Thanksgiving Sous Vide Turkey Recipe

I've teamed up with the great group at Nomiku to bring you some exciting recipes that they've developed. Let us know what you think in the comments and be sure to check out their website for information about their circulators and more sous vide recipes.

Sous vide turkey is outrageously juicy and delicious. It will be the best bird you've ever eaten in your life. But if you need any other reasons as to why to sous vide this holiday here they are:

  • Can be cooked up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator (great for Thanksgiving sous vide meal prep!).
  • Open up the oven space for other dishes.
  • Quicker than roasting a turkey - and safer too.
  • The herbs and seasonings will infuse right into the meat.
  • Turkey will stay juicy and flavorful without having to brine!

We know non-brining is counter-intuitive for a turkey, but click through to see why we chose not to. We also consulted our network of chefs, and personally reached out to Harold McGee.

Sous vide thanksgiving dinner 37

When cooking this scrumptious turkey, we really want the turkey flavors to shine. Studies show that brining will rob us of genuine turkey flavors and will turn the meat rubbery - much like a deli turkey texture. With the sous vide method, all you need to do is moderately salt and season.

Tip: On Thanksgiving Day, you can bag the dark and light meat separately, start the dark meat in the morning, and drop the light meat in a couple of hours before dinner.

Modernist Tools, Ingredients, and Techniques Used

If you would like more information about the modernist techniques, ingredients, and equipment used in the Thanksgiving sous vide turkey recipe you can check out the following.

If you like this recipe you can get it and more than 85 other inspiring recipes to get you on your way to sous vide success. It's all in my best selling book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Sous Vide - Get Your Copy Today!

Also, if you are just getting started experimenting with molecular gastronomy and modernist cuisine then I highly recommend one of these molecular gastronomy kits. They have everything you need to do many different dishes.

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Sous Vide Turkey Recipe

  • Published: November 22, 2014
  • By Nomiku
  • Prep Time: 60 Minutes
  • Cook Time - White: 2.5 Hours
  • Cook Time - Dark: 4 to 6 Hours
  • Total Time: 6 Hours
  • Serves: 6

Sous Vide Turkey Ingredients

1 14 pound turkey (6kg) (we used a Heritage turkey)
Salt (we used Omnivore Salt)
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter
8 Cloves Garlic - smashed
4 Sprigs Sage
4 Sprigs Thyme
4 Sprigs Rosemary

Sous Vide Turkey Instructions

Turkey ready.jpg

For the Sous Vide Turkey

1. Defrost turkey as needed according to the instructions on the packaging.

2. Set Nomiku water bath and turn temperature to 65°C (149°F).

Turkey cut up.jpg

3. On a clean cutting surface, using a chef's knife or boning knife, remove the thighs and drumsticks. Next, remove the wings of the turkey. Remove the packaged gizzards inside the body cavity (if applicable) and set aside for other use such as gravy.

4. Using your kitchen shears, cut out the rib cage and save for stock or gravy. Using a butcher's knife, cut the breast in half down the middle - keep the bone in for extra juiciness when you sous vide.

5. Season the turkey pieces moderately with salt.

6. Prepare 4 gallon-sized vacuum-seal bags or 4 zip bags. Place the thighs and wings in one - making sure they do not overlap, add in 2 smashed cloves garlic, 1 sprig of each herb, and two tablespoons of butter.

7. Put drumsticks in another bag with 2 smashed cloves garlic, 1 sprig of each herb, and two tablespoons of butter. You may need two bags depending on the size of the drumsticks.

8. In the final two bags, place one turkey breast in each, add in 2 smashed cloves garlic, 1 sprig of each herb, and two tablespoons of butter.

Sous vide turkey bagged.jpg

9. Seal with a vacuum sealer or use the water displacement method. Take care that the turkey pieces inside the bags are completely submerged during sous vide.

10. Sous vide the breast and thigh meat for 2.5 hours. The legs should stay in the water bath for a minimum of 2.5 hours and become most tender at 4-6 hours (recommended time). Larger legs that are 2lbs+ will need the extra time to reach proper internal temperature.

11. To serve immediately, remove meat from bags, pat skin dry with a paper towel, and crisp up in a heavy pan with grapeseed oil on high heat until brown and crispy, around 3 minutes each side.

To store, remove bags from water bath and into a large bowl of ice water, chill for 30 minutes and then transfer to refrigerator. If reheating from the fridge, put entire bags back in water bath at 55°C (131°F) for 1 hour to retherm, then crisp up skin according to directions above.

Are you interested in learning more about sous vide cooking? My book, Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Sous Vide uses my years of experience to demystify the sous vide process, serve as a reference for more than 80 cuts of meat and vegetables, and provide a collection of inspiring recipes to get you on your way to sous vide success. Get your copy today!

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Jason logsdon headshot This article is by me, Jason Logsdon. I'm an adventurous home cook and professional blogger who loves to try new things, especially when it comes to cooking. I've explored everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to pressure cookers and blow torches; created foams, gels and spheres; made barrel aged cocktails and brewed beer. I have also written 10 cookbooks on modernist cooking and sous vide and I run the website.
Affiliate Disclaimer: Some links on this site might be affiliate links that if used to purchased products I might receive money. I like money but I will not endorse something I don't believe in. Please feel free to directly go to any products I link to and bypass the referral link if you feel uncomfortable with me receiving funds.
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