Sous vide fried chicken, Chick-Fil-A style!

By this time you’ve all heard about sous vide. If you’re not sure what is, very simply, it’s the process of cooking food in a water bath at low temperatures. No, you’re not poaching the food. The food doesn’t touch the water, you either need to vacuum seal the food or put it in a zip lock bag.

There’s a local restaurant here, NoJa, and it’s been my absolute favorite restaurant for years. They sous vide the food there and the things that come out of that kitchen! Completely amazing! Fat chance, but if you’re ever in Mobile, you’ve got to go there. Well, you could be here for Mardi Gras or catch a cruise, who knows….

Anyway, the sous vide function is why I got the Instant Pot Ultra. The only thing I’ve really done in it is steaks – very delicious, by the way. But on my youtube channel, someone suggested I try sous vide fried chicken. Figgin’ brilliant idea, so here it is!

You don’t have to have the Instant Pot Ultra to get this done, but you will have to have some type of sous vide device. I have the Mixtomax stick, as in the video below, but Instant Pot also makes one to fit into their pots. Anova also is a very popular brand and I’m sure there are plenty more.  The stick is perfect if you need to sous vide more than just a few things. It’s only me and wife, the Instant Pot Ultra is perfect. Two steaks, chicken, whatever, fit in there no problem. If you have to sous vide 5 steaks? The pot is too small.

You’ll also need baggies for the food. I have a cheap Food Saver and what I like to do with the steaks is before I seal them up, I stick some fresh herbs in there and a small pat of butter, a little salt and pepper. I seal that up and freeze.  When I’m ready to sous vide, I defrost, and they’re already ready to go in the water bath.

You can use zip top bags, but you’ll need to try to get as much air out as you can because they tend to float while bathing. You can clip them to the sides of your vessel or they make special thingamabobs that keep them down in the water.

Now that you have some basic info, let’s get this chicken party started!



8-10 ounces of pickle juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Wet Mix:
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Dry Mix:
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

chicken breasts
oil for frying
waffle fries (for authenticity)


Trim off any fat from the chicken breasts. If the chicken breasts are those massive, hormone filled ones, you may want to slice them in half horizontally or pound them down a little bit.

Place the chicken in a zip top bag or a dish and cover with pickle juice. Set in the fridge and marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
About 20 minutes before your marinating time is done, set your sous vide device or Instant Pot, to 145°. It should be up to temp by the time your marinating time is done.

After an hour, place each chicken breast in their own zip top bag or vacuum sealer bag. Get the air out, as much as you can if using zip top baggies and just suck and seal if you’re using a vacuum sealer.

In the 145° water, place the chicken breasts and sous vide for 1.5 hours.

When done, mix your wet ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl get your dry ingredients. Remove your chicken breasts from their baggies. Heat oil to 375°.

This next part is just your typical batter assembly line, but we’ll be double battering. Be easy with your chicken because it’s cooked now and it could break. This is how it’s gonna go: dip chicken in wet, dry, wet, dry. Fry. Till golden brown. Toast your buttered bun on a grill. Fry up your waffle fries. Eat.

If you want to see how I did it:

For those of you who have an Ultra but do not know how to set it for sous vide, here goes:  You’re gonna scroll to the Ultra function, down at the bottom on the right.  On the menu choose no pressure.  Then you can set your temperature and your time.  When the machine is at temperature, it’ll let you know on the graph.  That’s it!

Sous Vide Fried Chicken Chick-Fil-A style!Click To Tweet
Sous vide fried chicken Chick-Fil-A style, in your Instant Pot Ultra or sous vide device.” width=”940″ height=”788″ />

46 thoughts on “Sous Vide Fried Chicken Chick-Fil-A Style”

    1. No, but if you try it, let me know how it turns out! I’m curious to see if it will change the texture of the chicken but to be honest, I’ve never even thought about.

  1. I made it tonight and we all loved it! I got stupid big chicken breasts and pounded them but not enough. May get smaller organic ones next time. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. About the steaks, unless it’s for timing reasons, there’s no need to defrost your steaks before putting them in the sous vide. They’ll take a little longer to get up to temp, but going in to the bath frozen won’t change the final product whatsoever.

    Also, if you use ziplock bags, keep about an inch or two of the bag open and put the bag in the bath. Then slowly push the food down to push the air out. With one hand, hold the sealed side of the zip top bag under the water and slowly start pulling the rest of the zip top part under the water. As you are doing that, grab the unsealed end of the bag your other hand and start to seal it just before the open end starts to go underwater. This will give you a vacuum seal and no air in the ziplock. This is called the water displacement method. I like using this method because it lets me open the bag to check the temp of the food and put it back in if it needs more time.

    Happy sous vide-ing!

  3. I would change s couple things skip the pickle juice( not a true component of chick Fila) just use a regular salt brine with salt garlic and onion, add teaspoon of baking powder and do dry,wet,dry,wet, dry . And the baking soda gives it a nice crisper finish. Your recipe is very good also

  4. Oh dear, this could get me into some serious trouble! I wonder if it would be just as good if I skipped the frying and threw it on the grill. Maybe it will taste like their grilled chicken sandwiches! I am going to try the fried anyway…at least once. It should be okay to use the leftover kosher dill pickle juice from my own canned pickles right?

    1. Please don’t use the pickle juice that you brined the chicken breast cross contamination could be in the future pickelsy

  5. When I saw this Instant Pot had sous vide I was like “I bought mine too soon!” (picture that comment in a wailing voice like a seven year old child.) This is seriously delish sounding chicken! Pickle juice??!! That’s a surprise, I’ll have to add it to my list of things to make with weird leftover stuff!! Glad you’re having fun with the new toy. 🙂


    1. Mollie, get that sous vide stick by Instant Pot and you can sous vide right in your machine….you won’t regret it!

      1. I have had an instant pot as well as a Joule Sous-vide for several years and use the instant pot liner for sous-vide for the majority of my sous-vide preparations. We use the instant pot and/or the Joule every week.

  6. Hope you had a wonderful weekend and thanks so much for sharing your special post with us at Full Plate Thursday! Have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  7. This looks amazing!! Thanks for sharing at the Friday at the Fire Station link-up. You will be the featured post this week!

  8. i have heard so much about sous vide, but I had no idea you could make fried foods with this technique! I learned so much from this post, and I’m so grateful you shared it, and this delicious recipe with the Hearth and Soul Link Party!

    1. Thanks April, I appreciate you checking it out! There’s so many things you can sous vide, I’m always amazed what I see people doing.

  9. Believe it or not I actually have pickle juice in my fridge leftover from making a recipe recently but it never occurred to me ti use it in a marinade. Might try that, your recipe sounds delicious! Thank you for bringing it to #CookBlogShare

    1. It’s delicious. My wife makes a Chick-Fil-A tofu and she marinates the tofu in pickle juice as well. Very tasty.

    1. It really is so versatile. Pressure cooker, slow cooker, sous vide, and I think the new one can can. Thanks for checking it out Katherine!

  10. What a great recipe! It sounds delicious! Fried chicken is always a fave but this sounds extra juicy AND crunchy, a winner winner!
    Thank you for sharing with us at Fiesta Friday 🙂

  11. I never knew what sous vide was, thanks for the explanation. The sandwich looks inviting and Thank you for sharing with us this week at Celebrate Your Story, and have a Happy Easter.

  12. Thank you for sharing the recipe at The Really Crafty Link Party this week. it sounds wonderful, I just need to find out how to make it the old fashioned way.

  13. That sandwich looks delicious! Your post was so interesting. I’ve never heard of sous vide. An instant pot is on my birthday list!!

  14. I learned something new today and it sounds delicious. A smart pot is on my list (computer just died ugh), but I will make sure it has this functionality when I get a chance to grab one. Marvelous food lesson, thank you.

  15. Looks so good. Can’t wait to try this recipe. We don’t live anywhere one, and love their chicken sandwiches. Thanks for sharing at the inspiration spotlight party @DearCreatives Pinned and sharing.

  16. That chicken looks amazing Jaxx. The hubby bought me an Instant Pot for Christmas, spoilt rotten I know, so I’m definitely going to try this. So yummy

    1. Jean if your aversion is due to the BPA issue I have done some research for you. I use Food Saver bags, and I found this: “The plastic that touches the food is made of 100% polyethylene, contains no plasticizers or estrogen-like compounds. The FoodSaver bags are 5 layers of polyethylene with an outer layer of nylon. While you might get BPA from your cans of coconut milk, there is simply no BPA that will get into your food from sous vide.”

      More than that though, to truly answer your question, yes you can sous vide in glass, but it technically wouldn’t be sous vide, as that is under vacuum. It would be cooking at a precise temperature. There are some caveats though, floating, heat retention, convection, et cetera. However, this is a really great resource – Glass not plastic to sous vide. I think you should go for it! 🙂

  17. Can you use a different pressure cooker? Mine has other functions such as “Brown”, “Steam” and “Slow Cook.” Thanks for any info.

    1. No, unfortunately Bonnie, just the Instant Pot Ultra and the Smart. You can use a sous vide stick though easily.

      1. Thanks for answering my question. I think I will pass for a new pot. Need to get rid of some I already have.

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