Preparing meals sous vide


I have tried to find a good guide focusing using sous vide for meal preparations for a week to take with me as lunch at work of have ready for quick and easy dinner after work. So I have some questions that I hope you can help me with.

For example I want to prepare 3 chicken breasts sous vide a Monday evening to have as lunch Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. At work I have microwaves to heat the food so I want to prepare it so I just take with me my micro box with the food and heat it. So how do I do this the best way?

As I understand it if I want to prepare food sous vide for later use you normally keep in the vacuum bag, quick chill it and then put it in the freezer or fridge and then take the bag, put in the sous vide to reheat and the sear it.

But then I understand if I take out the food from the vacuum bag it should be treated as “normal” food. Meaning that if I quickly sear it then I can let it cool down and then put in my microwave box put that one in the fridge and the next day heat in the microwave at work…

So, my questions:

  • Re-heating in vaccum bag seem to take almost the same time for many sorts of food. It seem to be a good idea for example ribs that you have for maybe 20-30 hours in the Sous vide but for normal pieces of meat, fish and chicken it seem to be better to vacuum them fresh, freeze and then sous vide when you want to eat them. Or am I missing something?

-Preparing for work. Is this the best way, sous vide the food, take it directly out of the bag, sear it, let it cool down, put in the fridge in my microwave boxes and then re-heat it at work - is this the best way or should I quick chill it before searing it?

-Food that you don´t quick sear and want to take with you as lunch. Best way is to quick chill it, take it out of the bag and then in the fridge in the microwave boxes for coming days?

Thanks in advance for answers.

So many questions!
And some of them aren’t particularly clear.

First of all, microwave ovens can be brutal on chicken breasts. I wouldn’t bother going through the sous vide process if i was going to reheat in a microwave oven, - unless course you are particularly skilled in using them. Also, your term “microwave boxes” is a concern. They can be risky if they are plastic, particularly so if used frequently as plastics tend to break down with prolonged use. I would only use glass or paper in one.

Next, you are proposing cooking processes that are extraordinarily labor-intensive. A significant benefit of sous vide is the ability to batch-cook and store. Otherwise you are using too much electricity and water on all those single portions not to mention a lot of your precious personal time.

Most people have a short meal repertoire list, particularly for lunch. If you usually have chicken breasts for lunch three days a week, why not cook a month’s worth at a time? They don’t take up much freezer space. Be sure to date and label all foods.

You can pre-sear the chicken before individually seasoning, packing, and cooking. Then immediately deep chill in a 50% ice-cube bath for an hour, stirring occasionally. You want your food to be cold to its core. The sealed chicken will keep for a week in the coldest part of your refrigerator, that’s usually the bottom-rear, and 3 months in your freezer. There, now you can go out and have fun three Monday evenings each month.

I’d be tempted to skip the sear and just season before cooking. There’s all kinds of interesting flavourings you can add to the chicken so you can have variety plus moist and tender cooked chicken and skip the microwave step. You can safely allow the chicken to warm for an hour or two before lunch. And who made the lunches have to be warm rule anyway?

To cook, try simple things like brushing them with a little mushroom-soy, Cajun seasoning, white pepper and liquid honey, or pack them with BBQ sauce, some diced red onion, oregano, and tomato, or a honey-mustard glaze. Have your chicken with raw vegetables, or a simple salad or two. Beat those lunch-box-blues by using your leftover cooked vegetables, diced and tossed with a little mayo or a favourite salad dressing for your lunch. Slice the chicken and stuff a pita with it along with a few other things you like.

Forget what your Mother told you, it’s OK to play with your food.


sorry, was not clear. I don´t heat food in a microwave in the container. Either put it on a plate or glass container.

Chicken was just an example, could also be meat or fish.

Thanks for the tips. So, just so I got it. Sous vide the chicken/meat/fish (sear before or not is a personal preference) with some flavours. Chill in 50% bath. Let it be in the vacuum bag and put in fridge (or freezer if I prepare more than coming lunches). Bring the sous vide bag with me to work and either let it come to room temp and eat or warm it in microwave (although risk of getting it dry). No worries of bacteria’s etc by doing like this.

But I could also take it out of the bag after sous vide, sear it and then chill it like normal leftovers and put in the fridge for the next day or two?


Trumis, - correct, now you’ve got it. Chicken, meat, fish; the basic process is the same. Fish usually does not require a sear. too fragile.

You might want to thaw and decant from the vacuum bags at home as with some products there can be fluids you might find messy to contend with at work.

Once your food’s temperature is above 40F you have up to a 4 hour window of food safety for minimal bacteria growth. I reduced that to 2-hours for certainty. At room temperature bacteria doubles in number every twenty minutes.

I have always used a 72-hours-and-out rule with prepared food. Always label and date. Masking tape is cheap.

Happy cooking.