickly, leaving more room for the turkey to cook delicately but thoroughly.
You can also use boneless turkey breast, and you will likely be very satisfied with the results.

How Do You Prepare Turkey Breasts for Sous Vide?

The first step to the perfect sous vide turkey breasts is to prepare the shape of the meat.

Controlling the shape of the meat will also dictate how evenly it cooks, as the thickness will be roughly the same throughout.

To achieve this, you can stack two breasts together. Adding a small amount of salt between the two will help them bind together, and you can also use that additional space for more seasoning.

To hold the turkey pieces together, consider tying butcher’s twine at one-inch intervals along the length of the turkey breasts.

Add whatever seasonings you wish to use, from lemon slices to fresh thyme, inside the vacuum seal bag!

Instant Pot Turkey Tenderloin with Mushroom Gravy Pic

How Long Do You Cook Turkey Sous Vide?

Of course, you want to make sure your meat is safely cooked.

If you’re wondering how long to sous vide turkey breast, we have a handy guide! (All cook times are approximations- always check your food for doneness with any recipe.)

Outcome: Pale pink meat, soft, moist

-Bath temp: 138°F

-Core temp: 136°F

-Total cook time: 3 hours

Outcome: White meat, moist, tender

-Bath temp: 145°F

-Core temp: 143°F

-Total cook time: 2.5 hours

Outcome: White meat, roast texture

-Bath temp: 152°F

-Core temp: 150°F

-Total cook time: 2 hours

We do not recommend any core temperatures lower than the ones shown above, due to risk of illness. The moist and tender white meat is probably the right choice for most scenarios!

Pressure Cooker Turkey Breast Photo

Can You Sous Vide a Whole Turkey?

You might be interested in exploring the world of sous vide cooking, especially to serve a picture-perfect Thanksgiving dinner, but you may not want to purchase or manually separate multiple pieces of turkey breast or other meat to achieve this goal.

Additionally, it’s no secret that everyone just loves the look of a fresh, delicious turkey on a platter.

Here’s how to cook a whole turkey sous vide:

1. Place the whole bird inside a 2-gallon ziplock bag (up to 14 lbs) or a 3-gallon (larger than 14 lbs).

2. Pour enough liquid to completely submerge the turkey into the bag. THIS IS IMPORTANT! The interior of a whole turkey is hollow, which will prevent circulation of heat. Filling the turkey with liquid will allow effective heat transfer throughout the entire turkey.

Suggestions for liquids:

  • Apple cider

  • Chicken broth

  • Chicken stock

  • Water

This step will eliminate the need for brining the turkey

3. Add your spices and herbs.

4. Transfer your bagged turkey to the water bath container. You can use a 5-gallon pot.

5. Add hot water into the pot or cooler until the turkey is submerged. Cover pot with aluminum foil to help prevent evaporation.

6. Set the immersion circulator to 150°F and cook for 24 hours, checking often to make sure that the bag is submerged and the water level has not dropped. Add hot water as needed.

7. Once the turkey is done, roast it in the oven for a short period of time (20ish minutes) for crisp turkey skin.

This step makes it a lot easier to prep the turkey ahead of time and finish roasting it the day you plan to serve it! Just store it in the fridge and roast the skin until crisp in time for dinner.

Turkey Sliders with Cranberry Sriracha Sauce Image

Why Can Sous Vide Meat Be Cooked to a Lower Temperature?

You may have noticed by now that we’re very serious about food safety, and one of the key components of food safety is cooking food up to a temperature that will make it safe to consume.
When cooking meat using other methods, you will want to strive for an internal temperature of at least 165°F.
So, how can you safely eat sous vide food if it is at a lower temperature?
The answer is that the bacteria has still been killed.
If you were to flash-cook food at 165°F, you would know that you have killed salmonella, because that temperature will instantly destroy it.
But you can also kill salmonella at lower temperatures that are sustained for longer periods of time. This is something that we’ve known for years — this research paper from the 1960s highlights the time and temperature effects on bacteria that can cause serious illness, and it found that meat that reached 150 degrees F for 10 minutes was safe to eat.
The time it takes to kill bacteria once it reaches a certain temperature is the determining factor for food safety.
Now that you know how to make the perfect sous vide turkey, don’t forget to check out our best tips for carving it next time!
Leftover Turkey Puff Pastry Pot Pies Image
Leftovers? No problem! Check out our Turkey Sliders with Cranberry Sriracha Sauce or our Spicy Turkey Wrap if you’re looking for something with a little kick, or any number of our recipes for leftover turkey.

Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.

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