Have you been hearing the buzz about how to cook sous vide and wondering what it is and how to do it? Well, today I wanted to chat all things sous vide and share how to cook sous vide at home. I do love to cook and I share a lot of yummy recipes with you HERE, but sous vide cooking has opened up a whole world of different ways to consistently get great results while cooking and even get restaurant quality results! Using a sous vide doesn't have to be scary, you just need to know a few tips, tricks and then you will be off and running in no time! So keep reading to learn what sous vide is, how to cook sous vide and why, if you don't have one, you want to get your hands on a sous vide ASAP!
How to Cook Sous Vide
So let's start at the beginning.
What is Sous Vide Cooking?
Sous Vide (pronounced soo-veed) has been used by restaurants for a long time to make those perfect steaks, moist chicken, and so many other dishes! These type of results are what you expect from high-end restaurants and really are just special. But now you can do it easily at home! Crazy right!?
Sous Vide is a cooking method where vacuum-sealed food is immersed in a water bath and cooked at very precise temperatures. And even though it is so precise, and your results are so consistent, from a cooks perspective, you actually have a lot of wiggle room in this method of cooking. If your spouse is running late, you can typically keep your meal immersed in the water for another 30-60 minutes to keep it warm while you wait for them to get home. However, you don't end up with rubbery or dry chicken as a result. It will still be delicious and moist and perfect! I love that I can "hold" my food if I need to.
Now, don't worry, this is not boiling your food. Your food is in a vacuum-sealed bag so your food won't get water-logged or lose all of its flavor. It actually helps seal flavors in so you get really tender, tasty food with lots of flavor.
How to Cook Sous Vide At Home
Recently, manufacturers have made sous vide machines at an affordable cost so now sous vide cooking is available to almost anyone!
To sous vide, you need an immersion circulator which is a device that heats and circulates water (don't worry you are not boiling your food), and there are several options out there. After a lot of research, and asking friends and family, I settled on getting the Joule Sous Vide. (affiliate link) You can snag yours HERE.
You will also need a pot (or container like this), freezer Ziploc bags, binder clips and water.
Vacuum-Sealing or Ziploc Bags for Sous Vide Cooking
As you read above, sous vide cooking involves submerging your food in water in a vacuum sealed bag. You can vacuum seal your food using a machine like THIS, but it is not necessary. A BPA-free Freezer Ziploc bag will work for sous vide cooking. Most food-grade bags are BPA free so it really is as simple as picking these up from your local store!
They also make bags specifically for Sous Vide cooking, but in all honesty, I love that I can just throw my bag away and there is virtually no clean up with I use a freezer Ziploc bag!
Just note that it isn't advisable to use a temperature above 158 degrees Fahrenheit with a Ziploc bag as the seams may fail above those temperatures. So just watch your temps, and if you need to go higher then that temp, use a Sous Vide Bag or a suitable Vacuum Sealing bag.
Simply place your food in the unsealed plastic bag (or sous vide bag) and place it down into the water once the water is to temperature. The pressure from the water will push the air out of the bag creating a vacuum seal without needing a fancy machine. Then simply clip your bag to the side of the pot with a binder clip.
Sous Vide in a Canning Jar
You can also cook sous vide in canning jars. And some foods like creme brulee, yogurt and custards are perfect to cook sous vide in a canning jar.
At Home Sous Vide
When you decide to cook sous vide at home, it is important to have all of your supplies gathered, and follow the instructions carefully. If you purchase a Sous Vide immersion circulator like the Joule Sous Vide, when you get ready to cook for the first time, you can simply start the app, select what you are cooking, and follow the instructions. I love the Joule Sous Vide app because it shows images and video of different cooking temperatures and the type of result you will get. You can see what steak cooked at 129F vs 154F and several options in between! I love how visual the app is because I know exactly what my results will be like.
Also, be sure that when you are cooking any protein, that you add oil to your bag to ensure that nothing gets stuck. Butter will work too if you prefer that flavor. You also want to be sure to allow a little room in the bags for your food to move around. So avoid over-stuffing your bags. You can use multiple bags in your pot if you need to.
It is important that your food is fully submerged in the water for proper cooking. If your bag wants to float, you can throw a knife or spoon in the bottom of the bag to help weigh it down.
When the timer on your app rings and your food is done, it will often tell you that you can leave the food in for another X amount of time, or you can take it out right away. I love how cooking sous vide gives me the wiggle room I need to get dinner on the table at the right time of day!
If you are cooking sous vide chicken or sous vide steak, you might want to heat a pan with oil over the stove and quickly sear the outside of the meat before serving. This is not necessary, but it makes it look really pretty and gives that seared look, taste, and texture that most people expect on meat.
I've given lots of tips and ideas on how to sous vide at home, but I thought I would break it down into just a few easy steps for you in case using a sous vide still makes you nervous! So here goes, it's super easy I promise!
How to Cook Sous Vide
- Fill a pot with water
- Place Joule Sous Vide (or the immersion circulator of your choice) into your water and use the clamp to secure it to the side of the pot.
- Turn on the Joule app on your phone (other sous vides have their own apps to use, but I am most familiar with the one I own so a different app might have slight variations!) and select the type of food you are cooking (beef, seafood, poultry, pork, lamb, game, vegetables, desserts and other are the options on my app).
- Once you click on a type of food, you can select the exact kind of food you are cooking (ie under poultry you will find options like chicken breast, chicken thighs, turkey breast etc.)
- Set the temperature. I love that my app will show my photos and video of what the end results will be at every temperature! It really helps a novice and experienced cook alike to pick the perfect temperature every time!
- Your immersion circulator will begin to heat and circulate the water. While that is heating up, go ahead and prepare your food. You can follow the recipe on the app or create your own variation.
- The app will let you know when it is time to add the food to the pot.
- Simply place your bag of food into the pot and secure it to the side with a clip.
- Then walk away and let your food cook!
- The app will let you know when your food is ready.
- Depending on what you are cooking, you may want to give your final product a quick sear on the stove or broil under the oven.
Enjoy your perfectly cooked food!
Sous Vide Cook Books
If you are looking for a Sous Vide cookbook, I highly recommend you check out these two:
Sous Vide At Home is a little bit more "fancy" of a cookbook, and is a great place to start for people who love to try new things! But I really love so many of the ideas and recipes in this cookbook and I love that I can actually cook "fancy" without a lot of effort with my Sous Vide! I feel like everyone can cook fancy foods with a sous vide! It's so fun! The Every Day Sous Vide cookbook has recipes that are a little more usual in most American homes and is definitely the book to begin with if you want simple ideas to ease you into sous vide cooking without getting too fancy feeling.
Sous Vide Recipes
I am sharing all of my Sous Vide Recipes with you on my blog! Check out the posts below for fun and delicious (and EASY) Sous Vide Recipes:
I have loved using my Sous Vide at home for cooking and I love that I can get really consistent results every time I cook. And I love that I can cook sous vide easily, during the weeks or on weekends without a lot of prep, fuss or stress.
I have been enjoying it so much that I am really excited to share some fun recipes with you soon too! Woot woot!
I would love to hear from you if you have a sous vide, what is your favorite thing to cook? And if you don't have a sous vide, are you hoping to get one soon?