Sous Vide Cajun Turkey Breast

This Sous Vide Cajun Turkey Breast is hands down the juiciest turkey breast you will ever make! The turkey breast is coated in cajun spices, butter, and fresh herbs, then cooked with the precision cooker until moist and flavorful. It is perfect for slicing thin for sandwiches, or thick for your holiday main course!

Sous vide cajun turkey breast sliced on a cutting board with a knife.

If you don’t want to cook a whole turkey for your Thanksgiving menu, doing a boneless turkey breast only is a great option! Cooking with the sous vide method makes a juicy and super moist turkey breast. If you’re looking for a bone-in turkey breast recipe, try Dutch Oven Turkey Breast with Garlic Herb Butter.

This turkey breast is coated in a special blend of Homemade Cajun Seasoning then cooked to perfection with an immersion circulator. Slice it thin for sandwiches, or thick and serve it as a main course with Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Brie Mac and Cheese, and Blackened Green Beans.

Why you’ll love this recipe

TL:DR: Sous vide cooking is a big time saver. There’s only 10 minutes of prep time for this recipe, and the rest is hands off. The turkey comes out juicy and moist. Saves space in the oven for the rest of your holiday meal. Slice it thin for turkey sandwiches, or thick for the main course. Plus it’s almost impossible to overcook it!

Lauren’s Take: I developed this recipe as a homemade version of cajun turkey breast deli meat. I love making turkey sandwiches, but deli meat can contain a lot of preservatives. The turkey comes out with the perfect texture for slicing thinly, but also works great sliced thicker to serve as a main protein!

Taste: A little spicy from the Cajun Seasoning, but not too much. It’s buttery with a hint of lemon for balance.

Texture: Sous vide turkey is much more tender and juicy than an oven roasted turkey with a more even texture throughout.

Time: 2 and a half hours of cook time BUT that is all hands off time. There is only 10 minutes of active prep time! (Throw the ingredients in a bag and set the sous vide). If you want to use it for sandwiches, you will also need an hour of chill time.

What is Sous Vide Cooking?

Sous vide cooking only sounds fancy, but it is really easy! So don’t be intimidated by its French name. 

Sous vide is a method of cooking by adding food into a vacuum sealed container, then submerging it in a water bath kept at a precise temperature with an immersion circulator. This device clips onto the side of a pot or large container and circulates the water, keeping it at a constant set temperature.

You can also add seasonings and spices into the sous vide bag. The result is perfectly cooked food, at the perfect temperature. 

In the case of this sous vide turkey breast recipe, the turkey comes out infused with butter, herbs, and cajun spices, and it’s perfectly moist and juicy. It’s impossible to have a dry turkey breast when made with the sous vide method!

My friend Chelsea over at A Duck’s Oven is the Sous Vide Queen! She has tons of great sous vide recipes and tutorials. She even has a Sous Vide School so you can learn everything you need to know about sous vide cooking (a bargain at $24) and Sous Vide Cookbooks!

Up close cajun turkey breast sandwich with lettuce, bacon, tomatoes, and cheese.

Equipment Needed

You will need some special equipment for sous vide cooking.

  • Sous vide/immersion circulator – This is the machine that circulates the water in the sous vide bath, and keeps it at a precise temperature. It is also called a precision cooker. I use this Anova culinary sous vide precision cooker.
  • Large container or pot – To hold the water bath. You can use a large pot or a container like this one.
  • Vacuum sealer – This is optional, but a good investment. I use mine frequently to vacuum seal food before freezing to keep it fresher for longer. You will seal up your food and seasonings into a vacuum sealed bag before adding it to the water bath. If you do not have a vacuum sealer, you can add food to a plastic zip top bag, and squeeze as much air out as possible.
  • Food saver bags – Special bags to go with your vacuum sealer machine.

Ingredients & Substitutions

See the recipe card below for full list of ingredients and measurements.

Boneless skinless turkey breast – I prefer to use a boneless breast, since sealing a bone-in breast can get a little awkward to properly vacuum seal the bag. Your butcher can remove the bone for you!

Garlic – Always use fresh garlic! Pre minced garlic loses so much of its deliciously intense flavor.

Fresh herbs – I use fresh thyme for this recipe but you can use rosemary, sage, or a combination of your favorite herbs.

Cajun Seasoning – Adds the perfect zestiness to this turkey breast. You can use the recipe I have listed below, or make your own Homemade Cajun Seasoning Recipe.

Ingredients for Sous vide cajun turkey breast on a cutting board.

See the recipe card below for the complete list of ingredients and measurements.

Variations

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s very adaptable to your own tastes. Swap out the spices and herbs to change up the flavors!

  • Fresh rosemary and sage, allspice, and brown sugar for a Thanksgiving style version.
  • Coat it in buffalo sauce for a buffalo turkey version – this would be great for sandwiches with mozzarella and blue cheese crumbles!
  • Lemon and fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, sage, and rosemary for lemon and herb coated turkey breast.

Sous Vide Food Safety

Before we talk about how to make this deliciously tender turkey breast, we need to discuss some food safety. 

We will be setting the immersion circulator to cook the turkey at 145° Fahrenheit. 

But wait, WHAT?! Isn’t poultry supposed to reach an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit to be safe to consume?

The answer is YES, BUT…

YES, when cooking turkey in the oven, you absolutely need to cook your bird until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. (And I highly recommend using a food thermometer to make sure you do so.)

BUT, when cooking turkey with an immersion circulator, it is safe to eat turkey that has been cooked at 145°F for at least 2 hours. 

So, why is this the case? The answer gets a little sciency, and involves pasteurization and logarithmic graphs, but it all boils down to two key factors. 

Food safety depends on not only the temperature food reaches, but also the time it is held at that specific temperature. 

When you are cooking food in the oven, the oven is set to a high heat. Meanwhile the food is much much colder than that. (You definitely wouldn’t want your turkey to actually be at 350°F!)  The whole time the food is in the oven, it is slowly rising in temperature, but there is no way to hold food at a precise temperature. When it reaches 165°F, it only needs to be held at that temperature for about 10 seconds to kill the harmful bacteria. 

When you are cooking food with the immersion circulator, the water is set to circulate at a precise temperature. For example in this recipe, we are setting the temperature to 145°F. Once the turkey reaches that temperature, it will be held there for over an hour. Because it will be at this temperature for a prolonged time, it has enough time to kill harmful bacteria, making it safe to eat. 

Sous vide cooking allows for keeping the food at a lower temperature, so it is really hard to overcook! Plus it keeps the proteins tender and juicy. 

Bottom line: Cooking a 1-2 pound boneless turkey breast with the immersion circulator at 145°F for over 2 hours makes it safe to consume. 

For more information about the “temperature danger zone” and food safety, read this article from the USDA, and to learn more about other sous vide safety, read Food Safety with the Art of Sous Vide.

How To Make Sous Vide Turkey Breast

Turkey breast coated in cajun spices on a cutting board.

Step One: Prep

Set the precision cooker to 145°F (63°C) in a water bath. Coat the turkey with cajun seasoning.

Turkey breast with cajun spices, butter, and thyme in a vacuum sealed bag.

Step Two: Seal

Roll the turkey into a cylinder shape. Place it in a vacuum bag with garlic, butter, and herbs. Seal the bag.

Sous vide cajun turkey breast out of the water bath.

Step Three: Sous Vide

Put the sealed turkey in the water bath and cook for 2 1/2 hours. (Enjoy your break!)

Sous vide cajun turkey breast freshly sliced on a cutting board.

Step Four: Slice & Serve

Remove the turkey from the bag and slice! If you are serving later, put the bag into an ice bath for 1 hour to cool.

Expert Tips

  • Debone it. If you can’t find a boneless turkey breast, ask the butcher to debone the breast for you. Keep the bone and save to make turkey stock!
  • Meal prep. Make a few of these vacuum sealed bags at a time, then store in the freezer. When you’re ready to cook, throw the frozen bag into the hot water bath with the immersion circulator. If cooking from frozen, add 1 hour to cooking time. 
  • Chill it. If using this sous vide turkey for making sandwiches, throw it in the freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour to firm it up some, then slice thinly. It is much easier to slice it when very cold.
  • Save the skin. If you miss the crispy skin of a roasted turkey, save the skin from the turkey breast and fry it up in a skillet until crispy and golden brown. Serve the crispy turkey skin with your sliced breast.

Storage & Make Ahead

How to store leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reserve the juices from the bag to help keep your turkey moist. 

How to freeze: To freeze, you can remove the bag from the hot water bath and immediately place it in an ice bath or in the freezer. You can also prepare the turkey breast in the vacuum sealed bag and freeze before cooking. Freeze for up to 3-4 months. 

How to reheat: Reheat in the microwave, or serve cold on sandwiches. 

Make ahead: To prepare this sous vide turkey breast ahead of time, prep the turkey per directions and seal in the vacuum bag with garlic, herbs, and butter. Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before cooking, or in the freezer for up to 3-4 months. When you are ready to cook, put the bag into the water bath at 145°F. If you are cooking from frozen, add 1 hour to the total cooking time.

Sous vide cajun turkey breast up close.

What to Serve With Turkey

This sous vide turkey breast recipe is great served sliced for sandwiches, or used as a main protein served with some veggies and sides.

  • For sandwiches: I recommend making this recipe the day before so it has time to chill out in the refrigerator. The turkey is easier to slice when it has completely cooled. With a long sharp knife, slice thinly. You can save the juices from the bag to store the leftover meat in. Slather on some Homemade Cajun Ranch to make an epic Cajun turkey sandwich!
  • For main course: You can serve the hot turkey immediately for a main dish. Slice thickly and serve with sides like creamy mashed potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. Save the juices from the bag to pour over the sliced turkey.
  • For Thanksgiving: This is a great turkey breast recipe for a smaller Thanksgiving dinner or other holiday! Serve alongside your favorite sides like White Cheddar Mac and Cheese, Blackened Green Beans, and Louisiana Dirty Rice.
Sous vide cajun turkey breast sandwich with chips and pickles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you leave the bones and skin on the turkey, or remove them?

For this recipe I recommend that you remove them. Leaving the bone in makes it harder to vacuum seal correctly, and leaving the skin on really doesn’t add any flavor. The sous vide turkey skin will be soggy and mushy once it’s done. If you want crispy turkey skin, separate the skin and fry it up separately.

How do I make my turkey breast moist?

I find that sous vide is the best method for cooking tender, juicy, and moist turkey breast. This method makes it nearly impossible to overcook. 

How long does it take to sous vide a turkey breast?

The time it takes to sous vide a turkey breast depends on the temperature of your water bath. This recipe calls for 2.5 hours at 145°F.

Should you brine a turkey breast before sous vide?

I don’t find it necessary to brine a turkey breast before sous vide cooking. Since the turkey will be cooking in a vacuum sealed bag, the flavors you add into the bag will infuse into the turkey during cooking.

Can you sous vide a turkey breast from frozen?

Yes! You can prepare your turkey ahead of time and freeze it in the vacuum seal bag. When you are ready to cook, submerge your vacuum sealed frozen turkey bag straight in the hot water bath. Add 1 hour to the total cook time. 

Lauren sitting on the kitchen counter.

Meet Lauren

I’m the blogger, recipe developer, food photographer, and otherwise food obsessed gal behind Lauren From Scratch. I was born and raised in New Orleans and lived in South Louisiana most of my life. Growing up around Cajun country has instilled a love of food that runs deep in my bones. I am passionate about food and teaching you how to make mouth-watering Louisiana inspired dishes in your own kitchen!


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This post was updated in 2023 to add expert tips, improved instructions, and more sources.

Sous vide cajun turkey breast up close featured image.

Sous Vide Cajun Turkey Breast

This Sous Vide Cajun Turkey Breast is hands down the juiciest turkey breast you will ever make! The turkey breast is coated in cajun spices, butter, and fresh herbs, then cooked with the precision cooker until moist and flavorful. It is perfect for slicing thin for sandwiches, or thick for your holiday main course!
4.96 from 41 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cool time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes
Course lunch/dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 334 kcal

Equipment

  • Immersion circulator
  • large container or pot
  • vacuum sealer or zip top plastic bag

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ – 2 pound boneless skinless turkey breast
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter sliced into thin pads
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme

Cajun Spice Mix

Instructions
 

  • PREP: Set the immersion circulator to 145° F in a large pot or container of water. Pat the turkey breast dry with paper towels, and rub with seasoning mix. Roll the turkey breast into a cylinder shape (you can use butcher twine but it’s not necessary) and put into a vacuum sealer/zip top plastic bag with the pads of butter, crushed garlic, and herbs. Seal the bag well so it is airtight, and add to the water bath when it reaches the appropriate temperature.
  • SOUS VIDE: Cook for 2 ½ hours at 145° F.
  • IF YOU ARE SERVING RIGHT AWAY: After 2 ½ hours, remove the bag from the sous vide water bath, and remove turkey from the bag. Slice and serve warm.
  • IF YOU ARE SAVING FOR LATER: After 2 ½ hours, remove the bag from the sous vide water bath and place directly into an ice bath, or the freezer for 1 hour. After that, transfer to the refrigerator, or keep in the freezer for later. You can serve cold for sandwiches, or reheat for serving as a main course protein.

Notes

  • If you can only find a bone-in turkey breast, the butcher can remove the bone for you. You can also remove the bone yourself by separating the breast meat from the bone with a sharp paring knife. Save the bone to make turkey stock!
  • Cook time here is forgiving. You can let the turkey cook from 2 ½ hours up to 4 hours and still be fine. An extra hour of cook time won’t overcook the turkey since it is at a set temperature. 
  • If you want to serve this for making sandwiches, it is better to place in an ice bath or the freezer prior to serving. This ensures that it cools down into the food safety zone, and it is easier to slice.
  • How to store leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reserve the juices from the bag to help keep your turkey moist.
  • How to freeze: To freeze, you can remove the bag from the hot water bath and immediately place it in an ice bath or in the freezer. You can also prepare the turkey breast in the vacuum sealed bag and freeze before cooking. Freeze for up to 3-4 months.
  • Make ahead instructions: To make 1 day ahead of time, prepare turkey, vacuum seal, and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. To make up to 2-3 months ahead of time, prepare turkey, vacuum seal, and store in the freezer until you are ready to cook. When you are ready to cook, submerge your vacuum sealed frozen/refrigerated turkey bag straight in the hot water bath. Add 1 hour to the total cook time if turkey is frozen.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 334kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 51gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 172mgSodium: 919mgPotassium: 45mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 546IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 3mg
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