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Sous vide cooking has come a long way over the past 60 years.
From its start in the 1960s as a method for simpler pasteurization and sterilization in hospitals and commercial food companies to its emergence into the French restaurant scene in the 1980s, sous vide has evolved from something you’d see in a lab to an appliance you’d find in the average home cook’s kitchen.
Now, sous vide has become even more accessible—gone are the days of clunky water ovens that leave you with little counter space, as handheld wand-style circulators have paved the way for more portable and affordable sous vide cooking.
But now that you’ve got your sous vide cooker, you may be wondering which of the dozens of sous vide accessories you need to go along with it.
In this article, we’ve got you covered with the top ten sous vide accessories on the market—although you certainly don’t need all of them, one or two might up your game and make your sous vide life just a bit easier.
Top 10 Best Sous Vide Accessories
If you need sous vide accessories, you probably already have a sous vide cooker.
But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our favorite sous vide cooker on the market: Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker (Nano or Regular-Sized).
With this ultra-portable wand device that can be tucked away in any drawer or cabinet between uses, Anova—one of our trusted brands at The Nutrition Insider—is a compact and budget-friendly way to get your sous vide on.
Now, let’s take a look at ten sous vide accessories that have the potential to make your mealtime prep even more effortless.
1. Vacuum Sealer
Although the name “sous vide” means “under vacuum” in French, you don’t technically need a vacuum sealer to cook in the sous vide style—but it can definitely be helpful.
If you want to make sure your bags are super-sealed and won’t leak into the water, Anova has got you covered with several sizes of vacuum sealers, including the top-rated Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer Pro.
Plus, you can use vacuum sealers for more than sous vide.
You can use the sealer to remove air before storing food, which can extend the shelf life of various items like coffee, meat, seafood, and produce—and it will save precious room in your fridge or freezer, too.
2. Vacuum Bags
If you invest in a vacuum sealer, adding a roll of vacuum bags is the next logical step in your sous vide journey.
Although you can use Ziploc bags in a vacuum sealer, many people prefer the ease and peace of mind using food-grade bags specifically designed for sous vide cooking, like those found in Anova’s accessory line.
With their vacuum sealer bags and rolls (for larger sizes or lengths), Anova is fighting back against one of the biggest downsides of sous vide cooking: plastic waste.
Their new and improved BPA-free bags are 100% plastic neutral; each time you purchase a box, the equivalent of 32 plastic bottles will be prevented from entering the ocean.
But if you want to skip the plastic waste altogether, Anova also carries two forms of reusable bags—their premium food-grade silicone bags and reusable BPA-free bags from the brand Stasher.
3. Cooker Lid
A sous vide lid can pre-heat your water quicker, shortening overall heating time by 15%.
Adding a lid on top of your pot of water can also reduce energy consumption, hold in heat to maintain an even and precise temperature, and prevent steam from escaping out during long cooks.
Plus, if you’re in a busy kitchen, the lid can keep out any contaminants or anything that might get dropped in the water.
The food-grade silicone lid of this model fits most pots, and is compatible with all Anova Precision Cookers.
4. Cooker Base
This cooker base allows you to have your sous vide cooker stand upright anywhere in the pot, without it leaning, falling, or needing to clamp it against the side.
If you want to display your sous vide cooker on the counter, this base will also allow you to do so—no more shoving it in the bottom drawer of your cabinet if you’re proud of your sous vide cooker and want a conversation starter in your kitchen.
5. Food Containers
Food-safe commercial storage containers are a popular choice for sous vide cookers, including this top-rated Rubbermaid polycarbonate container.
As these containers can withstand both low and high temperatures from -40 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit (°F), the high heat threshold is perfect for sous vide cooking.
Although available in three sizes, the 12-quart container works best for at-home sous vide cooking.
As a bonus, you can use the containers to store just about anything in your fridge and pantry on your non-sous vide days—or, you can store all of your new sous vide accessories in it.
Adding sous vide weights to your sealed bags will keep them submerged so they can cook uniformly—no more floating or unevenly cooked food.
There are three 4-inch weights in this pack, made of a stainless steel core with a food-grade silicone shell that will not affect the food’s taste.
Plus, as opposed to certain racks, magnets, and clips, these weights will work with any sous vide cooker and container or pot size.
7. Stainless Steel Rack
If you do want to go the rack route, this stainless steel rack with built-in and flexible BPA-free nylon clamps is the way to go.
Sous vide racks are essential for cooking multiple bags of food at one time, allowing them to stay separate from one another and ensure even cooking.
Unlike sous vide rack designs of the past, the built-in clamps at the bottom of this one ensure your dividers won’t wobble and will stay rooted in place.
8. Metal Clips
For one of the most budget-friendly options of keeping your sous vide bags in place, powerful stainless steel clips can secure your bags to the side of your container while cooking sous vide style.
Plus, these clips are not just for sous vide—use them to seal up chip bags, keep cereal fresh, or even clamp together papers or office supplies.
9. Heat Resistant Gloves
You may think you’ve got all the sous vide accessories you need—but what about when you have to remove those hot bags from the water?
Heat-resistant gloves will be your new best friend when that timer goes off.
Made from BPA-free silicone, these textured nonslip gloves are heat-resistant up to 446°F and are machine-washable.
You can also use them when grilling or removing food from the oven—no more burnt fingertips here.
10. Culinary Torch Lighter
Last but not least, you may want a culinary torch lighter to add that hard-to-replicate sear to your sous vide cooked meat.
This handheld torch is safe, durable, and easy to operate by adjusting the flame’s intensity with a simple turn of a knob.
If you’ve been loving how meat cooks in a sous vide container but you’re missing that classic sear, this torch lighter is for you.
What Is Sous Vide?
Sous vide cooking places raw or partially cooked foods in a vacuum- or zip-sealed plastic bag and submerges it to cook slowly in a hot water bath for several hours with a precision cooker—sometimes called an immersion circulator.
The temperature and time used will differ depending on what you are cooking, but typically ranges from 135-200°F and 1-12 hours.
For example, it’s recommended to cook sous vide chicken breasts at 145-150°F for one to two hours, while pork ribs require 12 hours of cooking at 165°F.
Side note: If you’re concerned about Salmonella in chicken at this lower temperature, don’t be—although Salmonella bacteria die instantly at temperatures of 165°F, cooking chicken at temperatures of 145°F will still kill off Salmonella in less than 10 minutes of cooking.
Some foods, like brisket or chuck roast, can take 48 hours or longer, allowing the meat to retain natural juiciness without causing dryness from overcooking.
Although it’s most common to cook meat sous vide style, you can also try firm fish or shellfish, eggs, vegetables, grains, desserts, and even yogurt or custard.
There are several benefits to using the precision cooking technique of sous vide, including a straightforward and hands-off way of creating juicy, flavorful, consistent meals every time.
However, there is some debate about some of the pros and cons of sous vide cooking, including food safety concerns, plastic usage, and an inability to get that perfect sear or char—this is where some sous vide accessories can come in handy.
FAQs About Sous Vide Accessories
What Accessories Do You Need With a Sous Vide?
Technically, you just need a sous vide cooker, some sort of zip-seal bag, and a pot full of water to utilize sous vide cooking.
However, many people enjoy the ease of adding on some sous vide accessories, with the most popular being:
– Vacuum sealer with food-grade bags
– Cooker lids and bases
– Large, commercial-sized food storage containers
– Heat-resistant gloves
– Culinary torch lighter
Do Chefs Use Sous Vide?
Many restaurant chefs are fans of sous vide cooking for reasons including scalability, ease of use, precise and consistent outcomes, and the invaluable ability to work on other things while the food cooks sous vide.
Some renowned chefs have reported using sous vide techniques for their most popular dishes, including chef Thomas Keller at Napa’s French Laundry, who even wrote a cookbook on the topic.
Other sous vide supporters include Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, and even the fast-casual Mexican chain Chipotle, which cooks all of its meats sous vide-style before being marinated and seared.
Is a Sous Vide Rack Worth It?
Many people find that a sous vide rack with built-in clips at the bottom is worth it because it allows for even cooking and enables you to cook several items at once.
If you’re only cooking one or two things at a time, other options include adding weights to the bags or clipping them to the side of the container.
Do You Need Sous Vide Weights?
Sous vide weights can be helpful for submerging your food bags, ensuring even cooking, and making sure your bags don’t float to the surface.
Other options include sous vide racks for cooking multiple items or clips to clamp the bag to the side of the container.
Are Ziploc Bags Safe for Sous Vide?
Many die-hard sous vide enthusiasts may disagree with this answer, but technically, you can use Ziploc bags with sous vide cooking and don’t need to purchase special vacuum bags.
However, you’ll need to use high-quality bags, like Ziploc or Glad, because they are resistant to the sub-boiling temperatures involved in sous vide cooking—flimsy store-brand plastic bags won’t do.
Plus, Ziploc bags like Ziploc Brand Freezer Bag with Easy Open Tabs are BPA-free and made with low-density polyethylene, which is considered a safer plastic to use.
However, it’s cautioned that you shouldn’t use a singular Ziploc bag when cooking at temperatures above 158°F, as the heat can cause the bag to burst at the seams and expose your food to the water—but a simple solution to this problem is doubling up the bags.
Conversely, some people strongly advise to only use food-grade vacuum-seal bags because they believe Ziploc-style bags will leach plastic into the water and cause changes in taste.
Overall, it’s up to you whether you use Ziploc bags or purchase food-grade vacuum sealant bags.
- Sous vide means “under vacuum,” and this style of cooking places foods in a vacuum- or zip-sealed plastic bag and submerges them to cook slowly in a hot water bath.
- Although you don’t technically need anything other than a sous vide precision cooker and a pot full of water to cook food sous vide-style, there are many sous vide accessories that can make your life easier.
- To keep your food submerged and evenly cooked, try sous vide racks, weights, or clips.
- To ensure your bag are properly sealed, add a vacuum sealer and food-grade sealer bags to your list.
- To keep your sous vide cooker standing up straight and sealed shut, try out the sous vide base and lid.
- To keep your fingers safe and your steaks seared, add on some heat-resistant gloves and a culinary torch lighter.
Zavadlav S, Blažić M, Van de Velde F, et al. Sous-Vide as a Technique for Preparing Healthy and High-Quality Vegetable and Seafood Products. Foods. 2020;9(11):1537. Published 2020 Oct 25. doi:10.3390/foods9111537