Sous vide (pronounced ‘sue-veed’) is a French phrase for under vacuum. In sous vide cooking, food is sealed in a bag without air (or with as little air as possible!), immersed in a water bath, and then cooked at a precise, steady temperature.
Water transmits and holds heat well, so sous-vide cooking brings your food up to the temperature you set it to, and doesn’t go past it—sous vide cooking never involves boiling water! Water bath cooking means that once food gets to the perfect temperature, the water gently holds it there, without overcooking, until you’re ready to eat. Food cooks in its own juices, coming out moist and delicious. Think of it as the low and slow way to get amazing tenderness, lots of moisture, and tons of flavor.
Sous Vide is Stress-Free, Hands-Off Cooking
In addition to the perfectly cooked food, we love the flexibility and ease that sous vide cooking provides. Once you prep and put your food in the water bath, you can move on with your day! Five minutes of hands-on time and you’re done.
We also love that there’s a window of time where you can hold your food at a steady temperature without affecting flavor or quality. For most food, you can keep it in the water bath after it has finished cooking for up to two hours. Because of the precise temperature control, your food won’t overcook. This is great if you’re hosting and want to make sure you have the timing right. Just add a couple hours to the cooking time when setting up your multi cooker. For example, if you’re cooking chicken, set the cooker for four hours—two hours to cook the chicken, and up to another two to hold it until you’re ready to serve.
Recommended Sous Vide Tools
There’s a wide range of products you can purchase depending on your budget and level of interest. We recommend a product like our Deluxe Multi Cooker because not only does it excel at sous vide cooking, you can also use it for pressure cooking, slow cooking, making yogurt, steaming, sterilizing, and a whole range of other functions—but still only add one small appliance to your kitchen storage. In fact, you may find that this product spends way more time on your kitchen counter than it ever does in storage–get ready to find a new home for your stand mixer! You’ll also need bags to cook your food in, we have recommendations on how to select and use them below.
What Foods Can You Sous Vide?
Anything that you remember being dry, rubbery, and overcooked can be improved by using sous vide when you do it right. Gentle cooking at precise lower temperatures ensures food doesn’t get tough and makes it tender and super moist instead.
Steak is famously fantastic when cooked sous vide, but this is a great method for cooking other meats and types of food, too. Some of our favorites are:
Sous Vide Steak
A Few More Sous Vide Tips:
- Because veggies cook at a different temperature than meat, avoid using raw garlic when prepping meat for sous vide. It won’t cook properly and will come out on the raw side. Avoid this disappointment by using a bit of garlic powder or garlic salt instead.
- Season your food before you seal it up! Use just salt, pepper, and a few dried herbs or spices, or get creative with sauces and marinades! While the food cooks, the seasonings will add flavor along with all the tasty juices that come out of the food. You don’t have to use oil to have delicious food, but it is a great way to help distribute the flavors throughout whatever you’re cooking. When added along with herbs, spices, and salt, the oil mixture becomes the marinade that you slowly cook your food in. Anything that you would marinate your food in can be used to help amp up all your sous vide food!
What Bags to Use and How to Use Them
You can use vacuum-sealable bags, disposable, resealable zipper bags, or reusable silicone bags. Once you put the food inside the bags, you’ll want to get all the air out of the bags, so they don’t float and the food is surrounded by water, not air.
If you’re using silicone or zipper bags, here are ways to remove the air from your bag:
- Gently guide the air pocket through an open corner of the bag and seal.
- Use the water displacement method: Dip your bag with the open end up and submerge the bag in the water. Go all the way down until the open end is almost to the water and seal it up. The water actually presses the air out for you.
Whichever method you choose, after your bag is sealed, you’re ready to put it in the water. Make sure your food is submerged and the seal of the bags is above the water. If it floats, you can use a spoon or metal utensil to weigh it down.
IMPORTANT: If you’re using a Deluxe Multi Cooker, make sure the water doesn’t go over the 2/3 PC MAX line after the bag is added. If it does, remove food or water, being careful to avoid the hot water. Also, make sure the bag(s) don’t interfere with closing the lid or block the pressure indicator.
Technically, your food is done once the timer is up. However, popping your proteins under the broiler or searing them will add color, enhance flavor, and give just a little bit of texture.
To sear, pat your food dry and sear in a preheated pan for just a minute or two on each side to give the meat a nice crust and make it oh so photo-worthy.