Sous vide (pronounced like “sue veed”) is a French term that translates to “under vacuum” and refers to a cooking technique in which food is cooked slowly in a vacuum-sealed bag that is submerged completely in heated water.
This style of cooking allows you to have more control over the temperature of the food you’re preparing and works best with foods like steak, fish, vegetables, pork and lamb. Sous vide even makes tougher cuts of meat more desirable by breaking down the proteins, leaving a tender result. Breakfast is made easy, too; the process is ideal for eggs, as it gives you more control over the texture and consistency — and you don’t have to vacuum-seal them since the yolk is already in a shell. (Read more about sous vide here.)
What kitchen tools do you need for sous vide?
For even the simplest sous vide experience, you’ll want some special tools, including the most important: a sous vide cooker or immersion circulator. This cylinder-shaped gadget is inserted into a container or pot of water, from which it draws water — and then heats it to whatever temperature you set. Then, it pushes the water back out while heating and circulating it around the container, gently (and evenly) cooking the food (which is usually in the vacuum-sealed bags). However, if you’re not quite ready to invest in an immersion circulator, you can use a waterproof thermometer to monitor the water’s temperature.
Next you’ll need a vacuum sealer to seal your food in the bags. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, Ziploc bags are also safe to use when cooking below temperatures that will cause them to soften or burst.
You’ll also want to get your hands on a container or pot large enough to hold the water, as well as weights (or a rack) to keep the food from floating to the top. Some sous vide-specific containers come with a removable rack, and most have a specific slot to insert the circulator.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best sous vide equipment and other accessories you’ll find useful as you start your submerged cooking journey.
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An immersion circulator for beginners
A big container that’ll hold your water and food
A vacuum sealer to keep the air out of your food
Precut vacuum sealer bags
A sous vide sinker weight
A bag of sous vide cooking balls, to help with preventing heat loss
An alternative to immersion circulators: a waterproof thermometer
A sous vide cookbook: “Sous Vide at Home: The Modern Technique for Perfectly Cooked Meals”