One of the wonderful things about sous vide is that you can cook your food while it is still frozen…yes, frozen solid. You only need to increase the cooking time by half. For example, if something takes 4 hours normally, cook it for 6 if frozen. Even better, the maximum timing is flexible. Need to be out of the house for 8 hours? No problem.
Cooking things frozen allows you to take advantage of periodic sales, like the one recently for post holiday season boneless turkey breasts. After all it would still take at least overnight to thaw in your fridge, no waiting for that thaw time. And it comes out as if it had been cooked fresh.
I purchased an organic boneless turkey breast just after New Year’s with the intention of cooking it sous vide at some future time. Before putting it in a bag for vacuum sealing (you can also use a heavy duty ziplock bag), I browned it and rubbed it well with salt and herbs de Provence. Then I vacuum sealed it in the bag and froze it. The day before I planned to serve it, I placed it in my sous vide water bath (yes, still frozen) which had been preheated to 134 degrees F. Normal cooking times for a fresh and non-frozen turkey breast are 8 to 24 hours. The frozen breast will take longer, I usually add half the cooking time again. So if frozen it could be done in 12 hours at a minimum (8+4) but can go much longer. It will become even more tender with longer cooking time, but don’t go overboard as it will turn to mush. I cooked mine for about 28 hours.
Be sure the water covers the top of your bag and cover your container with a lid or plastic wrap. 24 hours is a long time and the water will evaporate otherwise. You don’t want to have to get up in the middle of the night to check the water level.
It turned out tender and delicious. If you are serving it warm, I would brown it again. But because this was intended for sandwiches and cold meals I didn’t bother.
Sous Vide Turkey Breast – Fresh or Frozen
- Preheat the sous vide water bath to 134 degrees F
- Brown the fresh or frozen turkey breast in olive oil, concentrating on the skin side
- When cool, rub with salt and your herb of choice (I used herb de Provence)
- Seal in a vacuum bag or place in a heavy duty ziplock bag.
- Immerse in the water bath, using the water displacement method to force out any air in a ziplock bag. Make sure the turkey breast is covered by the water.
- Cover your water bath with plastic wrap or a lid.
- Cook for 8 to 24 hours if fresh, 12 to 30 if frozen.
- If serving warm you may want to brown it again.
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I had no idea you could sous vide anything frozen! Thank you!
Yes, simply increase the cooking time by half. It is also the way to cook things with a sauce. Put your sauce in the bag and freeze it, then add your food. That way the sauce stays in the bag when you vacuum seal.
Or you could buy one of those chamber vacuum sealer but those are so expensive!!!
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I think you have the time switched on there
I am on holiday right now but will double check when I can get to my computer again. Thanks for pointing out a potential error.
Hello James, sorry I forgot to reply to your comment. I am not sure the times are switched. Minimum time is 8 hours, add another 4 for frozen and it makes 12. I was cooking an already frozen breast so went a bit longer than the maximum for a non frozen breast (24 hours).
How do I brown the frozen turkey breast? Can i use a pan with a tablespoon of oil, heated to high heat then I just place the frozen breast on?
Timothy, you could try browning the frozen breast though. And yes, I would proceed as you suggest.
I’ve been doing a lot of sous-vide followed by air-frying to get the nice browning that is so appealing to everyone!
I have air-fryer envy right now, it’s one counter top appliance that I don’t own…yet. Do you use it for many things?