For those of you who have discovered the magic of sous vide cooking, welcome! For those of you who want to learn more about the many benefits of sous vide cooking, feel free to head to our FAQ to read more.
In a nutshell, sous vide cooking involves putting your food ingredients into a vacuum sealed bag (either with a vaccum sealer machine or using the water displacement method with ziplock bags). Those food pouches are then submerged in a warm water bath (a pot, saucepan or larger water container) over a long period of time to cook. You need what is called a sous vide immersion circulator or water oven. Both of these applicances have become very inexpensive recently and accessible to any home cook.
Here are 27 ideas to up your sous vide plating game. Given you are producing restaurant quality meals with the sous vide cooking technique, you might as well plate like a pro as well.
Choose plates that will make your ingredients pop. As you can see with this sous vide egg dish, the avacado and egg yolk are front and centre when placed on this gray plate. Talk about appetizing – this sous vide breakfast is a crowd pleaser every time.
2. Serve it whole
Sous vide cooking often heroes large pieces of red meat such as brisket and butt. To really accentuate the work you have done to create a succulent sous vide meal, serve your meat whole on a platter of some type, such as the wooden cutting board below. You can add some theatre to your meal by cutting the meat at the table.
3. A plate with a difference
There is nothing better than surprising your guests with a sous vide dessert on a memorable plate. Not only will their taste buds be popping all over the place, but their rating of your as a home chef will go through the roof. We love this slate serving plate for not just desserts, but any sous vide meal you are looking to really showcase.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to make this sort of plating happen. Have a look around the house to see if you can find some unique serving plates for your next sous vide meal (or borrow some from a friend or relative). It will take your sous vide cooking presentation to the next level.
4. A touch of citrus on your plate
Citrus not only adds some zing to your sous vide masterpiece but also a visual pop. Take this prawn dish below as an example. The lemon zest creates a great design on the plate as well as blends with the color of the cooked prawn. Combine the color combo with a tangy taste and you have yourself a sous vide meal winner.
5. Experiment with decorative plates
If you are cooking something fairly monotone in color such as a sous vide brisket or shredded pork, consider adding a little something to your plating with the plates themselves. Each plate doesn’t have to be exactly the same and you can pick up some real bargains at local charity stores if you take the time to fossick around a little.
The added color and design will add another dimension to your super succulent sous vide meal, leaving your guests wowed by your food and your table setting.
6. Drizzle away
Got a sauce that you want to serve alongside your sous vide meal? There are so many ways you can drizzle your sauce on your plate or bowl. Below is just one example. You don’t have to be an art genius either. Hold your spoon up high, tip slightly over plate and start experimenting. This dish involves pouring a layer of sauce BEFORE you plate up your main ingredient.
7. Layering works
This sous vide egg dish is visually appealing because the breakfast ingredients have been layered on top of one another. This creates a visual feast that your guests will hardly be able to keep their hands off before serving.
Make sure that your serving plate or bowl is not too large so that you can use the sides as support for your “tower” if need be.
8. Vegetables on top
Yes. We know. Most of you can only see the sous vide steak on the plate below. But if you look beyond the steak (yes, we know that is hard to do!), you can see that the broccolini has been stacked on the bone of the steak creating a more dynamic look to the dish. You can give this a go with other vegetables too such as whole baby carrots, broad beans and more. The color contract makes the sous vide dish pop too.
9. Frame your sous vide meal with a wooden cutting board
How cool does the cutting board look underneath the white plate in the dish below! By using a round wooden cutting board the main meal is framed beautifully. The white plate against the wood also looks brilliant. Try your luck with other colored dishes too for extra crowd appeal.
10. A sous vide smorgasbord
Cooking more than one type of sous vide meat dish for your family and friends? Consider creating a smorgasbord of sorts by putting different meat dishes on rice, vegetables and potato mash. You can try other dishes too like sweet potato mash, quinoa and noodles.
Serve the food in the middle of your table and your guests can help themselves. For additional crowd appeal, serve individual serving sizes for each guest. Now that will create a wow factor.
11. Puree perfection
Using a puree underneath your sous vide meal is both visually appealing and tasty. We commonly see chimchurri with sous vide dishes but pea and asparagus purees are also popular depending on your protein.
Creating the effect in the picture below is not tricky at all. Anyone can do it. Put a tablespoon of puree on a tablespoon and place that puree in a pile on your plate. Turn your tablespoon over and smear as shown. Easy peasy.
12. Create contrast with greens
Sous vide ribs are absolutely mind blowing. In fact, many sous viders would say that there is no real point plating them up beautifully – because they are eaten in no time. However, if your ribs do last long enough, we love the plating below.
Just a simple white plate and some lettuce at each end of the sous vide ribs in the middles make them stand out on the plate. Minimal effort is required but that pile of sous vide ribs will last in the memories of your guest when they are reaching for a serviette and wishing there were more!!
13. Say it with flowers
The use of flowers in any meal has become more popular over the last few years. You can now readily purchase edible flowers in grocery stores and markets. Just make sure they are edible before you advise your guests to gulp them down with your sous vide meal.
Flowers make your plate of sous vide goodness burst with color and interest. Your guests will be both excited and intrigued by the inclusion and it makes for a great conversation starter and home cook star status for you.
14. Say it with herbs
Sure. This is a lesser known expression. But sous vide salmon and other fish is absolutely DELICIOUS served with herbs. This sous vide salmon is covered in dill. Not only does the pick flesh look super enticing against the green herb, but it will taste out of this world. We love the inclusion of a simple lime wedge on this dish too. It adds interest and of course flavor.
15. Sometimes simple sells
Sous vide cooking is elegant, yet simple. So why not serve your dish in the same style. The vegtable bed stands out deliciously on this black plate and the sous vide salmon speaks for itself simple placed on top. Bon appetit without any fuss but with a HUGE amount of flavor.
16. Seasoning anyone?
All of your guests are likely to have very different tastes. And seasoning is a very personal matter when it comes to how people enjoy their meals. Why not provide them with some options in a creative way by serving up some seasoning in the middle of your table on a plate with some spoons.
This really invites your guests to season up as they see fit rather than asking sheepishly for your salt shaker! Everyone enjoys their sous vide meals differently.
Maximise your guests’ eating enjoyment by providing some seasoning options. The spoons don’t have to match. In fact different spoons can add some more personality. Oh, and don’t feel as though you have to make seasonings from scratch. There are plenty of great options available on your local grocery store shelves.
17. Sous vide sauce jugs and jars
Have you cooked a sensational sous vide meal in a sauce that you have simmered to a jus? Or maybe you are just keen to capture all of those juicy flavors with the sauce just as it is when it comes out of you sous vide food pouch. Whatever the style of sauce, create a personal touch but serving it up on each of your guests’ plates individually.
That way, they can add as much as they would like to, to their dish. It creates another exciting element of your plate and a conversation starter. Guests will be dying to know what the ingredients are once they taste it.
18. Get creative with jus on your plate
There is no end to the shapes you can create on your plate with a jus. The thickness of a jus will allow it to hold its form on your plate. So you can squiggle, splodge, circle and loop on the plate to your hearts content before serving your sous vide dish.
19. Details, details, details
Don’t let the plating below intimidate you. When looking at some plating designs, it can be a little overwhelming to work out how you can create the same effect in your own kitchen. But think about each element layer by layer. For example this dish is made up with:
- Juice first
- Sous vide scallops second
- Vegetable disc third
- Witlof and rolled elements fourth
- Caviar fifth
- Greens sixth
If you look at your desired plating layer by layer, it is much less intimidating and very, very doable at home.
20. Serve up your sous vide dish in a cast iron pan
We love seeing dishes served up rustically in cast iron pans. Finish off your sous vide meal in the pan, add the sides and any additional sauces to the pan too and voila. Dinner is served. There is something communal and cosy about guests reaching into the center of the table to share in a meal you have created for them with love.
21. Pre-cut and serve with a pop of color
We all know that sous vide steak is TO DIE FOR! And whilst you might tend to serve up each steak whole, another creative plating idea is to cut it up before you serve to show off just how well the meat is cooked inside!
Lean each piece of steak against each other and make sure you serve with some colorful sides that will make your sous vide steak pop. But admire your work quickly. Once this hits the table, your guests will eat it in a flash.
22. Individual sous vide steaks on cutting boards
Looking to achieve the full pub feel by serving sous vide steaks to your guests? Then consider serving up your steaks on individual cutting boards complete with sides. Chips and wedges and brussel sprouts also look awesome as a side on a sous vide dish like this.
23. Stack it up
Sometimes negative space of your dinner plate is the way to go to create a real visual masterpiece. We love the way this sous vide steak sits on a potato roesti and is served with fried shredded potato on top. Whilst each of these elements could have been placed around the plate, we love the layering which creates an awesome stack. Makes you want to tuck in straight away right?
24. Separate elements
In contrast to the picture above, here’s an elegant example of each meal element being presented separately. If you love this look, check out more plating inspiration at Great British Chefs. If you are new to plating, start with some simple and work your way up to more sophisticated designs. Up your sous vide cooking and plating game bit by bit.
25. Round and round the garden
There is something nice about framing your main sous vide ingredient with lots of others dish elements around it. Place your main sous vide ingredient first and then work clockwise with your side dishes around it.
Note before you start if you would like to create any sort of pattern so that you can maintain that all of the way around. Start with elements at say 12, 3, 6 and 9 and then fill in between for maximum symmetry on your plate.
26. Experiment with different plates and bowls
Got a go to sous vide dish? Consider how you can make that dish look more visually appealing on the plate. For example. rather than using a plain white plate, consider using a wide brimmed shallow bowl instead. It really puts the emphasis on the sous vide meal itself.
A slight indent in the bowl will allow it to hold any delicious sauce or jus as well which will add to your guests’ enjoyment of your meal.
27. Push a little – aim higher
The joy of cooking should never be overshadowed by plating anxiety! The key thing to remember is to enjoy your cooking. Each time you create a sous vide meal, you are creating a memory for your family and friends. That should ALWAYS be your first priority.
If plating is your thing, keep experimenting. Afterall, that is what sous vide cooking is about. Take inspiration from dishes you see on Pinterest, Instagram and more. Create your own sense of personality with the foods you create.
We LOVE the plating of this sous vide dessert. The use of both solid elements (ice cream) and liquid elements (fruit jus) create more of a piece of art than a dessert.
But remember. It doesn’t matter what your sous vide meal looks like. You know that with sous vide cooking, you will get a consistent, restaurant quality result every single time. And you can’t ask for more than that.