Sous Vide Cooking

Sous vide at home – Chicken legs at 64°C during 60 minutes

by on Sep.06, 2009, under Recipes, Time and Accurate Temperature


I am just coming back from summer holidays and unfortunatly I’ll have to give back my Jubalo EC immersion circulator next week! Sniff!
In the meantime here is the result of my first try of cooking sous vide chicken legs.

I saw on Twitter a post from 3beanespresso who was asking himself why his try of sous vide chicken legs at 66°C for 38 minutes was leading to a gory result
There was a long time that I have not looked at Douglas Baldwin “A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking”. I realized 3beanespresso used Douglas table. I therfore decided to try myself 64°C during 60 minutes (on chicken leg was 30 mm thick and the other one 35 mm).


I found on the net a recipe for the marinade :

  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons Hoisinsauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey  
  • 1 tablespoon water

I took the chicken skin off and immersed the chicken legs 3 hours in the marinade. Then I took off most of the marinade surrounding the chicken before vacuum sealing the chicken legs. This way I have avoided leakage of marinade inside my non profesional vacuum sealer machine. I think next time I’ll freeze the marinade.

After cooking I seared the poultry some secondes with my blowtorch and a little bit of oil, just to make the chicken looking more appetizing.

sous-vide-at-home-julabo-chicken-64c2b0c-marinade-3The result was fantastic! I could realy feel the marinade and the chicken was moist and perfectly tender.
sous-vide-at-home-julabo-chicken-64c2b0c-marinade-5The 30 mm chicken leg was not bloody except some little red parts located close to the bones.
sous-vide-at-home-julabo-64c2b0c-marinade-6sous-vide-at-home-julabo-64c2b0c-marinade-7The 35 mm chicken leg was globaly a little bit more bloody than the 30 mm one (see the picture bellow) but the texture and the flavor were still fantastic!sous-vide-at-home-julabo-chicken-64c2b0c-marinade-4

I will definitly try again this recipe and next time add 10 minutes more to the time indicated in Douglas Baldwin’s table.


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21 Comments for this entry

  • Matt C

    Oooh I’m sure that’s very tasty, and I trust the calculation table for time and temperature, but I don’t think I could bring myself to eat chicken that looked that ‘rare’

  • Frank Hsu

    The trick to improve this recipe is to
    - slit the meat under the bone especially near the bone/meat area where it is thick.
    - Loosen the joint where the leg bone meet the thigh bone by just twisting it away from the joint.
    - During searing/pan frying stage, make sure sear the meat part longer (not just the skin part).


  • Lava

    Especially chicken is that kind of “special meat” I would always cook better than normal beef… On the other side I must say that I will test it with my waterbath and give you an information…

  • Tony U

    I did chicken legs 30 – 35mm, sous vide style for 80 minutes at 84ºC. The most tender cooked to the bone and without any redishness around the bone. The leg was firm, succulent and burst with flavour. I then chargrilled it with a lemon & herb marinade for 3 minutes either side. Wow

  • jean-francois


    Interesting. How did you get the idea to cook chicken legs at 84°C during 80 minutes? This combination time/temp is so far from Douglas Baldwin recommendations.
    What the chicken frozen when immerged inside the water bath?


  • andy wong

    hello.!!i am glad to get this blog..i scan it for whole a night!! at the same time. i am also a student for sous vide.So could i get your msn? than discuss it together! and my blog:
    my own chinese molecular gastronomy blog !

  • david

    Tonight I am cooking the Chestnut Stuffed Four Story Hills Farm Chicken with Celery and Honey Poached Cranberries for 24 people. I found that the recipe recommended temp of 58 C for one-hour, followed by panfrying in butter results in the leg meat appearing undercooked. I personally feel happier cooking to 70 C for 1 hr 15min as the results look better (bear in mind that this dish is stuffed chicken legs). I am cooking my way through Under Pressure and documenting my pictures and results on:

    I’d appreciate any comments or feedback:)

    David Harwood
    Catering Manager
    Pembroke College
    University of Cambridge

  • PedroG

    Hi François,
    you do not need to freeze your marinade, just place your meat on a cling film at least 3x longer than your meat, give it a gentle massage with marinade, wrap it in the cling film leaving as little air as possible, wrap it in paper towel to help slide it into the vacuum bag, pull out the paper towel, and your machine will seal the bag before the marinade had time to creep all the way out of all the layers of cling film.

  • Einar

    Be careful with using cling film for cooking. All soft plastics may contain so-called plasticisers, which are hormone inhibitors and hormone mimics. Cling film, which is very soft, has been proven to be especially bad in that respect. Plasticisers may cause cancer and can affect babies’ development, especially for boys (one of the most common mimics is the female hormone estrogen). So avoid it at all costs.

    It is unfortunately very very hard to obtain any solid info on the plastics used in vacuum bags. Yes, they are typically made of clean and unharmful PE, but the manufacturers usually don’t reveal what they add to them.

  • andy wong

    long time no updating

  • PedroG

    Avoid PVC cling film and bags, they contain plasticizers like phthalates. PE (LDPE) is safe, as it needs no plasticizers, see

  • Einar

    Thanks for your response on this important health aspect of sous vide cooking. I am not sure your egullet-link was correct as I am unable to find anything on plastics there. Can you please verify?

    Also, the wikipedia link discusses LDPE. I would guess the plastic typically used in SV-bags is HDPE, although it is purely a guess. Do you know if the PE used in SV-bags is pure PE (carbon + hydrogen?)

    If I can find or be directed to a reference which says that the PE used in SV-bags is pure PE and contains no toxins of any kind, then I will order a Lava vacuum machine within minutes.

  • Allpax

    Thank you, I am always interested in new recipes for vacuum bags.

  • Brian

    I found this recipe for sous vide chicken leg that is cooked for 8 hours at 84C. What would account for the large discrepancy in both cooking time and temperature btw this recipe and your’s at 64C for only 1 hour? I’m confused.

  • jean-francois


    You are right, the difference in temperature and time is huge. I recommend reading Baldwing “A Practical Guide to Sous Vide” which explains why, cooking certain pieces of meet after a certain time, is useless. The temperature is a question of choice “Traditionally, light poultry meat is cooked well-done (160°F/70°C to 175°F/80°C) for “food safety” reasons. When cooking chicken and turkey breasts sous vide, they can be cooked to a medium doneness (140°F/60°C to 150°F/65°C) while still being pasteurized for safety.”


  • Ed

    There’s a very dangerous error in Table 4.7. The temperatures at the top are wrong, where “57.5 degrees F” and “63.5 degrees F” appear, I believe those should read CELSIUS. I doubt anyone would try to cook chicken at those temperatures but it definitely would not result in cooked chicken.

  • Chris

    To be honest I’ve found Baldwin useful only as a starting point for cooking chicken and I agree there are some errors in the tables. Having cross referenced with other sources (like Keller, Blumenthal etc) I use the following,
    • Chicken breast, boned with skin on or off, packed with butter and seasoning, 64oC for 1 hour
    • Chicken thigh, boned and flattened out, packed with butter and seasoning, 64oC for 1 hour
    • Chicken leg, whole, packed with butter and seasoning, 75oC for 8 hours
    • In each case the skin crisps up nicely in a frying pan before serving
    • You can do whole or chicken crowns at something like 64oC for 8 hours before roasting to colour but I’ve not been happy with the results yet!



  • walter

    great site with a lot of interesting details. i upgraded my equipment and now use the bubbler /heater from the CDN supplier (freshmeat). it works very well!

    i tried this recipe, though the taste was fine, my guests(without sous vide experience) found the texture to be a bit rubbery. i tend to agree. should the time be decreased a bit or possibly a different time/temp combination?

  • Laika

    I am looking at Baldwin’s book now, and he recommends cooking the legs at 80c for 8-12 hours. I have done this twice, and the results are fantastic. The question is whether I need to cook it that long. He says also that if you cook at 70c you should do it for 24 hours.

  • bart

    Just started with the sous-vide cooking, preparing menu for the suummer. I would like to do a chickenleg, served along the lines of a confit duck leg. So far I haven`t got a proper result yet, luckily I am still in the testing phase. I udes to cook them for 3-4 hrs at 65C, resulting in tender meat but still red around the bones, last ones I did were for 6 hrs still at 65c, still not satisfied. I`ll keep trying and update later.
    Cheers, congratz with the blog

  • Pab

    Hi, just a suggestion to avoid freezing the marinade, use a Zip bag to do the vacuum, in this link they explain how to do it

    Modernist Cuisine and other specialist agree that temperature control is more in important that vacuum sealing in sous vide cooking.

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