Whether you consider yourself a Top Chef or a novice in the kitchen, one thing most people struggle with is cooking food to the right temperature. Depending on the item, incorrectly cooking food can at the least mean an inedible meal and at the worst mean food poisoning (chicken, we’re looking at you). With a sous vide, users can easily ensure their food is always cooked to the appropriate temperature, resulting in meat, fish, eggs and vegetables that are packed full of flavor and juice without any added salt or seasoning.
Sous vide translates from French to ‘under vacuum,’ which is essentially how the food is prepared. A sous vide is a long cylinder that attaches to the side of a pot filled with water and circulates the water, heating it at the same time. Users set the time and temperature depending on what they’re cooking and then add the item to the water after it’s been placed in a sealed plastic bag. The food is clipped to the side of the pot and cooks in its own juices, retaining all the original flavor, ensuring its tender and not dried out or undercooked. There’s no need to continually monitor the sous vide like you would when cooking on a stovetop or in the oven. Once the sous vide is done cooking, users can grill, sear, or broil the food to add a crispness to the outer layer.
Sous vides’ have been used in restaurants for years, but thanks to an upswing in interest, non-professionals can now afford to purchase their own temperature cooker to use at home. We researched the best sous vides to add to your kitchen and these are our top four picks.
1. Breville Joule Sous Vide
Keep control of your cooking even when away from the kitchen using the Breville Joule Sous Vide. The Joule comes with an app that enables users to control their cooking settings from their smartphone using either Bluetooth or WiFi. An Exclusive Visual Doneness feature in the app shows users what their food should look like once it’s done cooking, while also including hundreds of cooking guides and tips from top chefs. The slim and compact Joule has a durable stainless steel cap and base for a product that will last years. Precise to 0.2°F / 0.1°C, the Joule boasts 1100 watts of power and heats up to 40 liters of water quickly.
Pros: At 11” tall and weighing only 1.3 pounds, the Joule is the most compact and lightweight sous vide on our list, making is the least cumbersome to use and easiest to store.
Cons: The Joule comes with a big price tag. The Joule should only be used with 120-volt outlets and voltage transformers could damage the sous vide and void the warranty. Another con is that the Joule can only be controlled with a smartphone and not manually.
2. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker
Circulate water at a precise temperature for perfectly cooked food with the Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker. The Anova can fit on any pot or container and with 750 watts of power, it can cook enough food to serve up to four people at once. Keep food tender and moist with the Anova, which comes with an app filled with recipes and tips. The Anova has recently been redesigned and is now 2” shorter than its predecessor, making it easier to fit the sous vide into kitchen drawers when not in use.
Pros: The Anova comes with a Bluetooth-only app to control the sous vide, but unlike the Joule, it also can be controlled manually for those who don’t have smartphones or don’t want to use their phone.
Cons: The Anova is larger and heavier than the Joule. Like the Joule, using a converter on the 120-volt Anova would void the two-year warranty, but the company is planning on releasing a 220-volt model in the future.
3. Instant Pot Accu Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
For a straightforward, easy-to-use manual sous vide, try the Instant Pot Accu Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator. The Accu Slim is made by Instant Pot and the company recommends using the sous vide with an Instant Pot, but it can be attached to any pot or container that is six to eight quarts deep. Users manually set the temperature and time on the sous vide and then sit back as the machine circulates water to cook food. Cooking time can be adjusted between one minute and 72 hours and the temperature can be set in in increments of 1° between 68°F and 203°F.
Pros: The Accu Slim comes with an app that includes recipes.
Cons: The Accu Slim stops cooking once the timer goes off and users don’t have the option to add extra minutes or a warming feature to keep the water circulating. There’s also no option to pause cooking and users must start over if they need to interrupt the timer for any reason.
4. RODONI Ultra Slim Sous Vide Machine
Cook food with precision up to 0.18°F with the RODONI Ultra Slim Sous Vide Machine. The Rodoni is designed with a streamlined white body and a durable stainless steel sleeve. The Rodoni has a temperature range of 32°F to 203°F and the timer can be set by minutes or hours. The manual sous vide doesn’t require the use of a smartphone and boasts 1000 watts of fast and quiet heating power.
Pros: The Rodoni is the most affordable sous vide on our list and has a max cooking time of 99 hours, which is the same as the high-end Joule.
Cons: The Rodoni markets itself as a slim and small sous vide, but it’s the longest instrument on our list and is mid-range in terms of weight. It also doesn’t have any app capabilities or support. The buttons aren’t as user friendly as the Accu Slim and users must hold buttons down for specific time allotments in order to access different features.