The Unorthodox Epicure — Sous Vide Chicken Piccata

Leave it to the French to render an Italian recipe better than the original. And we Americans also contributed, surprisingly enough.

I’m talking about sous vide, a simple but relatively recent method of cooking under vacuum in water — at a constant pre-set temperature. It was a cooperative development of French and American engineers, and was first employed in French restaurants about 40 years ago.

And it forever changed cooking for the better.

Thankfully, sous vide machines are these days available to home cooks for about the same price as one dinner at a fine restaurant. Even more fortunately, it doesn’t take an engineer to make the perfect steak, or chicken that is so tender, you’ll think Diana Ross sang songs about it.

My Sous Vide Chicken Piccata is much like my pork version, except there’s no frying and I’ve added the juice from the sous vide bag to make the dish richer. In my development of this recipe, I’ve made mostly sous vide temperature/time adjustments. The finished product has earned approval from multiple crowds … and I’ve probably helped sell at least a few sous vide machines.

Yes, it’s that good.

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Sous Vide Chicken Piccata


Sous Vide Chicken Piccata — Leave it to the French to perfect an Italian recipe

4.5 from 2 reviews
Sous Vide Chicken Piccata
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Sous Vide Chicken Piccata — Leave it to the French to perfect an Italian recipe
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 5
  • 2 – Split chicken breasts
  • 1 cup – Chicken stock
  • 2 TB – All-purpose flour
  • ½ cup – Extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup – Sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 1 TB – Capers, chopped
  • 1 – 14 oz. can quartered Artichoke Hearts, drained and well-rinsed
  • 3 – Garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup – Dry white wine
  • ¼ cup (4 TB) – Butter, cut into four pieces
  • ¼ cup – Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
Cook the chicken
  1. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper; place in freezer-grade zip-close bag, or alternatively a pressure seal bag.
  2. Seal the bags with a pressure sealer (if using), or by using the water displacement method, if you're using zip-close bags.**
  3. Cook at 150ºF (66°C) for 4 hours.
  4. Remove bag(s) from water bath and set aside.
Make the sauce
  1. In a large deep skillet, heat olive oil to medium-high; add flour and whisk until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
  2. Add garlic and sun dried tomatoes, and continue whisking for another 30 seconds, or so.
  3. Gradually add chicken stock while continuing to whisk.
  4. Once stock is incorporated, add wine, lemon zest and juice, capers and artichoke hearts.
  5. Meanwhile, carefully add chicken cooking liquid from bag.
  6. Continue cooking over medium-high heat until mixture is slightly reduced and thickened (it takes about 5-7 minutes.)
  7. While the mixture is reducing, slice the chicken.
  8. Once sauce mixture has reduced, remove from heat; stir in butter pats; add chicken and parsley.
  9. Season as desired with salt and pepper; serve immediately with pasta, rice or potatoes.
**- Unless you own a pro-grade sealer, this dish is better suited for zip-close bags. To remove the air from the bag, close all but a small portion of it, then slowly lower it into the water bath until the air is displaced. Seal. (If the bag floats, you still have air in it. Try again.)



  1. This is one of my favorite recipes. We’ve tried to DIY sous vide in our (of all things) beer boiling kettle. It does keep it at a constant but floating is an issue. May need to invest in a machine. Which company do you have stock in? 🙂

    • adamjholland says:

      Ha! I own a FoodSaver, but I have honestly never found the need to use it for sous vide. If the bag floats, there’s air in it. Just use the displacement method and you’ll be good to go.

  2. This looks like a great recipe — my favorite thing was the tip! How to use a Ziploc bag and test to see if there is air in it. Great tip!

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you. That same method is an outstanding ‘poor man’s’ way of bagging veggies for the freezer.

  3. Well other than I wouldn’t call this piccata, it was an enjoyable meal. The artichokes were a little dominating for me while my wife thought the sundried tomatoes were a little too much. We both thought it was a nice meal and will since we made the whole recipe there will be a second meal that will require almost no work. We paired with a mushroom risotto and salad along with a Oregon Gevurtz for a restaurant quality experience here at home. Thanks!

    • adamjholland says:

      Not sure why you wouldn’t call it piccata, since it fits the classic culinary definition. And I’ve never heard artichokes described as ‘dominating.’ Still, I’m glad you consider this a restaurant-quality experience. Thanks for stopping by.

      • My idea of piccata mirrors what is in the Wiki. (When used in reference to a way of preparing food, particularly meat or fish, it means “sliced, sautéed, and served in a sauce containing lemon, butter and spices”.) And, this is a very typical piccata recipe from my decades of cooking the dish……

        But, hey, it is your site and you can call it whatever you want and your title is “unorthodox….” Usually when seeing recipes with the ingredients you used they have cream in them. So, I enjoyed the lighter take on these components. Thanks!

        • adamjholland says:

          Your idea isn’t incorrect, but my reference to ‘piccata’ — particularly in this dish (since there is no saute) — is to the style of the sauce. Still, with regard to your classic (American-style) take on the dish, I would think I’d be allowed some leeway, especially considering that I qualified the name to include the ‘sous vide’ cooking method. ~ I always enjoy a good food debate. I fondly recall one of the most highly rated radio shows I ever had was a debate between callers as to whether marinara should be called ‘sauce’ or ‘gravy.’ That was more than 20 years ago, and the debate rages on. Take care. 🙂

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