How to Determine the Perfect Sous Vide Cooking Time

Sous vide cooking involves cooking food in a temperature-controlled water bath to achieve perfectly cooked results. While sous vide achieves consistent doneness edge-to-edge, nailing the ideal cook time is key. There are several methods home cooks can use to determine the perfect sous vide cooking time for any cut of meat or type of food.


Sous Vide Products I Use Every Day

As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Anova Culinary AN400-US00 Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker, 12.8" x 2.2" x 4.1", Black
Anova Precision Cooker Container 12L
IMPRESA [10 pack] Sous Vide Magnets to Keep Bags Submerged & In Place - Sous Vide Accessories to Stop Floating Bags & Undercooking - Great Alternative to Sous Vide Weights, Balls, Clips, & Racks
Anova Culinary ANVS01-US00 Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer, Includes 10 Precut Bags, For Sous Vide and Food Storage
Wevac Vacuum Sealer Bags 8x50, 11x50 Rolls 2 pack for Food Saver, Seal a Meal, Weston. Commercial Grade, BPA Free, Heavy Duty, Great for vac storage, Meal Prep or Sous Vide
Anova Culinary AN400-US00 Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker, 12.8" x 2.2" x 4.1", Black
Anova Precision Cooker Container 12L
IMPRESA [10 pack] Sous Vide Magnets to Keep Bags Submerged & In Place - Sous Vide Accessories to Stop Floating Bags & Undercooking - Great Alternative to Sous Vide Weights, Balls, Clips, & Racks
Anova Culinary ANVS01-US00 Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer, Includes 10 Precut Bags, For Sous Vide and Food Storage
Wevac Vacuum Sealer Bags 8x50, 11x50 Rolls 2 pack for Food Saver, Seal a Meal, Weston. Commercial Grade, BPA Free, Heavy Duty, Great for vac storage, Meal Prep or Sous Vide
$99.00
$127.37
$24.99
$59.95
$18.99
Anova Culinary AN400-US00 Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker, 12.8" x 2.2" x 4.1", Black
Anova Culinary AN400-US00 Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker, 12.8" x 2.2" x 4.1", Black
$99.00
Anova Precision Cooker Container 12L
Anova Precision Cooker Container 12L
$127.37
IMPRESA [10 pack] Sous Vide Magnets to Keep Bags Submerged & In Place - Sous Vide Accessories to Stop Floating Bags & Undercooking - Great Alternative to Sous Vide Weights, Balls, Clips, & Racks
IMPRESA [10 pack] Sous Vide Magnets to Keep Bags Submerged & In Place - Sous Vide Accessories to Stop Floating Bags & Undercooking - Great Alternative to Sous Vide Weights, Balls, Clips, & Racks
$24.99
Anova Culinary ANVS01-US00 Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer, Includes 10 Precut Bags, For Sous Vide and Food Storage
Anova Culinary ANVS01-US00 Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer, Includes 10 Precut Bags, For Sous Vide and Food Storage
$59.95
Wevac Vacuum Sealer Bags 8x50, 11x50 Rolls 2 pack for Food Saver, Seal a Meal, Weston. Commercial Grade, BPA Free, Heavy Duty, Great for vac storage, Meal Prep or Sous Vide
Wevac Vacuum Sealer Bags 8x50, 11x50 Rolls 2 pack for Food Saver, Seal a Meal, Weston. Commercial Grade, BPA Free, Heavy Duty, Great for vac storage, Meal Prep or Sous Vide
$18.99

Last update on 2024-07-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Use a Sous Vide Time and Temperature Chart

A sous vide time and temperature chart provides recommended cooking times and temperatures for various foods. These charts are a good starting point when figuring out how long to sous vide meat, vegetables, eggs and more. For example, a 1-inch thick steak might cook for 1-4 hours at 130°F for medium-rare doneness.

However, sous vide cooking times can vary considerably based on the thickness and shape of the food. It’s a good idea to cross-reference different sous vide charts to get a general time range, then fine tune from there.

Experiment with Different Cooking Times

The most foolproof way to nail the perfect sous vide cook time is to experiment. Cook the same cut of meat or vegetable at the target temperature but try varying cooking times. For example, cook one steak for 1 hour, another for 2 hours, and a third for 3 hours, all at 130°F.

Evaluate the results and take notes on how the texture, juiciness, tenderness and doneness differ between the steaks. With enough testing, you’ll land on the ideal time for your preferences.

Use a Sous Vide Recipe

Relying on sous vide recipes from experienced cooks can help determine the optimal cooking time. Recipes provide not only cook times but also guidance on the target temperature and post-cooking searing or resting.

When using sous vide recipes, read reviews to see if other home cooks needed to adjust the time up or down. No two sous vide machines heat exactly the same, so the recipe time may need tweaking.

Use a Sous Vide Cooking App

Sous vide apps like Sous Vide Wizard provide customized cooking time estimates based on the weight and thickness of the food and target doneness.

Simply input the food specs and your desired level of rareness, and the app calculates time and temperature. Apps help account for how dimensions affect heating. However, it’s still wise to verify with a thermometer that the center reaches the proper temperature.

Safety Tips for Sous Vide Cooking

While sous vide cooking offers precise temperature control, following key safety tips is critical to prevent foodborne illness:

  • Use fresh, high-quality meat and vegetables – do not cook foods that are already spoiled.
  • Avoid cross-contamination by sealing foods individually and sanitizing hands, tools and surfaces.
  • Chill foods in the fridge before sealing to minimize time in the “danger zone” while heating up to the set temperature.
  • Pull vacuum sealed foods straight from the fridge before cooking sous vide – do not let them sit at room temp.
  • Discard any foods that look or smell suspicious after cooking. Do not take risks.

Adhering to strict sanitation, proper handling and storage practices are vital for safe low and slow sous vide cooking.

Conclusion: Mastering Sous Vide Cooking Times

Determining the perfect sous vide cook time requires some experimentation and consulting sous vide time charts or recipes. Key factors like a food’s thickness and desired doneness impact how long it takes to cook sous vide. With practice and the right guidance, home cooks can master cooking times to achieve phenomenal texture, moisture and flavor with sous vide.