Sous Vide for Dummies
What is Sous Vide?
Sous vide (soo-veed) is a French term that means “under vacuum”. The cooking technique involves vacuum-sealing food in a plastic pouch and cooking it within a water bath. The water temperature is precisely controlled by the sous vide machinery.
The desired temperature of the food is set in the sous vide unit. For example, the perfect medium rare steak would measure an internal temperature between 130-140°F. After a few hours in the sous vide, the steak will be the perfect doneness. ***Cooking temperatures and approximate minimum cook times can be found online or from other resources (learn how to make perfect eggs here).
So, why is it vacuum sealed? The air is removed from the bag because air pockets can lead to uneven cooking. Actual vacuum sealing is not usually necessary, but do remove as much air ass possible.
Sous vide is a cooking technique commonly used in high-quality restaurant kitchens to achieve some perfectly cooked dishes. This simple technology is now available for home use – for the price of only a couple fancy meals out.
Why Use Sous Vide?
This method of cooking allows for even cooking throughout the food while avoiding moisture loss. When the steak or other ingredients are finished, you can then sear or grill the outside to get that desired browned outer crispy crust.
Certain types of foods benefit more from sous vide cooking than others. Things that require a precise temperature to achieve the desired outcome such as steaks, lamb, and other meats with a specific doneness; eggs (no bag required for boiled eggs in shell!); and other foods that are to be cooked in their own juices without losing their nutritional value.
How is cooking with a sous vide different? Unlike with other forms of high-heat cooking, once the center of the food reaches the set temperature, it does not continue to over-cook. No need to stop prior to reaching the perfect temperature and letting the meat rest as it continues to cook after being removed from heat, the way that you would while BBQing, etc.
This is also a healthy form of cooking. For one thing, since it’s a low heat cooking method, there is no burning or over charing – no cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)! Also, with natural flavors, vitamins and juices retained in the vacuum bag, little to no salt is required. Be sure to use BPA-free plastic or food-grade silicone bags.
How to Sous Vide
This could not be easier …unless you have someone else do it for you. “Sous Vide for Dummies” really isn’t even needed!
Serve, photograph, share on Instagram, and enjoy!
Sous Vide Accessories & Additional Info
You can totally get away with the basics above, but here are some extra sous vide extras to make things a little easier, or in case you really get into it.
Sous Vide Bags- From zip-lock bags or reusable silicone bags to reusable vacuum bags or a vacuum sealer, here are some options:
Wire Rack- Using a rack at the bottom of the container can help hold the bad so that the water can circulate around the bag and evenly heat the food.
Water Container- You are free to use a large pot if you have one large enough, or an Instant Pot liner if you have one (although I find that I always want to make potatoes or something in the Instant Pot while I’m cooking the meat in the sous vide. Truly I should buy a second liner…), but you may want to purchase a water container with more space. Maybe you need room for more food. Try this out:
Sous Vide Balls- Why do you want your balls in hot water? This isn’t necessary, per se, but the reason for these little ping-pong-like guys can be used to insulate the water from the air, meaning that you don’t waste as much energy. They also prevent the water from evaporating.
Instant Pot ACCU SV800 Sous Vide
The Instant Pot ACCU SV800 Sous Vide Immersion Circulator is an affordable sous vide option which does not result in another large piece of kitchen equipment: you can use it in an existing pot (or Instant Pot liner).
The display and design are attractive, clean and easy use.
Here’s one of the best parts: if used correctly, no cleaning is required! Just let it air dry after use!
What else, what else… well, you know that we have really enjoyed our Instant Pot pressure cookers, but we are actually big fans of the company itself. They really stand behind their products and if you ever have ANY problems, they are terrific at looking after their customers.
You can expect to see more sous vide recipes from us in the future which you can find here. For now, I can not emphasize enough how good this lamb recipe is: Paleo Lamb Popsicles with Fenugreek Cream Curry.
Thank you to everyone who entered. The contest is now closed.
*Instant Pot provided us with an ACCU SV800 Sous Vide to review, but all thoughts and opinions are our own. And I really needed a How to Sous Vide (Sous Vide for Dummies) manual myself, so I thought it would be selfish not to share what I learned.
Sarah C says
I am not sure what recipe I would try first, but I am fascinated by sous vide cooking!
Sarah, have you tried it before?
M Neal says
Intesting cooking concept.
How long would it take to cook a 5 pound roast using the Sous Vide?
Depends on the type of roast, but basically you’d just Google it and use tables like this: https://www.sousvidesupreme.com/en-us/learn/sousvide_cookingtemperatures.htm
Brenda H says
I would like to roast a chicken
Alexandra Robertson says
I would love to do steaks and chops in sous vide!
Dawn McKinney says
I have seen this kind of thing done on cooking show, and it’s intriguing! My husband loves to cook, and this would be a great thing for us to try! We raise all of our own meats (chicken, turkey, goat, pork,duck), and we are putting in raise beds this year for our veggies.. this would be a perfect way to bring it all up to the next level. 🙂
Dawn! Thanks for your comment. Your own meats! That’s awesome. AND RABBIT you tell me? (thanks for the quick Facebook conversation). A sous vide in your hands could be verrry educational trying all those different meats!
Lushka Smith says
I would love to try out a steak.
Becky F says
Since I have no clue how to use a BBQ I want to learn to Sous Vide some tender yummy steaks!
Laura Hartman says
Creamy green chile.
I would like to try making lobster.
Nikki Bou says
I do love my ip & new cooking methods
aaron reck says
I like a really good roast and think that carrots, onions and potatoes are best in my roast.
I’d like to try steak for a perfect mid rare!
John Adams says
I’d love to try steaks with this method.
My husband and I were just reading about sous vide and really want to try it. We just got an Instant Pot. We really want to try steak cooked sous vide as we have read how delicious it is! Sounds like it would be great to make for a dinner party!
I would like to roast a chicken.
I would like to roast a chicken
I would really like to try to make my own yogurt! We spend a small fortune each week on yogurt and homemade yogurt is so much yummier and cheaper!
Yogurt in the sous vide? I can’t wait to try it!
I need help with fish dishes so I would want to try this on that and other meat as well!
Kelly @ The Nourishing Home says
This looks awesome! Thank you so much for this awesome info and chance to win! 🙂
Renee Kohley says
Wow! I have never heard of this before! Ever! It looks like something I really need too!
Laura C. says
I have used it for NY strip streak, pork tenderloin, pork chops, flank steak, hamburgers, garlic confit, & egg bites. It is the best method for cooking streaks.
Burgers? Tell me about the egg bites?
carol clark says
like a really good chicken
I would like to sous vide a nice lamb chop OR nice scallops! Would that work with the sous vide?
I think it would!
Heck yeah Lillian,
DEFINITELY check out Paleo Lamb Popsicles with Fenugreek Cream Curry
Daniel Tse says
I would love to sous vide ribs! I’ve heard how tender and fall off the bone it can be.
Cody Pfoh (@CodyPfoh) says
I would like to try a steak
Patricia Quillman (@patquillman) says
I would like to try ribs
Jo-Anne Pfoh (@jopfoh) says
I am always messing up ribs so I would love to try those
Ron Walsh (@ronwalsh34) says
I think i would like to try a steak or lamb
I have seen this being used on Master Chef but was always a huge machine. Glad to see there is a home version made by my favourite Instant Pot! I’d love to give this a go at home
I never would’ve known any of this without your post – thank you!
I LOVE to sous vide things – they come out so freakin tender and flavorful! We have an Anova, but that’s awesome that Instant Pot is making one now too. It sounds so fancy and gourmet but it really is one of the easiest ways to cook.
What’s your favorite dish Michele?
Do you have any sous vide recipes on Thriving on Paleo?
I’ve always wanted to try cooking a steak with Sous Vide. I’ve heard that they come out perfect and that a lot of restaurants use them.
I would love to learn to do a good steak. Thanks for the good info. Fingers crossed that I win!!
The Savory Lotus needs to start playing with one!
What an interesting cooking technique. I can just imagine how tender the steak comes out.
Something to play with at Prepare + Nourish?
Emily @ Recipes to Nourish says
Wow! I had no idea about this Instant Pot sous vide! That’s so cool. I’ve heard how tender a sous vide can make meat.
That team at Instant Pot… clever bunch!
I would try this in a nice steak. kelly tupick
Kari Peters says
I’ve always wanted to try cooking steak sous vide, especially since it’s so expensive you don’t want to ruin it on the grill by overcooking and sous vide just seems to take the stress out of exact timing!
Something to add to the Get Inspired Everyday arsenal?
I’ve tried a few sous vide recipes. I’d like to experiment more with eggs, steak, and seafood.
Any favorites so far Kristen? Any sous vide recipes on kristenmclane.com?
Stacey Crawford says
This is awesome! I have always wanted to try sous vide! Thanks for breaking it down in simple steps.
I hope you get a chance to play with one!
Steve Weber says
I’d love to do steaks and chops!
GAH! I’ve wanted a sous vide forever! Instant Pot is so brilliant! Thanks for the giveaway.
The sure are!
I’m not sure that I’ve ever been over to The Castaway Kitchen before, but holy cow! I just looked and I am dying for dinner now! Beautiful recipes! Those fluffy banana bread pancakes and green casserole look amazing!
Thanks for this great guide Raj! I definitely need to start playing around with one of these. Like you said, it’s a great option for gentler cooking. Had heard about this but really didn’t know much about it, so I learned a lot!
Thanks for the comment Mark. BTW, I can’t remember what it was that I was checking out over at the Paleo Castle last week, but I do remember it being very helpful, so thanks!
Sous vide is such an amazing tool for any home cooks and professional chef. I’ve seen a friend of mine used them once in a new year party. The meal was so scrumptious !
What did they make?
Vanessa Woozley says
This is the first time I have heard about this cooking method, thanks for sharing, I’m intrigued..
Becky Winkler (A Calculated Whisk) says
So cool! I had no idea there was a sous vide gadget made specifically for the Instant Pot. I’ve been wanting to try sous vide steak!
My roommate has played with it a bit, but I need to get on that!
I’ve always watched people sous vide on the food network, but I didn’t think it was something I could actually do. How cool that in can be done in the Instant Pot! Those lamb popsicles sound so good!
That was pretty much what I’d thought as well until my roommate brought it up.
I don’t know if I can win, but I need one at my house!!
Hannah Healy says
This is really interesting, thanks for the great information.
Carrie Forrest says
I learned so much in this post. Thanks!
Oh, the A Girl Worth Saving team is here! Thanks Carrie!
Kelly Bejelly says
I learned so much in this post, I had no idea about. Thanks!
HEY! Kelly, thanks for the visit! You haven’t got your hands on one of these yet?
I’ve been dying to try this! My girlfriend swears by it, and with the IP, I can totally do it!!
I’ve been meaning to get into Sous Vide cooking for a while but it seems so expensive for the upfront investment. I’d love to try making desserts. Great and informative post thank you 🙂
Compared to the full machines, this IP version looks way more affordable. Hopefully you’ll win this one!
This is awesome! thanks so much for the tips – I’ve learned so much!!
pham duong says
I would first make poach eggs. Those are amazing with avocado toasts.
Oren Noah says
It’s important the people understand how to process the bag juices (aka the”purge”) into sauces, so as to avoid the ugly, liver-like coagulates.
Would you believe I grew up with 2 Orens and that you’re the only other one I’ve ever heard of?
Good heads-up sir. I think that’s more of a Sous Vide for Dummies volume 2 topic. What other key tips would you like to point out?
Anne-Marie Modery says
SV in my Instant Pot? Sounds good to me!!!
I would try all the things!
Love that you mention the lack of HCAs and PAHs… I think many folks forget the health benefits of sous vide.
Thanks Rachel. Isn’t it interesting that marinating with rosemary helps to reduce their formation?
Georgie C. says
I’d like to make stuffed cabbage rolls with this would be interesting.
ABIGAIL HAMILTON says
I’d like to cook lobster sous vide
I have just started finding out about sous vide cooking and just haven’t pulled the trigger on purchasing one. Doing a lot of research. Right now I am looking at recipes.
Karrie Millheim says
I would cook a soup
sarah mayer says
I would poach some eggs and serve it for one of my many brunches throughout the year.
Is there somewhere I can sign up for your brunches?
Danielle Nichole Howell says
This looks like something fun to try.
Amy Main says
I want to make a steak!
I want the Starbucks’ eggs so bad!! It’d save me so much money on buying them every day!
I, unlike Holley, am not a fan of Starbucks – mostly I’m just not a coffee drinker to start. Can you tell me more about what these Starbucks eggs are? Because the image of coffee grounds in the eggs that I have in my head probably isn’t it…
Jenn m. says
This looks like it would be fun to try out!
Denise Pare-Watson says
I would like to try a buttery pork tenderloin dish.
Food Meanderings says
I really want one of these! I don’t even know what I’d try first- maybe pork – it’s one of my staples. Or maybe steak….
Oooo I’ve been wanting to try to sous vide for a while now!
Markus Mueller | Earth, Food, and Fire says
I’ve used sous vide quite a bit at work (as a cook in fine dining restaurants), and I must say even I learned a thing or two here! Great guide!
(Saw your comment on facebook too.) So do you have any tips? What was the dish that you miss most from your time using a sous vide?
Emily Bousquet says
Would love to try making steaks using the sous vide. This would be a great tool to have when wanting to cook for a large group.
Bill Bolin says
I would like to try this with steaks then sear then afterwords
I’m just learning about sous vide.
Do you have one, or are you thinking about getting one?
Lee Anne says
I’d like to cook steak with it.
Cheryl Nelson says
Interesting concept when one has the time to devote to this unique process. Would love to try and passed along learning experience.
One of the great things about it is that your hands-on time is greatly reduced! But yeah, you do need to have things figured out further in advance than “I’m hungry. What am I going to make?” (which is my style…)
Stacy Vaillancourt says
This looks cool!
Bryant LeGrand Caruthers says
I would love to try this type of cooking!
I adore sous vide cooking! It’s SO good!!!
You’ve got one Sunshine? What’s your favorite thing to make?
Would love to try egg bites
Love to cook Indian curry