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Sous vide, the technique of immersing vacuum-sealed food into a circulating bath of warm water, cooks food slowly and evenly so that proteins and vegetables are their most tender, is the most consistent method of cooking. It's not only good for whipping up the best filet mignon but also comes in handy for meal prep since the food can be thrown in the freezer once it's done cooking. And if you're worried about not having a vacuum sealer, there are ways around that.
The playing field for sous vide machines, though, is wide. There are immersible machines, machines that include a basin, and multi-purpose machines that do more than just one job. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to noise, portability, and maintaining a stable temperature throughout the cooking process. We researched them all to help you find the best fit for your kitchen life.
Here are the best sous vide cookers to have in your kitchen.
Best Overall: Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano
What We Like: Manageable, easy to use
What We Don't Like: Does not come with accessories
Our pick for the best overall sous vide cooker is an immersion-style sous vide machine, which is a stick that clips onto a container of water in order to execute the technique. The Anova is small and portable, falls into the mid-range of price points for sous vide machines, and has a number of technological upgrades that make it easy to use. The adjustable clamp can fit on pots and containers of differing widths, and the built-in controls can also be activated from a smartphone app.
The Anova app, by the way, offers a host of free sous vide recipes, which Anova owners can access. Time and temperature can both be adjusted on this unit, which is about a foot long and can fit in most cabinets and drawers with ease. With nearly perfect accuracy, you'll get consistent results every time you use it.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 4.1 x 2.2 x 12.8 inches | Temperature Accuracy: +/- 0.2 degree | Flow Rate: 8 liters/minute | Wattage: 750 W
Best Budget: Segulah Sous Vide Cooker
What We Like: Affordable, easy-to-clean
What We Don't Like: No app or other bells or whistles
Sous vide cookers can easily get pricey. The Segulah Sous Vide Cooker though is great for the beginner or enthusiast who doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on new gadgets. A recipe cookbook comes with the machine, which can help navigate the wide world of sous vide cooking.
The machine has time and temperature controls and can be attached to any pot or container when it's time to sous vide. The stainless steel tube can also be cleaned and dried, a bonus since many of these machines are difficult to take apart. There's a tricolored light on the wand that will let you know when the machine is heating, cooking, and when it's finished. The downside here is that the machine doesn't have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities, so you won't be able to control it from your phone.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 14.8 x 3.7 x 2.4 inches | Temperature Accuracy: +/- 1 degree | Capacity: 20 liters | Wattage: 1100 W
Best for Beginners: SousVide Supreme Touch 9 Liter
What We Like: Comprehensive, easy-to-use
What We Don't Like: Takes up a lot of space
This quiet, steam-free machine has a 9-liter basin—not huge, but ample enough to learn the ropes of sous vide. Temperature controls are offered in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. Rack slots on the machine’s interior facilitate cooking, so that food stays in place.
It’s also easy to operate. You place sealed bags in, push a button, and the magic begins. The double-walled insulation keeps heat in (and energy costs down), and the housing remains cool to the touch throughout your sous vide session. A clear plastic lid also means you can watch the cooking unfold. For newbies concerned about getting equipment together, this machine takes the guesswork out of 90 percent of sous vide. This is a bulkier machine, though, and you’ll have to be ok with it taking up valuable kitchen space.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 16.7 x 14.5 x 14.25 inches | Temperature Accuracy: +/- 1 degree | Capacity: 9 liters | Wattage: 120 W
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Best Portable: Breville Joule Sous Vide
What We Like: Small and lightweight, sleek-looking
What We Don't Like: Expensive
The Joule is the crown jewel of portable sous vide machines, and that’s because it’s tiny. At 11 inches long and weighing just over a pound, the Joule is the smallest machine on the market. This Wi-Fi-compatible unit heats up quickly, owing to its 1100 watts of power. It can be used with any vessel you like. And it connects with Bluetooth and Alexa, too.
Because of its size, you can pack this machine for an upcoming vacation and impress friends and family with your pitch-perfect steaks. After it's notified you that your food is done cooking, it can keep everything warmed without overcooking. It’s also a stunning white machine, which contrasts with the black options on the market.
"I absolutely love my Joule and have been using it for almost 4 years now to make everything from spare ribs to weeknight salmon! It's also very quiet when running, simple to use with an iPhone app, and easy to disassemble and clean." — Emma Christensen, Editor in Chief
Dimensions (LxWxH): 13 x 4 x 4.1 inches | Temperature Accuracy: +/- 0.2 degrees | Capacity: 40 liters | Wattage: 1100 W
Best Kit: VÄESKE Insulated Large Sous Vide Container with Lid and Racks Kit
What We Like: Compatible with many immersion cookers, comprehensive
What We Don't Like: Does not include the machine itself
This selection isn’t the machine, but it’s the kit that accompanies the machine, which you’ll also need if you intend to sous vide. The 26-quart container comes with a lid, racks, and an insulating sleeve. It can fit 10 steaks or chicken breasts or large cuts (think whole brisket, for instance). This is especially useful if you’re cooking for a crowd.
The neoprene insulating sleeve prevents the escape of heat so that the container heats up faster and remains more consistent. It also prevents stains and scratches on the countertop. Racks prevent bags from floating or clumping, and the lid stops water from evaporating. The bin is compatible with devices like the Nano, the Anova, the Joule, and others.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 20.5 x 13 x 8 inches | Capacity: 26 quarts
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Best Machine: SousVide Supreme Touch Plus with Wi-Fi
What We Like: Bells and whistles, large capacity
What We Don't Like: Takes up a lot of counter space
Made from stainless steel, this sous vide machine is also equipped with a cool-touch exterior to prevent accidental burns. It’s double insulated, for heat retention and consistency, and the advanced thermal system distributes 360-degree radiant heat.
Another one of the machine's advantages over immersion-style sous vide machines is noise level. This is completely silent during the cooking process. With its one-touch digital display, this machine is easy to program and use, and also comes with WiFi, which is compatible with Amazon Echo and Echo Dot. When you're done, you simply empty the water. No need to pull apart the machine to clean a pump or propellor. Best of all, it comes with a five-year warranty, just in case.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 17.2 x 14.4 x 13.9 inches | Temperature Accuracy: +/- 1 degree | Capacity: 11 liters
Best Multi-Purpose: Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer 11-in-1 (8 Quart)
What We Like: Multicooker you can use for other methods
What We Don't Like: Can produce inconsistent results
The Instant Pot is not only a sous vide machine—and that’s part of its charm. Equipped with a large chamber for cooking, this versatile machine can be used to heat water to a consistent temperature, for sous vide, and also for other cooking techniques, like stewing, pressure cooking, sautéing, warming, rice cooking, and more. Switch out the lid and you can also use it for air frying.
The easy-to-use dial and digital display allow you to toggle between programs so that you can use your Instant Pot for whatever works best that night. With multiple safety features, Instant Pots are great for novices and households with kids.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 15.3 x 14.8 x 13.6 inches | Temperature Accuracy: +/- 1.8 degrees | Capacity: 8 quarts | Wattage: 1500 W
Our top pick is the Anova Precision Cooker (view at Amazon), an immersion machine that also connects with Wi-Fi and can be controlled by an app. If you know you'll want to regularly take your sous vide with you to a friend's or to a vacation home, you should pick up the easy-to-pack-up Breville Joule Sous Vide (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in a Sous Vide Machine
Accuracy and Stability of Temperature
The key to sous vide lies in maintaining a consistent temperature for a prolonged period of time, so you’ll want to look for a machine that does just that. Sous vide machines should be able to get to the desired temperature quickly and they should be able to stay at the temperature for the duration of cooking.
The major distinction, when it comes to size, lies in immersion sous vide machines vs. countertop ones. Larger machines—even the ones that can multitask, like the Instant Pot—take up a fair amount of space, so if you have a smaller kitchen or more limited storage, you might want to opt, instead, for a smaller immersion model, which can be stored in your kitchen cabinets.
What Else You’ll Need
Most sous vide machines do not come with the attendant accessories. If you intend to vacuum-pack your proteins and vegetables yourself, you will need a vacuum sealer and a roll of bags that can be used with it. If you opt for an immersion machine rather than a countertop version, you’ll also need a vessel in which to cook, which can be anything from a durable plastic bin to a stock pot. You may also want racks, which prevent bagged items from moving around in the water.
Some features of sous vide machines include WiFi compatibility, apps, temperature control, timer, clamp, basin, and digital display. Wattage determines how quickly the machine achieves the desired temperature.
What can you sous vide?
Proteins benefit significantly from this cooking technique, but you can also sous vide vegetables, eggs, and even sauces, like Hollandaise. Sous vide is a flexible technique that amplifies many different types of food.
Do you sear meat before or after sous vide?
Meat should be seared after sous vide so that its crust remains crunchy and firm. Cook protein a few degrees under what you prefer and then sear it just before you serve it.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Hannah Selinger has written about food and drinks for local and national publications since 2015. A former sommelier, Hannah has worked for some of New York’s top restaurant groups, including Laurent Tourondel’s BLT group and David Chang’s Momofuku group. Her work has appeared in Eater, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wine Enthusiast, and more. Hannah is also a graduate of the International Culinary Center, where she learned the importance of sous-viding.
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