Here are all of my favorite tools, accessories, and resources for sous vide equipment so you can become a sous vide cooking pro!
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The only thing you need for sous vide cooking that probably wasn’t in your kitchen already? A sous vide machine (immersion circulator). That’s it. But there are lots of other things that are nice to have, even when you’re just starting out.
Here are all of my favorite tools, ranked from must have to very nice to have. If you have any questions, leave a comment on this post!
Must Have Sous Vide Equipment
Sous Vide Machines
There are three common types of sous vide machines:
- Water ovens
- Immersion circulators
- All in one machines
Water ovens were the first type of sous vide machine available. They’re a container and a circulator all in one. Fun fact: there are water ovens you can have built into your cabinetry these days!
I would not get a water oven. They’re big, heavy, and difficult to store. They also tend to be a much more expensive option. If you have a huge kitchen with plenty of storage, one potential benefit is that it’s both container and circulator. If you’re interested in a water oven, SousVide Supreme is the OG and I’ve heard great things.
Immersion circulators are what I’ve always used and likely will use forever. They’re easy to store, affordable, and lightweight and compact enough to even travel with (yep, I’m that person). I have used several brands of immersion circulators. My favorite machine is the Vesta Precision Imersa Elite.
When you start shopping for an immersion circulator, you’ll see “professional” models. You don’t need this! I do massive cooks all the time, and my “home cook” level circulators handle the job just fine. “Professional” models are much more expensive, larger, and in my experience, sometimes inferior to the standard models.
Don’t overthink this! Immersion circulators I’ve either used myself and liked or heard good things about:
- Vesta Precision Imersa Elite
- Anova Culinary Nano
- Breville Joule
- PolyScience Creative Immersion Circulator
All in one machines are new. I’m referring to an Instant Pot style pressure cooker, sous vide, slow cooker, rice cooker extraordinaire. I do not recommend these. These machines don’t truly circulate the water and are heating it from the outside in. The temperature of the water won’t be as consistent through the bath or as reliable, defeating the purpose of “precision cooking” with sous vide. Don’t use these for sous vide.
Nice to Have Sous Vide Equipment
If you’re new to sous vide cooking, I’ve got a whole post about sous vide air removal methods that you should read before deciding on your bag equipment!
My go-to for air removal is my vacuum sealer. It’s just the easiest and the most foolproof. I find features like roll storage to be unnecessary – usually I buy a box of rolls at Costco, anyways, so either way I’m storing ’em and would prefer my sealer to be more compact!
Vacuum sealers I recommend:
Handheld Vacuum Sealers
I like to have a handheld vacuum sealer available for more delicate food items so I can better control the suction. The one I have (and like!) is the Handheld Vac n Seal.
Water Bath Container
When you’re first starting out, you can totally use a stockpot. All you need is a large container that can stand up to temperatures between 120-185 degrees F.
Eventually, you may want to get something a little bigger and that you can dedicate to sous vide cooks without occupying a beloved stockpot. The containers I use are also clear which allows me to keep an eye on things, especially useful during long cooks!
You can use a Cambro container, which are easily found at restaurant supply stores like Cash and Carry. I have two bigger ones that I use when cooking large roasts or say, 30 individual cheesecakes at once.
My “everyday” container is a clear Everie container with a plastic lid. If I were to do it over, I would get one with a silicone lid. Don’t worry if the lid doesn’t perfectly fit your immersion circulator, I just adjust mine around it and it’s totally fine.
Why jars, you’re wondering? You’ll use jars for things like:
- Egg bites
- Desserts (think cheesecake, creme brulee, flourless chocolate cake!)
- Liquor infusions
- Other infusions (like oil or honey!)
- … and more!
You can absolutely use standard canning jars. However, my favorite jars are Weck jars. They’re more expensive than canning jars so I only have them in the size I need for egg bites (the jarred item I make most frequently).
The reason I like Weck jars? The only metal piece are the little clamps, so less rusting. I’m sure if I was more diligent about drying the lids, rusting wouldn’t be as big of an issue with my canning jars, but alas, I … won’t do that. You also don’t have to worry about lid tightness. When cooking in jars, you’ll only secure lids to “finger tip tight” to ensure air can escape during the cook. With Weck jars, this isn’t something you need to worry about.
Cast Iron Skillets
My favorite way to sear is with a cast iron skillet. Ideally, I preheat it in my oven then move it to my stove on the highest possible heat, throw in some ghee and sear my proteins.
Don’t overthink your cast iron skillets! You can definitely splurge here, but there’s no need to. I have an enameled (exterior only) cast iron skillet and I love Finex cast iron skillets, but just get what you can afford.
Very Nice to Have Sous Vide Equipment
Okay, here’s some of my favorite equipment that is not at all “necessary” but makes sous viding all the more fun and sometimes easier!
Chamber Vacuum Sealers
Chamber vacuum sealers are so fun and useful because they allow you to vacuum seal liquid! My favorite way to use mine is vacuum sealing meat in marinades.
However, they are super expensive (we’re talking $300 at the very, very low end, up to $2000). A splurge, for sure!
My favorite and the only one I’ve ever used is the Vesta Precision Vertical Vac. I like it because it’s relatively compact and looks pretty sitting on my countertop. Other chamber vacuum sealers are huge and let’s be real: ugly.
Grills and Smokers
I can’t recommend a good grill because we have so little space and currently use a camping grill. All I’ll recommend is one that can get SUPER hot since you’ll primarily be using it for searing when paired with sous vide cooking.
However, I can recommend a smoker! We have a small one because, again, limited space. Ours is the Green Mountain Grill Davy Crockett.
Here are a few of my other favorite accessories:
- My favorite “non-essential” accessory is my cast iron grill press, which I use to get a great sear on my proteins. It presses them flat for an even, thorough sear.
- If you’re planning on making creme brulee, you’ll want a culinary torch! No need to get anything too fancy.
- My new obsession: sous vide magnets! These magnets are coated in silicone so they won’t rust. You put one on the outside of the container and one inside, with the bag in between to keep it submerged throughout your cook!
Food and Ingredients
- The higher the quality meat, the better your food is going to taste. My go-to source for dry-aged, grass fed meat is Porter Road!
- Ghee is my favorite searing fat – it’s got all the flavor of butter, but with a higher smoke point so I can get my cast iron skillet really hot.
- I love a good spice blend – if the work is done for me, all the better! Primal Palate is my go to for all my spice blends.
Other Educational Sources
- I have a digital course meets ecookbook meets science textbook called Sous Vide School that is full of sous vide info, including sous vide labs at the end of each section!
- If you’re interested in learning more about sous vide from other experts, check out the International Sous Vide Association! Yours truly among many others regularly do virtual demos and they have all kinds of virtual events. Get on their mailing list to stay in the loop.
- Check out my cookbook, Everyday Sous Vide: It’s All French to Me, for all kinds of recipe ideas
- I also have lots of sous vide recipes right here!