What is Sous Vide Cooking?
Sous Vide is a French word that translates to ‘under vacuum’. It is a process of cooking that can take a long time, 95 hours or more.
It has two steps: the first part is sealing the food inside the plastic bag, and the second part is the water bath, where the sealed plastic bag with food is placed inside a pot or equipment with the temperature controlled at around 55 – 60 degrees Celsius which is lower than usual when using traditional cooking methods.
How is Sous Vide Different from Traditional Cooking?
In traditional cooking, the food is directly in the cooking ware, like the pot or pan. In sous vide cooking, the food is encased inside a vacuum sealed plastic bag. For safety purposes and to achieve the best results, bags have to be either vacuum sealer bags or ziplocs.
In traditional cooking, the food is directly subjected to heat. In most cases, the exterior which touches the food is more cooked than the meat inside, especially if you are cooking a thick slab of meat. The temperature cannot be so high because it will burn the food. The cooking time cannot be too long either as it will cause overcooking. Remember, overcooked black parts are not recommended for human consumption. It can contain toxins harmful to our bodies.
When using sous vide, the temperature and cooking time are adjusted depending on what you are cooking and its thickness. However, in general, the temperature of the water bath usually ranges from 60 degrees Celsius and higher, which is actually lower compared to traditional cooking. Cooking time is also longer in sous vide, from 1.5 hours to 72 hours, which can never be done in traditional cooking.
In sous vide cooking, the food being cooked is thoroughly and evenly done, without losing its succulence.
What are The Necessary Items for Sous Vide Cooking?
To do sous vide and get superb dishes, you need different kinds of item that can do specific functions. Here is a list:
- Immersion Circulator/Precision Cooker (must-have)
- Vacuum Sealer for Sous Vide (must-have)
- Vacuum Sealed Bags for Sous Vide (must-have)
- Containers for Sous Vide (must-have)
- Sous Vide Water Oven (optional)
These are the basic equipment and tools used for sous vide. They come in different brands and models that have even more features. We are going to meticulously go through the different choices and discuss how the device is used, and who needs it most.
1. Sous Vide Immersion Circulator/Precision Cooker
A precision cooker circulates the hot water and cooks your food. Immersion circulator is also inserted into a pot of water, thus the word immersion. It ‘drinks in’ the water, heats it up at your preferred set temperature then ‘spits it out’. This is the process of heating and circulating water, thus the word circulator.
If you want a precision cooker that is most basic in functions, then you should choose the NutriChef Sous Vide Precision Cooker Prime Immersion Circulator or Gourmia GSV130 Digital Sous Vide Pod Immersion Circulator Precision Cooker. Both have easy to use digital controls and can work with any pots or containers. These two brands of precision cooker / immersion circulator will work best for those who are just discovering the art of sous vide cooking.
Once you have done some sous vide cooking, you can level up and get yourself a Gourmia GSV140 Immersion Sous Vide Pod 2nd Generation Circulator. This is a fancier model, but operates like the Gourmia GSV130. It is, however, more powerful with 1200 watts motor that runs quietly. Its temperature control is also very accurate, and with a pod like this, you can do more complicated recipes, and even use it for professional cooking.
If you are a professional chef and tech-savvy, the Anova Precision Cooker – WIFI 2nd Gen is your perfect choice. It performs the functions efficiently and with the added convenience of being able to operate the precision cooker even when you are not home. This can be done as long as your Anova has WIFI connectivity and you have the app in your phone. You get alerts on your phone when the cooker has reached the desired temperature or the set cooking time. There is no fear of overcooking because of the safety feature, ‘Auto-Cook’ that automatically takes over when the temperature rises above 40 before the pre-set time. Get it and relax!
Our Pick for Sous Vide Immersion Circulator/Precision Cooker:
2. Vacuum Sealer for Sous Vide
The function of this appliance is to vacuum seal the food inside the food bags before they are given the water bath. Not only does this protect the food inside from getting wet, but it also allows flavors and seasonings to sip into the food vacuum sealed, thus resulting to more flavorful food.
The complete elimination of the air in your food bags is the KEY to get the perfect sous vide dish. You need a VACUUM SEALER to create airtight seals.
The basic vacuum sealer is Gourmia GVS435 Stainless Steel Vacuum Sealer with very impressive initial cost, and for the benefits it gives, it is worth it and more. This is the vacuum sealer for homemakers who are just discovering vacuum sealing and its other uses like sous vide cooking. The Gourmia GVS435 gives a good, tight seal.
FoodSaver V4440 2-in-1 Automatic Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Built-in Retractable Handheld Sealer and the FoodSaver FM2435-ECR Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Handheld Sealer are more advanced and modern than the FoodSaver V2244. The biggest difference is that the FoodSaver V4440 is automatic. It has a bag-detection feature that it will automatically capture the bag into the vacuum sealing channel. Meanwhile, the FoodSaver FM2435-ECR is manually operated. For both, the handheld sealers makes it easy to vacuum seal canisters and jars, and also to use on quick marinator. The FoodSaver V4440 can be used professionally because of its versatile automatic functions that get the job done fast and efficiently. The FoodSaver FM2435-ECR can work best with homemakers who are expanding their creativity in using vacuum sealer to now include using it on canisters and jars. They are ready to experiment with the job of canning or preserving fruits or vegetables.
Only one kind of vacuum sealer can efficiently and hassle-free vacuum seal liquids and that is the VacMaster VP215 Chamber Vacuum Sealer. This is a rather big machine that sits on the countertop, and has a big ¼ HP rotary oil pump, able to vacuum seal bigger quantities of food bags. If you have a business of selling cooked food or deli, this is your kind of vacuum sealer.
The most user-friendly vacuum sealer would have to be the FoodSaver V4440 2-in-1 Automatic Vacuum Sealing System because it is automatic. It also is versatile on functions, being able to use it on food bags and even jars and canisters. We believe that the FoodSaver V4440 is the best FoodSaver for your sous vide.
Image of FoodSaver V4440 2-in-1 Automatic Vacuum Sealer
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An also great choice for the devotees of Sous Vide is Gourmia’s trilogy in series of GVS models. They are high-quality appliances with beautiful and compact design. Their premium features will surely help your cooking achieve the desired results. The three models of Gourmia are reliable vacuum sealers:
Gourmia GVS415 Img
Gourmia GVS425 Img
Gourmia GVS435 Img
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See more Gourmia GVS425
See more Gourmia GVS435
3. Vacuum Sealed Bags for Sous Vide
Food bags are necessary to keep food securely vacuum sealed before the sous vide process. This is to ensure the flavors of the food do not leak out, and to prevent water from going inside the bag.
The Commercial Bargains 2 Jumbo 11″ x 50′ Commercial Vacuum Sealer Saver Bags Sous Vide Food Storage can be used with many brands of vacuum sealers that are clamp-style to include FoodSaver, Black and Decker and others. Each roll is 50 feet long, and comes out as the cheapest vacuum sealer bag. Using rolls instead of pre-cut bags can let you customize the size of your bags. Smaller bags means more uses out of your roll. The other alternative is the FoodSaver 11″ Roll with unique multi layer construction. At its price, it is a bargain for a FoodSaver product, but still a steep price since the length is only 16 feet.
If you want to be particular about sous vide, then you can use the Sous Vide Supreme Vacuum Pouch/Bags, made specifically for sous vide since it has high temperature tolerance.
If you want bags, instead of rolls, you can also use the FoodSaver Gallon-Sized Vacuum Zipper Bags. This option, however, has more disadvantages. First, you need a vacuum sealer that has handheld sealer. Secondly, the FoodSaver Bags do not guarantee these bags are safe for sous vide. At best, you can use for ‘light simmer’.
In a nutshell, we can say that the Commercial Bargains 2 Jumbo 11″ x 50′ Rolls is the best vacuum sealed bags for sous vide cooking because it can be used with different brands of vacuum sealer, is good quality and most reasonably-priced.
Image of Commercial Bargains 2 Jumbo 11″ x 50′ Vacuum Sealer Bags
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4. Containers for Sous Vide
These are the pots used for sous vide. When you are using a precision cooker or immersion circulator, you need a pot for your water bath.
For serious sous vide fanatics, you would enjoy the LIPAVI Sous Vide Container Model C10. It has tailored lids that have openings on top to fit the immersion circulator in. It has high tolerance for high temperature. Material is clear polycarbonate so you can watch your food during sous vide. This, however, comes in only one size. For many size options, you can have the Rubbermaid Commercial Space-Saving Container with sizes 2 quarts to 22 quarts. It is reasonably-priced and lets you choose whether you want to purchase with lid or without for a price difference of approximately few dollars. This is the only option featured here with graduated measurements at the sides. However, to accommodate an immersion circulator, you will have to cut a hole on your lid. The Cambro 12189CW135 4.75 Gallon Polycarbonate Food Storage Camwear Box has an opening on its lid, no manual cutting needed. However, it comes only in one size – 4.75 gallons.
If you want a container with multiple uses, you can choose Cuisinart 77-7 Chef’s Classic Stainless Cookware Set. Use the pot for sous vide and still have frying pans. It’s very basic but you can clamp on your immersion circulator at the sides and get sous vide going. The set is really a perfect choice for your kitchen.
For its price, design and usability, our best container pick for sous vide is the Rubbermaid Commercial FG631200CLR Space-Saving Container. Making a hole on the lid is but a one-time deal, and for the rest of the time, using it is easy breezy.
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5. Sous Vide Water Oven
It is a water bath with control for temperature. You plug it in, then set the temperature, and when it has reached it, it will alarm, and you can then put your vacuum-sealed food bag inside. Compared with other sous vide equipment, the water oven heats up fast.
However, as against an immersion circulator or precision cooker that is the size of a wand, the water oven takes up much counter space because of its size akin to the size of a bread maker.
Sous Vide Supreme Demi Water Oven (SVD-00101) has a water capacity of 2.3 gallons. It is smaller and less expensive than its big brother version Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven (SVS10LS) that has a 3 gallon capacity. Both are easy to use, and the temperature control is precise, within one degree of its perfect setting. Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven (SVS10LS) is energy-efficient so you don’t have to worry about your electric bill if you sous vide for hours. Its lid also functions as a drip tray or used to cart around the pouches of food. It has a universal pouch rack that keeps efficiently keeps the food pouches in place. Or you can use the metal liner that protects the bags from touching the bottom of the container. The Sous Vide Supreme Demi Water Oven (SVD-00101) is great for home use with just the right capacity, while professional food providers or restaurants can use the Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven (SVS10LS).
On the other hand, the Tribest Sousvant SV-101 Complete Sous Vide Circulator is a beauty with its transparent container or carafe so you can see the food you are sous vide cooking inside. This is unlike the Sous Vide that are closed containers made from stainless steel. It is easy to operate with its digital displays and settings, and with a powerful 1000W motor that heats up water fast. This is a good equipment to have in the restaurant because it allows cooking at a faster speed. The item is also best for your kitchen space.
Of the different brands and models of water oven, the Tribest Sousvant SV-101 Complete Sous Vide Circulator is the best-rated one. The item triumphs with its sleek design and see-through carafe that is very practical and convenient. It is also middle-priced, not as expensive as the Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven (SVS10LS).
If you are looking for the best sous vide water oven for your kitchen, the Tribest Sousvant Sous Vide Circulator is what you need. It is the amazing combination between immersion circulator and container; ALL IN ONE for you. With the Tribest, you can operate extremely convenient and get perfect results.
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What Foods are Best for Sous Vide Cooking?
Beef, pork, chicken and seafood are the usual foods cooked using this method. Because of the humid temperature inside the bag, the meats are cooked more succulent. They are tender, but not dry. Also, the flavors or spices are more flavorful, and soaks through even to the core of the meat or fish. Chicken meals are better cooked sous vide to make sure the long and thorough cooking has totally killed the pathogens that may prove dangerous when ingested.
Steak is a great meat to cook using sous vide method, because a good steak is usually thick. If you cook using ordinary methods, it is more likely to get burned outside, and undercooked inside. It would also be dry and darkened. However, in using sous vide, although it will take about an hour, your steak will cook evenly and thoroughly. It will never overcook, either, because the temperature of the water remains constant.
Pork chops, like steak, would also cook best with sous vide. It would take up to 45 minutes, but the wait would be worth it when you bite into your juicy, tender, succulent pork chops. One tip is to sear the top and bottom before and after sous vide so you would have a crisp, brown crust, and to do this while the chops are still chilled to avoid over searing.
Salmon is a meaty fish so again, sous vide is a good choice to cook it. Before cooking, remove the bones. One good recipe for salmon is lemon dill crème fraiche. The important step is the brine, where you put kosher salt into the ice water and dissolve it. Put the salmon inside the water mixture and refrigerate up to an hour. This will make sure the albumen, the white bubble-like stuff, will not leak out of the fish. Brining will also keep the flavor in. Remove the salmon from the brine, rinse, pat dry then place inside bag for vacuum sealing.
To get the perfect dish you will need a trusted assistant at your side that is the useful cookbook. The recipes are written by famous chefs – they are the leading experts in sous vide cooking. With our experience, we highly recommend the following books for your sous vide:
Advantages of Sous Vide Cooking
There are many advantages to sous vide cooking:
- Cooking temperature is controlled so there is no fear of overcooking;
- Because the food is cooked in hot water, the moisture inside the vacuum-sealed bag does not evaporate;
- Because of the moisture, the foods remain succulent, juicy, and not dry;
- Since the sealed bag traps in the moisture inside, the flavors are also locked in making the food more flavorful and tastier;
- You can cook sous vide at any time convenient, and you can store the cooked food in its vacuum-sealed bag for future consumption;
- The quality, freshness and the nutrients in the food is preserved, as fresh as the day it is prepared;
- Even thick foods, like meats, are thoroughly cooked. This is most important for chicken that can contain toxins when undercooked;
- Fatty foods, like those with butter or cooking oil, are prone to oxidation which result to undesirable flavors and odors. This happens when the foods is exposed to air, which does not happen in sous vide because the foods is vacuum-sealed, allowing no oxygen inside.
Disadvantages of Sous Vide Cooking
There are a few disadavantages to cooking sous vide, but there can be options or solutions:
- Cooking time may be longer than traditional cooking, but cooking is done right – it is not burned, not overcooked, not undercooked. And when you are talking about a thick slab of steak, it is worth the wait;
- It will make your meat tender, but the exterior would remain pink or brownish, not the golden crust one gets in frying. However, you can sear the outside of the meat after sous vide, so it would be brown and crusty;
- Since sous vide uses low temperature, be particular with time. Otherwise, if you shorten the cooking period, it will result to undercooked or improperly cooked meat. In some cases, these can be toxic for human consumption.
Why Do You Need a Vacuum Sealer for Sous Vide?
When you use a vacuum sealer to seal your bags for sous vide, you are sure of a tight seal, which is very important to achieve a good sous vide:
- Foods that are vacuum-sealed inside the bag are kept safe inside the bag. Water will not enter the bag so the food and the flavors remain intact;
- Because of the tight seal, there would be no instance that your meat will spill over into the water, thus affecting the flavors;
- The moisture inside will make the flavors seep thoroughly into your meat, making it juicier and tastier;
- The same moisture will thoroughly cook the meat within the specific time, with no fear of under or over cooking;
- Water conducts heat better so cooking is done more thoroughly and completely;
- You can vacuum-seal cooked or uncooked food. In both cases, the quality of the food is preserved.
How to Use a Vacuum Sealer for Sous Vide Cooking?
The instruction below will help you find that the use of vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking is very easy and convenient (the used vacuum sealer is Foodsaver V4440 2-in-1 model).
What is the BEST VACUUM SEALER for Sous Vide?
We studied most of the different brands and models in the market, and came up with a few top-notch choices. To further help you decide as to which one to purchase, our reviews are including the in-depth and extensive comparisons of the different brands and models:
Common Types of Vacuum Sealer
Did you know? To talk about the structure of machine and how-to-vacuum, we have two basic types of vacuum sealer:
- External Vacuum Sealer;
- Chamber Vacuum Sealer.
External vacuum sealer is also known as clamping vacuum sealer without chamber. When using this machine, your food bags will be sucking up all the air directly through the open edge of the bag placed at the machine’s sealing strip. Note that you need to use special bags for the clamping model like embossed bag with ridges.
Chamber vacuum sealer have a chamber. With the machine, the entire food bag is placed inside the machine’s chamber. When operating it will suck all the air in the chamber and in the food bag at the same time so that the air pressure inside and outside our bag is always equal; this vacuum technology makes the chamber machine can work very effectively with liquid foods.
External & Chamber Comparison Chart
The following comparison will help you clearly understand the pros and cons of each type of vacuum sealer:
|Type of Bags|
|Cost of Bags|
If you are starting to cook sous vide – you are at beginning level – you have a relatively small kitchen, the External models will be the most suitable choice for you.
Here are the top-rated external vacuum sealers for home-user that we highly recommend to buy:
1. FoodSaver V4440 2-in-1 Automatic Vacuum Sealing System
2. Gourmia GVS435 – Stainless Steel Vacuum Sealer
3. FoodSaver 4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System (fully automatic)
If you are a professional chef – you are catering business – you want a powerful machine that can seal in bulk, the Chamber machine is your perfect choice.
Here are the top-rated chamber vacuum sealers for commercial users:
1. VacMaster VP215 Chamber Vacuum Sealer
2. VacMaster VP210 Chamber Vacuum Sealer
3. VacMaster VP112S Chamber Vacuum Sealer
What is the Best External Sous Vide Vacuum Sealer?
We have a lot of vacuum sealer brands on the market from various manufacturers such as FoodSaver, Gourmia, Weston, Nesco, Seal-a-Meal … of which FoodSaver brand is best known for high-quality products to suit every customer.
To find the best External Vacuum Sealer for your sous vide, we will compare between top three (3) machines based on reviews of our experts:
See more FoodSaver V4440
See more Gourmia GVS435
See more Weston Pro-2300
Top-Rated Vacuum Sealers Comparison Chart
Our Experts Rating:
Our Experts Rating:
Our Experts Rating:
FoodSaver V4440 Img
Rating of Our Experts:
Why? Because of the FoodSaver V4440 owns the great features that will help you overcome your problems with very reasonable cost:
- This is a two-in-one versatile unit that has both handheld sealer and standard vacuum sealer. On its left side is a retractable sealer that can be used on canisters, jars and zipper bags. As a standard vacuum sealer, it is automatic. It can automatically detect the bag and it draws it into the seal strip. One press to start, and it will stop on its own;
- You can optimize your time with its built-in roll & cutter;
- The V4440 gives you the option of using special FoodSaver bags and canisters for the handheld sealer. These bags and containers, though, are a bit pricey. You can use lesser-priced bags in the standard counter top vacuum sealer. Since it is automatic, it is very easy to use;
- The model does a good first step for sous vide, which is sealing in the food inside the plastic bag. Like any other countertop vacuum sealers, it can suck out the liquid so be careful when your meat has marinade -> Do not forget to apply our sealing tips!
- It also has quick marinate mode that helps you enhance the flavor of your meat quickly with excellent quality.
You need the matching accessories with this model to optimize its use and bring more convenient for you:
>> Outstanding Choice:
Rating of Our Experts:
The Gourmia GVS435 Stainless Steel Vacuum Sealer can be used by anybody. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know how to operate it. It has many benefits that you don’t have to be in the food business to appreciate it either.
The initial cost of the Gourmia model is very affordable, and is best suited for homemakers who want to do sous vide cooking for a thorough and consistent cook of meats, fish and vegetables. With the vacuum sealer, the flavors of the food is sealed in, and you can be sure of the tight seal when the bag is given the sous vide water bath.
It is also suitable for anybody who wants to do bulk-purchase to save on bulk discounts and gas for trips to the supermarket.
Top Features and Functions of Gourmia GVS435 vacuum sealer
- The Gourmia GVS435 is very versatile with 8 functions to fit the food type and whether you want automatic or manual seal;
- It is user-friendly, with one-touch operation and automatic shut-off features. It has a compact and easy design with visible LED indicator lights that show the function being used;
- Seals food for storage, where food can last up to five times longer as compared when not vacuum sealed;
- Seals food inside bags for sous vide tightly, where the seasoning is absorbed by the food during vacuuming, and the food is evenly cooked during sous vide water bath;
- Seals in food in various sizes and brands of food bags.
- The many options according to food type;
- The machine can vacuum seal other brands of bags, including those budget ones;
- Great customer service with an email received by buyer right after purchase, inquiring about any problems.
- No built-in roll and cutter. You will have to use scissors or knife.
In a nutshell, purchasing Gourmia GVS435 Stainless Steel Vacuum Sealer is a wise purchase. It is a great value buy with its versatile functions, its easy usability and quality performance.
(+) We highly recommend a GREAT PACKAGE for you who are sous vide cooking enthusiasts.
What is the GREAT PACKAGE?
It’s the perfect combination between Gourmia GVS435 Vacuum Sealer with Gourmia GSV140 Immersion Sous Vide Circulator. The Gourmia couple will surely help you get peak sous vide dishes.
Weston Pro-2300 Img
Rating of Our Experts:
The Weston Pro-2300 is special vacuum sealer; it is the best for large size food. Below are the product reviews from our experts:
- Talk about heavy-weight, this one weighs almost 15lbs. Made of stainless steel, it is a sleek machine that gives you the option to operate it automatically or manually. It has a double piston pump for heavy-duty and powerful vacuum sealing, which can go a long time without overheating.
- One of its best benefit is it can seal up to 15 inches wide. You can vacuum seal a turkey easily with it. You can also serve more people than in the same time to cook.
- The Weston machine is also easy to use, and gives you option to let the machine do the thinking (automatic function) or you do the thinking (manual function). Because it has a double piston pump, there is no fear of overheating so you can vacuum seal in big quantity. The led lights show the status of your vacuum sealing.
- This is an giant, if any. It is heavy, so at least, your bag of meat will not weigh it down. You won’t have to hold up the bag while it vacuum seals.
- For use in sous vide, it gets the job done. Just be careful with the liquids, though. It may be sucked out if you do not have a bit of skill.
What is the Best Chamber Sous Vide Vacuum Sealer?
Did you know? VacMaster is the TOP brand of chamber vacuum sealer in the market. The branded machines are highly valued technology and durability. They also possess the advanced features to help customers solve their problems.
If you want to own a top-notch model for your business, you should to pick the following model:
The VacMaster machine is a giant in the world of vacuum sealers. It is not like the others, because this one is a chamber vacuum sealer. The bag being vacuum sealed is not on the countertop, but inside the chamber. You lift the lid, position the bag inside the chamber, putting the open portion on the seal strip, and then close it down. It also has an oil pump that can do the job for a long time without fear of overheating.
- The VP215 can vacuum seal liquids or food with sauces with high performance, because the air inside the chamber and inside the bag have the same pressure so the liquid is not sucked out;
- The ¼ hp rotary oil pump enables it to vacuum seal through a big volume without having to stop in between to cool off the machine.
- When buying a new unit, you will have to put the oil in, which comes with the purchase. At some point in the future, through time and usage, you will have to oil the pump again. In addition, another disadvantage is the initial expenses, which is steep.
The VP215 is the best chamber vacuum sealer to use for sous vide. This is the recommended choice for those in the food or catering business.
For your sous vide to be successful, both steps have to be done right. If you are able to effectively seal the bag, but not able to maintain the right temperature and duration in the water bath, you may not have the tender, properly cooked meat you want. On the flipside, you may know how to control the water bath, but you failed to seal the bag. You end up with meat drenched in water and has lost its flavor. That is how important a vacuum sealer is when doing a sous vide.
Comparison chart between FoodSaver V4440 and VacMaster VP215
FoodSaver V4440 Img
VacMaster VP215 Img
As to COST, our pick is the FoodSaver V4440 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System with very reasonable cost when compared to the VacMaster VP215 chamber machine, you already get a top vacuum sealer. It is versatile and easy to use. You can place it anywhere in your kitchen.
As to PERFORMANCE, nothing beats the VacMaster VP215 Chamber Vacuum Sealer. It is durable and can work non-stop without overheating. It also works best with liquid so have no fear of using it to vacuum seal soups or sauces. On the other hand, in the case of sous vide, it will not suck out the wet marinade. If you have a food business, it will grow with your business.
In addition, depending on your plans, if you are home users with just a few sealing times per day, the FoodSaver V4440 is your best choice and if you are commercial users who need large quantities sealing of the day, the VacMaster VP215 is best suited.
We have given you all our advice to choose the best vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking. So which one is yours?