Can You Sous Vide in a Slow Cooker?
While sous vide cooking on its own is pretty low maintenance cooking, it does require you to purchase another appliance, sous vide bags, and make sure you have the right size container and any other accessories that help the process.
Sous vide machines are newer to the home kitchen, and many people already have slow cookers these days. So considering how sous vide water ovens work, have you ever wondered if the slow cooker you already have can essentially function as one? In other words, can you sous vide in a slow cooker?
This article will show you that you can. Although, be warned that you’re not going to get the same temperature control as you would with a sous vide cooker. Continue reading for more details.
Can You Use a Slow Cooker to Cook Sous Vide?
It’s no wonder you’re a fan of sous vide since this cooking method helps the food preserve its taste and moisture thanks to airtight bags. It can even make cheaper cuts of meat taste fantastic.
And fortunately, it’s not necessary to get all the pro equipment to make such meals at home. All you need is a slow cooker that you can quickly turn into a sous vide cooker. A crock-pot is one of the most commonly used slow cookers, and it can work well for this purpose.
The only issue is that a slow cooker takes longer to get the water to the right temperature. That’s why some people recommend rice cookers – they can heat the water faster and keep the temperature even in all parts of the cooker. If you opt for a crock-pot, make sure it has an analog dial without digital controls.
The bottom line is that you can use a slow cooker to sous vide your food, as long as you get an external temperature controller. That’s important not only for cooking the meat and vegetables but also for reheating them.
So, can you sous vide in a slow cooker? Yes, but make sure your slow cooker doesn’t overheat the water. Many brands don’t make slow cookers suitable for sous vide cooking. The temperature the water reaches is typically around 175°F, which is the upper limit for sous vide foods and won’t give you the perfect, even cook that sous vide does.
Turn Your Slow Cooker Into a Sous Vide Pot
If you’re skilled at handling wires, you may try this little hack. However, I strongly recommend you skip this step if you’re unsure whether you could make it work. It could be harmful if you don’t know your way around wires.
The below video tutorial shows you how you can turn your regular slow cooker into a sous vide pot. It’ll cost you less than $100, and all you need is a slow cooker and a few tools.
Other than a thermostatic controller, you need to get an extension cord and a thermocouple. The best choice is a slow cooker with a physical knob. After the power is turned off, a digital model will automatically turn off and won’t reboot on its own. Unlike these models, slow cookers with physical knobs will stay on when you cut the power.
All in all, it is possible to sous vide in your slow cooker. However, it requires some technical savvy and additional tools to pull it off.
Also, the temperature control isn’t quite precise, and there isn’t any constant water circulation to ensure even cooking. So in other words, you wouldn’t be getting the same precision and temperature control as you would with a sous vide immersion circulator. Click here for my article that explains in further detail how slow cookers and sous vide cookers are different.
If your budget is the main reason for why you’re interested in turning your slow cooker into a sous vide machine, there are some really good low-cost sous vide immersion circulators out there that I think you should consider. Click here to learn more.