Just Bought a Sous Vide? Here Are 8 Best Sous Vide Accessories

Best Sous Vide Accessories 2018

sous vide accessories

If you’re like me, after several weeks (or days) of cooking with your new sous vide device, you’re probably looking for sous vide accessories to add to your kitchen gadget arsenal. Well, I have compiled a list of my favorite essentials and tools to complement any sous vide device. Without further ado, here is a list of must have sous vide tools that I basically use daily.

1. Freezer Bags…Lots Of Them

Sous Vide Accessories - Ziploc Freezer Bags

First off, you’ll need something to store your food in. When I first started off, I used Ziploc freezer bags. Why freezer bags? Because they are bigger and much thicker. Ziploc freezer bags serve as a great and affordable entry point to sous vide cooking. When you’re ready, you can move onto a vacuum sealer. Make sure to only use freezer-grade quality bags when opting for your Ziploc bags. (If you’re concerned about cooking in these, check out my articles on Sous vide ziploc bags and the Safety of Plastics.)
I like Ziploc bags because they are inexpensive and easy to find. Most households already have freezer ziploc bags and they allow you to begin cooking sous vide immediately. Any food such as chicken, beef, pork, veggies, and fish can be cooked perfectly using sous vide.

Ziploc bags are not recommended for cooking temperatures above 158 degrees Farenheit. This is because the seams may fail leading to water seeping in. Read more here. I also avoid Ziplocs when doing longer roasts. For longer roasts, opt for commercial sous vide bags.

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2. Sous Vide Vacuum Sealer

Sous Vide Essentials - Vacuum Sealer

Once you’re ready for the big leagues, I highly recommend getting a vacuum sealer. I find vacuum sealing your food very useful for sous vide cooking. Since I love to meal prep, my vacuum sealer makes meal prepping super convenient and effortless. Also, I believe that it’s a very good tool to have for your kitchen, not only for sous vide, but for regular food storage as well. I personally really like this FoodSaver one because it comes as a starter kit. That means you will receive a different sized vacuum heat seal bags to try out. Vacuum sealing your food serves multiple purposes in sous vide cooking. One of its purpose is to lock in the marinade, seasoning, and garnishes. For example, I like to bulk purchase my meats from a wholesale club like Costco, marinate and season my meats for the week, individually vacuum seal them, and then store them in the fridge (or freezer). Once I’m ready to cook them, I just pop them into the water bath. I do not regret this purchase at all.

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3. Food or Commercial Grade Vacuum Seal Bags

Sous Vide Essentials - Vacuum Seal Bags

Now that you have a vacuum sealer, don’t forget to buy vacuum seal bags. Always make sure the vacuum seal bags are food or commercial graded. The reason why I like the FoodVacBags branded ones are because they are approved by the FDA, contain no BPA & phthalates, and can be boiled or microwaved, frozen, refrigerated. I always opt for the bigger 11″ size for when I decide to cook bigger meats like prime rib or something.

Using a vacuum sealer paired with commercial grade vacuum seal bags saves so much more time spent in the kitchen. You’ll thank yourself later and will probably save money in the long run as opposed to using ziplocs. While freezer grade Ziplocs are commonly used amongst sous vide users everywhere, there are certain times when freezer ziploc bags are not recommended.

When cooking sous vide for a longer amount of time (greater than 3 hours), I recommend using commercial sous vide bags. I also recommend commercial sous vide bags when cooking over 158 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because temperatures over 158 can cause the Ziploc seams to burst. I use both Ziploc bags and sous vide bags when cooking, but I recommend that everyone should eventually upgrade to commercial grade sous vide bags.
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4. Polycarbonate Camwear Container

Sous Vide Essentials - Sous Vide Gallon Container

Since I like to meal prep, I always sous vide in these polycarbonate camwear containers. I’m currently using a 6.5 gallon container. The reason why I need such a big container is because I prefer to cook all my chicken breasts at once on Sundays (my designated meal prep day). Even if you don’t meal prep, a bigger container comes in handy when you’re preparing food for a large family gathering or a holiday party. If you’re looking for something smaller, here’s a good smaller 3 gallon polycarbonate camwear container by LIPAVI. If you don’t want to use polycarbonate containers, you can always just find a stock pot in your kitchen cabinets and use that. Something like this would work as well. You can also get a container with a lid to keep the heat in. Simply cut the lid on the side that your sous vide device will be sticking out.

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5. Sous Vide Rack

Sous Vide Essentials - Sous Vide Rack

sous vide rack is essential and totally necessary for even, quick, safe, and distributed warming of whatever you’re cooking. I have 2 sous vide racks for my 6.5 gallon polycarbonate container which can hold up to 10 pouches efficiently. The main takeaway is that your pouches of meat or whatever it is that you’re cooking will heat evenly! It’s super important. Also you can use these racks for stuff other than sous vide as well. You can use these racks for cooling, freezing, and even smoking. A cheaper alternative to a rack holder would be a lid holder for $6!

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6. Clamps. And Ping Pong Balls?

Sous Vide Essentials - Sous Vide Clamps And Balls

An alternative to a sous vide rack would be a clamp and ping pong ball kit. Simply clamp your pouches or baggies along the side wall of your container. The clamps will help space out the pouches and the ping pong balls will pretty much serve as a lid to keep your food fully submerged underneath the water. It will also act as a lid to help retain some heat within the container.

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Below are some extra sous vide essentials and tools that I found useful and thought it might be useful for you as well

 

7. Blowtorch

Sous Vide Blowtorch

A blowtorch is very useful for the browning or searing of cooked meat. Unlike traditional cooking methods, sous vide cooking doesn’t brown or sear cooked meat at the same time while the meat is being cooked. With sous vide, the browning and searing process comes afterwards. You can either use a cast iron pan (or any non-stick pan), or a blowtorch. Searing kits / blowtorches are becoming popular for Sous Vide Cooking.  Don’t forget to buy propane cylinders!

Sous vide cooking at home is growing extremely popular as of 2015. Companies like Sansaire are releasing blowtorch searing kits which are actually pretty useful.
Check out this Searing Kit made by Sansaire. Video tutorial provided here.

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8. Tongs

Sous vide tools - Tongs

If you don’t already have one in your kitchen, you should definitely invest in a pair. They come in handy when giving your sous vide cooked meat a good sear. I also keep a pair of tongs on hand when placing and removing food into my water bath.

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