Learn how to make perfect sous vide turkey breast and have it turn out juicy and succulent every time, with or without a sous vide machine.
Not only is using a sous vide a largely hands-off process, but it leaves little room for error. Plus, it’s a great way to cook protein without extra oil or fat and still get that same richness.
This sous vide turkey recipe takes a handful of ingredients and effortlessly transforms them into juicy, tender turkey breast, fit equally for Thanksgiving as a random weeknight dinner.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- Mostly hands-off. Once you add the ingredients to your plastic bag, vacuum-seal it, then pop it in the sous vide bath; all that’s left is to give it a quick sear to lock in those flavors (it’s easier than a roast turkey in the oven!).
- No sous vide machine needed. This recipe assumes you have a sous vide machine, but don’t worry, I included instructions that guarantee the same results without one.
- Healthier. As much as I love pan-fried turkey cutlets, sometimes I need a lean recipe that doesn’t compromise on flavor, and this turkey breast recipe fits the bill.
- Simple ingredients. Just 6 basic ingredients are all that’s needed to make this juicy turkey breast on the table, and most of those are seasonings.
What we love about this recipe is how endlessly customizable it is. Just like sous vide steak, you can add whatever spices or marinades you want. Though personally, I love the simplicity of this recipe.
As I mentioned, the ingredient list for this sous vide recipe is quite straightforward. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Turkey breast. Boneless and skinless fillets. If you only have a bone-in turkey breast, you can cook it with it intact then discard the bone before searing (or use it to make a turkey stock for the base of my favorite turkey noodle soup).
- Salt and black pepper. To taste.
- Lemon slices. A few lemon slices bake into the turkey, giving it a bright, refreshing, subtle citrus flavor.
- Butter. The butter slowly melts into the turkey to add richness and flavor. I prefer using unsalted so I can control how much salt goes into the final dish.
- Rosemary. Fresh, to add a delicate herbaceous layer of flavor.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to sous vide turkey
Step 1- Prep work. Preheat the sous vide water bath to 145F/65C.
Step 2- Season the turkey. Season both sides of the turkey breast with salt and pepper.
Step 3- Seal the turkey. Place the seasoned turkey breast in a bag along with the lemon slices, rosemary, and butter. Vacuum seal the bag.
Step 4- Cook the turkey. Place the bag in the sous vide bath, making sure it’s fully submerged. Cook the turkey for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Step 5- Sear the turkey. Once the turkey is fully cooked, remove it from the water bath and discard the spices. Heat an iron skillet and briefly sear the turkey on both sides until each side is golden brown.
Step 6- Rest, slice, and serve. Let the turkey rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve with your favorite side dish.
Can I make this without a sous vide machine?
Yes, you can make sous vide-style turkey even without a sous vide cooker! This is the exact method I used before purchasing the machine myself and it’s just as foolproof. Here’s how to do it.
Start by filling a large pot with water and attach a thermometer on the side. Heat the water on medium until it reaches 145F. Next, season the turkey and seal it with the aromatics, but leave a corner open. Squeeze out as much air as possible, then submerge the bag enough to push out the rest of the air. Finally, seal the bag and cook the turkey for 2 hours and 30 minutes, then sear, rest, and serve as normal.
Recipe tips and variations
- Pat dry before searing. So the exterior of the turkey gets a crispy texture.
- Let the meat rest. Once the turkey is seared, I like to let it sit for 10 minutes, as this allows the juices to redistribute and in turn, yield super juicy meat.
- Add some spices. Add Italian seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, or chili powder.
- Prep ahead of time. Add the seasoned turkey breast along with the aromatics to the plastic bag, seal it, and store it in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Let it come to room temperature for 15 minutes before adding it to the sous vide bath.
- Switch up the fresh herbs. Use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand, like thyme, oregano, or sage.
- Make a gravy. Optional, but I like to save the liquid from the sous vide bag, along with any juices left from the turkey after searing to make gravy. Just add half a tablespoon of cornstarch and 3-4 tablespoons of chicken broth and simmer until thick.
To store: Store leftover turkey breast in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
To freeze: Allow the leftover cooked turkey to cool completely, then store it in a freezer-safe container. It will freeze well for up to 3 months.
To reheat: Reheat leftover turkey breast in a skillet over medium heat or microwave it in 20-second intervals until warm.
Frequently asked questions
Technically, yes. So long as the turkey has reached and maintained an internal temperature of 145F or higher for a minimum of 30 minutes, it will be as safe to eat as turkey cooked to 165F. You can monitor the internal temperature by checking periodically with a meat thermometer.
The exact length of time to cook turkey using a sous vide will depend on the temperature of the sous vide bath. But generally, a minimum of 2 hours at 145F water should do the trick.
More sous vide recipes to try
- Sous vide chicken breast– Another mild, perfectly seasoned recipe for tender chicken breasts.
- Sous vide chicken thighs– Guarantee extra juicy chicken thighs in just over an hour.
- Sous vide pork tenderloin– A foolproof recipe for succulent pork every time.
- Sous vide egg bites– Inspired by Starbucks egg bites, these cheesy, creamy bites are the perfect light breakfast.
Sous Vide Turkey Breast
- Season all sides of the turkey breast with salt and pepper.
- Heat a sous vide water bath to 145F.
- Place the seasoned turkey breast along with lemon slices, rosemary, and butter in a bag and vacuum seal it.
- Place the bag in the sous vide bath, making sure it is fully submerged. Cook for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- Once cooked, remove the turkey from the water bath and discard the spices from the bag.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and sear the turkey on both sides or until golden brown.
- Rest the turkey for 10 minutes before slicing.
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