Sous Vide 101: Easy, Best-You've-Had, Pan Seared Chicken Thighs

Sous Vide 101: Easy, Best-You've-Had, Pan Seared Chicken Thighs

Posted by : Alex Mills   /  

Chicken thighs. They are... easy? Or maybe just hard to mess up? No one gets particularly excited when you hear they're on the menu, though.

You can transform your chicken thigh game with the sous vide technique, making this a cost-effective week night dinner a delicious go-to option.

It's a little hard to describe just how delicious the crispy, pan-seared skin covering the perfectly cooked, tender, juicy meat is. Then, add a little 5-minute pan sauce made up of stuff you probably already have sitting around. Suddenly you have a restaurant-quality meal that used up about 20 minutes of active cooking time. You just elevated your week night. 


Pan-Seared Sous Vide Chicken Thighs with Pan Sauce


  • 4-8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Salt & pepper
  • Several sprigs of your favorite herb - try rosemary, thyme or even tarragon
  • 4 tbsp butter - divided
  • 2 tbsp of your favorite cooking oil
  • 1 minced shallot - or substitute with minced red onion in a pinch
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon


Prepare your sous vide set up, including selecting a cooking vessel large enough to hold your chicken thighs. Clamp your Gramercy Kitchen Co sous vide immersion circulator to the side of your vessel and fill with hot tap water.

Set your unit to cook at 167° F for 1-2 hours, depending on how much time you have. Letting it run for 2 hours may result in more tender meat but one hour would be totally sufficient. Set your unit to run and begin heating the water.

While the water heats, prepare your chicken thighs. Season your chicken using salt and pepper. Place your chicken in the plastic bags of your choice, either vacuum sealed or freezer bag style. See here if you need further info on preparing your bags. Add a pat of butter for each chicken thigh and add the sprigs of your favorite herb to the bag. Seal with your vacuum sealer or remove air using the method in the post linked to above.

Once your unit beeps, letting you know the water bath has come to temperature, add your bag to the water, making sure the meat is fully submerged. Clip your bag to the side of your vessel. Let cook.

Your unit will beep letting you know the cooking process is finished. Remove your chicken thighs from the bag and let them rest while you prepare the pan for searing. Reserve the juices from the bag.

Heat a pan to medium-high heat. Once hot, add your favorite cooking oil. Once the oil shimmers, add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and let sear for 5-7 minutes without touching or turning. Push down onto the chicken thighs with a spatula to make sure the skin is fully in contact with the cooking surface. The pan should sizzle and pop quite a bit when you add the chicken - that is how you will know your pan is hot enough. Reduce heat slightly if it starts to smoke.

Once the searing is finished, remove your pan from the heat. Remove your chicken thighs and place on a serving platter.

Bring your pan back up to medium-high heat. Add the reserved liquid from the cooking bag. Add your shallots or onions and brown briefly, about 45 seconds. Remove pan from fire and add white wine, mustard and minced garlic. Stir and let cook down until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 3-4 minutes. At the very end, add the remaining butter and let melt into the sauce.

Now, with the chicken thighs you have set aside on a serving platter, spoon or pour the pan sauce over the chicken thighs.

Serve and enjoy hot.

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