Overcooking in Sous Vide ?

In the General Sous Vide Questions Forum

I'm really new to Sous-vide. I've been watching some videos about the Sous Vide on Youtube. Through some videos, I'm hearing that there's no possibility of overcooking something. Is this really true? Or is there some catch like sacrificing texture or flavor?

For instance, I'm wondering if I can start cooking some chicken breasts in the morning before work, and when I come home 8 or 9 hours later, the chicken breasts would be cooked, warm, and ready to eat. Is this possible? Or will the texture of the meat differ than if I were to cook it just for 2 hours?

Thanks in advance!

4 Replies So Far

In general, the longer things are in the sous vide bath the more tender they will become. This is why short ribs or tough cuts of meat can get so tender but still be medium rare. However, it can also turn meat mushy if it is in there too long. Most things have a leeway of at least several hours. I'd give the chicken breast a shot (even if you just do 1 first as a test). Something like a sirloin or flank steak should be real good after 8 to 12 hours and some cuts like chuck steak you want to cook for a day or two so you could just put them in a few days ahead of time. For a little more information you can read our article on Sous Vide Times Explained. I hope this helps some.
Thanks for the response and the article, Jason. It makes sense.

From your experience, is there any leeway in overcooking times for softer types of meat like fish and seafood. How about vegetables (e.g. broccoli, green beans, etc)?

Thanks again!
No problem at all, that's what we're here for!

There's definitely less leeway for fish because they are so tender.

Vegetables have some leeway (maybe 15 to 30 minutes) but they tenderize pretty fast because they have to be done at higher temperatures so they will start to get soft pretty quickly.

Thanks Jason. I look forward to experimenting with cooking fish this weekend. Hope it turns out well :)

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