Do I Need a Rack for Sous Vide Cooking?

Do you have an issue with floating bags in sous vide cooking? Do your sous vide bags keep moving around in the container and keep touching each other?

An excellent solution to these problems, that will also help you get the perfect and most precise results in sous vide cooking, is the sous vide rack.

You don’t necessarily need a rack for sous vide cooking, but you can definitely benefit greatly from using one. You can also consider one of the many creative sous vide rack alternative methods instead. Keep reading for more details.

sous vide rack in water oven

Sous Vide Rack System and Benefits

The sous vide rack system pretty much consists of the sous vide container and sous vide rack. Sometimes, you can also get a lid and/or an insulation sleeve with purchase as well.

Sous vide racks are a handy accessory to have, especially if you are trying to cook multiple sous vide bags at once.

They keep your sous vide bags fully submerged in the water in one place, so they don’t move around in the water bath or float to the top. Keeping the sous vide bags still and separated from each other so they don’t touch, helps the water to circulate properly around the bags.

This is all great because it helps you get perfect results and an even, consistent cook on your food.

Here are my 3 favorite sous vide rack systems that give you a container, rack, lid, and some with an insulation sleeve:

How Do You Use a Sous Vide Rack?

Follow these simple steps on how to set up and use a sous vide rack correctly.

  1. Set up your sous vide immersion circulator.
  2. Fill the container up with water and set the temperature.
  3. While the water is preheating, place your prepped and sealed sous vide bags into the slots of the sous vide rack.
  4. Once the water bath reaches your desired temperature, slowly lower the sous vide rack with your sous bags in place into the water.
  5. Make sure the rack is sitting securely at the bottom of the container and the sous vide bags are fully submerged in the water.
  6. That’s all! Now you just have to wait for your food to cook (and then clean up, of course).

Pro tip: if the sous vide bags still won’t stay in place in the sous vide rack, you can tie them down to the rack using cooking twine.

Sous Vide Rack Alternatives

Sous vide racks are pretty affordable, but if you’re interested in a sous vide rack alternative (maybe you already have some of these at home), check out the list below.

  • Pot lid holder. Just make sure it fits in your sous vide container. You may also need to consider using cooking twine to tie your sous vide bags down to it.
  • Vacuum sealed bags. Vacuum sealers do an excellent job at really getting all of the air out of the bag, so they don’t float. Generally, home cooks have less of an issue with vacuum sealed bags floating compared to Ziplock bags.
  • Binder clips or alligator clips. Clip your sous vide bags to the top side of the container with binder clips or alligator clips to keep them in place and prevent them from floating.
meat in sous vide bag clipped to side of container with immersion circulator
  • Weights. A heavy spoon or knife, whiskey stones, pie weights, or marbles can all act as heavy weights. Feel free to get creative here. I recommend separately bagging these or wrapping them in plastic wrap and then placing them inside your sous vide bag, so they don’t come in direct contact with the food. You can also purchase specialized sous vide weights that are food safe and made exactly for this purpose.
  • Magnets. Attach one magnet to the outside of the sous vide bag and the other magnet to the bottom of the container. Definitely make sure you’re using magnets that can withstand the temperature of the water bath and also that they don’t come in contact with the food (not all magnets are food safe, so be wary of this).

In Summary

So, do you need a rack for sous vide cooking? Not necessarily if you can pull off any of the alternatives I mentioned above.

However, sous vide racks are pretty affordable, and they’re specifically designed for sous vide cooking (they’re made to withstand high temperatures and are safe to use). All in all, I think they’re worth trying!

My favorite sous vide racks:

Remember, make sure you have the right size sous vide container to fit your sous vide rack! Click here to learn more.

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