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Weeknight Cooking Made Easier With the Sous Vide

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Sous what?
Sous vide.
Most people fall into one of two camps: Either they've never heard of sous vide cooking or they're already diehard fans. If you're one of the former, hopefully we can inspire you to give this trendy technique a try. And if you've recently received or purchased a sous vide precision cooker and haven't yet taken the plunge, this is a great place to start.
Sous vide, which is French for "under vacuum," refers to the process of placing food in a vacuum-sealed bag and then cooking it in hot water using an appliance called a precision cooker. (Technically, the precision cooker isn't required, as you can improvise with a resealable bag and a large stock pot or a cooler—but it does make the process easier and more foolproof.)
Sous vide cooks food at a very precise temperature, so the results are more consistent than conventional methods. While oven cooking can sometimes leave your meals on the dry side, cooking in water helps food retain its juices and flavors. You also won't have to worry about hovering over the cooker and triple-checking to make sure your meal isn't getting overcooked, as the precision cooker will never go over the optimal temperature.
Chances are you've eaten food prepared using the sous vide method at some point, as many upscale restaurants have been using this technique for years. Now that precision cookers are available for affordable home use, anyone can enjoy the delicious results.

Tips for Successful Sous Vide Cooking

While sous vide cooking does eliminate a lot of room for error, there are a few strategies for ensuring that the result of your recipe tastes (and looks) its best.   
Make sure the temperature and cooking time match what you're cooking.
Depending on what type of food you're preparing, it may require a different time and temperature. A thick steak will cook longer than a thin piece of halibut, for example. Follow the recipe instructions carefully.
The Pratesi Living blog offers some recommended temperatures for various foods:
  • 38-43°C (100-109°F): Very rare to rare tuna
  • 39-49°C (101-120°F): Rare to medium-rare salmon
  • 49-55°C (120-130°F): Medium-rare to medium fish and shellfish (unpasteurized)
  • 55-60°C (131-140°F): Beef
  • 60°C (140°F): Pork and chicken (pasteurized)
  • 63-65°C (145-149°F): Poached eggs
  • 82-85°C (180-185°F): Root vegetables
Don't go overboard on the sauces.
While some people prefer to add butter, oil or some other wet marinade or seasoning to the bag prior to cooking, the experts recommend only using enough to cover the surface of the food. It may be easier, and just as flavorful, to sprinkle meat or fish with some dried herbs and spices before putting them in the bag.

9 Scrumptious Sous Vide Recipes

Orange and Mint Chicken Legs: These chicken legs have an encompassing combination of sweet, spicy and minty flavors.

Poached Eggs and Avocado Toast: Eliminate the guesswork of preparing perfectly poached eggs with this risk-free recipe. It's equal parts healthy, delicious and Instagram-worthy.
Image courtesy of Sous Vide Guy

Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites Bacon Gruyere: We love this copycat version of Starbucks' delicious grab-and-go breakfast. Chances are you already have all of the ingredients on hand.

Image courtesy of Copykat
Sous Vide Halibut: If you've ever been let down by dried-out fish cooked in the oven, you'll love this moist, flaky sous vide version. Prep time is just five minutes.
Image courtesy of Sous Vide Guy
Sesame Bok Choy: This sous vide meal uses several common Asian ingredients, such as ginger, soy sauce and sesame seeds, to create a complex sauce that coats the bok choy.
Sous Vide Cheesecake: Equally delicious and adorable, these mini cheesecakes are served in canning jars for perfectly portioned treats.
Image courtesy of Sous Vide Guy
Sous Vide Garlic Herb Butter Steaks: Premium cuts of meat cook perfectly in a temperature-controlled water bath, ensuring a tender, juicy, flavorful result.
Image courtesy of Number 2 Pencil
Sous Vide Pulled Pork: Preparing pounds of juicy pulled pork has never been easier or more foolproof than with this sous vide version.
Image courtesy of Sous Vide Guy
Cold Brew Coffee:  You'll want to enjoy this refreshing, chilled, super-smooth beverage all year round.
Image courtesy of Sous Vide Guy
Which of these would you like to try? Are there any other sous vide recipes you'd recommend?

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"Either they've never heard of sous vide cooking or they're already diehard fans."

OR you recognize that the whole concept is terrible and you know that the sous vide cookers will end up pushed to the back of the cabinet in about a year from now. There's a sucker born every minute, and those suckers love sous vide! Report
I have and use both Instant Pot and Sous Vide and use both to their full potential. Greatest technology since the Microwave oven. This information is great for the new Sous Vide user. Thanks Sparkpeople for all your helpful information.

Richartst47 Report
Hesitating to buy a new appliance, but I really want to try putting cream into sous vide to create a carmelized no-sugar-added for my morning coffee. Report
I recently purchased an Instant Pot Ultra and you can make Sous Vide in this model. My husband cooked a cap steak in it then finished it off with a nice sear on the grill. He said it was good, but he prefers the grill as it's a lot easier. Heh Report
Interesting concept. Report
Supposed to be phenomenal Report
I prefer my crockpot that only costs $.03 for 8 hours on high! Report
My husband loves to cook and added the sous vide last fall (alternative to grilling as our cold winter temps move in). We're enjoying the precision, the flavor, preserving natural juices. He just finishes meat off with braising under broiler or in skillet. I'll be sharing this article with him. Report
I just bought the latest greatest must-have gadget, the Instant Pot, two years ago and then started hearing about this deal. I've also seen immersion versions of this sous vide device, which looks for all in the world like a curling iron jammed into a pot of water... not sure if the immersion deal would work in my instant pot?? (maybe with lid off and not under pressure, since the food is in a bag anyway...).

You'll have to copy this link to see the immersion version, and paste it into a new tab or window:

It's all in knowing and l learning how, SparkFriends! Oh yeah Report
I have a sous vide and Im going to use it more. Was intimidated Report
these recipes look so yummy. Will have to give this type of cooking a try. Report
Very interesting!!! Report
I had not heard of this type of cooking before Report
Made me laugh, thanks! Report
thanks Report
Never heard of this before today! Report
The pulled pork looked interesting, I don't know if its enough to justify buying a vacuum sealer though, Report
it looks interesting but i like my meats well done, other then that i think i would give it a try for other food items Report
I need to try this style of cooking. The halibut recipe seems so good and easy. Report
Great information.... Report
Thanks. Report
tasty Report
I prefer not to cook my food in plastic bags! Report
I prefer less gadgets in my kitchen. I love my crockpots. Report
Thanks for the great ideas....have got to check out these cookers now! :) Report
looks yummy Report
I just purchased a sous vide precision cooker and now looking forward to using it. Report
awesome thanks Report
Great tips! Report
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