I'm trying to optimize making food for the week and one of the things I want to do is season chicken breast with salt/pepper/herbs/etc in advance and vacuum seal them individually so I can just drop them into a sous vide water bath and cook them on demand.

So, my question: how long can I store chicken (or steak) vacuum sealed after seasoning it, but before cooking it? Or is it better to just cook the meat all at once and store it for the week in a cooked state and then reheat as needed.

  • you can store it as long as any other meat, vacuuming and seasoning doesn't change anything.
    – rumtscho
    Feb 2, 2015 at 7:02
  • @rumtscho: Any links on this? I find contradictory information online... some say it helps, some say it doesn't change anything, some say it hurts...
    – user541686
    Dec 4, 2017 at 2:01
  • I don't really have links - it is implicit in the FDA rules, which do not mention anything about vacuuming. And these rules are meant to be used literally: if your special case is not mentioned there, it doesn't apply. The background of how and why it is this way is explained in books, I don't know of online sources good enough to dispell all the wrong ideas about food safety which people tend to believe in. Basically, if you want to understand food safety, you have to start from the full background, not try to add details to what common sense tells you.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 4, 2017 at 8:25

2 Answers 2


Since you're cooking by sous-vide anyway, why don't you put the vacuum sealed, seasoned chicken breasts in the freezer? You just put the still frozen packs into the circulator a half-hour or 45 minutes sooner. Then you will always have a no-muss no-fuss dinner at the ready.

Here's a YouTube video of exactly that.

Season differently and vacuum seal several family packs at once! Save money and hassle.

For frozen boneless chicken breasts, figure 141F to 148F (60.5C to 63.9) for 2+ hours, longer for bigger pieces. (I like 147F)

You can do the same thing with steak, don't raise the temperature, just add some time at your preferred temperature.


The general consensus is that about a week should be safe for vacuum sealed chicken.

I would say though, that the sealing and preservation method is not the bottleneck here. Should the chicken be totally free of contaminants and packaged in a sterile environment you should be able to store the meat until it naturally decomposes. On the other hand, if you are packing the raw meat at home I would even be careful about going a whole week.

On a sidenote: why use fillets of breast when the thigh meat is much more tasty?

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