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Sealing Your Food for Sous Vide

To sous vide cook you will need to seal your food before putting them into the water bath. There are several ways to do this, each with their own trade offs.

Updated Content

This information has recently been updated, you can view the new information in my article best way to seal foods for sous vide.
This information, as well as over 100 recipes, is available in our book Beginning Sous Vide which you can get at or as a pdf download.

Chambered Vacuum Food Sealers

The preferred method of sealing your sous vide food is to use a chambered vacuum food sealer. These industrial vacuum sealers make use of a large vacuum chamber that the sous vide food pouch is placed in. You then close the chamber and all air is removed and the bag is sealed. These are the kind of vacuum sealers used in professional kitchens.


Standard Vacuum Food Sealers

For home cooks the preferred method of sealing your sous vide food is to use a standard food vacuum sealer. These vacuum sealers work by inserting the opening of the sous vide food pouch into a small depression. The sealer then sucks the air out of the pouch and seals it.

sous vide vacuum sealerTilia FoodSavers being the most common brand. Tilia FoodSavers make a number of different vacuum sealers, most sold between $100 and $200. Some other vacuum sealers are the Rival Seal A Meal and the Deni Vacuum Sealer.

We recommend going onto and reading the reviews there to get a feel for the different models.

Zip Lock Bags

If you want to just try out sous vide cooking you can also use ziplock bags to seal the food. The zip locks will have more air in them than the vacuum sealed bags and the seal isn't as strong, but they will work fine for short cook foods, especially if you are just getting started with sous vide cooking.

We recommend the Ziploc Freezer Bag. The seem to hold up better and are of higher quality. The French Culinary Institute also agrees with that position.

Saran Wrap

The other easy method of sealing food for sous vide cooking is to wrap the object in many layers of saran wrap. This method will allow easy transfer of heat, similar to the vacuum sealed food, but the seal isn't nearly as strong. It should work for sous vide cooking for short amounts of time.