You’ve probably heard of the latest cooking trend of boiling all your food in plastic bags submerged in water, aka sous vide (pronounced su-veed). If you haven’t, educate yourself here because it’s cool and also delish, healthy, and simple.
Once it’s time to try your first perfectly-boiled steak, cheesecake, or salmon (Charlie from It’s Always Sunny would be freaking out with excitement to boil some jelly beans), pick one of these five best sous vide machines ranging in price from single-man’s counter topper to full-family meal beast.
Before you sous: Grab large ziplock bags (you don’t need vacuum sealed fanciness, but they will work better), because most machines won’t come with them.
Everything you need to sous vide all day, this Supreme Promo Pack from Crate and Barrel includes an 11-liter water oven, touch-activated vacuum sealer and BPA-free cooking pouches (plus a recipe book). Save time you’d spend gathering bins, bags, and a handheld cooker and make cooking even easier. Unlike handheld precision cookers often used to sous vide, this water oven uses an energy-efficient design that creates self-contained radiating heat to keep the water temperature even without the need for a circulation motor. Top of the line, because the perfect steak is so worth the startup cost.
Promising “restaurant results,” this upper-middle-grade sous vide machine has a clear and removable carafe that is easy to fill with water and lets you monitor your ribs and veggies as they cook (trust us, a clear container is best). Temperature controls are precise and the digital display is user-friendly. All in all, easy to use, powerful, and intuitive.
But wait, where’s the rest of the machine? Get your sous vide on with a simple handheld cooker that can be attached to a big stainless steel pot you already own. This tool circulates heated water and produces steam to cook your submerged food. Set your desired temperature and the water shouldn’t ever go over, meaning neither will the internal temperature of the food, even if you accidentally leave the bags boiling too long.
If you’re a single guy prone to overcooking dinner until it’s dry and burnt, this 8-quart sous vide machine is your new best friend (also, you’re clearly not reading enough of The Manual). Able to hold about six vacuum-sealed bags, this sous vide machine just needs you to throw in some meat and veggies for you and your date and voila!. (Cooking is sexy, especially if it tastes good.) Trust in the VonShef without giving up all your counter space. Let’s be real, you might not use this every day and that’s alright.
If you’re just cooking a burger or two, go minimal and grab this Avalon Bay thermal immersion circulator that you can either sling on a small pot or pair with a rubber commercial container ($10) and (if you really want to be fancy and evenly cook your food) a stainless steel sous vide rack ($27). Keep in mind, this cooker has 800 watts and only ranges from 104 degree to 194 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s bare bones but gives you a taste of sous vide. You can always upgrade to the big kahunas above.