Let’s talk sous vide cookers.
At a basic level, sous vide cookers do one thing: heat and circulate water around food that is vacuum sealed in a pouch.
We surveyed readers of our parenting books that were sous vide enthusiasts to get their advice and tips. Fans of these devices think foods like steak come out juicier and more flavorful. That’s because spices and marinade in the bag are infused into the food . . . and that process works better than a pan on the stovetop or in an oven.
(One clever tip we learned from sous vide fans: cook your food in a plastic container, which retains heat better than a metal pot—and hence uses less electricity).
After trying out several top brands of sous vide cookers recommended by our readers, we’d agree—these gadgets are addictive!
Another key feature: you don’t have to fire up a stove or oven to prepare a meal. If your kitchen is space-challenged, the sous vide cooker is compact and much easier to store than a series of pots and pans.
We also loved how sous vide cookers can just be left alone to do their thing—you don’t have to stand over the food like you’d do with a pan on a stove.
When it comes to sous vide cookers, there are two basic sizes: regular and mini. Why get a mini sous vide? Well, if you are just cooking for yourself or a small family, you don’t need the big sous vide. And smaller also means less expensive, in general!
For the best mini sous vide cooker, we will recommend Anova’s Culinary Sous Video Precision Cooker Nano.
Anova is to sous vide cookers what Apple is to smartphones . . . they are the player that enjoys the best brand reputation, according to our readers. And after we did our testing, we’d agree. This is a great little sous vide cooker! Here’s more:
What We Liked
• Delicious results! This sous vide cooker is consistent and accurate. With other sous vide cookers we tried (but didn’t make the cut), some didn’t keep the temperature consistent—and that could play havoc with your meal!
• Good for up to 4 people. This sous vide cooker supports up to five gallons of water.
• Easy to use touch controls on the end of the stick.
• Clamp attaches it to the side of a pot. This worked well!
What Needs Work
• App could be improved. Yes, in theory, this sous vide cooker is supposed to let you monitor your food on an app via Bluetooth. But in our test, the app didn’t give us any notifications that the food was done, etc. That said, this sous vide cooker has manual controls that work just fine, just in case you can’t get the app to work.
• Timer on the sous vide cooker didn’t sync well with the app. We’re not sure if this was our fault or not, but we had issues with syncing the two.
• Clamp is not height adjustable.
• Takes a bit longer to heat up water (and hence cook) than other, more powerful sous vide cookers. The Anova Nano is 750 watts—that’s fine for most everyday uses. But other cookers have more power (up to 1100 watts) and that means they can heat up water quicker . . . and cook faster.