Sous vide cooking can be done with just the basics which would basically just mean you need a sous vide machine, something to cook in, and some good bags. However, there are some useful, inexpensive sous vide accessories that can improve the overall experience and make your process easier. Some of these items include weights, Cambros, racks, silicone gloves, clamps, ping pong balls (also known as water balls), a blowtorch, and a good vacuum sealer.
8 Best Sous Vide Accessories
Let’s go over each one and see how it can help you sous vide. Here’s our list of eight sous vide accessories… that ended up actually being ten items. Of course, not all of these are necessary but as you read through the list you’ll see some benefits that may appeal to you.
Sous Vide Weights
If you’re using Ziplocs and the immersion method then it’s not unusual to have enough air left in the bag to cause some floating, and you don’t want that. Your food will be better off if it’s secured with some sous vide weights. One of the risks of having bags that float is that the edges of the food can end up under-cooked due to inconsistent temps.
With these Gevoli 6.2-ounce sous vide weights, you eliminate that issue by throwing one or two of these in the bag with your food. These are made of cooking-grade stainless steel that’s wrapped inside a coating of food-grade silicone. There are other sous vide weights out there but I think these are the best I’ve used because they have a substantial feel and they do a better job of really securing the bag. Gevoli weights are non-stick and easy to clean since you can just throw them in the dishwasher.
Dimensions: 6 inches x 1 inch x about 1/2 inch
You need a cooking vessel of some kind if you’re using an immersion circulator. People generally use large stock pots or plastic containers like these Cambros. There are also plastic containers made by Rubbermaid but I like the Cambro brand because when I worked in restaurants, it was all we used. It’s a crystal clear polycarbonate that is super durable — like I said they’re standard in the restaurant business so you know they can take a lot of heavy use.
This is the size I have, for use with my Anova.
It’s a 12-quart size. Dimensions: 11.25 x 12.25 x 8.25 inches.
And I guess technically this would count as an additional accessory, but I really like these Everie silicone lids that are designed specifically for the setup that I have — the 12-quart container and Anova immersion circulator.
Sous Vide Rack
A sous vide rack like this EVERIE Weighted Sous Vide Rack Divider will come in handy when you’re cooking more than one or two bags of food. You want everything to cook evenly and keeping multiple bags in place with a rack like this ensures that water circulates evenly all around each bag.
This one has seven dividers and a sturdy, weighted bottom that will keep everything steady during your cook. This one fits well with the 12-quart setup that I like using.
- No More Wobbly Dividers - Vertical mount of the dividers stop any horizontal vibration. Includes 7 dividers - 5 are removable and 2 are...
- Best Mount in the market - Designed with vertical slot to hold divides' feet firmly, dividers no longer wobbles. W8.1"xD6.3"xH6.5",...
- 18/8 stainless steel base and dividers, holder clip is made of BPA free nylon.
Sous vide cooking involves lots of really hot water and really hot bags of food, and while I’m one who forgets to put gloves on a lot of the time when I start doing something that gloves would really be helpful for, I’ve had enough minor burns while cooking. I don’t want any more of them.
There are some other ones but I really like these Cuisinart ones because they don’t give me the imprecise feel that some others do.
- HEAT RESISTANT UP TO 425 DEGREES: The heat resistant silicon gloves are perfect for working with a grill or smoker allowing for easy...
- WATERPROOF & DISHWASHER SAFE: The gloves are waterproof and repel grease and sticky sauces, meaning they can be cleaned with a simple rinse,...
- MORE FLEXIBILITY AND CONTROL: Resilient silicone gloves allow you to use your fingers, so you have more flexibility and control when working...
Clamps come in handy for sous vide cooking. Use these clamps to secure the bags to the side of your cooking vessel. Just get some like these TEKTON 3/4-Inch Nylon Spring Clamps, 3/4-Inch Jaw Opening, 1-Inch Throat Depth, 10-Piece, there’s no need for them to be specially-designed for sous vide.
- Provides instant holding power and is easy to reposition during assembly, fastening, and gluing work
- Temporarily secures plastic sheeting, tarps, covers, fabric, and photography backdrops
- High strength fiberglass-reinforced nylon construction is lightweight and can't rust or corrode
Ping Pong Balls or “Water Balls”
Ping pong balls are used when you don’t have a special lid like the Everie one above. You can use ping pong balls as a makeshift lid, with the goal of keeping water from evaporating during your cook as well as keeping the water insulated for even cooking. This is a nice solution because it allows you to use a variety of cooking vessels, whereas with one of the silicone lids, you obviously have to use a vessel that fits with the lid.
- Made of the highest and safest quality polyethylene, non hazardous and safe for you and your entire family!
- Water balls for your sous vide cooker help to ensure an even cook for your food and make sure to insulate the heat into the pot where your...
- No lid's needed when you are using the Mazonia water balls! The water balls insulate so powerfully that they can act as lid when placed...
With sous vide cooking, you want to get a good sear on your steak when it comes out of the water bath. Other wise you’ll be dealing with a very unappetizing piece of meat. A blowtorch is one way to do this. (Another way is to sear in a cast iron pan, although that can fill your whole house with smoke and it’s not a precise as a blowtorch.) The Bernzomatic TS8000 – High Intensity Trigger Start Torch is the one we recommend.
A blowtorch is a pretty inexpensive item that will vastly improve the way your food comes out.
- Auto start/stop ignition easily ignites and extinguishes flame
- Ultra swirl flame provides maximum heat output for large diameter soldering, brazing, heat treating and light welding
- For best results, use with MAP-Pro fuel, such as the Bernzomatic 14.1 oz. MAP-Pro Hand Torch Cylinder
You can also add the Searzall attachment for a more even sear that’ll make your steak look like it came from an upscale restaurant.
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You can sous vide without a vacuum sealer by using Ziploc bags and the immersion technique to get the air out of the bags. But a vacuum sealer works better, and for a cooking process with a name that literally means “under vacuum” — this is an important element. The bags are more durable, so you don’t have to worry about the longer cook times and higher temps that can make Ziploc bags fall apart. The seal is better. And you can use them to make packs of food for use later on, and the freshness will be superior due to the vacuum packing. Here is one of the moderately-priced vacuum sealers that I like for sous vide: NESCO VS-12, Deluxe Vacuum Sealer with Bag Starter Kit and Viewing Lid, Compact Design.
- Double Line Seals for Added Strength
- Hands-Free Sealing with Locked Handle
- Variable Settings: Regular or Gentle
Sous Vide Accessories Final Thoughts
While this is a cooking process that only requires a sous vide machine, cooking vessel, and some bags, adding some accessories can make the process easier and more convenient. Some of these inexpensive add-ons to your sous vide set up can improve your cooking results and make the everything work more smoothly.