"Seasoning" for Sous Vide Chicken

I have been using Sous Vide for about a year now, but mostly for pork and beef. Many people want to tell you “How to cook the perfect Sous Vide Chicken Breast”, but they all seem to say the same thing. “Add the seasoning of your choice”. What if you don’t have a clue what is your seasoning of choice? This is a real hindrance for me. Yes, I can sometimes find a recipe with actual seasoning advice, but most of those are more complicated than I want to do. I think it would be nice to have a basic list of simple seasonings that could fill that gap in the “seasoning of choice” recipes.

On a related topic. How do people tackle seasonings with frozen chicken. Yes, in the ideal world I would have seasoned the chicken before I froze it, but you know how it is…Darn it! The chicken is going to go bad, throw it in the freezer dear.

My seasoning of choice, regardless of what I am cooking usually involves garlic salt and black pepper. Other seasonings you could consider:

  • Adobo
  • Chili
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne
  • Curry

These are what came to mind first. I cooked up frozen chicken legs the other day - I just added the seasonings prior to searing.

Carrie, we all have different tastes and seasoning gets a lot more complicated when you consider the range or flavourings available around our planet. Having children to please adds more complications. Chicken breasts bring so little flavour to the party that you have another challenge using them.

We know you don’t want complicated mixtures, so no Col. Harland Sanders’ recipes for you. i’ll try to keep a complicated subject simple. Other than the basil, all of the seasonings Alyssa suggests should be in your pantry if you live in the left or south-left USA. (To me, dried basil has an unfavourably “muddy” flavour, particularly when compared to fresh.)

If you live elsewhere you might be able to cook without the adobo although it should be a basic in your chilli mix. I’d add nutmeg to Alyssa’s list because a pinch adds something mysteriously special to many items, particularly stews, vegetables, and sauces. Consider it an option. It all depends how delicious you want your meals to be.

I would also add fresh cilantro and Italian parsley as finishing herbs. If you have a sunny windowsill you can easily grow your own basil, parsley, and cilantro. A pot of chives would be a flavouring bonus. Growing herbs is a great home project for children. Put each pot in a slightly larger one to keep roots cool. A thorough watering once a week is usually enough. If they can be trusted with a scissors let them harvest too.

Salt and pepper, particularly ground white pepper, plus any single item on Allyssa’s list would be an easy and favourable start for you. If you don’t particularly like any items on the list, don’t use them. I advise cooks to use more seasoning than they think is enough. Most home cooking i get is by far under seasoned for my taste.

Here’s a chef’s secret for you, rub dried herbs between your palms a few times before adding to your menu item. It wakes them up flavour wise.

If my advice is still too complicated, when you encounter a chicken dish you actually enjoy ask how it was seasoned. There are also bottled seasoning blends available in all grocery stores. I find the ingredients in products from McCormicks are of uniformly high quality.

Now for your bonus question:

  • take Alyssa’s advice, frozen chicken should be seasoned after thawing just like fresh. If you are cooking from frozen, season well on all sides before searing.

And rosemary! When it comes to chicken I’m not sure my wife would let me continue to cook if I didn’t use rosemary! :slight_smile: And fortunately it’s pretty easy to grow your own, even if you don’t have a green thumb.

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Or… nothing.

I know, it’s controversial. I don’t season before cooking and only add a little salt pre-sear. If I want other flavours I’ll serve with a sauce.

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Hi Carrie,

I do quite a lot of skinless and boneless chicken breast using Sous Vide and I generally keep it very simple with just salt and pepper. I also add some fresh herbs if I have some handy such as Rosemary or Coriander (also refereed to as Cilantro by our northern cousins). Basically any fresh herb will do, even a mix of some. You can also spice things up with adding some chili to the mix if you like it hot, fresh or dried is fine. If I am keeping it simple I usually salt & pepper the breasts, add the herbs and spices if using them just before I cook them.

I have also used store bought marinades and pastes such as a green or red Thai curry paste, Honey and soy marinade and various other ones to give it a flavor profile that I am after whether it be Asian, Mexican, Indian or whatever. If I am using a paste or marinade then I would let it sit in the marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight in the fridge in the bag you are going to sous vide them in. If you want to freeze them you can in the paste or marinade and then you can sous vide them when you need them.

After you have finished cooking them and you are ready to consume them take them out of the bag, discard any herbs if used. If you used a paste or marinade I find it better to wipe off the paste/marinade completely with a paper towel and pat them dry. you then can sear them at this stage if you wish or serve them as is.

if you wish to keep them for later consumption you can place them bag and all in an ice bath to quickly cool them then place still in the bag in the fridge or freezer for when when you do want them.

There are many flavors to explore an experiment with, the possibilities are endless. Have FUN!

Twisted Q Sweet Mesquite…

Never tried this one yet, but will surely do. I already have my authentic Asian seasoning prepared that I bought from Karman Foods. Thanks for the idea!

Welcome to the community!