Sous Vide Bags What to Avoid + What to Use

When you want to use the sous vide method one of the things you need to understand is what kind of bags are safe and good to use for sous vide, and which ones you should avoid at all costs. There are special bags for sous vide that can be used without a vacuum sealer, there are vacuum sealed pouches, and there are Ziploc bags. There is also the option of using reusable silicone bags. These are your options as far as sous vide bags go so let’s look at each one in detail so you know what you’ll be dealing with.

Reusable Sous Vide Bags

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The first type of sous vide bags we’ll look at are these reusable ones that are specifically means for sous vide. This is a nice option for a few reasons.

First, these are definitely food safe as they are designed for this cooking process, so they’re BPA-free, food grade, and made out of the safest material.

Secondly they are reusable, and this is helpful since one of the concerns with sous vide cooking is the fact that you’re always going through bags. People put these inside-out in the dishwasher and they come out ready for reuse.

And last but not least they can be used without having to own a vacuum sealer. This kit comes with a little pump that you use to remove the air to create a vacuum seal, albeit not as good as you’d get with a machine like the VacMaster Pro 380 that I am super fond of.

But this option is hundreds of dollars cheaper so… it just depends on how much vacuum sealing you intend to do, maybe just for storage purposes and not just for sous vide.

And one final thought on why these reusable sous vide bags are a good choice, unlike Ziplocs, they’re made to stand up to the long cooking times and high temps so you don’t have to worry about using Ziplocs for sous vide and having them come apart at the seams.

So that brings us to…

Vacuum Sealed Sous Vide Bags

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These are the bags you would use with a vacuum sealer.

This is my favorite way to go with sous vide cooking, and that is in part because I enjoy the process of vacuum sealing large batches of food at a time. The vacuum seal is better, of course, the bags are very durable, and like I alluded to before you can use a vacuum sealer for more than just sous vide so it’s just a nice thing to have on hand.

Vacuum sealer bags are BPA-free food grade and able to withstand sous vide’s long cooking times at temperatures of 158 degrees F and above. (That’s the cut-off temp for ZipLocs as we will see in a sec.)

Ziploc Bags for Sous Vide

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Ziplocs are cheap and you can get them anywhere so of course they seem like the first choice for sous vide, especially if you’re a casual sous vide-er at this point. However, Ziplocs have limitations as to cook times and temps. I wouldn’t go over cook times of three, maybe four hours.

And you can’t go over 158 degrees F because you’ll be dealing with bags that come apart at the seams and basically ruin your whole cook.

Make sure you get the freezer bags because these are the only Ziploc bags that are durable enough for this cooking method.

Keep in mind also that you’ll have to use this water immersion technique to get the air out of your bags so you can start cooking. You’ll also need to clip the bag to the sous vide vessel you’re using. But this is a great way to go if you want to avoid or postpone investing in a good vacuum sealer.

Reusable Silicone Bags for Sous Vide

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These silicone bags are intended for sous vide use so they can definitely withstand the temperatures and long cook times. They’re BPA-free and food grade.

And I will let you know right now that I personally have not done any sous vide cooking with these bags but I wanted to list them because they’re becoming more popular.

It looks like a good option to check out. It’s another low-cost way to get started. Bear in mind that you will have to use the water immersion technique with these like with the Ziplocs, and you’ll have to have some clips ready to attach them to your cooking vessel.

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