Our sous vide FAQ provides you with answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive about sous vide products and the sous vide method of cooking. You may also be interested in our Sous Vide Hub Resources page, which provides even more useful sous vide goodness.

If there’s something missing from this FAQ, let us know via info@sousvidehub.com

What is sous vide?
Sous vide is French for “under vacuum” and is a method of cooking food which has been vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag or pouch and then placed in a regulated, low temperature controlled water bath or steam environment.

The low temperature of the water cooks the food slowly and more evenly than conventional cooking methods, such as roasting. It makes for succulent and tender meats that can then be quickly browned by searing or grilling to achieve the generally desired exterior crust.

Food cooked in this style needs to be chilled before being vacuum-sealed and cooked soon after being sealed.

If you are interested in the history of this style of cooking, Wikipedia would be more than happy to fill you in. Click here if you are keen to hear the background of this form of cooking.

How on earth do I pronounce sous vide?
Sous vide is pronounced soo-VEED.
Why have I only noticed sous vide cooking products more recently?
In the past cooking in the sous vide style was discouraged for home cooks. When home cooks attempted to seal proteins and cook them in pots of simmering water, proper regulation was not possible. This increased the risk of food contamination especially for proteins such as poultry and fish. No one loves the words ‘food’ and ‘e coli’ in the same sentence!

Now there are sous vide cookers, immersion circulators and machines available for home cooks and small businesses such as restaurants and cafes. Sous vide manufacturers provide safety guidelines for cooking proteins at the temperature needed to kill any food borne bacteria.

Which famous chefs have been known to dabble a little in the sous vide method?
We are glad you asked! The sous vide method of cooking has been around for a long time, however, it’s only more recently that the equipment has been available to support home cooks and small businesses.

Here are some examples of high end gourmet chefs who have dabbled, or immersed themselves (excuse the pun!) in sous vide cooking:

Heston Blumenthal
Paul Bocuse
Michael Carlson
Thomas Keller
Grant Achatz
Ferran Adria
Joel Robuchon
Philippe Rochat
Alessandro Stratta
Charlie Trotter
Michael Mina
Joan Roca

Sous vide machines tend to appear on popular cooking shows such as Iron Chef America and Top Chef. And you my friend, can join these culinary geniuses – there are now many sous vide products available that are perfect for the home cook or small food business cooks and chefs looking to be a star in their own kitchen.

What are the different types of sous vide equipment?
The sous vide market can be a bit overwhelming initially as there are many products associated with sous vide cooking. Here are the main categories of products when it comes to sous vide cooking:

Sous vide machines – often refererred to as sous vide ovens or sous vide water ovens
Thermal Immersion Circulators – often referred to as sous vide immersion circulators or precision cookers

PID Cooking Temperature Controllers (such as the Inkbird Pre-Wired Temperature Controller)
Combi steamers and cookers (such as the NutriChef Multi Cooker)
Vacuum-sealing systems – used to prepare your vacuum sealed food pouches with
Sous vide water balls and other accessories – including large plastic or polycarbonate containers and lids

By the way – you actually don’t need to spend a fortune to dabble in the sous vide method of cooking.

Why do people use the sous vide method of cooking?
Here are a few reasons that people are drawn to the sous vide method of cooking:

Food can be cooked really evenly
This method produces juicy and tender meats (although it can be used for foods other than meat as well)
With controlled cooking temperatures, you can be more certain about the outcomes of your cooking
You’ll notice improved flavor but without added fats

Sous vide cooking offers unparalleled control over whatever you are cooking. You don’t need to poke your food with a thermometer, cut into meat or take a thousand peaks at the food whilst it is cooking. No finger jabbing is required either.

The sous vide method of cooking allows you to get results and textures that are not possible using other traditional cooking methods.

Are there any pitfalls in using sous vide products?
Here are some considerations:

You need a little more time on your hands as cooking times are longer than traditioal cooking methods
Sometimes cooking vegetables and some fish products has inconsistent results
You really need to pay attention to food safety
You may need to invest in some equipment to master the art of sous vide cooking (although as we said earlier, it’s not essential to spend a fortune)

Common sous vide cooking problems solved

Check out our solutions for a range of common sous vide cooking problems by clicking here

Can I ruin a piece of steak in a sous vide machine like I can ruin steak on a BBQ??

Read this next sentence carefully. You cannot burn your steak in a sous vide machine. What did we just say? Yep, burnt steak can be a thing of the past.  We know right…genius. Check out our article about sous vide steak to see drool worthy steaks and learn which cuts of steak you can use in sous vicde cooking.

Which sous vide product should I choose?
This depends on a range of factors and it is a good idea to have a think about your specific requirements before pulling out your credit card. Sous Vide Hub walks you through a range of product options so you can decide what suits your needs and budget.
How much room do I need on my bench for sous vide cooking products?
It depends on which sous vide product(s) you buy. Of all sous vide products, a sous vide oven/water bath machine will take up the most room. The size of that foot print will vary depending on the brand.

You should definitely measure up your counter top space before buying. Sous vide machines for home cooks or small business owners can be moved very easily, hence you can put them away in a cupboard between uses. In our product reviews you will notice that we list product dimensions and weight so you can see what might work best for the counter space in your kitchen.

What can I cook in a sous vide machine?
Not just steak! Yes, we know. You look at lots of Instagram accounts focused on the sous vide method and all you see is steak, steak, steak. Don’t get us wrong, we love steak, but you can use this method to cook a whole range of other foods including:


Check out our curated list of over 200 sous vide recipes by clicking here.

What should I look for when I am buying a sous vide machine?
Sous Vide Hub is here to help you navigate the sous vide product market. In general terms you need to consider:

Heater and circulator reliability
Temperature range and precision
Alarm volume and general noise levels
Lid fit and water bath ease of use
Safety aspects
Water capacity
WiFi compatibility
Rack size
Condensation accumulation
Unit warmth
Ease of clean up
Added extras offered

Don’t let this list of considerations overwhelm you, because we are here to help you navigate sous vide products to find the best equipment for your needs.

Where can I buy sous vide products?
Sous vide products are available in bricks and mortar stores like department stores, electrical and whitegoods stores as well as online. They go on sale fairly frequently. Look out for:

  • Black Friday deals (via Amazon)
  • Prime Day deals (via Amazon)
  • Whitegoods stores seasonal sales (often at the end of each financial year and in the early months of any year)

When you are looking to buy sous vide products online you should also consider:

  • Delivery costs – some sous vide products especially machines, can be a little heavy. It is a bonus if you can get free delivery thrown in
  • Whether warranties and satisfaction guarantees are offered
What sort of warranty should I be looking for?
Generally speaking the warranty should cover parts and labor for around 1 to 2 years.

Sous vide equipment can be expensive, therefore it is always good to purchase products with a 100% satisfaction guarantee if you can. When you get your sous vide machine get it out of its packaging to make sure that it works properly. There is nothing more frustrating than finding out a few months down the track that your sous vide machine is damaged or doesn’t work as expected.

If I buy some food that is already sealed in a bag from the grocery store, can I just leave it in that plastic bag to complete my sous vide cook?

The store-provided sealed bag might work well. However the problem is that the affixed labels might foul your sous vide filter. As a workaround you could put the store-bought bag into a zip lock bag (squeeze all the air out) and sous vide cook it that way. The labels on the store-bought sealed bags are hard to remove without putting a hole in the bag.

If you purchase your meat or other food item frozen, we would advise extreme caution is using that packaging in your sous vide cook. Frozen packages can get knocked around in transit. That may mean that the plastic develops tiny holes in it. You won’t necessarily notice them while the food is frozen, but as it cooks, water may get in and ruin your meat.

Given the known risks above we would encourage you to re-bag any store-provided sealed bag food. In many cases you will want to season or marinade the food you are going to cook anyway.

What are sous vide water balls?

Yep. Sous vide water balls look just like ping pong balls. But we don’t suggest that you use ping pong balls. Sous vide water balls are specifically designed to be put on the top of your water bath when you are cooking your food. They assist in insulating your water bath. No sous vider wants to get up in the middle of the night to re stock water in their water bath due to excessive water evaporation. To learn more about the benefits of sous vide water balls and what to look for before you buy them, check out our article by clicking here.

Do I have to use my sous vide immersion circulator in a pot?

Nope. You can use other types of containers as well. Larger polycarbonate containers can be really helpful if none of your current pots are large enough to cook food for a dinner party for example. The most popular larger containers for sous viders tend to be products from companies such as Rubbermaid, LIPAVI, EVERIE and Cambro. Some people prefer to use  food coolers. We’ve even seen people use their laundry or kitchen sink. Gotta love ingenuity!

Check out our article about the best and most popular polycarbonate containers for sous vide cooking by clicking here

Is a vacuum sealer a must have for my sous vide cooking?

No. You do not have to use a vacuum sealer. You can use zip lock bags or handheld vacuum sealers to remove the air from your food pouches. Vacuum sealing does have some obvious benefits for your sous vide cooking. It ensures all air is removed from your food pouch which means your food will cook evenly. Vacuum sealed bags also reduce the risk of freezer burn (which is a bonus if you are planning to freeze your sous vide meals).

Choose a chamber vacuum sealer machine if you are going to seal your food pouches with a high liquid content. These machines use special chamber sealer bags. The downside is that there  machines tend to be very expensive and are normally only used by restaurants.

Check our our article which explores vacuum sealers in more detail by clicking here.

Don’t see an answer to a question you have?

Contact us via info@sousvidehub.com