This sous vide whole chicken recipe will be the juiciest, tenderest, and most flavorful chicken you’ll ever make. Serve it up with buttery garlic mashed potatoes and roasted veggies, or keep things simple with a side of steamed asparagus. 

This sous vide whole chicken recipe will be the juiciest, tenderest, and most flavorful chicken you'll ever make. Step-by-step photo guide included.

Cooking Guide



Get instant access to my comprehensive sous vide time & temperature guide (including the basics) for quick and easy reference. It's free.

If you’re looking for the foolproof path to a perfectly juicy, golden-brown whole chicken, I’m happy to tell you that you’ve finally found it.

This sous vide whole chicken is as flavorful as an oven-roasted chicken, with crispy skin and seasoned with a mouthwatering thyme, cayenne, garlic, and paprika dry rub.

When searching for sous vide whole chicken recipes online, I noticed most of them are poached. This recipe is different than a poached whole chicken, because we’re not going to add broth to the sous vide bag before it enters the water bath. All you need to do is coat the chicken with the spice rub, drop it into the bag, place it in the water bath, and come back for it in six hours.

This sous vide whole chicken recipe will be the juiciest, tenderest, and most flavorful chicken you'll ever make. Step-by-step photo guide included.

The benefit to using a sous vide precision cooker for making a whole chicken (versus a grill or oven method) is that you can rest assured your chicken is always going to turn out tender, juicy and cooked to perfection every time— never overcooked or dry. I’m sure you would agree, less stress in the kitchen is always nice!

This recipe is perfect if you love serving up a hassle-free, wholesome dinner on the weekends. Plus, if you’re cooking for only two or three people, this whole chicken will yield enough leftovers to make hearty chicken salad sandwiches or a batch of chicken soup the next day (an excellent meal prep hack).

You can turn your chicken dinner into a feast by serving it with a side of buttery garlic mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and carrots, or keep things nice and simple with a side of steamed asparagus.

Cooking Guide



Get instant access to my comprehensive sous vide time & temperature guide (including the basics) for quick and easy reference. It's free.

Sous Vide Whole Chicken Step-by-Step Instructions

Now, here comes the exciting part! Let’s do this!

Step 1: Preheat water to 150°F using a sous vide precision cooker (I use Anova sous vide).

Anova Sous Vide

Step 2: Make the dry rub for your bird.

Sous Vide Whole Chicken Dry Rub

Step 3: Coat your chicken with the dry rub.

Sous Vide Whole Chicken

Step 4: Pop the chicken into a large sous vide bag and vacuum seal it.

Sous Vide Whole Chicken

Step 5: Lower the bag into the prepared water bath and set the timer for 6 hours.

Sous Vide Whole Chicken

Step 6: Once the chicken is done, transfer it onto a plate and pat dry gently. Sear it on the stove or using a torch.

Sous Vide Whole Chicken

Hooray! You are done!

If you’re looking for a delicious sous vide chicken recipe but with a shorter cook time, this Sous Vide Chicken Breast and Asparagus takes only 20 minutes to prep and is ready to go in two hours. In the post, I’ve also explained why sous vide cooking can instantly turn you into a gourmet chef and makes it impossible to screw up your meals.

What If I Don’t Have A Sous Vide?

Don’t have a sous vide machine or not ready to invest in one yet? Don’t worry. This dry rub I used for this sous vide whole chicken recipe is actually the exact same recipe as my Crockpot Whole Chicken. So you can follow step 1 to step 3 and use totally different cooking methods to cook the chicken.

  • Slow cooker method: Cook the chicken on low for 6-8 hours. Feel free to add whatever vegetables into your slow cooker.
  • Oven method: Roast the chicken at 350°F for 1.5-2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Grill method: Grilled the chicken at 350°F-400°F for 80 minutes (rotate once halfway through) or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Note: For the oven and grill method, you’ll want to melt some butter and brush all over the chicken before cooking. This step will result in golden brown and crispy skin.

Alrighty, as always, I hope you enjoy this easy chicken recipe. Happy cooking as always!


Sous Vide Whole Chicken

Sous Vide Whole Chicken

This sous vide whole chicken recipe will be the juiciest, tenderest, and most flavorful chicken you’ll ever make.

  • Author: Sharon Chen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Poultry, Gluten Free
  • Method: Sous Vide
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 whole chicken (4-5 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fresh cilantro for serving

For the chicken dry rub:

  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Preheat water to 150°F using a sous vide precision cooker (I use Anova sous vide).
  2. Prepare chicken by rinsing under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and set it aside.
  3. Mix the dry rub ingredients on a big plate. Now, prepare a large sous vide bag or a Ziploc bag by folding the top of the bag back over itself to form a hem. This will prevent chicken seasonings from getting on the edges of the bag. Set aside.
  4. Place the chicken on the plate and rub the mixture all over it. Sprinkle the excess dry rub inside the chicken if there’s any left.
  5. Slide the chicken into the prepared bag. Unfold the edge before closing the bag. Seal the bag using either a vacuum sealer or a hand pump.
  6. Lower your bagged chicken into the preheated water bath, making sure the whole chicken is under the waterline. If using Ziploc bag, slowly lower your bagged chicken into your water bath, letting the pressure of the water press air out through the top of the bag. Once most of the air is out of the bag, carefully seal the bag just above the waterline. Cook for 6 hours.
  7. Once the chicken is done, remove from the water bath and transfer it onto a plate. Gently pat with paper towels. Preserve the cooking liquid from the bag if you like for serving or for flavorful chicken soup or chicken stock later.
  8. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Melt butter and sear the whole chicken on all sides until the skin is golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. You can also cut up the chicken first before searing.
  9. Serve with fresh cilantro. Enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 145
  • Sugar: 0.5g
  • Sodium: 232mg
  • Fat: 11.6g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 1.6g
  • Fiber: 0.6g
  • Protein: 9g
  • Cholesterol: 46mg

Keywords: sous vide whole chicken

Cooking Guide



Get instant access to my comprehensive sous vide time & temperature guide (including the basics) for quick and easy reference. It's free.

This sous vide whole chicken recipe will be the juiciest, tenderest, and most flavorful chicken you'll ever make. Step-by-step photo guide included.

45 thoughts on “Sous Vide Whole Chicken”

  1. I have a 2.85 lb de-boned chicken stuffed with shrimp dressing. Would the same times/temp apply for the other boneless preparatrions?

    1. Hello Om, since your chicken is deboned, you might not need 6 hours of cooking time. The temperature (149F or 150F) can be the same for cooking light meat and dark meat of a chicken. I’d shoot for 4-5 hours and check doneness. If you haven’t yet, make sure you download my sous vide time and temp cooking guide for more information. Cheers!

  2. Hi Sharon!

    If I use a larger chicken (+3.5kg) which I generally buy from a local farm, how much does this affect the cooking time using sous vide?

    I’m looking to cook for all the family and especially when having guests, I really don’t want it undercooked.

    Really looking forward to trying your recipe, it looks amazing!

    1. Hey Evdokios! Thanks for reaching out. For larger chicken, I would highly recommend that you butterfly it first, meaning cut it in half in the middle and use two bags to cook the halves. The temp and the cooking time will still be the same. But if you want to cook it as a whole, go for at least 8 hours or even longer. Check and if it’s still not done, add more cooking time. Remember that you can’t really overcook food using sous vide, so might as well cook for longer especially it’s chicken.

      Another option is to sous vide first and finish it off in the oven or grill. That should work too! Hope that’s helpful.

  3. What if I take a whole chicken and cut it into its pieces then Sous Vide, how does that change the cooking time and or temperature and why? I love to understand the science behind the answer.

    1. Hey Dave, if you cut chicken into pieces and sous vide, you don’t need 6 hours of cooking time. Generally, the larger the meat (especially with bones), the longer cooking time you need. For white meat like chicken breasts, 140F for 1.5-2 hours should be enough. For dark meat like thighs and other parts of the chicken with bones, 149F for 2 hours is what I would do. Hope that’s helpful.

  4. I deboned a chicken and added a harissa paste to the inside and outside and rolled it up like a ballotine. Then baked the deboned rolled chicken on/in a grill pan for 1 hour and 10 minutes at 400 degrees to get the meat up to temp. I am thinking of trying this method. Of course I want the crispy skin on the outside. Do you think the same technique and cooking times you used would work on a chicken ballotine?

    1. Hi Michael, the sous vide temp and cooking time used in this recipe is for whole chicken with bones and everything. With deboned chicken, generally, the sous vide temp is between 146F to 149F and the cooking time is 2 hours. You may adjust the temperature and cooking time to change the texture of chicken though. Hope that helps.

  5. Hey , I am doing whole chicken sous vide for the first time now (in Japan). However rather than dry rub I added a bit of butter and olive oil. Will see how it turns out in another 5 hours.

  6. Isn’t their a problem with the meat near the cavity not fully cooking since there is no heat transfer since it’s full of air? Would stuffing it with onions and garlic better cook it?

    1. Hi Ivan, I’ve cooked sous vide whole chicken multiple times and it’s fully cooked each time. If you are concerned about it, you can always use an instant-read thermometer. If it reads 165F, it means that the chicken is done. Also, if you vacuum seal the chicken well, there shouldn’t be any air inside the bag. You may cook the chicken for more than 6 hours. Leaving the meat in the water bath for up to 2 hours shouldn’t affect the texture too much. Hope that’s helpful.

          1. This is wrong. As others have pointed out, the air in the cavity prevents the water temperature from reaching the inner meat. Air is not a good conductor of heat. That’s the whole principle of sous vide, which literally means, “under vacuum.” The reason you need to remove air from the bags is so that the meat is as near the water as possible for heat transference (flotation is less important reason since it could be prevented with clips and a rack). With so much air in the cavity, there is no effective conduction of heat. In other words, the inner meat is not cooking sous vide (under vacuum). Indeed, when I measured my chicken, the inner cavity only registered around 130F. That’s not hot enough to produce steam, which can carry heat through air.
            Very dangerous. It’s precisely why the other sous vide recipes use broth to poach — liquids are a good conductor of heat.

            The page you referenced refers to direct exposure to heat. In other words, the pathogen must be exposed to the temperatures and times on the axes. In this case, the inner meat never reaches safe temperatures so the graph is inapplicable.

            In conclusion, this method is unsafe. I say this as someone with a physics and medical background whose current research is in Infectious Diseases. In other words, I deal daily with pathogens and affiliation p is part of my job.

            If you really want to sous vide a whole chicken, butterfly it first. Then splay it flat before sealing it a bag. Or split the chicken lengthwise and use two separate bags. That way, there is no large air pocket to prevent heat conduction from water to meat.

            1. I am guessing you have never done this. Chickens today are full of water and while I added no water/broth to mine, when it was done the bag was full of chicken broth so the cavity gets plenty of broth and plenty of heat transfer. I did cook mine longer and at 155.

  7. Fascinating way to make a popular dish. I was going to ask how you browned it but, I read that at the end of your post. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! The easiest way to brown it is probably by using a torch. But I did it in a cast iron skillet. 🙂

  8. Your chicken recipe is making me super hungry while typing this comment, and that golden skin makes me want to dip it to lots of gravy and enjoy it. Ohh this is delicious!

  9. I have yet to cook an entire chicken, but this looks like it is worth a try. It’s definitely a skill that I would love to learn and this looks so good!

    1. I remember the first time I cooked a whole chicken. I used a slow cooker. It was scary, but after I did it, it’s honestly not that hard. You just have to try it. 🙂

  10. Fab recipe! And I appreciate you sharing the different cooking methods. I haven’t invested in a sous vide just yet but will be testing this recipe in my slow cooker in the meantime.

  11. Oh wow! I didn’t know you can sous vide a whole chicken! We’ve only been using it on chicken thighs. I imagine a sous vide chicken would be even better than a rotisserie chicken 🙂

    1. The texture of the chicken is so much better than a rotisserie chicken. You’ll have to try it yourself. It’s game changing! 🙂

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