How Long Does Sous Vide Chicken Last?

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Some cooking methods are more famous than others, and despite the painstaking steps, people still use them because of the results. I want to consume fresh, healthy, and tasty food. However, what if you prepare something perfect and it immediately spoils? How long does sous vide chicken last?

How Long Does Sous Vide Chicken Last?

Sous vide chicken will last three to four days if you store it in a covered container in the fridge. If you are storing it in the freezer, chicken can be stored for six months. If you freeze the meat in vacuum bags, it can be stored for up to one year.

A raw chicken breast with herbs placed on a white ceramic plate

This cooking technique has numerous benefits, and people enjoy the natural nutrients in poultry. It is essential to know your food’s shelf life so you can avoid consuming spoiled food!

Cooking Ahead of Time and Storing

This French cooking method gives people the liberty to cook ahead of time when they need to consume the food and then store it efficiently to keep it fresh. This way of cooking reduces the waiting time, and you do not have to watch it while it is cooking.

It will also save you time and ensure that you get a tender and flavorful serving days after storing the cooked food in the fridge.

One of my favorite things about storing chicken cooked sous vide is that the juices stay in the chicken. Another benefit of sous vide chicken is that you can reheat it in the bag you stored it in.

Maybe best of all, since you generally still sear food cooked sous vide, you can store the chicken pre-sear. Then, when you want to eat some delicious sous vide chicken, crank up the heat and give it a fresh sear for the perfect quick meal.

Ways to Ensure Longer Storage Periods

Cooking your meat will make it last longer through a process called pasteurization. All meat is full of enzymes and bacteria, which will break down and spoil the meat.

When I cook food, the bacteria dies and the enzymes denature, drastically slowing the process of food going bad. Add in chilled temperatures in the fridge, and you further slow the reaction rate of enzymes and the reproduction rate of bacteria.

While raw chicken is only good for a couple of days in the fridge, cooked chicken can last twice as long or more if vacuum sealed.

Cooking in vacuum bags in hot water means that you will not force out any of the juices from the meat. Your food will come out juicy and tender. Once you have completed the process of cooking. There are a few things that you must ensure:

  • Check that the meat is cooked through to pasteurization
  • The shock chilling method, or putting it in ice cold water after cooking, will bring down the temperature and preserve the juices from drying out as the meat keeps cooking when it is hot due to carry-over
  • Check that the vacuum bag seal opens when you use the meat
  • The food must be stored below 4⁰ Fahrenheit to preserve it longer

Pasteurization is the process of eliminating bacteria and parasites in the meat that you are cooking. This process can be done by vacuuming the food and then keeping it at a specific temperature for a set amount of time.

Essentially, the higher the heat, the shorter the time needed to pasteurize food. When you see that chicken needs to be cooked to 165⁰ Fahrenheit, that is the temperature needed for instant pasteurization. You can still achieve full food safety at 145⁰ Fahrenheit if you cook for 2 hours or more.

While all the good nutrients are preserved, the bacteria and parasites are destroyed. Pasteurization plus vacuum sealing from the sous vide ensure no bacteria is present in the bag and no new bacteria can enter (so long as the bag remains sealed).

Temperature Is Key

When you cook chicken meat using this cooking style, be sure that the pot of hot water or the sous vide has preheated water. The cooking temperature range for this technique is between 140⁰ Fahrenheit and 160⁰ Fahrenheit.

This food will not only be slow-cooked, but it will also be consistently cooked right to the center. Then if you want to store your food, you will want to chill it when you put the meat in ice-cold water and shock it while keeping it in the vacuuming.

When possible, you do not want to put hot food into the fridge. When chicken at 140⁰F goes into the fridge or, even worse, it is left out to cool in the air, it spends time in what I call the danger zone, where bacteria and enzymes are most active.

The ice shock will rapidly drop the temperature below the danger zone, allowing you to skip directly to the preservation temperature.

The temperature of this water must be between 0⁰-2⁰F. This will ensure that the meat stops cooking. You get a tender and moist chicken serving whenever you decide to eat. Lastly, the storage temperature must also be low, so the vacuumed food does not lose its freshness.

While pasteurization will eliminate virtually all bacteria and parasites, it does not eliminate 100% or stop all enzymatic breakdown. By shock freezing the food to a low temperature, you drastically decrease the amount of time food is in the danger zone for these bad processes to happen.

Once food drops all the way to freezing, these organic and chemical processes basically stop, and physical ones take over.

How to Reheat the Stored Chicken

If you cook chicken with this method, it is not shelf-stable. This means that you will have to store it in the fridge and cannot leave it outside. This is important as the methods for sous vide and canning are very similar but not identical, so do not treat sous vide food the same as preserved canned food.

The reheating method is simple when using prepared and stored food. Since the food is completely cooked, you are just finishing the chicken to taste.

Two sliced raw chicken breasts with herbs and spices on a white ceramic plate

This method of preparing all kinds of poultry was initially used in restaurants. This testifies to the fact that sous vide chicken can be stored for a long time because restaurants use it for this reason. Home cooks and enthusiasts can enjoy delicious food if they know how to store it for a long time.

When I plan to store sous vide chicken, I never remove it from the bag until I am ready to sear and eat it. The more you can keep air and bacteria away from the food, the longer it will last.

So, reheating it in the original bag keeps all the juice and flavor in while keeping bad elements out. Then when you are up to temperature again, you can easily sear off the sides and enjoy perfectly cooked and reheated chicken.

Related Questions

If you still want to know more about this preparation technique and whether it would be suitable for storing food for weeks, get to know what the experts have to say to other people. Sometimes the best advice is available when people ask more questions about anything in particular.

Will Food Still Be Fresh After Keeping in the Fridge for Weeks?

Yes, if the sous vide chicken is vacuumed properly and chilled before putting it in the fridge, it will taste fresh and flavorful as if you prepared it the same day. Many cooks and chefs rely on this technique to serve their guests, and the taste or quality of food does not diminish over days.

If I Freeze the Sous Vide Chicken Will It Get Spoiled?

No, freezing sous vide chicken is a good idea, and you can reheat it by immersing the vacuum bag in hot water. It might take a while for the meat to thaw and then heat. However, if you leave the heater or burner at a constant temperature, you will be able to enjoy fresh, tender, and delicious chicken within a short time.

Can I Open the Sous Vide Bag and Keep the Chicken in the Fridge?

You can keep unopened sous vide chicken for a long time. However, if you open the bag and store the food in the fridge, its shelf life will be like any other conventionally-cooked food in the fridge.


If you are trying new ways of cooking to find the healthiest options, you might wonder how long sous vide chicken lasts. This cooking technique is healthy and allows you to prepare on time. Know how long you can store it; you will find it a convenient food preparation option.

Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. He is a contributing chef at Mashed, and his recipes and contributions have been featured in Tasting Table, Edible Arrangements, Insanely Good Recipes, and The Daily Meal.