Rabbit Sous-Vide Time and Temperature

Rabbit meat is very lean and easily becomes dry and/or tough. With sous-vide this can be fixed: the meat will be tender and succulent. So far I’ve been cooking rabbit sous-vide for 3 to 4 hours at 60ºC/140ºF. Sometimes it came out slightly overcooked. When cooking meat sous-vide, overcooked means that the meat loses its texture and becomes like a paste. It is tender and juicy, but not very pleasant. Lately a few readers left comments stating that the same result. This is probably caused by farmed rabbit meat of young animals. And so it was time for a side-by-side experiment to find out the right cooking time and temperature. Please note that I did this experiment with farmed rabbit. For wild rabbit, it is likely that it is older and tougher and may require a longer cooking time and/or higher temperature to become tender.

Update January 6, 2016: I have now discovered that 8 hours at 75C/167F is a great way to cook rabbit sous-vide. The texture will be like a traditional braise, but foolproof and consistent.

I started with three hind legs from the same batch, so although they were not all from the same animal (have you ever seen a rabbit with three hind legs?), it is very likely that they were from very similar animals.

I rubbed them with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Then I vacuum sealed them individually, labeled the bags, and cooked them accordingly.

Overcooking has two dimensions when cooking sous-vide. If the temperature is too high, the meat will become dry. If the time is too long, the meat will lose its texture. Since sous-vide rabbit seemed to suffer more from the texture problem, I thought that cooking at a higher temperature for a shorter time could work. And it did. 1 hour at 66ºC/150ºF yielded rabbit meat that was very tender and succulent. It was slightly flaky.

Next I tried 60ºC/140ºF for 2 hours. This turned out slightly more tender than the previous, and not flaky at all. I think it is a matter of personal taste which one you’d prefer. The meat was slightly less ‘bloody’ towards the bone.

The final experiment was 3 hours at 60ºC/140ºF. This was again slightly more tender, and almost becoming too tender. Again not flaky at all. Since I only had three legs I didn’t try 4 hours at 60ºC/140ºF, but I expect it would have become too tender (not enough texture).

Conclusion: I will change my recommendation for (farmed) rabbit legs from 3-4 hours to 2 hours at 60ºC/140ºF. If you are in a hurry, 1 hour at 66ºC/150ºF is a good alternative.


One of my favorite types of sushi is ebi nigiri. The shrimp has a very nice slightly sweet flavor that goes very well with the rice and it also looks pretty. Although most people think of raw fish when they think of sushi, the shrimp is actually parcooked for this preparation.


33 thoughts on “Rabbit Sous-Vide Time and Temperature

  1. Thanks Stefan. I have made rabbit leg twice, once 4 hours and one 3 hours at 60C. Both times the meat felt over cooked.. I am living in thr South of France and the rabbit legs I but over here look smaller (younger?) than yours. I was planning to them next time in thr tajin as I normally do but now I will try it one more time for 2 hours at 60C. Or maybe even shorter if mine are smaller. What weight were yours?


      1. Hi Tony,
        Different parts of the rabbit are better when prepared with a different time and temperature. Sous viding it from frozen by itself would be fine, but only if it had already been seasoned with salt prior to freezing. Sous vided meat is better when it has been salted before vacuum sealing.
        Hope this helps.


  2. Enzimatic issues are involved when cooking game. I’ve noticed that the rabbit, cooked sous vide at 60′, come out mushy very quickly, so I’ve raised the temperature at 68′ (time varies from 2/3 hours for the loin up to 4 hours for the legs). Adding vinager in the bag helps to get more flaky testure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sergio, do you mean enzymes that still work at 60 degrees and are killed at 68? That had not yet occurred to me, as the enzymes I sometimes use to tenderize meat on purpose (I call this warm ageing) stop working around 50 degrees already. Very interesting! I’ve never tried rabbit legs for 4 hours at 68 degrees because they were already too tender after 4 hours at 60, but if enzymes could be it play it is worth trying!


  3. Hello Stefan, great article, very informative. I have a problem since 2 hours à 62C sous vide for a whole rabbit yields somewhat rosy flesh around the bones and people are not (yet) very keen to eat rosy rabbit. This is a pity since the rest of the flesh is perfect in texture and extremely juicy. I finish the rabbit on a spit roast in front of a wood fire to make a crust but this does not solve the rosy inside problem. Do you have any idea?


    1. Hi Francois,
      You could try 1.5 hours at 66C. That should solve the rosy flesh around the bones, although it may be a bit too long at that temperature. Let me know if that helps.


  4. Hi Stefan – very informative, thanks – I’m interested as to why you decided that 75deg/8hrs was a better method? I have to cook a whole wild rabbit (older, I think, and super duper lean), so would this still be your recommended method?


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because at the lower temperature the meat may turn out unpleasantly soft. With the wild rabbit there is an additional reason, which is the smell that will be accentuated. My preferred method would be to divide the rabbit into pieces and to cook the back fillet at a different temp than the legs and flaps. The best way to work around the lean is butter (or olive oil or duck fat).


  5. As I’ve a couple of wild rabbits to cook, and to test for dryness or toughness, I tested some alternatives.

    – A fore- and hind-leg at 60°C for 2 1/2 hours (due to inattention)
    – The same at 75°C for 8 hours
    I dry-salted the hindleg for 12 hours, and rubbed all with chopped thyme, rosemary and garlic.

    At 60°C the unsalted leg was mushy; the tougher connective tissue was breaking down. The dry-salted leg was firmer, but the connective tissue was tough. There was little liquid in the bag, and both pieces were quite rosy; the unsalted piece was juicier but neither were dry.

    At 75°C there was a fair amount of liquid in the bag; the dry-salted piece was very firm, reminiscent of boiled gammon, and had some tough connective tissue. The unsalted piece was juicy, had picked up some salt from the other piece, and tender; the connective tissue had broken down. Both pieces were pink.

    Of the four pieces, the unsalted cooked for 8 hours at 75°C was the most successful being tender and tasty.

    Dry-salting seems to dry and toughen the meat, as well as introducing a note of boiled ham. For flavour and tenderness the higher cooking temperature was a lot better than the lower temperature, to my surprise.

    I’ve put the remainder of the rabbit in two bags with thyme, bay leaves, onions and cider at 75°C; looking forward to seeing how the saddles turn out.

    Has anyone tried other times and temperatures around 75°C?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can confirm that cooking rabbit legs for 4 hrs @ 62 C (as seen on the Anova website) results in meat that is far too tender, actually verging on the mealy and pappy/rather unpleasant. I has also salted the meat the day before: this might have played a role in this unpleasant texture (pre-salting is no problem with conventional stove-oven cooking, on the contrary: the meat tastes better if salted well in advance)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That depends on the temperature you want to use. 8 hours at 75C/167F is the safest option. The alternative is a few hours at 60C/140F. The latter is softer, with a risk of being too soft (mushy).


  7. Very informative post – thanks. I am assuming from comments that it is better to individually pack the pieces, rather than butcher the rabbit and place all the piece one bag?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve never cooked sous vide before, but that’s about to change since I just bought my first heater. I have been farming rabbits for the last 3 years. In North America, farm-raised rabbit and wild rabbit are two different species. Farm-raised rabbit is European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and the most common wild rabbit in North America is the Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus). Both species eat a completely different diet, and they don’t even share the same number of chromosomes which means they can’t cross breed. Most farm-raised rabbits are harvested between 8 and 12 weeks of age as fryers, or up to 24 weeks as roasters. The age at which wild rabbits are harvested is up to random chance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have never seen or eaten the cottontail. The times and temperatures for rabbit on my blog are all for farmed Oryctolagus cuniculus. If they are very young, they become too tender easily when cooked at 140. Doing them at 165 is a better bet.


  9. 3 to 4 hours at 60ºC/140ºF = sometimes slightly overcooked.
    8 hours at 75C/167F = great, foolproof and consistent.


  10. Thanks you all soooo much for your interesting comments. I am new to sous vide cooking and my partner LOVES rabbit (both catching and eating!!) so this was all great reading for me. However I do get a bit confused – I would have thought higher temp = less time or vice versa but your comments don’t validate that. Hope I don’t get it too wrong!! Anyway, thank you all.
    Denise from OZ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Denise, you are right that generally speaking, higher temperature = less time. This is however not true if a short time on a low temperature is sufficient to make the meat tender. The reason for that is that a high temperature initially makes the meat tough by contraction. Subsequently a lot more time is needed to then break down the toughness. This happens faster at a very high temperature (like 85C/185F) than at just a high temperature (like 74C/165F). But at a lower temperature like 60C/140F there is much less contraction. I hope this helps. Since you mention catching: all my experiments are for farmed rabbit. For wild rabbit I would recommend to check out my recipes for hare (which is always wild).


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