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Sous Vide Cooking Times by Thickness

There are two ways to cook sous vide, one is based on the thickness of the food and the other is based on the desired tenderness. When cooking based on the thickness of the food it is helpful to have a reference guide to fall back on. I've combined several of the respectable sous vide time and temperature charts into one easy-to-use reference.

Sous vide sirloin roasted vegetables

Table of Contents

Sous Vide Cooking By ThicknessTop

Cooking based on thickness is how PolyScience, Baldwin, and Nathan started out as they did research on food safety. Cooking sous vide based on thickness basically tells you the minimum time you can cook a piece of meat to ensure it is safe and comes up to temperature in the middle. It doesn't take into account tenderizing time or any other factors. It's often used by restaurants or home cooks who want to minimize cooking time and are using tender cuts of meat that don't need the tenderization.

Cooking sous vide based on tenderness takes into account how tough a piece of meat is and how long it needs to be cooked in order to make it appealing. So a chuck steak needs to be cooked a lot longer than a filet, even though they are both safe after the same amount of time. As long as the minimum cooking time is met for the temperature used, then it's completely safe to eat.

Both sous vide methods have their uses. Thickness-based is great for very tender cuts cooked by people who need them done in the minimum amount of time. Tenderness-based is best for tougher cuts or people that have a range of time that they are interested in.

For a printable version of these charts you can sign up for my free Exploring Sous Vide email course or my free newsletter to get access to my printable ruler. My best selling book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Sous Vide also has these charts in it, as well as tenderness-based sous vide times for more than a hundred cuts. There are also tenderness-based cooking charts in my sous vide app for iPhone.

Notes on Sous Vide Times Top

Anova precision sous vide full

Times were extrapolated from the descriptions in Baldwin's Practical Guide to Sous Vide as well as Nathan's tables on eGullet and a few other sources.

These rulers will let you know how long it takes to heat up, cool down, or pasteurize various pieces of meat. The times are to be used as a guide and are not exact because different pieces of meat heat differently, even if they are the same cut, which can affect the amount of time it takes to heat or pasteurize them. I've tried to list times at the upper edge of the range so that following them will always result in success, though they might actually be heated or pasteurized before the time listed.

Many doctors suggest that people with weak immune systems, such as elderly, pregnant or sick people should not eat un-pasteurized food.

The times are also approximate since there are many factors that go into how quickly food is heated. The density of the food matters a lot, which is one reason beef heats differently than chicken. To a lesser degree where you get your beef from will also affect the cooking time, and whether the beef was factory raised, farm raised, or grass-fed. Because of this, I normally don't remove it from the bath at the exact minute it is done unless I'm in a real rush.

The times shown are also minimum cooking times and food can be, and sometimes needs to be, left in for longer periods in order to fully tenderize the meat. If you are cooking food longer, remember that food should not be cooked at temperatures less than 130°F (54.4°C) for more than 4 hours.

Sous Vide Heating Times for Beef, Lamb and PorkTop

The Sous Vide Heating Times specify how long it takes a piece of meat, with a particular shape, to heat all the way to the center. The center of the meat will come up to about 1° less than the water bath temperature in the time given. The final degree takes a much longer time and generally does not contribute to the final taste or texture of the food.

Sous vide chuck steak seared raw

The temperature of the water bath does not really affect the heating time, but remember that you should not cook food at less than 54.5°C (130°F) for more than 4 hours. If you want to cook a piece of food at a lower temperature, you can cut it into smaller portions so it heats more quickly. The times shown are also minimum times and food can be, and sometimes needs to be, left in for longer periods in order to fully tenderize the meat.

I provide sous vide times both for frozen and refrigerated foods, in both a cylinder and a slab.

While there are slight differences in the heating time for different temperatures of water baths, the times usually vary less than 5 to 10% even going from a 44°C bath to a 60.5°C bath, which equates to a difference of 5 minutes every hour. We show the largest value in the chart.

These times usually apply to all types of meats except fish, though chicken and poultry are almost always cooked to pasteurization and has been left off for clarity. If you have some other type of meat (moose, bear, rabbit, etc.) you can use these heating charts as long as you remember it is not pasteurizing the meat.

Warning: Reminder, this food might not be pasteurized at these times and food should not be cooked at temperatures less than 55°C for more than 4 hours.

Starting Temp:
Shape of Meat:
Fridge
Slab
Fridge
Cylinder
Freezer
Slab
Freezer
Cylinder
70 mm--3:30--5:00
65 mm (~ 2.5 inch)5:302:50--4:30
60 mm4:502:30--4:00
55 mm4:102:156:303:30
50 mm (~ 2 inch)3:302:005:303:00
45 mm3:001:304:302:30
40 mm (~ 1.5 inch)2:301:153:302:00
35 mm2:001:003:001:30
30 mm1:400:502:151:15
25 mm (~ 1 inch)1:100:401:451:00
20 mm0:500:301:150:45
15 mm (~ 0.5 inch)0:350:200:500:30
10 mm0:200:100:300:20
5 mm0:050:050:100:10

Note: For a printable version of these charts you can sign up for my free Exploring Sous Vide email course or my free newsletter.

Sous Vide Cooling Times for Beef, Lamb and PorkTop

Bagged short ribs

If you are cooking food and then storing it in the refrigerator or freezer, then these sous vide cooling times will give you the time that food needs to be in an ice bath before the center is chilled out of the danger zone. Make sure the ice bath is at least one half ice.

These times usually apply to most types of meat so if you have something unusual like moose, bear, rabbit, etc. you can use these sous vide cooling charts as a guide.

Starting Temp:
Shape of Meat:
Hot
Cylinder
Hot
Slab
70 mm2:455:30
65 mm (~ 2.5 inch)2:154:45
60 mm2:004:15
55 mm1:453:45
50 mm (~ 2 inch)1:303:15
45 mm1:152:45
40 mm (~ 1.5 inch)1:002:15
35 mm0:501:45
30 mm0:401:30
25 mm (~ 1 inch)0:301:15
20 mm0:200:50
15 mm (~ 0.5 inch)0:150:35
10 mm0:100:25
5 mm0:050:15

Note: For a printable version of these charts you can sign up for my free Exploring Sous Vide email course or my free newsletter.

Sous Vide Pasteurization Times for Beef, Lamb and PorkTop

If you want to ensure that your food is safe to eat through pasteurization, then you can follow these sous vide times. The sous vide pasteurization times let you know how long you need to cook something, specifically most red meat, for it to be effectively pasteurized and safe to eat. Like the Heating and Cooling times, they are not exact, but are also on the longer side for safety reasons.

Sous vide pork chop kumquat

These times are for meat that has been in the refrigerator, for frozen meat add some extra time.

Thickness55°C (131°F)57°C (135°F)60°C (140°F)
70 mm6:305:154:00
65 mm (~ 2.5 inch)6:004:453:45
60 mm5:154:153:15
55 mm5:003:453:00
50 mm (~ 2 inch)4:303:152:30
45 mm4:003:002:15
40 mm (~ 1.5 inch)3:302:302:00
35 mm3:152:151:45
30 mm3:002:001:35
25 mm (~ 1 inch)2:452:001:20
20 mm2:301:451:10
15 mm (~ 0.5 inch)2:151:300:50
10 mm2:001:150:40
5 mm1:501:000:30

Note: For a printable version of these charts you can sign up for my free Exploring Sous Vide email course or my free newsletter.

Sous Vide Pasteurization Times for ChickenTop

Sous vide chicken is almost always cooked until it is pasteurized. The sous vide pasteurization times below will ensure that the chicken is always safe to eat. These times are for chicken that has been in the refrigerator, for frozen chicken add some extra time.

Sous vide chicken breast zaatar onions
Thickness58°C (137°F)60°C (140°F)63°C (145°F)65°C (149°F)
70 mm6:005:004:153:45
65 mm (~ 2.5 inch)5:304:303:453:15
60 mm5:004:153:153:00
55 mm4:403:453:002:45
50 mm (~ 2 inch)4:153:152:302:15
45 mm3:453:002:152:00
40 mm (~ 1.5 inch)3:152:352:001:45
35 mm3:002:151:451:30
30 mm2:452:001:301:15
25 mm (~ 1 inch)2:151:401:150:55
20 mm2:001:250:500:40
15 mm (~ 0.5 inch)1:551:150:400:30
10 mm1:451:000:300:20
5 mm1:350:450:200:15

Note: For a printable version of these charts you can sign up for my free Exploring Sous Vide email course or my free newsletter.

Sous Vide Heating Times for Fatty FishTop

Dashi swordfish overhead green

These sous vide times will help you determine how long you need to cook fatty fish in order for it to be brought up to temperature. It will not pasteurize the fish, so make sure you use high quality fish you would be comfortable eating raw.

There are slight differences in the heating time for different temperatures of water baths but they usually vary less than 5 to 10% even going from a 44°C bath to a 60.5°C bath, which equates to a difference of 5 minutes every hour. I show the largest value in the chart.

Warning: Reminder, this food might not be pasteurized at these times and food should not be cooked at temperatures less than 55°C for more than 4 hours.

Starting Temp:
Shape of Meat:
Fridge
Slab
70 mm3:45
65 mm (~ 2.5 inch)3:15
60 mm2:50
55 mm2:30
50 mm (~ 2 inch)2:00
45 mm1:45
40 mm (~ 1.5 inch)1:25
35 mm1:00
30 mm0:50
25 mm (~ 1 inch)0:35
20 mm0:23
15 mm (~ 0.5 inch)0:14
10 mm0:06
5 mm0:02

Note: For a printable version of these charts you can sign up for my free Exploring Sous Vide email course or my free newsletter.

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