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Buy Sous Vide Machine VERIFIED

Sous Vide is a French cooking technique, which translates to under vacuum." In this technique food is vacuum-sealed in a cooking pouch and heated up at a precise temperature in a water oven. Instead of relying on perfect timing, sous vide relies on precise temperature control. You simply set the machine and can expect the technique to deliver consistent, perfect results. Foods cooked sous vide develop flavors and textures that simply cannot be duplicated using any other traditional cooking method.

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Ben Keough has written for Wirecutter since 2015, covering everything from printers to coffee to cast-iron bakeware. He is an avid home cook, a sourdough specialist, and an aspiring pitmaster. He has been cooking with sous vide, starting with the original Anova Precision Cooker, for almost a decade. During that time, he has used sous vide for everything from cooking steaks and lamb chops to controlling the temperature of his mash when homebrewing.

Over the past decade, the technique has blossomed into the public consciousness thanks to its prevalence in the kitchens of high-end restaurants and a glut of demystifying literature, perhaps most visibly in the work of J. Kenji López-Alt. As a result, demand for home-use sous vide circulators has soared, options have proliferated, and prices have dropped.

With all of the above characteristics in mind, we surveyed the available sous vide circulators and came up with an initial list of 21 contenders for our latest round of testing. From there, we pared down the list by eliminating models with too few features, an unusually high stated temperature variance, consistently poor owner reviews, or an impractical design. In the end, we decided to test eight circulators for the 2022 update of this guide:

In order to cook sous vide, you need to put your food in a bag and eliminate all of the air around it. Vacuum sealers work great for foods that can stand up to pressure without getting smooshed, like steaks and carrots. However, vacuum-sealing delicate foods like hamburger patties requires some finesse.

Although you can find plenty of sous vide circulators that operate entirely manually, including our top pick, most of the latest machines are app-connected, allowing you to control them by remote. As with other app-connected appliances, this connection means they may be vulnerable to hacking.

A sous vide machine allows you to cook food slowly to a precise, uniform temperature. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of preparing a perfectly medium-rare steak, a juicy chicken breast, or a just-runny-enough egg. That kind of control also gives you more room to experiment and try new things in the kitchen.

Sous vide is a method of very precise cooking where you seal food in plastic bags (some foods can be prepared in glass containers) and immerse it in a water bath set to a relatively low temperature, usually your desired final cooking temperature of the food. As the food sits in the bath, it slowly comes up to the same temperature of the water.

While it may sound futuristic, sous vide cooking has quite a few advantages: the long, slow cook time can turn tough cuts of meat incredibly tender; the sealed environment helps contain moisture so food doesn't dry out; and because the temperature is so low, there's almost no risk of overcooking. With the right equipment, sous vide cooking can be safe and easy, and help you produce some of the most delicious meals you've ever had.

I've been testing and writing about sous vide machines since 2014. My sous vide reviews and research have been published in Cook's Illustrated magazine, aired on "America's Test Kitchen," and published in "Sous Vide for Everybody." For this guide I tested seven popular sous vide machines, running each through a series of time, temperature, and cooking tests. You can read more about how we tested here.

After years of testing sous vide machines, I've found that one thing matters above all when it comes to finding a machine you'll want to cook with: ease of use. The simplest, most easy to use product we tested is the Anova Nano, and there's no better sous vide machine you can get at this price.

The Anova Nano isn't the fastest or most powerful machine we tested; it took almost 20 minutes to heat four quarts of water to 130 F. But for most home cooks, we think the $100+ savings in price compared to more powerful machines is probably worth the extra 10 minutes you'll spend pre-heating the bath (a process that is totally hands off).

What it lacks in power and speed it makes up for in effortless controls, accuracy, and usability. I didn't even need to read the instruction manual to get the Nano set up and cooking. The onboard controls are intuitive and it can be paired with Anova's app via Bluetooth. I found the Bluetooth connection to be much more stable and reliable than Anova's other sous vide machines, which pair via Wi-Fi and seemed to frequently lose connection. That said, all the Anova machines use the same app, and I found it to be fairly buggy. Most folks will find the onboard controls easier to use.

I'll be honest: the Joule is my personal favorite sous vide machine and a very close contender for our top pick. The only reason why it was edged out by the Anova is because it lacks onboard controls and relies on an app for all functionality. If you don't mind being tied to your phone or smart device to cook, the Joule could very well be the better option for you.

The Joule has several features that distinguish it from the Anova. First, it's incredibly fast. In my tests, it was able to heat four quarts of water to 130 F in seven minutes; faster than any other machine in this guide. Second, it's the smallest of all the machines we tried, but one of the most versatile. It can work with a minimum of 1.5 inches of water and a maximum of 8 inches, so can be used in something as small as a coffee mug or as large as a cooler. I love that I don't have to break out the big Dutch oven every time I want to sous vide a couple of eggs. A magnetic bottom helps it stand in smaller metal pots for better stability.

Sous vide is a popular restaurant cooking technique because it allows the chefs to hold large quantities of food at the perfect serving temperature without risk of overcooking. For example, by holding steaks at 125 degrees F in a sous vide bath, a steakhouse can take each out as orders come in, give them a quick sear, and send off perfectly cooked steaks to diners in record time. It's a technique used in both Michelin-starred restaurants and chains like Starbucks and Chipotle.

But, if you own or work in a restaurant, or are otherwise well-acquainted with sous vide cooking, I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know. For restaurant folks and pros who are looking for something with more commercial features than the sous vide machines marketed for home cooks, I highly recommend the HydroPro.

The machine is thoughtfully designed for precision and repeatability. A touch screen lets you control time, temperature, and flow rate (three speeds), and offers a robust collection of built-in time and temperature algorithms for cooking and pasteurizing a wide range of foods, including grains, custards, and a whole host of meat cuts. You can save any settings in "my presets" right on the device, so you can easily repeat recipes night after night. The machine is ultra-accurate and fast, heating to 130 F in just eight minutes.

The adjustable flow settings were key when cooking eggs. I was able to lower the flow rate and angle the outport away from the eggs so none broke during cooking. The clamp is fully adjustable, the body comes apart for easy cleaning, and the machine can purportedly heat nearly 12 gallons of water when the bath is covered. In all, a powerful and thoughtfully designed choice for more experienced users or those working in a commercial setting.

Sous vide is still a pretty niche cooking technique, and not one that most people use every single day. For folks who are interested in trying sous vide but don't want to buy a dedicated machine, we recommend the InstantPot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer, which has a sous vide setting.

Aside from the slow heating and the more limited capacity compared to versatile immersion circulators, I actually really liked using the InstantPot to sous vide. It was easy and intuitive to use, and makes for one less appliance I need in my house. If you're sous vide curious but not ready to invest in a dedicated machine, the InstantPot Duo Crisp is a great first step.

For this guide, we tested seven sous vide machines, running each through a series of time and temperature tests; measuring fit in a variety of vessels; and evaluating ease of setup, use, and cleaning. We also cooked 63 C runny "onsen" eggs and 130 F steaks with each machine. Here's the criteria we looked at:

Speed: I timed how long it took each machine to heat four quarts of room temperature water to 130 F and 190 F. The best machines were able to do this in under 10 minutes and under 25 minutes, respectively. (It's worth noting that you can speed this process by covering the bath with plastic wrap, which we didn't for this test.)

Versatility: A good sous vide machine can be used in a variety of vessels to suit your needs. Models with a large range between minimum and maximum fill lines offered the most flexibility in this area.

Accuracy: Sous vide is a precision cooking technique, so accuracy is paramount. We regularly used a lab-calibrated thermometer to see if the actual temperature of the bath matched the temperature we set with the controls.

Ease of use: Sous vide is a somewhat niche cooking technique, so if your experience with it is frustrating or difficult, it's likely that your sous vide gear will end up in the donation pile. The best sous vide machines have bright, clear displays; are intuitive to operate; and easy to set up, clean, and store. We also looked at app connectivity for smart sous vide machines, though we ultimately prioritized models that have onboard controls, since they're the most user-friendly and versatile. 041b061a72


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