Sous vide machines cook tender and juicy meat perfectly and are the perfect addition to any kitchen. Find out everything you need to know with your guide to the best sous vide machines.
- Anova Culinary PCB-120US-K1
- Sansaire Sous Vide 110v
- VacMaster SV1
- What is Sous Vide Cooking?
- What Are the Benefits of Sous-Vide Cooking?
- What Are the Disadvantages of Sous-Vide Cooking?
- What is a Sous Vide Machine?
- Slow Cooker vs Sous Vide – What’s the Difference?
- Important Features
- What Are the Best Foods for Sous-Vide Cooking?
- How to Use a Sous-Vide Machine
Sous vide machines are a great investment for anyone who is interested in creating perfect, evenly cooked food. They are also excellent for people with busy schedules and families on the go because they take up very little space and work quickly. These types of appliances can be purchased in many different shapes and sizes so it’s easy to find one that will fit your kitchen. In this article, we’ll review some of the best sous vide machines currently available on the market!
Anova Culinary PCB-120US-K1
Our pick of the bunch, the Anova Precision Cooker does everything you’d want from a sous vide machine: It is easy to use, it has fantastic temperature control, and it boasts an excellent start-up time.
Not only all this, but its Wi-Fi feature makes it part of Apple’s HomeKit smart home technology, meaning that you can control it remotely. It’s as close to perfect as we’ve found, and at under $200 it’s hard to find better value than this.
Sansaire Sous Vide 110v
Second, but not by far, is the Sansaire Sous Vide 110v. Its sleek interface is beautiful and modern, and dial temperature control is a joy to use.
This immersion circulator performs brilliantly with cooking, but especially so with steaks, slow cooking them to perfection. Furthermore, it isn’t dominating on your kitchen space at all, as it’s sized about roughly the same as a champagne bottle.
Rounding off our top 3 picks is this professional-quality pump and immersion circulator. Its control panel is brilliantly simple to use, and it can heat up to an amazing 30 (!!!) liters of water at once.
This is the most powerful unit of the lot, boasting about 400 watts more power than the others, making it comparable to high-end, professional models, but for a fraction of the price. It is quite large, but for all its size it is remarkably quiet. If you’re after something that can really ramp up the power, this is the one for you.
What is Sous Vide Cooking?
Sous vide cooking is an ingenious way of cooking that involves submerging food in a warm water bath, slowly bringing it to temperature. This incredible form of slow cooking involves tightly packaging the food with vacuum sealer, before letting it cook in water. It’s a form of slow cooking, so it’s a way of making food more delicious, but also it’s done in a BPA-free environment, making your food safe.
When you cook in a regular oven, the fan or flames will do their best to burn or blow away a lot of the juices and flavor. No such danger with a sous vide cooker, as everything is packed and locked in the pack until done.
What Are the Benefits of Sous-Vide Cooking?
Sous-vide cooking helps impart intense flavors and tender textures on food, even if you are using secondary cuts of meat instead of the most expensive cut.
Sous-vide cooking is also healthier as more vitamins and minerals are preserved in the food and this method requires less added salt and fat than others.
Finally, sous-vide cooking is more efficient because it uses less energy than a regular range. It can also help you extend the shelf life of your food instead of throwing away meals.
What Are the Disadvantages of Sous-Vide Cooking?
One of the biggest disadvantages of sous-vide cooking is that you need to plan ahead to use it. This method is very slow and dishes can take several hours to cook. If you know that you don’t like meal planning, or you need to eat something immediately, then sous-vide cooking is not for you. The cooking time doesn’t even include the prep time such as waiting for the machine to reach the right temperature.
Sous-vide cooking also requires specialized equipment, including the machine itself and a lid.
Finally, some people don’t like the flavors of sous-vide cooking as it tends to take natural aromas to the extreme.
What is a Sous Vide Machine?
Obviously, a sous vide machine is the device that allows us to cook in this way. The thing is, this can actually be done in a couple of ways: With a sous vide immersion circulator, or with a water oven.
A home immersion circulator is a little different. A sous vide circulator allows you to use your own pot for cooking. So, instead of there being a big water tank, you can choose your own size of container – just so long as the circulator says it can handle it.
Place the machine in the water, change some settings and it takes care of the rest
Water oven models look a lot like a crockpot, but with the added bonus of facilitating the heating of the water themselves. You just add water, set the temperature, and add your food into the mix.
So what types of food can be cooked in a sous vide immersion cooker? You’ll be glad to hear that these machines are brilliant in their versatility, and can cook a whole range of foods.
Slow Cooker vs Sous Vide – What’s the Difference?
This is the burning question, and it’s one that is fairly easy to answer. Although both cook food slowly in their own juices, sous vide’s use of vacuum-sealed bags gives the food a richer, more succulent quality.
Sous vide also tend to cook at a lower temperature, meaning you also don’t risk overcooking as much, ensuring that your meat (if you are indeed cooking with meat) is tender.
Important because not only will the water oven need to contain your food, but it will also need to be able to contain enough water in order to sous vide cook.
Certain foods need a specific water depth. For example, lamb needs at least 6 inches of water depth in order to cook well.
As with any oven, certain foods will need higher or indeed lower temperatures than others. Try to find out the temperature range of the food you want to cook will be.
A great safety feature that will allow you to leave the water oven to it, instead of continually needing to check on it.
Precise temperature measurement
Even one degree off could have an impact when slow cooking, so be sure to look out for circulators that are praised for their temperature accuracy.
As these are left on for a long time, the last thing you want is a circulator that makes a racket like a blender. The quieter the better.
Temperature stability and efficiency
How quickly will your sous vide machine heat up the water? You do not want to be waiting ages for the water to reach the desired temperature, nor do you want to a circulator that deviates from your chosen heat setting. The best sous vide machines can maintain temperature stability to ±0.05°C.
What Are the Best Foods for Sous-Vide Cooking?
Meat is one of the most common uses of sous-vide cooking as this preparation method helps bring the meat to the right temperature without destroying any of its natural flavors and textures.
Second-tier cuts of meat that tend to be more affordable (and tougher) shine using this cooking method. Sous-vide machines help break down the proteins that make these cuts so tough, leaving you with a perfectly tender dish.
You can also use sous-vide cooking for vegetarian cooking, including vegetables. Sous-vide cooks the vegetables while keeping them crisp, instead of turning them into mush like other cooking methods tend to do.
How to Use a Sous-Vide Machine
The first step when using a sous-vide machine is to immerse the machine into a heatproof container filled with water. Most sous-vide machines come with a line marking the minimum and maximum water levels, and you want to aim for halfway in between the two. Chefs recommend adding about 2.5 gallons of water if cooking without a cover (more if you’re planning to cover the container).
Next, set the temperature on the machine. The temperature settings will depend on the make and model of your machine and the food that you are preparing, so be sure to check the instruction manual. The temperature will be between 120 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
After that, you can prepare your food. Season it and package each cut of meat or vegetable in its own bag. While you can use Ziploc bags, vacuum-sealed bags are the best for sous-vide cooking because you want to get all of the air out.
Once the sous-vide machine is heated to the desired temperature, you can place your food in the heated water, making sure that the levels don’t rise above the recommended maximum. Cook according to recipe instructions.