What does sous vide mean, and why is sous vide so popular with home chefs? It’s a question I’m often asked, as a sous vide cookbook author.
Since sous vide cooking is one of my favorite foodie topics to chat about, I’m diving deep into this cooking method for you today.
So why do people love to sous vide?
Because people love really good food. And they’re amazed they can make food at home taste as delicious as restaurants.
That’s why I love using sous vide techniques at home — it is a foul-proof way to get restaurant quality food on the table with minimal fuss.
We love trying new recipes with this underwater cooking method.
How did I get into sous vide? My husband and I were gifted our first sous vide machine as a wedding gift. So, if you want to get mushy about it, you could say our love for each other brought us to our love for sous vide cooking. Corny, but true.
There wasn’t much information on sous vide cooking available when we started.
It took a while to figure out exactly how sous vide cooking works at home, and what is the real benefit of sous vide cooking? We set up experiment after experiment to figure out which ingredients benefited the most from sous vide cooking.
Check out more beef sous vide recipes.
The evolution of sous vide cooking
Once only available to restaurants, sous vide cooking became popular with home chefs in the past few years.
In The Home Chef’s Sous Vide Cookbook, I share a little bit of the history of this technique:
“Sous vide techniques actually began as safety measures as a way to pasteurize and sterilize food for hospitals, labs, and large food companies. In 1974, the science of sous vide was exposed to the restaurant scene.
French chef Georges Pralus utilized sous vide cooking to solve an unlikely challenge: finding a new way of cooking foie gras that loses the least amount of fat while cooking.
To the surprise of many, the foie gras sous vide experiment was the cooking method that not only lost the least amount of fat – it also retained the best flavor.
No one could believe the dish was the result of food cooked in plastic in a water bath.”
The sous vide recipes beginners should start with
Sous vide NY strip steaks come out juicy, tender, and oh-so-flavorful.
Sous vide egg bites are the ultimate in soft boiled goodness.
And sous vide brisket, sous vide tri tip, and sous vide meatballs? You might never cook them another way.
Never overcooked, always done to perfection: that’s the way sous vide works.
Why I sous vide everything these days
My personal reason for loving sous vide cooking has changed over the years.
My husband and I used to be up till 3 am making fresh raviolis from scratch. We were super into cooking gourmet food. In fact, hubs was a chef at a very popular farm-to-table restaurant in Baltimore when we met.
Sous vide recipes have become a mainstay in my kitchen because of this reason. It’s like eating at a restaurant at home.
We loved restaurants when we lived in cities from Baltimore to San Francisco to Portland.
Now that we’re in the ‘burbs we have love to cook restaurant-style food at home. Meats cooked perfectly. Sauces. Fresh vegetables. And deli pasta salads.
Today we have a young family with a toddler. The reason I’m up at 3am these days is not to drink wine and make pasta. #momlife
When I was pregnant, and after becoming a mom, it became super important to make food as fast and as easy as possible.
The sous vide machine has been the answer for us as new parents. We eat well at home by leveraging the convenience of sous vide cooking for meal prep.
How much things change over 2-3 years. Especially when starting a family. Never in a million years did the “restaurant obsessed” me think that the future “mom” me would be cooking frozen chicken sous vide style! Frozen food was not my thing before moving to the suburbs and getting busy with life as a new parent.
Why would you sous vide food?
Want a fun cooking hobby?
Once you get the hang of it, sous vide cooking isn’t only tasty, it’s fun.
Do you like steak?
If you’re a huge fan of steak houses, that’s reason enough to try it. Steak made with the sous vide method of cooking is tender and buttery. Never chewy or dry.
The food is always cooked to your perfect temperature – medium rare, medium, etc. and never above. Tri tip, filet mignon from frozen, brisket, ribeye – they all are wonderful to try sous vide style.
Final reasons why sous vide is popular with home cooks
It works consistently, across the board
Most people want to know their dinner is going to come out perfect. This is possible with sous vide, because the food cooks at a consistent temperature. It never turns out dry. That’s why sous vide turkey breast is a really popular sous vide dish for Thanksgiving.
It makes food safe by eliminating bacteria over an extended period of time
That’s why Chipotle began to sous vide all their meat before finishing it off on the grill in individual restaurants.
In their words: “[Sous vide] is also a recognized and validated intervention for controlling harmful bacteria. We use the sous vide process at the commissary level for our steak so that we can prevent raw beef from ever entering our restaurants.” (read more on the Chipotle food safety site)
It provides unique, easy to implement goodness.
Take Starbucks egg bites sous vide style. Everyone loves them, and there’s a reason why: they’re just so good. They’re rich and creamy, but pretty healthy, too.
The sous vide method results, as they put it, in “velvety texture bursting with flavor”
How to sous vide almost anything
So many people are intimidated by sous vide cooking. You wouldn’t believe how many people tell me the sous vide machine has been sitting in the box for months since getting it.
As it turns out, there is nothing complicated about sous vide cooking.
Almost every meal can be summarized in three easy steps:
- Season and seal the food
- Sous vide food in a sous vide water bath
- Add a finishing touch with the grill, broiler, cast iron pan, or
The top sous vide dishes to try at home
It’s so hard to choose my favorite sous vide recipes because there are so.many wonderful combinations we’ve tried!
My cookbook, The Home Chef’s Sous Vide Cookbook, reads as a collection of all-star favorites: recipes I want to make again and again and again.
If I were to highlight just a few…
Sous vide lobster — when sous viding lobster poached in butter and herbs, the result is a final product that is wonderfully flavorful, succulent and tender. Never chewy or overcooked.
NY Strip Steak sous vide style — ideal for get togethers, you can cook these steaks to perfection in the sous vide machine and do a two minute sear when the guests come over. The result? Flavor and juiciness you’d never believe.
Grilled sous vide shrimp — a short cook time (15 minutes!) allows me to get sous vide shrimp on the table for a quick but luxurious family meal.
Egg bites sous vide style — the ultimate in versatile recipes! And the results are always wonderful– fluffy, creamy, and souffle-like– no baby-sitting required!
Overnight sous vide bacon — You’ll have no idea what bacon was supposed to taste like till you try sous viding bacon — I know I didn’t! You get so much more of everything – flavor, consistency, presentation. See more on the best sous vide breakfasts.
Buttery sous vide corn — Another super-quick way to double the flavor of your basic steamed corn on the cob. This one is poached in butter. So good.
Sous vide wings — My prep-ahead specialty for game nights. This is the sous vide wings recipe Anova said is the last one you’ll ever need. Sous vide chicken wings are tender and oh-so-juicy on the inside. A quick sear, fry, or broil gives the exterior that perfect crispness too.
Chicken is so underrated when it comes to sous vide cooking. See my guide to the best sous vide chicken recipes.
The Home Chef’s Sous Vide Cookbook
I’ve got a huge collection of sous vide recipes free online, ready for you to pull up on your iPad and make whenever the mood strikes you.
But if you’re a serious home chef who wants to sous vide everything you can, you’ll have to check out my extensive collection of 100+ recipes in The Home Chef’s Sous Vide Cookbook.
Here are some of the fool-proof vegetables, proteins, and even breakfast with your sous vide cooker.
- Italian Sous Vide Chicken Meatballs
- Sous Vide Jerk Steak Bowls
- Sous Vide Crab Cakes
- Balsamic Sous Vide Brussel Sprouts
- Sous Vide Chicken Thighs
- There’s even a bonus section on spice rubs and spices – readers have told me to make another cookbook just with my sauces (if you like dressings check out this cilantro lime dressing)
These are the recipes you’ll be using again and again and again.
Consider it your guidebook that will take you beyond your first sous vide experiments to actual full restaurant-quality meals that are bursting with flavor. As I put it in the book:
“When starting out on the sous vide cooking journey, most people stick to making one ingredient at a time: a steak, a chicken breast, pork roast. This makes sense when you’re trying to master the sous vide technique, but it can be easy to ignore the sides and sauces that round out the meal. My goal is to help you turn sous vide foods into whole dishes. You’ll find recommendations for toppings and servings that will help you create wonderfully complete plated meals.”
See more on The Home Chef’s Sous Vide Cookbook.