Learn how to make the juiciest, most flavorful chicken with this Sous Vide Chicken Tenders recipe. The tenders are easy to cook and versatile, too. Customize the seasonings and sauces any way you like!
Sous vide is a cooking method I adore. It’s always reliable, leaving you with juicy and perfectly cooked chicken, steak, lamb, fish, vegetables, and more every time. And this Sous Vide Chicken Tenders recipe is no exception!
Chicken tenders are seasoned with oil and spices, then placed in a vacuum-sealed bag and temperature controlled water bath. The sous vide machine works its magic for a few hours to give you irresistible and juicy tenders. To finish, the chicken is seared in a sizzling hot skillet to achieve crisped edges without any breading necessary!
Sous vide vs. baked chicken tenders
Sous vide is a cooking technique that involves placing meat and/or vegetables in a vacuum-sealed bag and gently cooking it in a temperature-controlled water bath. Unlike baking, the stabilized temperature ensures even cooking every time, while sealing in the natural juices and flavors.
All of these qualities are especially important when cooking chicken tenderloins, which tend to dry out when they’re overcooked.
- Chicken tenderloins – Chicken tenders are cut from the underside of the breast. They’re smaller, thinner, and softer than regular chicken breasts. When you’re shopping, look for tenders that are already cut into strips or you can buy chicken breasts and cut them into strips yourself.
- Olive oil
- Seasonings – I used a savory blend of kosher salt, oregano, paprika, black pepper, and garlic powder to season the chicken tenders. Scroll down to the Variations below for more seasoning ideas.
- Butter and olive oil – To finish, the chicken tenders are seared in a cast iron skillet with butter and olive oil. The oil prevents the chicken from sticking while the butter infuses every bite with mouthwatering flavors and encourages browning.
- Salt and pepper
How to sous vide chicken tenders
Start by stirring the oil and spices together to create a paste, then coat each chicken tender in the paste.
Attach the sous vide machine to a heat-safe container filled with enough water to submerge the sous vide bag.
Seal the chicken tenders in the bag using a vacuum sealer or the water displacement method. Once the water is preheated, immerse the sealed bag in the water bath and cook.
How to sear chicken tenders after sous vide
Remove the tenders from the sous vide bag, pat dry, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
Heat the butter and oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat. Once hot, add the tenders in a single layer and sear on both sides, tilting the skillet and spooning the buttery oil over the top as they cook.
Tips and tricks
- You’ll know the chicken tenders are done cooking in the sous vide when they reach a safe internal temperature of at least 145°F. Depending on their thickness, this can take between 1 to 4 hours.
- After searing, let the chicken rest off of the heat for 5 to 10 minutes. This gives the rich, buttery juices time to redistribute throughout the meat.
- You can sous vide frozen chicken tenders instead of fresh, but they’ll need at least an extra 30 minutes to cook (or a minimum total cook time of 1½ hours).
Chicken is incredibly versatile, which means you can have a lot of fun experimenting with different spices and seasonings. Try seasoning the tenders with different spice blends, like Cajun seasoning, taco seasoning, chicken dry rub, Greek seasoning, Jerk seasoning, Italian herbs, or everything bagel seasoning.
Alternatively, you can sous vide chicken tenders with a wet sauce. In this case, the water displacement method is the easiest way to seal the bag without the sauce spilling over the top. Try BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce, teriyaki sauce, or any of these 25+ delicious sauces for chicken.
Yes, you can absolutely swap one for the other. If you use chicken breasts, trim any excess fat and connective tissue before slicing them against the grain into even-sized 1 ½ inch strips.
You want to cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 145ºF to achieve the most tender and juiciest results. Even though the FDA recommends cooking chicken to an internal temperature of 165ºF, sous vide chicken is safe to eat at 145ºF because the process actually pasteurizes the chicken and kills any bacteria.
Yes! It’s a great way to reheat the tenders without overcooking or drying them out. To reheat, heat the water bath to 140ºF and reheat for 1 to 4 hours.
The leftover chicken tenders will stay fresh for 3 to 4 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. Once they’re cool, transfer the cooked chicken to an airtight container and store it in the fridge or freezer. Thaw the chicken in the fridge before reheating.
A chicken tender is only as good as the dipping sauce it’s served with! Be sure to check out these 25+ dipping sauces for chicken tenders and choose a few to serve with the chicken.
If you end up with leftover tenders, go ahead and get creative by repurposing them for dishes like:
- Chicken Tacos
- Southwest Chicken Salad
- Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
- Leftover Chicken Soup
- Chicken Cobb Salad
- Chipotle Chicken Salad
Wine pairings for chicken tenders
- A buttery Chardonnay complements the richness of the succulent, cast-iron finished chicken.
- A light to medium-bodied Pinot Noir works well with the light savory seasonings.
- MORE → The BEST Wine Pairings for Chicken.
More sous vide meat recipes
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Sous Vide Chicken Tenders Recipe
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt & pepper
- In a small bowl combine the salt and spices with oil to create a paste. Coat chicken tenders with the paste.
- Set the sous vide to 145-degrees.
- Vacuum seal the chicken tenders using your preferred method.
- Cook for 1 hour, up to four hours.
- To sear:
- Remove chicken tenders and pat dry. Season with additional salt & pepper.
- Preheat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add oil and butter. Once melted, add chicken tenders and sear for 1 minute per side, tilting skillet and spooning butter over them as they cook.