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Oct 2, 2021

Ancho Chili Chicken Tacos | Sous Vide Method

These Sous Vide Ancho Chili Chicken Tacos are so spicy and delicious.

Sous vide Ancho Chili Chicken Tacos.

These Sous Vide Ancho Chile Chicken Tacos are filled with tender chicken breasts cooked via the sous vide method in a chili sauce made from ancho chilis, Mexican oregano, garlic, brown sugar, and spices.

"Sous Vide?" you ask! It's a method of cooking food in vacuum sealed bags in a water bath at a controlled temperature. It's typically used for cooking meat, poultry, fish, rice, and even eggs. 

The method slowly cooks the food without risk of overcooking. It's pretty miraculous. I have wanted to try sous vide cooking forever. Whenever my Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table catalogs arrive, I'm always tempted by really cool kitchen gadgets. 

Shiny new small appliances, especially shiny red ones, call my name. All. The. Time. 

Sous vide chili chicken.

However, when the sous vide technique was introduced, the tools were super expensive and had huge footprints. They were really meant for restaurant use. It was pretty easy to resist. 

Recently, sous vide equipment has become more affordable, as well as sized for the home cook. I decided to jump in and am totally excited with the results (Note: The sous vide machine I used has since been discontinued, but there are no plenty on the market).

Ancho Chili Chicken Tacos

Typically, I'm not a huge fan of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts. however, these chicken breasts, cooked sous vide in a flavorful red chili sauce, came out so moist and tender. And the deep red chili sauce..... 

You can also serve this chicken over rice or with tortillas. So simple and so good. 

Note: I have not yet purchased a vacuum sealer, so I used one quart zip lock bags to seal the chicken breasts. The trick for vacuum sealing the bags without a vacuum sealer is to place the chicken breast in the bag with the sauce, partially seal it with about an inch or two left open, and then slowly dunk the bag into a large bowl of water up to the bag's opening. The water seems to press out the air. Once the air has been pressed out of the bag, seal it. 

Ancho chili chicken meat on platter.

This chicken and these tacos were delicious. I can't wait to try making steaks with the sous vide method, where you cook them in the machine, and then quick char them on the barbecue or a cast iron skillet. No more over cooking expensive beef! I've been resistant to sous vide, and now I'm sold. What do you think?

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Welcome to another Sunday Funday. Our theme this week is Tacos! Check out all the recipes:

Ancho Chili Chicken Tacos | Sous Vide Method

Updated post originally published in August, 2017. 

Ancho Chili Chicken Tacos

Ancho Chili Chicken Tacos
Yield: 8 tacos
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 1 H & 30 MTotal time: 2 Hour
These Sous Vide Ancho Chili Chicken Tacos are so spicy and delicious.


  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 2 ounces whole dried ancho chilis, stems cut off, and seeds shaken out.
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano (regular oregano will work too)
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 to 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 Corn tortillas or pre-made taco shells
  • Garnishes, such as salsa, guacamole, and shredded cheese


  1. To make the chicken: Heat your sous vide water bath to 145 degrees F. At the same time, heat a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and wait until it is shimmering. Add the chilis and cook for about 30 seconds per side. Turn off the heat and transfer the chilis to a food processor (I used a mini-processor). Process for about 30 seconds. Save the oil.
  2. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan and add the chilis, oregano, and garlic. Turn off the heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the mixture back into the food processor and add the sugar, vinegar, 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and the chili oil from the pan. Process the mixture until smooth, about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl as needed.
  4. Place each chicken breast into a 1 quart zip lock sandwich bag, and add 1/4 of the chili mixture. Seal the bag and distribute the sauce evenly by shaking the bag or using your hands. Vacuum seal the bags by dipping them in water (see note above in the post). Place the bags in the preheated water bath. Once the water returns to 145 degrees F, cook for 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Remove the chicken from the bags and tent with foil on a platter. Pour the liquid from the bags into the skillet, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about a minute. Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter and lime juice. Thickly slice the chicken and pour the sauce over it. Garnish generously with chopped cilantro.
  6. To assemble the tacos: Fry the corn tortillas in about an inch of hot (365 degrees F) oil, folding them over as they soften. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.
  7. Fill the shells with the chicken meat and serve with garnishes of your choice.

Nutrition Facts



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Sous vide, tacos, chicken
Main dish
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Would you like to comment?

  1. So glad to have one of my favorite blogger friends - or would that be friend blogger? ;-) - joining the club!

    this sounds scrumptious!

    I just made a recipe on my sous-vide, need to blog about it soon... you will have so much fun with this new toy!

    welcome to the party!

    1. Thanks so much for the inspiration!! I finally caved!!

      Please do blog more sous vide recipes!

    2. I have a few, but a couple more are lined up to go live.... so many recipes, so little time.... I do need a day with a few more hours, you know... ;-)

  2. Yum! I've never sous vide anything, but I love tacos, and I love anything with ancho chili. You are inspiring me with this delicious recipe!!

  3. I haven't yet taken the plunge but I certainly do get tempted.

    1. You could always experiment with a slow cooker filled with water.

  4. I have long been intrigued by sous vide cooking, but - honestly - I don't like the idea of cooking in plastic. I have been doing some reading about sous vid-ing in mason jars. Your tacos look amazing though!

    1. I have used mason jars for eggs and it worked really well.

  5. Love these ancho chili tacos, so mouthwatering!


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