Extremely precise heat control
Lid thwarts evaporation
Button labels can be hard to see
Beeps are very quiet
Heavy when full of water
The SousVide Supreme Water Oven was one of the early entries in the home sous vide market, so we were curious to see how well it stood the test of time. Sous vide cooking usually involves sealing food in a food-safe bag, then cooking it immersed in water at a precise temperature. While meats are often cooked using sous vide, we also decided to test a few other things. Searching sketchy cooking websites, scouring reliable cookbooks, and trying a few things just for fun, we made our way from crème brûlée to pickles, and now we know everything this compact machine can do.
Unless you were familiar with this exact machine, you might not guess what it is since it’s just a rectangular box with rounded sides and simple controls on the front. Offset hand-holds on the upper part of the box make it easier to lift and carry, but it’s still heavy when it’s full of water since it can hold up to 3 gallons. When it’s empty, it only weighs 13 pounds, so it’s easy to move in and out of storage if it’s not a permanent resident on the counter.
Inside the machine is, well, nothing. It’s simply a rectangular metal container. A piece of metal with holes in it to promote convection heating, inexplicably called a grill by the manufacturer, is designed to sit at the bottom of the cooker. Metal handles fit under the grill and remain in place during cooking to make it easy to lift the grill, along with any food packs. A rack is included that keeps multiple packets separate while cooking. The only other included piece is a flexible pad that reminded us of an old-school mouse pad. This is designed to sit on top of the lid to hold the heat in and can be used to protect the counter from heat when the lid is removed.
The interior was wide enough for a cowboy steak with an impressively long bone, but the relatively shallow depth could limit its ability to cook larger foods that might exceed the maximum height in the container.
The included rack can be used in several different orientations, either holding foods upright and side-by-side or allowing the foods to be stacked with space between them. No matter how it’s used, the important thing is that it allows water to circulate all around the food when multiple packets are used.
Setup Process: Add water, press buttons
There is virtually no initial setup with the machine, aside from filling it with water and pressing the button to turn it on and let it preheat. To use the machine, it’s just a matter of pressing the temperature button, then pressing the up or down buttons to raise or lower the temperature, then pressing the start button to start the heating process.
The lid did an amazing job of thwarting evaporation.
Once the machine reaches the set temperature, it beeps shyly (we wouldn’t mind a louder beep, to be honest) and the food can be placed in the machine. If the machine’s timer is being used, it is set when the food is inserted and the start button is pressed again.
Performance: Super precise temperature
When cooking using sous vide, maintaining a precise temperature is critical. We checked the water temperature several times during our testing and found that the machine was ridiculously accurate, and we were pleased to see that the temperature could be set from 86 to 210 degrees. When the temperature on the machine read 139.5 degrees (yes, it reads in tenths of a degree), our very accurate instant read thermometer fluttered between 139 and 140 degrees, since it can only read in full degrees.
We found a recipe for pickles cooked at 140 degrees and found that pint jars fit perfectly, with plenty of room for water above the jars. Unfortunately, quart jars were much too tall—the rim of the jar was slightly taller than the rim of the cooker. Feeling a bit like Peter Piper, our pickled peppers emerged cooked and pickled, but incredibly crisp.
When we cooked a large cowboy steak, it was cooked throughout to a perfect temperature, and all we had to do was give it some pretty grill marks. The great thing about sous vide cooking is that since the cooking temperature never exceeds the desired food temperature, the food can’t overcook. However, if food is cooked too long, it can affect the texture. Our steak spent a bit over two hours cooking at 130 degrees, and it was tender and juicy.
We had the same success with a small pork roast, as well as a turkey breast that was removed from the bones and cooked in two portions. The turkey was perfect for sandwiches, and the sous vide method gave us the opportunity to add flavor to the meat while it cooked gently for three hours at 145 degrees.
Crème brûlée, cooked at 180 degrees for a little over an hour, was divine. It had a super silky texture with no curdling or overcooking, which is always a concern, even when using a water bath in the oven. Of course, we had to add sugar and brûlée it with a torch after the dessert chilled in the refrigerator, but we would have done that with any other cooking method.
Crème brûlée, cooked at 180 degrees for a little over an hour, was divine.
Carrots cooked sous vide with just a little butter and salt emerged perfectly cooked and intensely flavorful, unlike typical boiled or steamed carrots, where water carries the flavor away.
Most of the foods we cooked were at fairly low temperatures of 130 to 145 degrees, which is hot but not scalding. At that temperature, we could dip our fingers in the water with no harm. At higher temperatures—180 degrees and above—we had to take care when opening the lid because of the steam, and we used tongs to remove our food from the hot tub. The exterior of the machine stayed cool during cooking, except for the edges of the lid that got warm or hot, depending on how hot the interior was.
When we cooked apples, the fruit gave off gas while cooking and the bag floated to the top of the water. Since we had a thin layer of food and the lid of the cooker held in the heat, we didn’t experience any uneven cooking, but we made a note of that floating issue for future cooking. Our carrots also floated, but we used the included rack to push them down into the water and hold them in place.
The lid did an amazing job of thwarting evaporation. We didn’t even need to add water when we cooked oxtails for 72 hours, which was impressive. We did find that if the lid was slightly askew, water could drip down the side of the machine and leave a puddle on the counter. Once we learned that quirk, we made sure the lid was properly in place when we were cooking.
Features: Basic buttons
This is a very simple sous vide machine, and the buttons used to set it are a little bit old-school compared to appliances that use touch screens. One button turns the machine itself on and off, one button selects the temperature function, and one selects the timer function. The up/down buttons are used for setting both the time and temperature, while the start button is used to start both the heating function and the timer. A small button toggles between Fahrenheit and Celsius.
When we first started using the machine, we griped a bit that the buttons were a little hard to see since they don’t light up, but after using it for a very short while, our fingers knew that left was temperature and right was time, so we didn’t actually need to see the buttons to set it up for cooking.
The interior was wide enough for a cowboy steak with an impressively long bone.
The machine beeps when the unit reaches cooking temperature and it beeps when cooking time is up, but we found that the beep was rather quiet, so we preferred to set another timer most of the time. Small lights on the left of the buttons indicate whether the display is showing the actual temperature, the set temperature, or the timer, and lights on the right indicate that the machine is heating or ready and whether the timer is active or time is up. While it was nice to have indications that things were working when we first used the machine, we paid little attention to the lights as we used the machine longer and longer.
Cleaning: Never contacts food, so cleaning is a breeze
Because the food cooked in this machine is held in vacuum-sealed bags or other types of containment, the food never comes in contact with the machine. Unless a bag leaks or a jar breaks, cleaning is minimal, requiring little more than emptying the water and wiping the interior clean. When we went from cooking steaks and pork to cooking crème brûlée and pudding, we didn’t worry about one food being contaminated with the flavors of the previous one since the water remained clean. The only food we cooked that wasn’t in an enclosed container was when we cooked eggs in their shells.
Price: A bit pricey
At over $400, there’s no way around it, this machine is much more expensive than the stick-style sous vide appliances that have become more popular over the years. However, the SousVide Supreme Water Oven is an all-in-one cooker, so there’s no need for a stockpot or other container, making the price a little easier to digest.
SousVide Supreme Water Oven vs. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker
At about half the price of the SousVide Supreme, the Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Sous Vide Precision Cooker is also a lot smaller, so it can fit in a drawer rather than requiring storage space the size of a bread machine. However, the Anova requires a cooking vessel, while the SousVide Supreme is an all-in-one solution. The Anova may be able to handle larger food items, if the cook has a container of the right size, but of course, it depends on the container that the cook owns. We like both, for different reasons.
Interested in reading more reviews? Check out our roundup of the best sous vide cookers.
- Product Name Supreme Water Oven
- Product Brand SousVide
- MPN SVS-10LS
- Price $429
- Weight 13 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 11.4 x 14.7 x 11.4 in.
- Material stainless steel
- Capacity 11.2 L
- What’s Included grill, handles, rack, heat pad, time/temperature chart
- Warranty 5 years