What Is Sous-Vide?

Sous-vide — French for “under-vacuum” — is an innovative cooking technique in which food is vacuum sealed and slow-cooked in water at constant precise temperatures until it’s perfectly cooked.

“The power of sous-vide is that it enables you to precisely prepare food with more tenderness and flavor than can be obtained through traditional cooking techniques. Sous-vide makes it possible to unlock the full potential of food.”

DR. BRUNO GOUSSAULT , SOUS-VIDE PIONEER

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The late food journalist Henri Gault once said of the method: “Sous-vide cooking is to the kitchen what cinema is to the theater.” Sous-vide is a cooking technique that allows you to cook food at a precise temperature to achieve a consistent result that maximizes the taste, texture, and aroma of food.

Cooking sous-vide involves sealing the food in a plastic pouch, essentially creating a “second skin,” and immersing the food in a water bath set for a series of precise temperatures and times. The technique was first widely utilized for industrial food production, and over the past several decades, professional chefs in nearly all of the best restaurants across the Americas and Europe have used the technique to maximize the flavor and texture of food—to serve the absolute-best steak, fruit, grain, vegetable, or oil (the applications for sous-vide are infinitely ripe for experimentation!) to patrons.

Today, sous-vide is increasing in popularity, and with the advent of low-cost circulators, home cooks are starting to explore the possibilities of the method.

sous-vide-pears
42.8

In degrees Fahrenheit, the ideal temperature for food before it's placed in the sous-vide pouch.

sous-vide-egg
63

Temperature, in degrees Celsius, for a "perfect" sous-vide egg: a softly set white with a runny yolk.

sous-vide steak with rosemary
400-
450

Ideal range, in degrees Fahrenheit, for searing—or "finishing"— a sous-vide steak.

History of Sous-Vide

    sealed-cooking-in-stomachs

    400-1500

    THE START OF
    SEALED COOKING

    Sealed-cooking practices appear in the Middle Ages, when preparing food within animal organs— including bladders, stomachs, and intestines—was common in present-day Scotland and Russia.

    incan-underground-cooking

    1438-1533

    INCAN
    UNDERGROUND

    Move over, New England clambakes: the traditional Peruvian dish Pachamanca—meat, vegetables, and spices baked underground—first appeared in the Incan Empire.

    modern-sous-vide

    1799

    Early Efforts
    in Sous-Vide

    Sir Ben Thompson, an American-born British physicist, documents an early effort in low-temperature cooking, with air as the heat transfer method.

    sous-vide-in-sealed-bag

    1960s

    Sous-Vide as
    Preservative

    In the 1960s, French and American engineers experimented with food-grade plastic and vacuum packing, developing it as an industrial food preservation method.

    modern-sous-vide-machine

    1971

    Refining
    the Method

    Scientist and engineer Dr. Bruno Goussault pioneers and perfects the sous-vide method, developing scientific rationale, safety practices, and other refinements to aid precision.

    sous-vide-machine-home

    2009

    Sous-Vide
    Hits Home

    Dr. Michael and Mary Eades introduce the first household sous-vide cooking appliance, the SousVide Supreme, delighting food science early adopters.

Got a Sous-Vide Question?

Ask Dr. Bruno Goussault, the master of sous-vide.

Dr. Bruno Goussault pioneered the sous-vide method in 1971, forever changing the way we cook. Soak up his knowledge by browsing his answers to questions from Sous-Vide magazine readers—and ask him a question of your own!

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Dedicated to the Art & Science of Sous-Vide

The first publication devoted to the art and science of sous-vide cooking, featuring innovative recipes, visual inspiration, expert techniques for cooking sous-vide at home, and exclusive interviews with world-class chefs.