Paul has been passionate about preparing, cooking, and eating healthy food for over 30 years. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.
I love to experiment with my cooking, it's fun to use a variety foods and techniques. So when I discovered that there were affordable immersion circulators available around seven years ago, I had to buy myself one. If you are new to the sous vide method, it really is a great way to cook, particularly for foods like steaks, which always turn out flavorsome and juicy.
While it's not a technique that I use every day, it's great for when there's family and friends gathered, or special treats. I probably use my cooker four or five times a month. If my life wasn't so busy, I would probably use it more. That said, if you plan ahead, you can cook food while you're off doing other things.
I've converted a lot of friends and family to sous vide, and tried out many of the different immersion cookers available. As many home chefs do, I started out with an affordable cooker, and bought a high end model, once I knew that sous vide was something I was going to do regularly.
Best 3 Sous Vide Immersion Circulator Cookers
Here are my three recommendations for the best sous vide cookers.
- Anova Culinary Precision Nano: Easy and Affordable
- ZOUSHUAIDEDIAN Immersion Circulator: Sleek, Durable, and Well Designed
- Sandoo Sous Vide 1000W Ultra-Quiet: Consistent and Efficient
I give my experiences and opinions on each cooker below.
1. Anova Culinary Precision Nano: Easy and Affordable
The Anova Culinary Precision Nano was the immersion circulator cooker that I started out with. It's a great device and available for a very competitive price online. This Anova is very easy to use and my wife and I both love it. We've cooked many steaks, poultry, and fish with this device and I don't think anything has ended up less than perfect. It's so easy, it almost feels like cheating.
- Excellent choice for those who are new to sous vide.
- Easy to use and perfect results every time. I'm not joking, it's almost impossible to mess up.
- Affordably priced.
- Great for proteins, meat, fish, poultry, but I've also experimented with foods such as banana bread.
- It holds a constant temperature well, very little fluctuation.
- Compact and sleek, making it easy to store when not in use.
- There are better cookers, but not in this price range.
2. ZOUSHUAIDEDIAN Immersion Circulator: Sleek, Durable, and Well Designed
Following the great success of our early sous vide efforts, my wife and I decided to upgrade. After checking out multiple sous vide cookers, we settled on a ZOUSHUAIDEDIAN Immersion Circulator. We've been eating restaurant-quality food and never looked back since. This device is beautifully designed, it looks amazing, but is also technically advanced and straightforward to use.
- I love the easy-to-read display and touch screen controls. Everything is pretty intuitive.
- Sleek and lightweight.
- Durable construction, built to last. We've had zero problems so far, and I don't expect any in the future. It's made from stainless steel and has a rubber-coated handle.
- Consistent cooker that delivers results every time.
- Stainless steel construction and excellent design make it easy to keep clean and maintain.
- This cooker is not cheap. The price might put some people off, but you get what you pay for in my experience.
3. Sandoo Sous Vide 1000W Ultra-Quiet: Consistent and Efficient
My mother-in-law was so impressed with the meat she was eating at our house that we ended up promising to buy her a sous vide cooker as a gift. After some searching, we decided that the Sandoo Sous Vide 1000W Ultra-Quiet would be the right product for her. We were right, she loves this immersion circulator. We've used it too and it's an excellent device.
- You can produce high-quality steaks, and other meats, with little effort.
- Very reasonably priced.
- As its name suggests, it's a very quiet operator.
- Very compact design and easy to store.
- Powerful and sturdy design. This sous vide cooker won't let you down.
- It's a little finicky and doesn't have quite the ease of use of a cooker like the ZOUSHUAIDEDIAN, but it's still a great device for this price range.
What Is Sous Vide Cooking?
Sous vide (pronounced sue-veed) is a method of cooking, once used only by high-end restaurants to achieve very precise and consistent results. The technique involves cooking foods in a plastic pouch, or a glass jar, that's placed in a water bath at a precisely regulated, low temperature for a long time.
The expression "sous vide" literally means "under vacuum" in French and is a reference to the vacuum-sealed bag (or sometimes jar) that holds the food. In recent years, easy to use and affordable devices have made sous vide cooking at home much more common.
What Equipment Do I Need for Sous Vide Cooking?
Typically, sous vide cooking at home requires three pieces of equipment.
- You need a special precision cooker to heat the water and maintain the temperature.
- If you are using an immersion circulator, you will need a container for the water to be heated.
- You need packaging for your food, typically resealable bags or canning jars.
You can buy a container and vacuum sealer combo deal, if you already have, or are buying a cooker. I bought this package for my mother-in-law. The container is purpose-built for sous vide and has a well-designed lid, which I would definitely recommend. This package also includes a vacuum sealer, which is by far the best way to ensure that no air interferes with the sous vide process, in my experience.
7 Advantages of Sous Vide Cooking
- Flavor: The food cooks in its juices and retains taste, as well remaining tender and juicy.
- Consistency: Cooking at a precise temperature for a precise period of time produces food that is predictably good.
- Healthy: Sous vide food generally involves less fat and less salt than traditional techniques. More nutrients and vitamins are retained.
- Non-Interference: Traditional cooking often means making regular checks and adjustments to things like temperature in order to make sure that the food cooks evenly. It's also easy to overcook your food in an oven, or on the stove if you aren't careful. These issues are avoided with sous vide.
- Overnight Cooking: Many foods can be cooked while you sleep, or while you are at work, or doing other things.
- Less Waste: Waste is reduced because the food is not dried out like it is with traditional methods. This can be especially true when cooking meats, such as steaks. A steak cooked by traditional methods can lose as much as 40 percent of its volume, whereas with sous vide it loses none.
- Energy Efficient: Less energy is consumed than with traditional gas and electric cooking.
6 Disadvantages of Sous Vide Cooking
- Takes Time: Sous vide cooking is far from quick. It generally takes much longer than traditional cookery, even if, in my opinion, the results are usually worth waiting for.
- Requires Planning Ahead: Because cooking times are longer, you do have to plan your meals ahead. It can take hours to prepare food and this may be an issue for busy people who like to throw meals together quickly.
- Too Much Flavor: You may think that you can never have too much flavor, but the truth is that some tastes (e.g., garlic) can seem overwhelming. You do have to control your ingredients and strike a balance for sous vide to work.
- Lack of Involvement: Part of the joy of traditional cooking is participation in the preparation and cooking process. Experiencing the touch, smell, and taste of the food is a big part of the fun. Checking and adjusting the levels of seasoning, herbs and spices is also part of the process. In sous vide, you typically just set it up and then leave it alone for several hours.
- Specialist Equipment Required: Traditional cookery uses everyday equipment that most people have in their home. Sous vide does require specialist equipment.
- No Browning: The technique does not brown the food. Meats cooked with sous vide do not have a crust. If this is desired, the meat has to be pre-browned, or secondary browned the traditional way.
© 2021 Paul Goodman