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Sous vide cooking has left the secrecy of restaurants and is becoming more common in home kitchens. The trendy technique takes vacuum-sealed food and immerses it into a warm bath of circulating water that cooks your meal slowly and evenly using controlled temperatures, yielding tender beef, chicken, and seafood. The chances of overcooking are slim to none, too. Your meat will retain its internal juiciness rather than shrink and dry out.
This tool isn't only for meat, though. It can also create delicious vegetables, excellent eggs, and more. Nevertheless, there are several different types of sous vide machines on the market today, including oven-style water baths and immersion cookers, so we researched both to help find one that fits your personal needs.
Here are the best sous vide machines.
Best Overall: Tribest Sousvant Sous Vide Cooker
Unlike many sous vide machines, this one has a clear 3-gallon container, so you can see inside from the top and sides. The circulation quickly heats water within the range of 95 to 194 degrees—and keeps it at the correct temperature no matter how full the tank is—so you can start cooking everything from ribs to meatballs fast. At 14.5 x 8 x 15.5 inches, it won't take up much space on your counter, either.
If your electricity goes out for a moment or there's some sort of power interruption to the machine for any reason, a safety indicator will warn you not to consume potentially undercooked food. Not only is it quiet, energy-efficient, and attractive, but it also might be one of the easiest appliances to clean. The tank is removable, and since it will only ever be filled with water, all you have to do is wipe it down with a soft cloth.
Best Immersion: Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Sous Vide Precision Cooker
If you don't want or have space for an entire machine dedicated to sous vide, look to this durable stick-style immersion cooker. It has a much smaller footprint, measuring just 3.1 x 5.3 x 12.8 inches, so you don't have to worry about trying to fit clunky equipment in cabinets and drawers.
You actually don't even need to make extra space on the counter because it attaches directly to any pot or container via an adjustable clamp. Just add water, drop in your sealed bag of food, and set both time and temperature using the built-in controls or smartphone app. The device will begin to warm and circulate water, cooking your food to your preferred doneness—no stove, thermometer, flame, or additional equipment necessary.
This product has Wi-Fi capabilities and comes with thousands of free sous vide recipes for every skill level, accessible through the Anova app.
Best Instant Pot: Instant Pot Ultra Mini 10-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Although it's not a dedicated sous vide cooker, this versatile Instant Pot keeps water at a consistent temperature, turning out moist and tender meals just the same. The large size gives you lots of room for vacuum-sealed bags filled with whatever food your stomach desires. Our reviewer used chicken thighs. The temperature fluctuated a bit during the 90-minute cook, but it certainly got the job done.
This Instant Pot has a dial and digital display, so you can select programs for pressure cooking, soups and broth, meat and stew, beans and chili, steam, slow cook, saute, warm, rice, porridge, multigrain, cake, egg, sterilize, and yogurt. The Ultra button allows you to customize your cooking, and a quick-release button for venting lets you manually pulse or continuously release steam.
Awesome for people who live above sea level, this cooker also features altitude adjustment, which automatically alters the cooking time to compensate for the lower cooking temperatures, so home chefs in high-altitude areas won’t need to do the math when using standard recipes. As for included accessories, this model comes with a steam rack, serving spoon, soup spoon, and measuring cup.
Best High-End: SousVide Supreme Touch Plus with Wi-Fi
You're well on your way to succulent steak with this sous vide machine by SousVide Supreme. The unit is quiet, steam-free, and energy-efficient with a 3-gallon basin large enough to hold up to 20 4-ounce pouches. Reach temperatures ranging from 86 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit—or switch this over to Celsius, if you'd like—and keep your food submerged and secure in the included stainless steel pouch rack. The lid is see-through for easy monitoring.
Operation is simple: Just drop in your sealed bags, push a button, and walk away. The touch controls work even when your fingers are wet, and the digital LED display features an extra-large readout. As a bonus, this high-tech machine includes integrated Wi-Fi and Alexa voice control functionality. Connect with the SousVide Supreme app for recipes and remote control via your smartphone. This is the upgrade to an earlier version tested by The Spruce Eats.
Best Multitasker: Oliso SmartHub Sous Vide & Induction Combo
This unconventional, albeit innovative design combines a SmartHub that docks and communicates with a proprietary SmartTop. The SmartHub is a tempered glass induction cooktop that can be used with most cookware, like a frying pan, although it will only sync with the SmartTop, which, in this case, is an 11-quart sous vide machine that can also be used as a slow cooker for infusions, broths, whole chickens, culturing yogurt, or sprouting grains.
Because it uses induction, this device heats rapidly and maintains its temperature with less energy expenditure than a stove. The temperature can be controlled precisely to within 0.1 degrees, but it does not have a water circulator pump. A spacer plate keeps food off the bottom of the pot to help with even heating and a rack keeps food in place and separated if you’re cooking multiple items simultaneously.
"There are so many foods that taste great sous vide. However, some may not think to sous vide veggies but it makes a huge difference. For example, sous vide corn on the cob is incredible. When you vacuum seal the cobs with knobs of butter, the corn gets basted with butter throughout. Every bite has perfectly cooked corn and butter. You can also cook in jars to make delicious desserts, or even make cold brew coffee or infused cocktails, too!" — Steve Svajian, CEO of Anova
The Tribest Sousvant Sous Vide Cooker (view at Amazon) is our top pick because it heats quickly, is relatively compact, and allows you to monitor your meal through the clear container. For a compact immersion-style cooker, opt for the Anova (view at Amazon), which attaches directly to a pot or container via the adjustable clamp.
What to Look for in a Sous Vide Machine
Even if you have room in your kitchen for a stand-alone sous vide device, the capacity size varies greatly, from compact 6-quart machines to large 3-gallon machines. A space-saving alternative to a stand-alone is a stick-style immersion cooker that can be attached to any pot.
If space is an issue, or if you want to maximize the benefits of your purchase, look for a device that doubles as a slow cooker or an Instant Pot.
Some devices are Wi-Fi enabled and let you set and control the temperature and cooking process via a smartphone app, while others require manual control of the functions. If you frequently use the machine while away from home, remote control might be a better option.
There are considerable differences in the timer settings of the various models, ranging between 24 and 99 hours. Considering that a chuck roast takes 24 to 36 hours to cook sous vide, a device with a more generous timer setting gives you the flexibility to also cook foods that take longer.
A device with a clear lid or a clear container lets you check on the food without opening the device, which leads to heat loss.
Removable parts and nonstick surfaces make the cleaning of the device easier.
Opinions differ about whether or not a water circulator is essential for sous vide cooking. Not having a water circulator has the most impact on shorter cooking times, such as for eggs, but it is less relevant for long cooking times. It is certainly a feature that's nice to have.
Other special features include adjustments for cooking above sea level and a safety indicator to alert you that the power went off and so the food might be undercooked and not safe to eat.
What is the point of sous vide?
There are several advantages to sous vide: Food loses less humidity, weight, and nutrients than in conventional cooking. It requires little fat or salt, yet the flavors and aromas are intensified, and the food retains its original colors better. You don’t have to stand by the stove to monitor the cooking process, it’s unlikely that you'll overcook the food.
What are the disadvantages of sous vide cooking?
Adversaries of sous vide cooking say that you miss out on the experience of cooking because you don’t smell or taste the food during the cooking process, as everything happens in a tightly closed box. Others complain that the long, slow cooking process yields flavors that are too intense, such as a pungent garlic flavor. Sous vide cooking requires special equipment to keep the water temperature consistent as well as special containers and sealable plastic bags. Because sous vide cooking is a slow process, you need to plan well ahead.
What can I cook using sous vide?
Virtually anything—steaks as well as tough cuts of meat, pork, lamb, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables, grains, and even desserts. But it is important to always follow a recipe that was specifically written and tested for sous vide cooking to get the temperature and cooking time right.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Taylor Rock is an associate commerce editor for The Spruce Eats. She constantly has her eye on the market for new launches and updates content accordingly. As a yearslong vegetarian, she hasn't dabbled in sous vide-style meat, but she does have an admiration for sous vide-style egg bites.