(*) Last updated on Dec 12th, 2017.
Table of Contents
- Why Do You Need The Best Sous Vide Container?
- Top 5 Considerations In Buying Sous Vide Container
- Which Is The Best Sous Vide Container For Home Cooks 2017?
- Sous Vide Container Reviews
- 6 Pro Sous Vide Tips
Why Do You Need The Best Sous Vide Container?
Hi, I’m Abigail, a wife, foodie and restaurant owner. But before I turned pro, I was a home cook trying sous vide cooking.
I wanted to grill some sirloin, and wanted to make sure it would be juicy and tender. So I got my Anova immersion circulator, and for a cooking vessel, I got a one-quart saucepan.
I left the Anova running for hours while I did about with my chores, and when I came back, the water was all depleted, and the sirloin was not even tender or juicy.
While saucepans can be used for sous vide, they are not the best cooking container, and I learned that the hard and expensive way.
5 reasons why steel pots are NOT to be used for sous vide:
- 1. Their material requires a lot of heat to be hot. It becomes a waste of time, energy and fuel or electricity;
- 2. The pot cannot be covered because of the sous vide cooker. Without cover, water evaporates and heat escapes, thus again a waste of time and money;
- 3. Since you cannot see through the material, you cannot easily monitor the cooking that is happening inside the pot;
- 4. Pots are most often round, and food bags are square. The round pan can only accommodate a few square bags inside;
- 5. When you cook or when you transfer the hot pan unto your countertop, the heat will most likely break your stone countertop.
So while it is easy and cheaper to make do and use any pots for sous vide, or even ice coolers or bathtubs, there is the best kind of container for sous vide use, which is no other than polycarbonate sous vide container.
You say whhhhat? I didn’t know about this either until that unfortunate sous vide attempt, and since then, I have done some serious research to answer the question “what is the best container for sous vide at home”, below are the results:
What is a polycarbonate sous vide container?
Polycarbonate is a kind of plastic that resists heat so even the high heat in sous vide cannot adversely affect the material. It is also lightweight, and a better alternative to glass. It is also clear so you can easily monitor the cooking.
Top 7 benefits of polycarbonate containers for sous vide:
- The transparent or clear material makes it so easy to monitor the cooking happening inside;
- Polycarbonate containers come in varied sizes to better fit your budget and sous vide cooking needs;
- Fitted lids are available specific to any of your immersion circulators. With a dedicated lid on, there is no loss of water and heat; no cutting or adjusting required as it is already tailor-fit;
- Good insulation material keeps the cooking heat inside, so there is less wastage of time, fuel, and effort;
- These containers are lightweight, and you don’t have to lug it around. It is easy to store because of its shape and size;
- It can be used for other purposes, like food storage, so you can get more uses for your money;
- It is user-friendly, and be used with other dedicated cooking accessories like sous vide sleeve and sous vide rack.
Polycarbonate containers are very affordable and readily available so it would really benefit you to get your own instead of just using whatever pots or pans are in your kitchen.
The material, size and shape are tailor-made for optimized sous vide cooking without wasting time, fuel and energy. You can also suit your choice of polycarbonate container to your existing brand and model of immersion circulator.
In a nutshell, the polycarbonate container has many advantages over other types. It will help you boost the efficiency of sous vide cooking up a lot.
Top 5 Considerations In Buying Sous Vide Container
Here are the KEY aspects that we should consider:
- Shape and size
- Dedicated Lids
- The material itself should be durable and the workmanship should be top quality so the product will be of use for a long time.
- Because of the nature of sous vide cooking, it should be able to withstand high temperature, with no burning of food or material.
- It has to be safe for food usage and dishwasher-safe. It also has to be efficient in its performance, achieve the purpose of having juicy and tender food with the least effort and time.
2- Shape and size
- The square-shaped container offers at least 25% more storage space, especially since the food bags themselves are squares.
- Sizes vary, which you can fit your own specific needs. To be safe, it is good to go for the mid-size so you can have enough space, or you can buy at least two sizes especially since polycarbonate containers are affordable.
- Your choice of container should be suited to your needs and demands, and also for whatever immersion circulator you already have.
- In considering suitability, measure not only the size but also the depth of the container. A 12 qt square container has a depth of approximately 8 in – it is suitable for all devices in the market like Anova, Joule, Gourmia, and so on.
4- Dedicated Lids
- It is greatly important to keep the lid on your container while doing sous vide to maximize the heat, with none of it escaping. This will ensure that your meat, or food will get the optimum results of being tender and juicy.
- Your choice of container should be fitted to the lid you need.
- There are varied designs, sizes and colors available, and I personally recommend getting one that is transparent so you can see through while its cooking, and also one with water lines so you can monitor the water level.
- A good container should also have handles that are sturdy enough so you will not burn your hands when cooking or transferring the container.
Which Is The Best Sous Vide Container For Home Cooks 2017?
Based on my research, I have narrowed it down to my top 3:
Top 3 Sous Vide Containers Comparison Chart
These are highly recommended brands and models for home cooks. We don’t have big counter or storage spaces, we have simple needs, and most often, we cook for just a few people.
Professionals would have different specifications, cooking for a bigger group of people and with more complicated recipes.
Sous Vide Container Reviews
As I always promise you, let me help you decide on your kitchen needs, and I do this best by providing you relevant information and my two-cents worth of opinion.
- The material is break-resistant, dishwasher-safe and easy to clean;
- The square design allows 25% more storage space, and is easy to stack up;
- The material is suited for use in extreme temperatures whether inside the freezer or as sous vide container;
- Its design comes in either clear or white;
- With visible water line marks on the sides in both liters and quarts;
- The brand is available in various size from 2 quarts to 22 quarts;
- Very easy to move with sturdy handles.
- Bottom label carries a warning about chemicals in the Rubbermaid container.
Feature table of Rubbermaid Sous Vide Container
|Sous vide sleeve|
|Sous vide rack|
Why I love it:
Rubbermaid is a life-long brand, and my grandmother has products that are 20 years old or more.
I love my Rubbermaid Container-12 quarts because it is the perfect fit to my Anova. I can sous vide up to 4 steaks inside.
I have a friend who has Sansaire brand of immersion circulator, and it also fits well with her Rubbermaid.
While it may have warning about materials it is made of, when doing sous vide, the food products are inside plastic bags and will NOT be in direct contact with the container itself so there will be no harm of transfer.
The plus point for the product is that it comes with great accessories that are very useful for the cooks:
- Get this added insulation for your Rubbermaid 12-quart container. It efficiently stores heat so cooking time is lessened and fuel or electricity is saved.
- Sous vide is a process of slow cooking at hottest temperature, so with this sleeve, the right cooking temperature will be reached faster.
- It is also protection for your work surface; no hot container that will break your tiles. The sleek black color with detailed stitching gives a little flair to your kitchen!
- It is important to have a lid on the container while cooking so heat will not escape and water will not evaporate.
- I know our Rubbermaid container has a lid of its own, but what I like best about Everie lid is it is collapsible in the middle so I can easily open one side and the other remains closed. Very useful!
- And of course, this product perfectly fits my Anova Precision Cooker. The design also makes it possible that I clip to its sides using the lid the food bags with the meat.
With its outstanding advantages, I have stamped the Rubbermaid as the BEST sous vide container for home cooking.
The next is
- It has lids that can fit different brands and models of immersion circulator like Anova, Sansaire, and others;
- Works best with sous vide rack to avoid floating food bags;
- Crystal clear design;
- Suitable for use in a freezer or for sous vide water bath.
- Like any other polycarbonate containers, it contains little amount of BPA, which fortunately, still fall below FDA limits;
- Sides are too thin that food bags do not tightly clamp unto it;
- The lack of handles makes it difficult for users to move the container;
- You can only estimate the water level because it does not have water lines.
Feature table of Lipavi Sous Vide Container
|Sous vide sleeve|
|Sous vide rack|
Why I love it:
I like LIPAVI Sous Vide Container because of its bigger size container at 26 quarts, which is great when you are cooking so many things at once, like for a party.
For home cooks, this is a huge size, but if you plan to segue into trying commercial cooking, like starting a food business, this can be a good start of your investment.
My first sous vide container was a mere 12 quart, and when I started loving cooking so much, I accepted simple catering jobs and had to eventually buy a bigger size.
Providing the cooks with a complete, consistent and useful sous vide system is a great advantage of the LIPAVI:
- Lids are very important when doing sous vide to trap the moisture and heat in. If you are getting a Lipavi container, you might as well get a Lipavi lid for it.
- I like the Lipavi because it is tailor-fit for my favorite Anova, although it can also be used with other brands like Chefelix and Flexzion, among the many. Since it is tailor-fit, the size of the cut-out for the circulator is perfect, with enough room to move, but not too spacious it will move around.
- Lipavi lids are see-through, dishwasher-friendly and can withstand high temperature.
- This may yet be my favorite Lipavi product. It comes in varied sizes to fit the varied sizes of the Lipavi containers.
- It is made from stainless steel, doesn’t rust, and it does its best function of keeping the food bags from floating. While it does not really affect the sous vide process, it is good to keep some semblance of order.
- The wire separators are also adjustable to fit the size of your bag, tight enough to prevent floating. It also puts some space between the bottom of the container and the food bags, and this elevation allows more circulation of the hot water.
Housed in a dedicated system, the Lipavi C10 model deserves to be a GREAT container for sous vide cooking.
And the last position is
- Resistant to breaking;
- Odor and stain free;
- Has red markings on the sides to know quantity of liquid inside;
- Clear and transparent so you can see through it;
- Can withstand extreme temperatures, from freezing to boiling;
- Great molded-in handles for easy moving.
- Marks on the sides easily erase;
- Dedicated lids for sous vide cookers are not available. You will have to manually cut its lid to fit your device. Pretty trouble!
Feature table of Camwear Sous Vide Container
|Sous vide sleeve|
|Sous vide rack|
Why I love it:
The Camwear container is very durable, and I know some restaurants use this. With its clear design, I can see through the material and watch the food cook. It is also easy to monitor the water level.
I love that they have this cute 2 liter container, but well, beside being cute, I really would rather opt for a bigger one for multiple uses.
This does not give the option of buying already with a lid, so you will have to buy it separately and manually cut it to fit your cookers. Lids are important to ensure heat is retained inside and water will not evaporate.
The Camwear is a top sous vide container, is the best alternative to Rubbermaid container.
However, I prefer the Rubbermaid and Lipavi to it because they have enough dedicated accessories for sous vide cooking.
For your sous vide cooking, it is best to have the best container so you avoid costly mistakes. Get polycarbonate containers, which are affordable and readily available in various brands and models.
It perfectly fits my Anova, is very durable, does a perfect job of evenly cooking my meat during sous vide. It is also affordable and readily available.
Polycarbonate containers are safe, although it may contain minute amount of BPA, its level is not hazardous to health, and is within government standards. Also, remember our food are inside food bags, and do not directly touch the container, so there is no fear of transfer.
As a home cook, the 12 quart is the best size for me. It is the perfect size for cooking for my family, which is every day. Whenever we have guests and I have to cook for more people, I do two batches if really necessary, but most times, just cramming them in the 12 quart still works.
Rubbermaid containers are see-through and I can easily monitor the water level, although with a lid on, there is little fear of water evaporating. But well you know, any cook will tell you it gives a different thrill to see how the cooking process happens.
6 Pro Sous Vide Tips
1- If you do not have a sous vide sleeve, use instead a towel
- If you do not have a sous vide sleeve, then you can make do with a kitchen towel. You can put it around your container, and even on top of the lid.
- This will keep moisture in, and will do the trick of cutting down cooking time, just like what a real sous vide sleeve does.
2- Use sous vide water balls
If you do not have lids, you can use the Sous Vide Water Balls, all 250 pieces:
- The water balls reduce heat loss and water evaporation, pretty much doing the function of the lids.
- You can use this on any size of container so no need to buy different lids for different containers.
3- Use a cooking torch
You have cooked the perfect steaks but they are all pale from sous vide cooking.
The best way to finish off your masterpiece is by using a sous vide torch to glaze the top of your meat like this:
- It is a blow torch that runs on butane, which is refillable.
- You can use it for desserts, as well, like on meringues or pies to give it a golden finish.
Eating with the eyes is as important as eating by the mouth! And to have a delicious meal, a good sous vide cookbook is indispensable.
4- Protect your countertop
- After hours of waiting on sous vide, we excitedly put our culinary product on the kitchen countertop, which is usually made of stone. The heat of our container might break the stone, so be wary.
- Make sure there is something protecting your stone, like a thick wood or even just a thick pot holder. It can also serve as a warning to everyone that the container is hot to touch, and will avoid unwanted accidents.
5- Keep out of reach of children
- Like any other kitchen utensil or equipment, it is best to keep it out of reach of children. I have a safe rule – don’t touch kitchen stuff whether it is in use or not.
- That way, accidents do not happen at all. Because sometimes, although empty, a sous vide container can still be hot, and children may touch it and risk a burn.
6- Do not put sous vide under cabinets
- I once made the mistake of doing sous vide cooking under wooden shelves, and the heat warped the wood.
- Remember, you are working with extreme heat so make sure there is nothing directly on the line of fire of your steam.