Types of Sous Vide Machines
Sous vide equipment has existed for decades in professional kitchens around the world, but it has always been bulky, expensive, and overloaded with complex features. This type of equipment eventually made its way into high-end specialty retail shops, but remained limited to chefs and consumers with extensive culinary experience.
Cooking shows, social media, and online communities have furthered consumers’ knowledge of sous vide cooking, but it wasn’t until Anova released the first affordable and easy-to-use consumer device that sous vide became accessible to home cooks. There are now many sous vide options available to the home cook.
Below are a few types of equipment for you to consider when you’re ready to build your ultimate sous vide setup:
Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
The Vacuum packaging machines is a standalone immersion circulator that heats water and circulates it around the pot to maintain precise temperatures evenly. Immersion circulators are an affordable and easy-to-use sous vide machine option. They do not come with a built-in water bath, so they take up very little space in your kitchen. Standalone sous vide devices don’t require additional equipment to get started because they clamp on and adjust to any pot you already own. The Vacuum packaging machines is a sous vide immersion circulator. Other examples include ChefSteps Joule, Nomiku, and Sansaire.
Sous Vide Packaging
Sealing foods prevents evaporation and allows for the most efficient transfer energy from the water to the food. To do so, simply place your seasoned food in a plastic bag and remove the air using the water immersion technique, a straw, or a vacuum sealer.
You don’t need a vacuum sealer to cook sous vide. There are lots of options, here are a few of the best types of sous vide packaging:
Resealable Bags or Jars
Resealable bags are very versatile, and can be used with the water immersion method to remove air from the bag. We recommend heavy-duty, BPA-free bags, like Ziplock’s freezer bags.
Reusable Silicone Bags
Reusable sous vide bags made from silicone, like these Stasher Reusable Silicone Sous Vide Bag bags, make it easy to enjoy they same quality results night after night.
Vacuum Sealing Bags
You don’t need to purchase a vacuum sealer and vacuum seal bags, but they work well for batch cooking. Foodsaver and Oliso are great options, and both are pretty affordable.
Several different types of foods can also be cooked in glass canning jars. Beans and grains both work well in jars, as do desserts such as cakes and custards. Get tips on cooking sous vide with jars in our Guide to Sous Vide Cooking with Canning Jars.
What is sous vide cooking?
Sous vide, which means “under vacuum” in French, refers to the process of vacuum-sealing food in a bag, then cooking it to a very precise temperature in a water bath. This technique produces results that are impossible to achieve through any other cooking method.
Sous vide cooking is much easier than you might think, and usually involved three simple steps:
1. Attach your precision cooker to a pot of water and set the time and temperature according to your desired level of doneness.
2. Put your food in a sealable bag and clip it to the side of the pot.
3. Finish by searing, grilling, or broiling the food to add a crispy, golden exterior layer.