If you are a lazy gourmet, an ambitious cook or a professional gourmet, you will find the sous vide cooker a miracle-working kitchen appliance that will convince all taste critics of your cooking skills. And not only that. This user-friendly kitchen utensil cooks in a way that is gentle on aromas and vitamins, so you no longer have to decide whether you would rather feast today or go for something healthy.
In our big sous vide cooker test 2021 we have summarised the most important information on buying a sous vide cooker so that you can soon unpack all the dusty recipes of your grandparents and great-great-grandparents again to put the kitchen appliance to the test.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Sous Vide Cooker: Our Picks
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for sous vide cookers
- 5 Decision: What types of sous vide cookers are there and which is right for you?
- 6 Guide: Frequently asked questions about sous vide cookers answered in detail
- 6.1 What is a sous vide cooker?
- 6.2 How do I use a sous vide cooker?
- 6.3 What cooking times do I need for which foods?
- 6.4 How much does a Sous Vide cooker cost?
- 6.5 What alternatives are there to sous vide cooking?
- 6.6 Can I also cook sous vide in advance?
- 6.7 How do I clean the sous vide cooker?
- 6.8 What are the disadvantages of sous vide cooking?
- 6.9 Is sous vide cooking unhealthy?
- 6.10 How high is the power consumption of sous vide cookers?
- 6.11 Where can I find recipes for the Sous Vide cooker?
The most important facts
- Sous vide cooking is a technique with which you can prepare your food - meat, fish, vegetables and fruit - in a way that is very gentle on the aroma and nutrients. You place your food with the desired herbs and sauces in a bag and heat it constantly at a temperature below 100°C with the help of the vacuum cooker.
- When buying the kitchen appliance, make sure that it has at least 500 watts for a capacity of 6 litres.
- When buying a vacuum cooker, you can choose between two variants: The sous vide stick and the sous vide water basin. While the stick takes up comparatively less space in the kitchen, the water basin offers the advantage of being able to maintain a constant temperature more precisely.
The Best Sous Vide Cooker: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for sous vide cookers
To make your purchase decision easier, we have summarised the criteria you should consider for the sous vide cooker:
- Temperature deviations
- Environmental compatibility
- Cooking time
Here you will find a more detailed description of the individual purchase criteria.
You will find appliances on the market with a power of between 300 and 2000 watts.
If you often cook for a large number of people, your kitchen appliance should have a correspondingly higher output.
If you cook more occasionally, an appliance with a power of 500 watts or more is perfectly adequate for 6 litres. Anything less than 500 watts is not powerful enough, so you will have to wait forever until the water in the pot or cooker is warm enough.
For catering establishments, we recommend appliances with a power of 1300 watts or more to ensure that food is prepared quickly. For particularly fast and efficient preparation, you will also find some models with 2000 watts.
Here, too, it depends on whether you want to refine your own cuisine with sous vide dishes or whether you want to cook for a large number of guests at the same time.
Sous Vide water baths start at a capacity of 5 litres and can heat up to 10 litres. With this amount you can invite 5-10 people.
Sous Vide sticks, on the other hand, are more versatile: entry-level models heat between 5 and 20 litres and professional models can hold up to 50 litres. However, we would only recommend these to caterers.
Various factors influence the temperature of your cooking water during cooking, so that no sous vide cooker can provide you with 100% accurate temperature.
Especially with sous vide sticks, there are large temperature fluctuations because you cannot place a lid on the cooking pot and so water keeps evaporating. Sous vide water basins are more reliable in this respect, even though so-called insulation spheres have now been developed that reduce evaporation somewhat.
With entry-level models, temperature deviations of 1-2° C can occur, which makes no discernible difference to the taste for hobby cooks. As soon as you become more professional, you can only expect a difference of between 0.1 and 0.5° C.
Even though sous vide cookers have made a revolutionary entry into German kitchens in recent years, the immense amount of plastic used for this cooking method should not be ignored, as you use a new plastic bag for each dish/food.
The manufacturers had to endure a few shitstorms for this. But now there is a method that doesn't require any plastic at all and still allows you to use your sous vide cooker to its full potential.
Since 2018, so-called stasher bags have been available on the internet, which are made of 100% platinum silicone, are infinitely recyclable and free of harmful substances. You can easily wash these bags by hand or in the dishwasher.
The cost of a bag is 15-25 €, for the three sizes 18 x 19 cm, 12 x 19 cm and 26 x 21,5 cm. The price is definitely worth their durability, as well as their environmental friendliness.
By the way, you can also store your food in the Stasher Bags or use them as bread bags.
There are a number of accessories for the Sous Vide Stick that will increase your cooking pleasure. We have selected the four most popular accessories here.
|Insulation balls||To reduce water evaporation when cooking with the sous vide stick, add the insulation balls to the water until the surface is completely covered||For 250 balls between 15 and 20 €|
|Sous vide basins||If you are cooking for several guests, one pot is usually not enough. Sous Vide basins hold up to 20 litres of water||For 12-20 litres capacity 25-30 €|
|Sous Vide cooker with W-Lan||A new Sous Vide generation with integrated W-Lan connection, so that you can control the cooking process via an app even when you are not in the kitchen.Stick with integrated app 100-200 € (depending on the performance of the cooker)|
|Vacuum appliance||with the vacuum appliance you remove all the air from the vacuum bags||for the household 30 to 100 €, for the catering trade 700 to 2400 €|
When buying insulation balls, make sure they are BPA-free, as the substance is suspected of being carcinogenic.
Some manufacturers indicate the volume of their products in decibels (dB). For orientation: quiet kitchen appliances like the refrigerator have about 40 dB.
However, the volume does not increase linearly, which means that 50 dB is already like a quiet radio. So it should not be louder than 50 dB.
If the decibel unit is not specified, you can use the power as a guide. More powerful devices are somewhat louder than less powerful ones.
So if you want to cook something overnight with a 1500 watt cooker, you'd better close the kitchen door. All appliances below 1000 watts are safe.
You lose most of the cooking time when your sous vide cooker heats the water. You can reduce this time with the help of a powerful appliance, which is particularly noticeable with quickly prepared dishes such as vegetables and fruit.
In addition, you have lower power consumption, which is not only good for your wallet but also for the environment. Cooking times range from 30 minutes (for fish and vegetables) to 14-24 hours for very firm meat.
This works so well with this appliance because maintaining certain temperatures is important for these dishes. You can find a variety of recipes on the Internet.
Decision: What types of sous vide cookers are there and which is right for you?
If you want to buy a sous vide cooker, you can choose between these two types: The sous vide stick and the sous vide cooker with water basin.
While you can adapt a stick to a wider range of pots with different capacities, the water basin gives you the advantage of temperature accuracy. For more details on the advantages and disadvantages of the two sous vide products, see the overview below.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about sous vide cookers answered in detail
What is a sous vide cooker?
It is characterised in particular by the fact that the food is always heated below 100° C. For the method, you need a sous vide water basin or a sous vide stick with pot and sachet.
Since you can easily adjust the taste and consistency of your food with the help of sous vide, this method first established itself in star cuisine. In the meantime, some households are also making use of this simple cooking method.
Especially if you are cooking for several friends, sous vide makes cooking easier, because you can safely cook some foods overnight without losing their flavour. Especially if you are an ambitious hobby cook, the sous vide cooker will enrich your kitchen.
How do I use a sous vide cooker?
- Preparing the food
First, fill your bag with your food and remove all the air from the bag. You can do this either with the help of a vacuum sealer or by hand by squeezing the bag shut. If you are using stasher bags, then you cannot use a vacuum sealer on them.
- Fill with water
If you have a sous vide stick, attach it to your container/pot. Then fill your pot or water basin with water so that the food bags are completely covered. You should also pay attention to the minimum and maximum amount of water that your equipment can heat.
- Setting the sous vide cooker
Use food tables that specifically list sous vide cooking to set your appliance to the appropriate temperature. You can find an overview of cooking times and temperatures in this article. If you want to give your food a roasted flavour, you can sear it again for a few seconds after cooking.
What cooking times do I need for which foods?
If you would like more detailed information on specific foods, you will quickly find what you are looking for on the internet.
|Beef|| 1.5 to 3 hours for steaks
7 to 16 hours for roasts
8 to 48 hours for tough cuts
| 49 to 67° C
56 to 70° C
58 to 85° C
|Pork|| 1 to 2.5 hours for steaks
3 to 5.5 hours for roasts
8 to 24 hours for tough cuts
| 58 to 70° C
58 to 70° C
62 to 85° C
|poultry|| 1 to 3.5 hours for light poultry
1.5 to 4.5 hours for dark poultry
| 60 to 75° C
65 to 75° C
|Fish||40 to 60 minutes||40 to 60° C|
|Fruit||20 minutes to 2.5 hours||60 to 85° C|
|Vegetables||5 minutes to 3 hours||85° C|
How much does a Sous Vide cooker cost?
For private use, you can find sufficiently powerful appliances for less than 100 €. If you plan to use your appliance on a daily basis, you should be prepared to spend more than 150 €.
What alternatives are there to sous vide cooking?
However, with this method, you cannot set the temperature as optimally and you have a higher energy consumption. We have listed the alternatives to the sous vide cooker in detail here.
The Thermomix has been the all-round talent in many kitchens since 2018. You can use it to prepare soups, cook rice, bake and now also sous vide cooking. However, the costs for the appliance start at €1000 if you want to have the sous vide function integrated.
If you are a versatile cooking enthusiast, then investing in the TM5 or TM6 (these two versions have the function integrated) with Thermomix wave makes sense.
The steamer is another way to prepare your food - especially fruit and vegetables - gently, as they never come into direct contact with the water and thus retain their nutrients. Fish and meat also become very tender in the steamer, similar to the sous vide cooker, because the temperature can also be adjusted here.
And you also save money here, because you spend between €30 and €60 on a steamer. However, you usually can't cook your food for more than 12 hours.
If you don't want to buy any kitchen appliances at all and are willing to invest a lot of time and effort, then this method will interest you.
The purchase costs are limited to the vacuum bags and a food thermometer. About 15 € for 50 vacuum bags or a plastic-free stasher bag and an additional 15 to 30 € for a food thermometer.
You fill your vacuum bags with the food you want and seal them airtight. Now boil some water in a pot until it has reached the right temperature.
Then place the bag in the water. Now you just have to wait and check the temperature of your water regularly (at 10-minute intervals) and add cold water if necessary.
We would advise you not to use this technique for dishes with very long cooking times. If you only want to cook your food for up to 30 minutes, you can use this method.
In this video you will find the sous vide method without a device, in which a rump steak is prepared.
Can I also cook sous vide in advance?
Your cooked food will keep for several days under the airtight bags. Just make sure that you put the bags in ice water immediately after cooking, otherwise bacteria can form.
The bacteria can be prevented from forming in the first place by cooling them down quickly. Then put the bags in the fridge or - if they are going to be stored for more than a few days - in your freezer. When it's time for the barbecue, simply fry the food again briefly on the barbecue.
You have to adjust to the pre-set rinse temperatures and it can't offer you long cooking times, but when you rinse anyway, you can take a bag of carrots or asparagus into the rinse cycle and test the result.
How do I clean the sous vide cooker?
In rare cases, a bag in the water basin may burst open and contaminate your utensils. In this case, it is best to clean the kitchen utensils with clear water only. To do this, fill a pot or your sous vide basin with clean water and switch the appliance on again for 10 minutes.
You can repeat this process and also use a little soft dishwashing liquid for very heavy soiling. We advise you not to use other detergents or acetic acid, as they can damage your appliance.
You should also decalcify your water basin with a little citric acid from time to time so that it does not lose its performance. You do this as follows:
One teaspoon of citric acid for 2 litres of water (for 5 litres of water use a little more)
Now run your cooker with the descaling mixture for a few minutes.
- Pour off
Then pour off the water and rinse the bowl again with clean water.
This process takes no more than 10 minutes and should be done about once a month, depending on the amount of use.
What are the disadvantages of sous vide cooking?
We would advise you not to buy it if you like versatile cooking, because then the Thermomix can offer you more. In addition, you cannot always prepare several different foods at the same time, as they require different cooking temperatures.
If you don't use plastic-free bags, then the plastic consumption with this cooking method is another big disadvantage, as you dispose of the vacuum bags after one use.
Is sous vide cooking unhealthy?
It becomes unhealthy when you use vacuum bags or insulation spheres, which emit harmful substances and can therefore get into your food.
This also applies if you use plastic bags that are not heat-resistant, as plastic particles will escape during cooking. You can recognise the right cooking utensils by the fact that they are either BPA-free (in the case of insulation balls) or can withstand high temperatures. This is usually noted on the packaging of the sachets.
How high is the power consumption of sous vide cookers?
The situation is different for meat dishes, because you keep the meat in the water bath for several hours and sometimes even overnight. Even stews in the oven consume about 1 kWh in 2 hours, which is comparatively low compared to the sous vide method.
It is best to prepare several foods at the same time in a sous vide process so that your electricity consumption does not shoot up so much. The leftover food can be stored in the fridge for a few days if you put it in ice water immediately after cooking.
Where can I find recipes for the Sous Vide cooker?
But with the help of the cooking tables, you can also try yourself and work with a wide variety of herbs that you add to your food bag. And who knows, maybe you'll bring the next sous vide cookbook onto the market.
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