Can I Sous Vide in a Slow Cooker?

If you are a proud owner of a slow cooker and wonder whether you can use it for sous vide, we have you covered. This article is all about sous vide in a slow cooker. We will discuss all you need to know and explain the sous vide process in a slow cooker.

Both a slow cooker and a sous vide device are different appliances. A slow cooker is not designed for sous vide, but you can use it for this purpose. You can use a slow cooker for sous vide with some additional tools. However, you need to be extra careful of the water temperature and cooking time.

Before we start our topic, let’s cover our basics and discuss what sous vide is?

What is Sous Vide?

Sous vide is a professional method of cooking food, especially meat portions. The process cooks food in a vacuum at a low temperature. The water bath temperature is controlled, and food is cooked within a sealed packet in a vacuum.

As food is cooking in a vacuum, its flavors are retained to their maximum, with no nutrient loss, and you get perfect results each time. You don’t have to use a finger or a thermometer to check if food is done. It gives a restaurant-like result to your steaks, pork chops, ribs, and roast every time you try it.

What is a Slow Cooker?

What is a Slow Cooker?

As the name suggests, a slow cooker can cook food at a low temperature. It’s almost similar to a dutch oven.

Heat begins at the bottom and slowly creates steam. As the heat is constant and stable, it simmers food. With slow cooking and a sealed environment, no flavor loss happens. Due to the closed lid, moisture does not release the pot, and your dish retains its moisture.

It’s a perfect option to create stews, gravies, roasts, and lean protein.

Are a sous Vide Device and Slow Cooker the Same?

If you think we have mixed up things, you are not alone. Both slow cooking and sous vide involves a consistent slow temperature. One might easily confuse both cooking methods and consider them the same.

However, a slow cooker and sous vide device are neither the same nor the two cooking methods.

Everything is cooked in a pot or a pan in a slow cooker. So food is cooked on heat, and you can have water or all other ingredients like in regular cooking. Yes, it is cooked at a low temperature, but that is not like in sous vide.

In the sous vide method, the pot has water that is heated. But food is not cooked even in water. It is packed into a sealed plastic cover that floats in the heating water for as long as you need to cook the food. So both sous vide device and a slow cooker are different devices designed for their respective tasks.

Can I Use My Slow Cooker for Sous Vide?

The simple answer is yes, but there are a few things you need to be careful about while using a slow cooker for sous vide.

Though some brands offer extra sous vide features, many brands do not make slow cookers for sous vide.

You can use a slow cooker for sous vide, but it’s tricky. There is a chance you miss a step and do not have the perfect result. We strongly recommend using a professional device designed for this purpose for sous vide. It makes the process easy and hassle-free.

However, that does not mean you cannot do that in a slow cooker. You can use your slow cooker for sous vide with some essential tools.
What you need is:

  • An analog slow cooker(one with a dial for adjusting temperature)
  • A bigger slow cooker is preferred as there should be enough room for water and the sealed packet inside.
  • A temperature controller: You will need a thermostatic controller to ensure the temperature inside the pot remains ideal for sous vide. A temperature controller for sous vide is a simple device readily available. Its purpose is to adjust the temperature inside the crockpot to ensure the water in the cooker remains at a consistent temperature.
  • Extension cord: It ensures the sealed packet does not touch the bottom of the pan.
  • Vacuum sealer: Vacuum sealers for sous vide are also easily available. These are plastic-made but safe to be used.

How to Sous Vide in a Slow Cooker?

Once you have everything, let’s start the process:

  • Fill the slow cooker or crockpot with the water and heat it until it reaches 140 degrees.
  • Marinate your steak or any other protein as the recipe goes and put it in a vacuum sealer.
  • Put something at the center of the cooker to keep the sealed packet floating. It should not sink to the bottom and touch the pan or heating elements.
  • Once the temperature controller shows, the exact temperature, set the sealed envelop in the heated water. It should be covered with water from all sides to cook evenly.
  • Cover the slow cooker from all sides. It can be tricky due to the temperature controller wire. You can use a good seal.
  • The controller will keep adjusting the heat and may turn off or on the cooker to maintain the temperature
  • Let the slow cooker work for as long as you need to. The time required for different lean proteins can be different, and you should refer to our recipe to make sure it is perfectly cooked.
  • If your recipe does not state the exact sous vide timing, you can check the sous vide cooking chart to know how long it should be cooked.
  • Once you have cooked for the required time, you can open the slow cooker and take out the sealed packet. Depending on how you prefer your cut, you can sear the meat portion if you like a charred crispy exterior or serve it as it is.

Does It Matter How Long You Cook Sous Vide?

The purpose of sous vide is to control the time and temperature for a perfect result. If you are cooking too long or the water is too heated, it can alter the results. For excellent results cooking timing and temperature matter in sous vide as well.

If you leave food in there for too long, it can become chewy and rubbery, so sous vide’s whole purpose dies.

Final Words

Sous vide is a fantastic technique for cooking food. It’s a bit slow process but rewards you with the perfect flavor and texture of food preserved. Slow cooking does not necessarily mean you can do that in a slow cooker.

Yes, a slow cooker can be used for sous vide, but it needs extra equipment, and it’s not as easy as devices made for sous vide.

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