Any way to keep Chicken breast's original shape?

I cook skinless Chicken Breast’s quite often. They are large breasts that I cut into 1/2’s or 1/3’'rds. I am cooking about 6 or 7 pieces in a zip loc bag. I suck all the air out. So the bag is nice and flat going into the Sous Vide.

Unfortunately, when they are done they always, have assumed odd shapes, which really don’t look that great.

Anyone know any methods to keep the breasts in a more flat shape? The original shape?

If you’re using zip-loc bags you could try immersion method for air exclusion rather than sucking the air out. It would be a gentler method. But, I’m afraid I’ve never had the problem of items taking on an ‘odd’ shape.

Are you perhaps trying to cram to much product into either your bag or your cooking vessel?

Why are you cutting before cooking? The essence of ‘the concept of sous vide’ is that regardless of how thick a piece of meat is, that given enough time, it will eventually achieve a uniform cooked temperature throughout (say 140˚), without ever over-cooking. When I’m doing a mess o’ breasts I wrap each one in plastic wrap, stack 10 in a vacuum bag, cook for 2.5 hours, then unwrap them, sprinkle each with salt, pepper, then sear each on a very hot grill, then sprinkle a very light dusting of dried basil and Italian blend and serve. Any that are not consumed as part of a meal can be refrigerated and sliced for salads, or sliced and microwaved briefly on a bed of precooked rice, or lightly reheated and used in sandwiches.

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Not sure where you buy your breasts, but at Costco or Cub they are HUGE. Dividing the breast before cooking provides much more surface for finishing on the grill. One breast served alone is way too big for a single portion.

I suppose I could try dividing after the Sous Vide & before the grilling. I’m cooking 2 hours at 140°, finish on a grill at 600° - 800°

Well I’ve been a professional chef for about 45 years I’m retired now. In the restaurant business all are boneless skinless chicken breast are graded to size. The size 6 ounce breasts was basically my choice for food service. That’s why small breasts are hard to find in the grocery stores.
Just cooking a breast whether it’s poaching broiling or baking the breasts would be rubbery inconsistency an A little tough. So pounding a chicken breast first before cooking breaks down those fibers making it very tender. If you look at a chicken breast a side view it look like a air plane wing. So pounding it between 2 pieces of plastic you want to make it very even in thickness . And generally I would season them 1st and pound the seasoning into the breast. I would season, pound them, sous vide. Then cut them to the size of your liking. I would sous vide them 2hrs @ 145°F.

Thanks, I used to pound my breasts but I found them to not be as juicy, but I will try flattening them to a lesser degree and then slicing after souse vide, prior to finishing.

You allowed the meat to cool before removing it out of the bag. Moisture will be pulled back in to the meat. And you know to save the broth. Good luck to you.
from Chef Blake

I usually vacuum seal two breasts at a time. They always come out the same shape. Perhaps you should not cut them into pieces before SV

Chef_Blake, I’m curious what you mean by “rubbery” … I have been doing my chicken breasts at 146.5/1 hour. They come out very nice. I do notice that when you bite into it, there’s a little “snap” … is that what you referred to as “rubbery”??

If you would re read What I wrote was poaching broiling baking grilling not SV, chicken breast could be rubbery in texture. The muscles in the chicken breast contract quite a bit when cooking higher temps. That’s why pounding a bit break that tissue down and also make the rest or even cooking that snapped you talk about could be what I’m referring to. Everyone has their own preference on mouthfeel so you like that snap that’s good. Much of good cooking is an expression of ones opinion.
Chef Blake; by the way nice looking breast good pic.

found some really good sites where i found amazing recipes with chicken breast’s and by following the rules i managed to keep chicken breasts in original shape. although i’m quite sure that it depends on the chicken itself too.
btw, 5littleones - that’s looking really good tbh.

When I vacuum seal chicken breasts for SV, they always get a little pinched at the edges, and I can usually see the texture of the bag on one side. (FoodSaver bags are textured on one side.)

The only way around it would be to do the water displacement method. It’s the nature of the vacuum that it will mildly deform the meat. Actually, there is a second way, now that I think about it. Freeze the chicken breast before vacuum sealing and it will hold its shape just fine. A good option if you buy those big bulk boxes of flash frozen chicken breasts that regularly pop up on sale at grocery stores.

you are using too many breasts in one bag.

I freeze them for about an hour. They get firm but not rock hard. Then vacuum. Same thing for burgers.


The only time I ever have rubbery chicken is by boiling. Baking, broiling, or grilling they are not rubbery. Fry, yes, but not rubbery.

not totally agree. i once baked chicken breast and it made it rubbery. my fault though, i forgot about it while searching for other desserts recipes. anyway, you’re still right that by boiling is much more likely for it to happen.

When cooking chicken breasts by traditional methods the line between perfect and overdone is very, very fine. That’s why sous vide is such a great way to process chicken breast. It’s so much easier to get them succulent and delicate.

We keep the chicken breasts a natural shape by putting 2 in a bag and also by pressing SEAL on the Foodsaver before it completely tries to flatten the contents, not when it stops and auto seals. The main reason for vacuum is to remove the air, right? Well if you keep watch, that will happen before the need to let it continue vacuuming.