cooking times vary so much

What is the cooking time contingent on ? I see on the packaging that the Anova came with that the cooking times for 2" boneless chicken breasts for example, can go from 1-4 hrs. at 146 degrees., pork chops, 2", at 134 for 2-10 hrs., this is such a large window, if the thickness of the meat runs true to the dimensions stated why is the time so variable ? I am confused as to what time to plan my meals for… help!

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There’s a bunch of thickness charts online that will tell you how long to cook various types of meat. (if you do a search on here, there’s lots of references as well).

The variance in the time in these recipes is to indicate the range to produce a more tender result. The longer you cook meat sous vide, typically the more tender the result. The wonderful thing is that the level of doneness (rare----well done) doesn’t increase, only how much the proteins break down (tenderness).

You can think of it like this. When it says 1-4 hours your food will be done at 1 hour (up to temp) but you can hold it there for 4 hours with no degradation.

Take a look at this post by one of the members here. It has great information about how time effects meat.


The guideline is that heat penetrates meat at about an inch per hour. So calculations based on thickness should be the minimum time you let something cook. Times will increase based on a number of factors, like if the food was put into the water bath while frozen, if the cut of meat is tough with lots of connective tissue. In general, increase the time by another 50% for frozen food (though I know some people who add half an hour regardless), and as for connective tissue, I forgot where I heard it from, but I seem to recall them breaking down after upwards of 6 hours. It’s probably no harm leaving your food in a little longer to suit your schedule. If in doubt, finish all cooks by 6h as a very broad guideline.

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Lisa, have you ever cooked something following a recipe and later made adjustments to it based on your results? Good. Cooking with your Anova will be much the same. Keep a record of everything you cook making every recipe yours.

In general the minimum cook times will be just done, sometimes barely done. Is that how you usually cook your food?

If not, use a longer time up to the maximum time recommendation. Increased length of time adds to tenderness. It’s your choice.

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Thank you for your quick reply

Thanks everybody it makes more sense now.

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@lisawil, Welcome to your new favourite way to cook. You’ve also stumbled across one of the most commonly asked questions. The guys have done a good job at explaining. If you want to go further into it there’s a bunch of threads on this forum dedicated to people asking the same question. :slight_smile:

Here’s one for some further reading: