This Sous Vide Turkey Roulade is cooked slow and low in the sous vide to guarantee the most perfectly tender, juicy, succulent results!
Flavored with a lemon, garlic and herb spice mix, this sous vide turkey roulade is a great alternative to a whole turkey for Thanksgiving and even Christmas.
I’ve discussed several tips in the post below to ensure the best results with this Thanksgiving turkey roulade cooked in a sous vide.
Last time, I shared with you guys how to cook a perfectly slow roasted turkey roulade in the oven. Today, I’m sharing with you an even better and more precise way to cook a beautifully moist, succulent turkey roulade (turkey roll) in the sous vide!
The most involved part about making a turkey roulade is actually prepping the turkey roll. I shared a detailed, step by step guide right here on how to make a turkey roulade starting with a full turkey breast cut (on the bone, and with the skin). Once you’ve done that, you can use either your oven or a sous vide for the rest. The beauty about using a sous vide is that it’s nearly impossible to overcook this turkey roulade. It’s really that foolproof.
The low, consistent temperature of cooking in the sous vide will ensure a perfectly juicy and flavorful turkey roulade. And because the internal temperature of the turkey won’t ever go above the water temp., there’s no risk of the turkey breast meat drying out either.
The sous vide is easily the best of the two methods that I’ve shared to cook this turkey roll. All the flavors of the parsley, cilantro, garlic and lemon permeate the meat and makes each bite of this turkey roulade just as flavorful. And you will know when you slice into the meat, just how perfectly cooked it is. Really, I cannot stress enough how perfect this sous vide turkey roulade is!
You can pair this garlic and herb turkey roulade with any Thanksgiving side dish, or any roast dinner side dish. It’s a great alternative for a whole turkey for Thanksgiving, or even for Christmas. The leftovers are great for sandwiches and burgers the following day too.
But first, let’s talk about sous vide.
What is Sous Vide?
It sure sounds fancy, but it’s a pretty simple cooking technique, where your food is first sealed in a vacuum bag using a vacuum sealer, and then gradually heated (or cooked) in a temperature-regulated water bath. The water temperature is then set to whatever you want it to be, and your food is immersed in this water bath. Your food then gradually, and evenly, heats up to this temperature, and never overcooks because the temperature is kept constant throughout.
I’ve been using my sous vide to cook proteins for a while now, especially steaks, because it cooks the meat evenly and guarantees perfectly tender, delicious results every time. I recently shared how I used my sous vide to cook a tough cut of meat like rump roast or chuck roast, which still comes out really tender without ever overcooking, every time, without fail. The sous vide that I own is an older model of ANOVA CULINARY, without bluetooth or wi-fi. It was about the same price as an Instant Pot pressure cooker now. However, I’ve noticed that Anova Culinary doesn’t sell this model anymore, but they do sell newer bluetooth (and wi-fi) capable models. You can find all the links to EVERYTHING you need to start sous vide cooking below the recipe in this post.
Why is sous vide turkey roulade the best way to cook this turkey roll?
Turkey breast is notorious for its potential to go super dry after being roasted. Dry turkey breast is the main reason why most people prefer the thigh or leg portion of the bird, over the breast.
Turkey thigh is best cooked at 165°F, but if you cook turkey breast at that temperature, it’ll come out dry. Sure you can slather it with butter, but that’ll help the dryness only so much. Even with my slow roasted turkey roulade in my previous post, I don’t exceed 162°F because this temperature ensures that the meat is deliciously succulent, while also being food-safe.
HOWEVER, the sous vide lets you cook the turkey breast at an even lower temperature, slowly, until the entire cut of turkey breast reaches that temperature, while keeping it perfectly cooked and food safe. The trick is to maintain an internal temperature of 150 – 155°F for at least 4 minutes for the meat to be food safe, and the sous vide will easily guarantee that, and it’ll all be hands-off.
Why are you cooking this sous vide turkey roulade at 150°F and not 165°F?
After doing quite a bit of research on the best cooking conditions to perfectly cook a moist, tender turkey breast, I came across this article from Serious Eats, where Kenji talks about USDA recommended temperatures and times for cooking turkey breast. On page 9 in that USDA article, they provide figures for pasteurization times and temperatures for chicken and turkey.
So while 165°F (74°C) is recommended for turkey breast for regular methods of cooking, as Kenji points out, food-safe cooking depends both on temperature as well as time. So since we cook this sous vide turkey roulade for 5 hours at 150°F, it ensures that it’s perfectly food-safe, while being deliciously tender and juicy without ever running the risk of drying out.
How do you prep the turkey roulade for sous vide cooking?
I shared a full guide to preparing the turkey breasts to make a turkey roulade here. Starting from a full turkey breast cut (with two turkey breast sections, bone in and skin on), to a boneless rolled up turkey roll that’s read to sous vide.
While you can use any spice mix of your choice, I made a lemon, garlic and herb spice mix with lemon, garlic, cilantro and parsley. But the great thing about this turkey roulade recipe is that you can incorporate any flavor profile you like! How about this sage and rosemary spice mix that I used for the slow roasted turkey roulade?
I prefer refrigerating the turkey roll (that’s rolled and tied up, and then wrapped with plastic wrap) overnight (up to 24 hours). The turkey roulade is then unwrapped and patted dry with paper towels prior to being cooked.
Here’s where the cooking process for the sous vide turkey roulade differs from the oven roasted version.
Instead of oil, I like to rub a little softened butter on the turkey roulade, although you’re welcome to use oil for dietary or nutritional reasons. I like the idea of the sous vide turkey roulade being coated with butter for the entire cooking process. Since the cooking temp. is low, the butter won’t burn either. Add some salt to keep it seasoned as well. The turkey roulade is then sealed in a plastic bag that can be immersed in water.
You can seal the turkey roulade in a bag using either of the following two methods.
- Using a vacuum sealer. This is my preferred method because I have a vacuum sealer, and it’s easier to make sure all the air is out of the bag, and it’s completely sealed.
- Water displacement sealing method. This method could be more convenient for most people. Not everyone has a vacuum sealer at home, but they can still “seal” their food for sous vide without a vacuum sealer. To do this,
- Place the turkey roulade in a large enough Ziploc bag. But do not close it.
- Fill the sous vide water container with water (leaving room for water displacement, so don’t fill it all the way to the top).
- Slowly lower the Ziploc bag with the turkey roulade inside, into the water container, with the opening sticking out of the water.
- When the entire turkey is submerged, with the opening sticking out of the water, close the bag and seal it well to ensure no water goes in. The water pressure will push all the air out of the bag, allowing a makeshift vacuum sealing method.
When the turkey roulade is sealed in snugly, attach your sous vide to the water container and set the temperature, and allow the water to reach that temperature. Remember to close the sous vide (with a lid or using sous vide plastic balls) to prevent evaporation. After cooking the sous vide turkey roulade for 5 hours at 150°F, the turkey is then removed from the bag and patted dry with paper towels.
At this stage, you can caramelize the turkey skin in one of three ways.
- Pan fry the sous vide turkey roulade – this will give you crisp results and it will be fairly fast at high heat. Just make sure you don’t burn yourself from the splatter!
- Broil the sous vide turkey roulade in the oven – this method can be fast depending on how close it is to the heating elements. You have to keep an eye on it to make sure you don’t burn the skin. Since broiling is an open heat method of cooking, there’s a risk of the turkey breast drying out slightly. However with deep frying, this risk is minimal.
- Deep fry the turkey roulade – this will give you the most even and crispiest results. You will need a big pot of oil to be able to deep fry this in one go, or you can “shallow fry” the sous vide roulade, by frying half of the roulade first and then flip it over to fry the other half. Again, beware of the splattering!
The sous vide bag will contain the juices (and the melted butter) from the sous vide turkey roll. This is equivalent to the pan drippings after oven roasting the turkey roulade. Don’t get rid of this! You can use the juices to either pour directly over the sous vide turkey roulade slices, OR use it to make a flavorful turkey gravy.
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Get everything you need to start sous vide cooking
- ANOVA SOUS VIDE COOKER (upgraded version of what I own)
- A more affordable sous vide cooker (I haven’t used this, so I cannot vouch for it, but it does have high Amazon reviews)
- 12 qt Sous Vide container
- Sous vide container lid (with the corner flip where the sous vide cooker will be attached)
- Sous vide floating balls and clips
- Vacuum Sealer – the Food Saver model that I currently use and a more affordable model as well.
Sous Vide Turkey Roulade
Lemon Garlic and Herb Mix
- ½ cup packed parsley leaves a generous ½ cup
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 10 garlic cloves
- Rind from 2 lemons
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup oil
- ½ tbsp chili flakes (crushed red pepper) optional
FOR THE TURKEY ROULADE (THE FINAL TURKEY ROULADE WILL BE 5 - 6 LBS)
- 1 whole turkey breast (2 turkey breast pieces) bone in and skin on
- About 2 - 3 cups of turkey or chicken stock
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- Generous pinch of black pepper
- More salt, if needed
FOR THE GARLIC HERB MIX
- Place all the ingredients in a small food processor and process until you have a paste. Transfer this herb paste into a small bowl and cover and set aside until needed.
LEMON GARLIC HERB SOUS VIDE TURKEY ROULADE
- Prepare the Turkey Roulade following the detailed guide here.
- When the turkey breast has been butterflied and shallow cuts have been made and the skin prepped, rub all of the garlic herb mix over the turkey breast as shown in pictures in the post.
- Roll up the turkey breast (as noted in the guide), and wrap it with the turkey skin.
- Using twine, secure the turkey roulade and wrap it with plastic wrap. Place the turkey roulade in the fridge overnight, up to 1 day. (You can keep it at room temperature for up to 1 - 2 hours and then roast it, but storing it overnight in the fridge is better to secure the shape of the roulade).
THE FOLLOWING DAY
- Remove the turkey roulade from the fridge.
- Fill your sous vide container (I use a 12 qt container) with water and attach your sous vide cooker. Set the temperature to 150°F and cover the sous vide container (with a lid or sous vide floating balls).
- Remove the turkey roulade from the plastic wrap and pat dry with paper towels until there's no moisture on the surface.
- Rub the surface of the turkey roulade with butter (or oil) and sprinkle the surface with kosher salt and black pepper (black pepper is optional).
- Place the turkey roulade in a large vacuum bag. Vacuum seal the turkey roulade.
- When the sous vide water reaches the correct temperature, lower the turkey roulade into the water and make sure it's completely submerged in the water. Cook the roulade for 5 hours.
- Remove the turkey roulade from the sous vide container, and place it in an ice bath to cool down for about 10 minutes.
- Open the vacuum bag and remove the turkey roulade, and pour the “drippings” (that might be congealed because of the ice bath) into a small bowl or jug. You can use this to make gravy or use it like au jus for the roulade.
- Pat dry the surface of the turkey roulade with paper towels. You can caramelize the skin in 3 different ways (see below).
- BROILER - Set the broiler setting to high (grill setting in the oven). Place the turkey roulade on the broiler plate, about 3 - 4 inches away from the broiler. Let the skin caramelize all over, by turning the turkey roulade every few minutes. Keep a close eye on the roulade in the broiler, because caramelization will happen fast!
- PAN FRYING - Add some oil into a large non-stick skillet (add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan with ½ inch of oil). Heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough, carefully place the turkey roulade on the pan, and let the skin caramelize in the heat. Rotate the roulade every few minutes to allow the entire surface to caramelize. PLEASE BE CAREFUL as the oil may spit. So please take precautions to not burn yourself. Remove from the the pan and place it on a wire rack to drain excess oil.
- DEEP FRYING - Add enough oil into a large pot (large enough to accommodate the whole turkey roulade), so that the oil comes at least half-way up the turkey roulade (about 3 - 4 inches). Heat the oil to about 380°F and carefully place the turkey roulade in the hot oil. Allow the turkey roulade skin to caramelize (about 2 - 3 minutes), and then flip it over to caramelize the other side. PLEASE BE CAREFUL as the oil may spit. So please take precautions to not burn yourself. Remove from the oil and place it on a wire rack to drain excess oil.
- The sous vide turkey roulade is now ready to be served. Slice into ½ inch slices and arrange on a platter to serve immediately. Slice the roulade only when you’re ready to serve it to prevent drying out. Serve with gravy and other Thanksgiving side dishes.
- Measure how much pan drippings you get from the turkey roulade in a measuring cup.
- Add enough turkey stock/broth (or chicken stock/broth), to make 2 cups of liquid.
- Place the butter in a pot and let it melt over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk until there are no lumps in the flour. Keep stirring this roux until the color changes to brown, and it smells quite nutty.
- Whisk in the stock and pan drippings and black pepper, and whisk until there are no flour lumps. Bring the gravy to a boil and then lower the heat. Cook until you have a gravy with a desired consistency. If the gravy becomes too thick, you can add more stock to thin it out. Taste the gravy and season with extra salt if needed.
- Pour the gravy into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap - make sure the plastic wrap is touching the surface to prevent any gravy skin from forming on top.
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