There are just a few things you’ll need before diving into sous vide cooking. Even though sous vide offers amazing, restaurant-quality results, you don’t need a lot of fancy gear (just a sous vide immersion circulator). Here’s a brief rundown of everything you’ll need to get started.
Essential Sous Vide Equipment
You only need one specialty piece of equipment to do sous vide cooking at home (the immersion circulator); the rest is optional.
Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
There are several types of sous vide cookers, but home cooks will typically use immersion circulators, which take up very little space and are often more affordable than the larger machines used by restaurants. Immersion circulators look very similar to immersion blenders. You insert them into a container or pot filled with water. They’ll heat up to a precise temperature, drawing in and releasing the water, circulating it around the container so that the water maintains that exact temperature, which will then be used to cook the food.
Large Container For Your Water Bath
You can use something you already own, such as a large saucepan, stockpot, or Dutch oven. You can also use a sous vide cambro container with a lid. Lidded containers are convenient, because you’ll want to cover whatever container you use to keep the water from evaporating.
If you don’t have a lid, you can simply cover your pot with plastic wrap or foil.
A common misconception about sous vide cooking is that you need fancy vacuum-sealing bags. Nope! You can use disposable gallon or quart freezer bags, depending on the size you need for what you’re cooking. I use these Ziplock bags. Another more environmentally friendly option is reusable silicone bags.
Small Weights or Magnets
You’ll need something to weigh down the bags if they won’t stay submerged (I use these magnets, which work very well.) However, once again, you don’t need to purchase anything fancy. You can use a bag clip and attach something like a spoon to the bottom of the bag. Anything that can be submerged in water will work.
Kitchen Tongs and Ladles
These are useful for removing bags, eggs, and jars from the hot water.
A Cast Iron Skillet and/or Kitchen Blowtorch
A cast iron skillet (stainless steel or aluminum will also work), for searing meat at the end. Nonstick pans won’t get the job done. Blowtorches like the Searzall Culinary Torch are a fun, optional addition.