You don’t have to be a Michelin-star chef to master the technique of sous vide in the kitchen. This French method, in which food cooks in a vacuum-sealed bag typically placed in temperature-controlled water, allows for cooking a range of meats, fish and produce — from steak au poivre and halibut, to barbecue tofu and caramelized onions. Using this cooking method, foods retain their moisture, “resulting in a moister final product,” explains chef Daniel Carpenter of virtual restaurant operator Nextbite, who develops the company’s restaurant concepts and menus. The result is often a perfectly-cooked cut of just about anything, and at price you can often stomach: For example, the highly recommended Anova Precision Sous Vide cooker with WiFi is on sale at Williams Sonoma for $139.95. Here are our chef-recommended picks for sous vide equipment:
Simple to use and affordable
Anova Precision Sous Vide Cooker with Wifi
- Designed to work with any pot you have in the kitchen — you just attach a pot, add water and food in a sealed bag or glass jar then press start
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities so cooks can control their cooking via their mobile device and adjust from wherever as needed
- Access to more than 4,000 recipes
“It’s durable, stable, and equipped with modern technology to help home cooks participate in the IoT (Internet of Things) trend in cooking. If you have a pasta pot and Ziplocs in your kitchen, you can sous vide with this device. Combined with a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer, you can get into the sous vide game for under $300,” says Carpenter.
And New York City executive chef John DeLucie, who oversees Italian restaurants Ainslie in Brooklyn and Carroll Place in Manhattan, is also a fan of the product’s affordability and simplicity. “I like the Anova for the price and ease of use with the app. I use it on meat, poultry and veggies, especially carrots, all with great results,” DeLucie says.
One appliance, 11 uses
Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1
- Good bang for your buck: The Instant Pot can not only sous vide, but also pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, sterilize, make yogurt, keep food warmer, bake a cake and steam
- 28 customizable cooking program settings
- 4.8 stars and 1,300 reviews
- The inner pot and pressure cooking lid are dishwasher safe for an easy clean-up
Cooks should know heating may take longer than average immersion circulators, though it’s convenient for the versatile cook looking to downsize on appliances.
The Ferrari of kitchen tools
Polyscience Sou Vide Hydro Pro
- If you’re going to splurge on proper sous vide equipment, the PolyScience Hydro Pro may be the Ferrari of kitchen tools, suggests Adam Raksin, the executive chef of New York City restaurant The Grid — who adds that it produces “perfectly cooked and seasoned food.”
- The tool’s immersion circulator is designed to heat and circulate water and maintain precise temperature control.
- It comes with a bath that can hold up to 12 gallons of water and an adjustable clamp to attach to a different pot or container.
- Offers a digital needle probe that shows your food’s temperature in real time and cooks can adjust it using a touchscreen interface that has Bluetooth compatibility.
“One thing that’s very important is to always remember to check the seals on your plastic bag that you are using to hold the food inside. It seems like a no-brainer, but it can cause serious problems,” says Raksin, stressing the importance of making sure all parts of the machine are cleaned and dry after use. “Another key that I always like to follow is to make sure that the water is preheated or at the correct temperature before you place your food items inside of the water bath.”
Raksin says the consistency of the Polyscience Sou Vide Hydro Pro to produce restaurant quality food is what sold him on it. Whether he’s making chicken breast or steak, he says food comes out “perfectly cooked and seasoned.”
Powerful and easy to store
Breville Joule Sous Vide Cooker
- 4.7 stars with over 3,000 reviews
- Light-weight at just 1 pound, and its slim, tube shape makes it easy to store in a drawer
- Works with Amazon’s Echo and Alexa smart devices
- Chefs simply lower this device it into a pot of water and let it heat up.
- Comes with a magnetic bottom so it will stick at the bottom of your pot.
You’ll need to pair this product with a pot that can hold up to 8 inches of water and sous vide bags, though any durable freezer bag will do the trick.