What is Sous Vide Cooking

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What is Sous Vide Cooking? Sous vide” is French for “under vacuum” also known as low-temperature long time (LTLT) cooking. Cooking via sous vide has been part of professional kitchens since the late 1700s. But the 1960s Sous Vide gave way to Michel and Pierre Troisgros of the legendary La Maison Troisgros. A dynasty of gastronomy that has seen La Maison Troisgros laud more than 30 consecutive years with three Michelin stars. If you are planning a vacation to Ouches, France be sure to book a stay in their chic hotel and reserve a table. It will be the experience of a lifetime I assure you!

Sous Vide a method of cooking in which food is placed in a plastic pouch or glass jars and cooked in a water bath. For extended periods of cooking anywhere from 1-7 hours and up to 72 hours or more. At a carefully controlled temperature. The temp is much lower than ordinarily used in cooking, around 131-140°F/55-60°C for meat, and higher for vegetables. The intent is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is accurately cooked without overcooking the outside, and to preserve moisture.

Chef Michel Troisgros - La Maison Troisgros
Chef Michel Troisgros - La Maison Troisgros
Steaks being cooked with rosemary via Sous Vide

Instead of wondering about whether a steak is medium-rare or if the chicken will be too dry, simply dial in the desired temperature. Add the vacuum-sealed food, wait and it will be done to perfection! At Mean Green Chef our motto is Restaurant Style Recipes for the Home Chef, and Sous Vide is one of the many ways to bring this to your dinner table. 

lamb chops being sous vide

I’ve teamed up with friend and fellow food blogger Jenna Passaro’s with Sip Bite Go! She is sharing a recipe for her Best Chicken Wings Ever Sous Vide and also excited to announce the launch of her new cookbook The Home Chef’s Sous Vide Cookbook (out March 10th 2020)! Jenna makes Sous Vide cooking approachable, possible and even easy. As a mom and business owner, her recipes are simple, delicious and perfect for busy families.

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Jenna Passaro’s The Home Chef’s Sous Vide Cookbook (out March 10th) Enter your email below for a chance to win your own copy!

Jenna’s sharing her Buffalo Sous Vide Wings, cooked up in under an hour. They “are ridiculously juicy, tender and moist. In this sous vide chicken wing recipe you’ll learn the perfect time and temperature to use. Plus, learn how to finish sous vide hot wings in the oven broiler, on the grill, and in the air fryer.”

Best Ever Wings Sip Bite Go Jenna Passaro
Best Ever Wings Sip Bite Go Jenna Passaro
Best Ever Wings Sip Bite Go Jenna Passaro
Best Ever Wings Sip Bite Go Jenna Passaro
Photos courtesy Jenna Passaro at Sip Bite Go

Check out Jenna and her Sous Vide machine in action, making these tasty wings!

Special thanks to Jenna Passaro for sharing this recipe from The Home Chef’s Sous Vide Cookbook. Grab the full recipe on Sip Bite Go and don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a copy too!

What Is Sous Vide Cooking?

At its most basic level, sous vide cooking is the process of sealing food in an airtight container. Usually a vacuum-sealed bag and then cooking in temperature-controlled water. In French, the term translates to “under vacuum,” chefs (home cooks) vacuum seal a protein with marinade, sauce, herbs, or spices and drop it in a large pot of water that never boils. No contact with flames, vapor or smoke. It’s the proverbial watched pot that never boils, because this one never does! But it creates magical, melt in your mouth meals.

What Can You Cook With Sous Vide?

Sous vide cooking is actually adaptable and allows you to cook a wide range of proteins and produce. Jenna shared her chicken wings with us and there are plenty more options. Some of the foods that benefit most from Sous Vide are steak, fish, short ribs, and a wide variety of fresh vegetables.

The important thing to keep in mind is the amount of time it takes and gauge accordingly. Steaks can take upwards of an hour at 130°F/54°C before they are finished with a hot sear (if desired). Large cuts of meats such as brisket, roasts, and ribs can take 24 hours at 149°F/65°C. It’s a set it and forget it style of cooking where your proteins don’t dry out and instead turn out fork-tender. Checking every once in awhile to ensure there’s enough water in your vessel after evaporation is all you need to keep an eye on.

Many times replacing bags with canning jars, you can also cook, cakes, custards, cocktails, ice cream, and so much more! 

Chicken, Salmon, and Steak ready to be Sous Vide

How Long Has Sous Vide Cooking Existed?

As mentioned the concept of sous vide cooking has existed since the late 1700s and came to prominence during the 1960s when it was first used by chefs Pierre and Michel Troisgros of the fabulous Restaurant Troisgros. Over the next 50 years, chefs such as Paul Bocuse, Thomas Keller, and Ferran Adrià routinely cooked using sous vide in their kitchens. Making it more and more popular. 

How Does Sous Vide Differ From Other Cooking Techniques?

Sous Vide is essentially poaching inside sealed bags under very precise and measured stipulations. The water in the cooking vessel is regulated at a precise temperature and is circulated to maintain consistency.

Very little fat is added especially when cooking proteins, they are left to cook in their own juices. Which in turn leaves cuts of meat tender, juicy, and moist. After the Sous Vide process is done you’ll flash sear, broil, air fry, or torch your way to the perfect finished dish. This last step isn’t necessary but usually a nice way to showcase the plate. 

What Equipment Is Needed?

There are two basic equipment options when it comes to Sous Vide cooking at home. A water bath, which resembles a compact deep fryer, but uses water instead of oil. Or an immersion circulator, which requires a large pot or plastic container. Additionally, you’ll need zip-lock freezer bags, a food vacuum system, or bags made specifically for Sous Vide. If you have the option to buy a vacuum sealer, it’s a great option, but  good quality freezer bags work well too. I prefer using a vacuum sealer so our dishes are perfectly air-tight. 

Pears and melon being Sous Vide

How to Choose the Best Sous Vide Machine

There are various types of sous vide machines for the home and professional chef but they all have one purpose. To keep the cooking temperature consistent and they do this in different manners. And each machine has positives and negatives.

When choosing a Sous Vide machine there are a few things to look for. Depending on what your needs are you’ll weigh each factor differently. Because of the differences in how the Sous Vide machines operate there are trade-offs for each class. The ability to use the machine with various vessels, easily manage and adjust the temperature, and thoroughly clean and put it away are all selling points when choosing a machine.

How Much Do Sous Vide Machines Cost?

Prices for Immersion Circulators vary as all things do. But there are some amazing units that are ideal for the home cook, food nerds (guilty as charged) and professionals alike! 

  • Entry Level Sous Vide Machines can currently be found starting in the $60.00 range all the way up to several hundred dollars.
  • And professional units can easily run into the $4,000 dollar range. 

Here we’ll take a look at the entry to mid-range possibilities available. Most models come with Bluetooth and/or WiFi (sometimes both). This feature helps you set and monitor your sous vide temperature from an app on your phone. 

Most of these apps also come with recipes where you can tap on a preset temperature to start cooking a little faster. Bluetooth models work when you’re within about 40 feet of the cooker, while those with WiFi will let you monitor your food from anywhere in your home, as long as you’re using the same network.

Fennel bulb being cooked via Sous Vide

Do I Need A Vacuum Sealer to Cook Sous Vide?

Simple answer? Not really, BUT there are some quality units that are super affordable, one listed below is like $40 and it’s a workhorse. 

When you are ready, vacuum sealing your food can be a great way to improve your sous vide cooking technique.

  1. Vacuum sealing locks in the marinade efficiently by removing all of the air to concentrate flavors.
  2. Fewer worries about springing a leak.
  3. Yes, Ziploc bags are safe for cooking sous vide. But from personal experience, I do prefer using my vacuum sealer. 

What Temperature Do Sous Vide Machines Cook At?

Temperature stability is the single most important factor as far as the cooking process is concerned. Machines range from a variation of several degrees to as small as 32.18°F/0.1°C. Another factor here is how quickly a machine can bring the water back up to temperature when cold food is added. The majority of Sous Vide Machines are well equipped to reheat quickly but it’s definitely something to look for when shopping.

Heating Speed of Sous Vide Machines

Another factor to consider is the amount of time a machine takes to come to temperature. These times vary widely and some units take up to two times longer than others.

Types of Sous Vide Machines

There’s a wide variety of sous vide machines available but most fall into one of a few categories.

Sous Vide Immersion Circulators

Immersion Circulators consist of a heating element and a water pump that blend to heat and circulate water. Keeping it at a constant temperature. Immersion circulators can be used with nearly any container of water, from plastic tubs to pots both large and small. This is great because you can easily adjust the vessel size the amount of food you need to prepare and obviously the smaller the container the faster the water will heat.

The majority of immersion circulators heat the water very quickly. And Immersion circulators also have the best temperature stability of all sous vide machines. Most machines keep stay within 33.8°F/1°C, the pump also helps to ensure the water stays uniformly heated, eliminating hot and cold spots. Plus, the cost for an Immersion Sous Vide Machine is pocketbook-friendly and you get a BIG BANG for your buck!

Immersion Circulators are our #1 choice, they are an excellent option for the serious home chef.

Cost of Immersion Sous Vide Machines

Immersion Circulator
Immersion Circulator

Breville Joule Sous Vide, 1100 Watts

Breville Joule Sous Vide, 1100 Watts
Breville Joule Sous Vide, 1100 Watts

Check out current sales and pricing for the Breville Joule Sous Vide 1100 Watt

For home cooks, there are a ton of great options! The Joule is our favorite and choice for creating amazing Sous Vide meals. Solid, yet lightweight and compact enough to fit in a kitchen drawer. 

Many are bulky and create more storage issues. Although the Joule does come with a clamp, it’s equipped with a magnetic bottom too, so there’s no need to use the clamp on metal pots.

The Joule boasts 1,100 watts too, it’s the most powerful capacity of any of the sous vide machines at its price point (at this time). Taking about 15 minutes to heat water to 149°F/65°C. You conveniently control the temperature and cooking time via the app that connects to the circulator. Meaning there is no screen or buttons directly on the Joule.

Along with a series of lights and beeps the Joule gives you, you’ll also monitor everything from your smartphone. Everything from water heating, to tons of preset temps for numerous foods with suggestions based on the way you like your food cooked. Literally, there are so many options it will keep cooking and creating amazing meals for years to come!

The App also allows maximum control, allowing you to switch to different temperatures at various cooking intervals.

Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Sous Vide Precision Cooker (WiFi)

Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Sous Vide Precision Cooker (WiFi)
Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Sous Vide Precision Cooker (WiFi)

Check out current sales and pricing for the Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Sous Vide Precision Cooker (WiFi)

The Anovana is also a great choice and slightly less pricey, still coming with an App that allows you to dial in with target precision. For us the Joule won this over due to it’s smaller size, but the Anovana Culinary AN500 is a solid choice too and boasts 1,000 watts.

Now with more power, faster heat-up times, and improved WiFi connection all in a smaller and more durable body, the Anova Precision Cooker is the perfect option for any home chef. It easily attaches to any stockpot or container with a fully adjustable clamp and is water-resistant for when accidents happen in the kitchen.

Instant Pot SSV800 Accu Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

Instant Pot SSV800 Accu Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
Instant Pot SSV800 Accu Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

Check out current sales and pricing for the Instant Pot SSV800 Accu Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

Another great and cost-effective option with excellent ratings is the Instant Pot SSV800 Accu Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator. No wifi or app needed for this unit, simply dial in the temperature and cooking time and you’re good to go!

Easy to use: Easy to read display, touch screen digital controls, lightweight stainless steel with a rubber coating on the handle.

Active pump system: Accu slim sous vide circulates water without relying on convection currents, resulting in uniformly heated water bath free of hot or cool spots. Includes a 12v dc motor: Extremely quietly and has enhanced durability in comparison to standard AC motors used; Motor stops when removed from the water. Clamps securely: To the 6 and 8-quart inner pot either in or out of the instant pot, and can be used with or without an instant pot

Instant Pot also delivers on quality so this is a great choice and would make the perfect gift for budding chefs.

Souvia Commercial Sous Vide, Immersion, Circulation, Bundle

Check out current sales and pricing for the Souvia Commercial Sous Vide Immersion Circulation, Bundle.

And certainly, if you have the counter space the Souvia Commercial Sous Vide Immersion Circulation is a no brainer, coming in under the price of our Joule. It’s not run by an app but it’s powerful the pulsating jets from this sous vide machine with circulation can heat up a water bath volume of up to 30 liters. The pump will provide consistent water temperature for uniform cooking, and it can circulate 7.5 liters of water per minute!

This Sous Vide cooking set includes a pack of safe, food-grade ping pong balls that float on the water in any container or cooking vessel. The balls insulate your bath to prevent the water from evaporating, so your sous vide cooking will never run out of water. Additionally, they will help speed up the heat time, giving you a lower electric bill. And it’s also BPA free.

Sous Vide Wish List

The Home Chef's Sous Vide Cookbook Jenna Passaro
The Home Chef's Sous Vide Cookbook
Large 26 Quart Sous Vide Container
LIPAVI Sous Vide Container - Model C20 - 26 Quarts - 21 x 12.8 inch
Vacuum Sealer for Sous Vide steaks being sealed
KOIOS Vacuum Sealer Machine, 80Kpa Automatic Food Sealer for Food Savers w/Starter Kit
Sous Vide Container with rack
VÄESKE Sous Vide Container with Lid, Rack & Insulating Sleeve | 12 Qt Family Size |
Steak cooking in Sous Vide with Rosemary
Mellow Sous Vide Precision Cooker: Smart Slow Cooking Machine with Refrigeration for Home Kitchen with WiFi
Sous Vide container with rack inside
Sous Vide Container with Lid & Rack - 12Qt Suits Anova, Nano, Joule and Most Circulators
Searing Torch for browing after Sous Vide
SEARTEQ | Searing Torch Attachment for Sous Vide, Slow Cooker, Instant Pot and Culinary Treats
Sous Vide poly car container for cooking
Perfect-Sousvide 6PL1R Clear 6.5 Gal. (26 qt) Polycarbonate Pan, Custom Lid
Wolf Gourmet multi-purpose Coooker
Wolf Gourmet WGSC100S Programmable Multi Function Cooker with Temperature Probe - Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Sear, Sous Vide, Stainless Steel

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Steaks in Mellow Sous Vide machine

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    1. I’ve never had this. Looks delish. Great tips too!

      1. Sous Vide is an amazing way to prepare a meal, Debbie! And it’s super easy to master too, thanks for visiting 🙂

    2. Great article! In your research did you find any information about using silicone bags for the food instead of plastic? They seem safer to us, but are tricky to vacuum-seal. And if you use a glass jar, does it need to be completely full so there’s no air inside? Thanks!

      1. Hi, Beth, great questions! Many name-brand plastic bags are made with polyethylene and polypropylene. These types of plastic are resistant to the sub-boiling temperatures involved in sous vide cooking, and they are also considered safe in and of themselves: Even if you cut up and ate a polyethylene bag, there’s no toxicity risk. We have used both in our kitchen trials and prefer the poly over silicone. I personally do not care for silicone as it can leave air pockets and does not conform to the food well. As for the question pertaining to whether or not jars should be filled to the top. NO, never fill jars to the brim, many sous vide recipes expand or release gasses and/or liquid as they cook. And when baking never fill jars containing leavened batter or dough more than half full. You don’t want to blow or break the jar while the desserts are submerged in the water bath. I hope that helps! 🙂

    3. This type of cooking looks awesome. Always wanted to try it! (I watch a lot of Top Chef lol) Thanks for sharing 🙂

      1. LOL, Rochelle how can you not be a Top Chef fan? Me too, always have been. Sous Vide is an amazing way to cook and stupid easy too, I love it!

    4. Wow! Great post. Thanks for all the valuable information

      1. Thanks, James, so glad that you liked it!

    5. I’ve had steaks cooked this way before and they were hands down the best I’ve ever had. I didn’t realise that it was cooked in a bag though.

      1. They seriously are the best steaks ever, Kez! Thanks for reading 🙂

    6. Thanks, I have never done Sous Vide so I was never exactly sure what it was. Thanks for explaining!

      1. Glad I was able to share something new with you, Diane!

    7. Nigar RAHMAN says:

      I had never learned about this type of meal preparation.It’s really easy to prepare with a solid measurement . Thanks for everything Angela!

      1. So glad you visited, Nigar and that I was able to share a new cooking technique with you! Thank you 🙂

    8. very useful post and the clicks are amazing!

      1. Thanks, Sivaranjani!

    9. I heard so much about Sous vide for steaks but never actually tried any food cooked this way! I am very tempted to give it a shot.

      1. Awesome, Chad, you’ll love the results! 🙂

    10. I’ve never seen this but it looks great. Thanks for sharing!

      1. Thank you for visiting, Nimo, much appreciated!

    11. i suck at cooking but I love reading about different cooking methods and this is the first time i’ve heard/read about sous vide cooking and its very interesting!

      1. Lol, Tarund, Sous Vide is nearly a no-fail method of cooking. Thank you so much for taking the time to read up 🙂

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