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Well-crafted with a stainless steel cap and base. Easy to monitor cooking via the app, which has a stand-out Visual Doneness feature that sends progress images. Weighs only 1.2 lbs., so there's no need to sacrifice any counter space to store it.
Pricey, and it's only compatible with certain devices and updates.
Affordable. Designed for beginner and professional chefs alike. Control your cooking via its speedy Bluetooth connection. App is easy to navigate, plus it gives access to thousands of recipes. Compact and extremely precise.
There is a bit of a learning curve to using this.
Clamp mechanism is well-engineered and reliable. Operates quietly with a 12V motor. Has an efficient pump system that evenly circulates water to achieve uniform temperature and even cooking. Controls are very user-friendly and easy to adjust.
Mixed reviews on the instruction booklet. Occasional issues with the clamp.
Wirelessly controllable via remote and with the Inkbird Pro app on smartphones. Boasts a wide temperature range of 77 degrees to 210 degrees F. Features temperature protection and water level alarm.
Users complain about problems with the WiFi connectivity and that the user interface is challenging to work.
Updated model by a top brand that boasts a trim design. Has WiFi connectivity. Heats reasonably quickly and produces nice results. Connects to an app that's user-friendly and makes preparing meals easy and fun.
On the noisy side. Occasionally drops WiFi connection. A few reports of faulty units that didn't work properly.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
A sous vide is a sure way to impress guests and increase the culinary prowess of home cooks. You set the time and cooking temperature to the device, which is then attached to your cooking pot. Meanwhile, the item to be cooked remains in a sealed bag or glass that’s submerged in the water. For recipes that require a specific degree of doneness, a sous vide machine is quite the asset.
Before purchasing a sous vide machine, be sure to consider its cooking consistency, control panel features — especially important since some sous vides are operated with smartphones — the ability to cook varying foods like meat and vegetables, and ease of cleaning.
There are hundreds of sous vide machines available on the consumer market, so how do you tell which is the right one? With so many kinds of options, it can be tough to sort the wheat from the chaff.
The most popular sous vide process involves an immersion unit, which heats water in a containment vessel (generally a large stockpot) to a specified temperature and maintains the water at a precise temperature for cooking.
More advanced immersion units — which generally clamp onto the side of the vessel — swirl the water to further ensure uniform cooking. In the case of a standalone immersion unit, any pot or vessel that can hold two to four quarts of water is suitable.
The food to be cooked — meat, fish, or whatever’s on the menu — is placed in a vacuum-sealed bag, which prevents the water from directly contacting the food. Any required oil, butter, and/or spices are added to the bag before sealing. These additions will distribute evenly during the cooking process.
A sous vide cooker allows the user to set the desired temperature for the water bath (bain-marie) and program a time to ensure thorough doneness. Sous vide recipes that accompany the appliance will indicate the proper cooking temperature.
One of the best features of sous vide food prep is the ability to target the cooking temperature to the exact degree of doneness required for your meat, fish, or poultry. Target temperatures in the sous vide hover above the 120°F mark, where bacteria cannot survive. Users appreciate this additional safety net in the cooking process.
Potential buyers should bear in mind that sous vide cooking, by itself, does not allow food to have that finished grilled or seared taste. Many recipes recommend grilling or searing food over high heat after the sous vide process is finished.
If you are a foodie ready to tackle the next food trend — or someone who likes to impress friends and family with your kitchen skills — a sous vide machine should be in your future. If you’re particular about the doneness of your protein (fish, meat, poultry) or the loss of nutrients in your vegetables, you may also wish to consider this technology.
While the sous vide process is fairly simple and foolproof, there are a few costs and other considerations you should keep in mind before buying one.
In addition to the price of the immersion heater and water vessel, there are costs associated with vacuum sealing your bags. Vacuum sealers can run from $35 to $260 depending on the model and its specifications.
If you intend to cook large pieces of meat, make sure your sealer can handle bigger bags.
A 34-count package of one-quart vacuum sealer bags can cost about $15. Of course, prices vary depending on size and quality.
If you plan to buy a blowtorch to put the finishing touches on your meat, plan to spend at least $40.
Adding a Searzall to a blowtorch adds another $75 or so to the bill. And no self-respecting sous vide master wants to be without a supply of specially designed water balls.
Sous vide water balls are used to speed up the heating process and maintain the target water temperature for cooking. Sous vide water balls prevent evaporation of the water and can act like a “lid” on the vessel. They’re reusable, but a drying bag to store them (about $20) is yet another expense.
To look like a pro, you’ll want a vessel large enough to hold the necessary quantity of water. (This varies by food and recipe.) A traditional stockpot will work, but alternatives include plastic coolers and polycarbonate food storage containers.
Again, make sure the container is large enough to handle what you intend to cook.
A sous vide machine is a tool that can spark the creativity of both beginning cooks and professional chefs. Here are some of the items you can prepare in your sous vide:
The ability to cook meat to a precise level of doneness makes the sous vide ideal for those who are fussy about their steaks. To prepare a medium-rare steak, for example, you must cook the meat for two hours in a 130°F bath.
Sous vide preparation of fish will leave it flaky and tender. For perfect salmon, set your timer to 118°F and cook a one-inch slab for 30 minutes. (Put one TB of olive oil and whatever spices you like in the bag before sealing.)
For honey-glazed carrots, add butter and honey to the cooking bag along with the carrots. Because vegetables need to cook at a higher temperature than meat or fish, set the temperature between 176° and 190°F and cook for 45 minutes.
Eggs are easy to prepare in the sous vide, given that they come with their own “cooking bag” (the shell). For medium poached eggs, set the temperature to 154.4°F and cook for 45 minutes. Run the eggs under cool water before serving.
The price of a sous vide machine varies depending on power (wattage), the way in which it circulates water, the size of the water vessel it can accurately heat, and added features as Bluetooth or WiFi capability (for smartphone control).
Thanks to some stiff market competition, a number of fine machines can be purchased in the $80 range. These machines are generally well-received with only minor complaints about accuracy of water temperature, accuracy of wattage, and the fact that they often have no on/off switch. The only way to turn off a unit without a switch is to unplug it from the wall.
The vast majority of machines fall into this range, with $175 being the “sweet spot” for machines with smartphone control via WiFi or Bluetooth. Some machines in the $120 range include WiFi capability, but a significant percentage of customers complain that the WiFi is either difficult to set up or just doesn’t work.
A large gap exists between sous vide machines for home cooks and those built for professional kitchens. For close to $650, a state-of-the-art sous vide (called a water oven) will hold up to three gallons of water and simultaneously cook up to 24 portions of six-ounce food. The all-in-one design comes with a lid to keep steam in for precise temperature control.
Follow these tips to get the most out of your sous vide machine:
Cooking hacks are the rage. With a quick search through YouTube, you can find some ingenious ways to replicate sous vide cooking without purchasing the tried-and-true equipment. Here are some of the most popular hacks —