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How to Pick Your Sous Vide Machine

One of the most commonly asked questions we get is Which sous vide machine should I buy? We normally take them through a series of questions to see what would work best for them. We thought this would make a great flowchart and could help people make up their mind about which sous vide equipment to buy more easily.

Updated Content

With regard to changing equipment options this information has recently been updated, you can view the new information in my post Sous Vide Machines: What is Best For You? or the Inexpensive Immersion Circulators review.
It's followed by an easy to read chart comparing the basic features of each one and then a short description of each type of machine. You can also click on either image to bring it up to full size.

We hope you'll enjoy it!

Which Sous Vide Machine Should I Buy?




How Are Sous Vide Machines Different?




For more detailed information on any of the equipment options you can view our free Beginning Sous Vide Guide.

Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

Immersion circulators are the heavy lifters of sous vide cooking. They are more precise, faster to heat up, and have a much steadier temperature than the rest of the sous vide options. If you want the best then an immersion circulator is the way to go but they also have the price tag to match. The two most well known brands are Polyscience, which was dubbed the best circulator Seattle Food Geek has used and fusionchef by Julabo.

Build Your Own Sous Vide Machine

If you don't want to fork out several hundred dollars and have some knowledge of electronics you can make your own immersion circulator for about $100. There are many ways to do it but the gold standard is from Seattle Food Geek.

Sous Vide Supreme

Sous Vide Supreme is "the world's first water oven designed specifically to bring the gourmet sous vide cooking method into home and small restaurant kitchens". It's a self contained, easy to use unit that looks like a typical kitchen appliance. They are a very good mid-level option for sous vide cooking. You can get them from the Sous Vide Supreme website or Amazon.com.

Sous Vide Supreme Demi

A smaller version of the Sous Vide Supreme that is less expensive and good for people not cooking for a large number of people. It also comes in a variety of colors. It is available from the Sous Vide Supreme Website or Amazon.com.

Sous Vide PID Controller

PID controllers work by regulating the temperature of an external heat source such as a crockpot or rice cooker. They are a cheaper alternative to the other methods and are a great way to test out sous vide cooking without a large upfront commitment, especially if you already have a crockpot or rice cooker. There are many places to get PID controllers but the two most common are Auberins, a generic temperature control company, and Fresh Meals Solutions, who's controllers are specifically made for sous vide and Frank, the owner, provides great customer support.

Beer Cooler Hack

If you're looking for a quick and dirty way to try out sous vide then you can't go wrong with J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's Beer Cooler Hack. You simply fill up your beer cooler with water heated to the proper temperature (the hot water in many homes is just about perfect), drop in your meat and close it. Hours later the food will be ready.

Sous Vide on the Stove

Another simple way to try out sous vide at home is Sous Vide on the stove. It's more work intensive than the beer cooler hack but it's still a cheap way to try sous vide at home.
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