A Beginner’s Guide to Sous Vide

The sous vide can take your home cooking to the next level.

We got our Anova Sous Vide in 2015, in most cases it’s pretty foolproof, but along the way we learned some things through experimentation and the hard way. Over time, we found out that there are a thousand to infinite opinions when it comes down to time and temperature for the SAME thing. Experiment and you’ll learn your preferences and build off the basics. Here are some tips and tricks so you can have a bit of a head start! 

Some of the links I’ve provided below are my personal suggestions, do your research and get what you think would best suit your needs. We may receive a small commission from our Amazon Affiliate program through the links that will help to subsidize the costs of creating content.

Basic Equipment

Here’s a basic outline of things you’ll need. For a more in-depth overview, check out our sous vide equipment page.

Sous Vide

At the very least, you’ll need a sous vide – We guess you can build one yourself but we would suggest to go with one that’s already readily available on the market. We use one of the first models of Anova sous vide sticks. We got it in 2015 and it’s still going strong. 

If you have an Anova Sous Vide and want to know how to use it. Read our article:

How to Use the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker


You’ll need a container to use this sous vide in. Pretty much anything that can hold a good amount of water, and won’t melt will be good to go. I’ve used large pots, coolers, plastic boxes, and polycarbonate containers. We do NOT suggest using those styrofoam disposable containers though. They WILL eventually leak through. Just make sure whatever you’re going to be making fits in there. You want the water to be able to circulate around your food; but you don’t want it so big that you’ll have a huge electricity bill trying to heat the container! 

Anova makes a nice container that doubles up as storage for the sous vide.


You’ll need something to hold your food. A good vacuum sealer is preferable but not always necessary. You can also use freezer safe zipper bags, reusable silicone bags, and/or mason jars. 

Everything else

We would recommend having a nice heavy cast iron pan for searing your meats. We use a Lodge 12” Cast Iron Skillet. We bought this because it was relatively inexpensive, there are many brands and different sizes. I’ve had mine forever, before we knew anything about cooking… It will still be around long after I’m gone. You’ll also need to use some of your other kitchen essentials – pots, pans, bowls, knives and other utensils. Our buying philosophy is to buy the best you can afford for things that you plan to use frequently or consume. That’s not always the case, like for the cast iron pan but it mostly holds true. Also, do your RESEARCH. 

Plan ahead 

The sous vide is generally a device of convenience, cooking is mostly unattended, but it’s not a fast method. In most, if not all, cases, the cooking time in the water bath will be greater than the traditional methods. Keep this in mind when you plan your dinners. That being said, in many cases you will be able to leave your food in the sous vide for longer than the recommended cook time without adverse effects. 

This Cantonese Roast Duck recipe took 12 hours in the sous vide and overnight to dry out the skin, but it was well worth it!


Good things take time. Depending on the cuts, it could take hours, sometimes days to break down the connective tissues in meats to become tender. It’ll all be worth it at the end. 

Trial and Error 

I learned pretty darn quickly to leave the zipper of the sous vide above the water line. My first steak was waterlogged … was so excited that I invited everyone over for dinner – too bad we all ate boiled, well done steak. Lesson learned – didn’t happen again. Take the time to figure out what you like. There are many options for cooking times, temperatures, and what works or doesn’t work in the sous vide.

Everything on this website is based on our personal preference which may or may not suit everyone. So change it up, take what you like and change what you don’t. That’s what we do too!

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