How Long to Sear After Sous Vide for the Best Crust

It can be really frustrating when you take a perfectly cooked sous vide chuck roast out of a 36 hour cook, throw it on the grill to sear it and then you overcook it. You undo all the hard work that you did. I'm going to show you how to avoid that.

This article helps you understand just how long to sear your sous vide meat in order to get the perfect crust on it.

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How Long for a Basic Sear on Sous Vide Meat

When it comes to searing your food after sous vide, it can be a little tricky because your food is already perfectly cooked from edge to edge. Putting it on a hot pan or on a hot grill just raises the internal temperature, and overcooks your food. Nobody wants that.

So today I want to talk about how long you actually need to sear your sous vide meat. For most searing methods, it's 2 to 3 minutes total.

That is it!

Flipping it every 30 to 45 seconds will get you that nice little brown crust without raising the internal temperature.

I know people that go 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and then they wonder why their food turned out overcooked. It wasn't the sous vide cooking's fault; it was the searing part.

So, use that as a good baseline goal in your head: 2 to 3 minutes, flipping it every 30 to 45 seconds. As I said, that's for the usual sous vide method.

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How Can You Extend Your Searing Time

There are many other ways to go from sous vide to sear that can maximize your sear but might take a little bit longer.

Sear After Cooling the Sous Vide Food on Kitchen Counter

One of my go-to methods for extending the sear is to let the sous vide food cool on the kitchen counter first. I take it out of the sous vide machine, dry it off really well, and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before I go onto the searing process.

This allows me to increase those 2 to 3 minutes sear time up to 4 to 5 minutes. It can be almost twice as long in some cases, and you can get a lot better crust without overcooking the middle of it.

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Sear After Chilling the Sous Vide Food in an Ice Bath

You can also fully chill your food in an ice bath and then reheat it during the searing process. This will obviously take a longer time to sear, and it can be 5 to 10 minutes of a sear.

You won't get quite the same edge to edge perfect doneness, but because you're not worried about bringing the middle up to the exact temperature that you cooked it at, you don't really have to stress as much, and it will turn out juicier than it would through other methods of cooking.

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Hybrid Searing Method for Sous Vide Food

This hybrid searing method is one that I use a lot. You can sous vide the food ahead of time, chill it down fully and put it in the fridge for a few days.

When you're ready to eat, you can reheat it in the sous vide machine to 100°F (37.8°C), 110°F (43.3°C). Then take it out of the sous vide bag and sear it for a little bit.

The inside temperature is not going to be anywhere near where you sous vided the food at originally. Now you have a lot longer time to sear it, to get a good crust on it and really enjoy the end result. This is a go-to searing technique for me.

This is commonly referred to as Cook Chill Reheat Method and is heavily associated with sous vide bulk meal prep techniques.

  • Sous vide turkey fridge 16
  • Sous vide pan torch sear 6

Hopefully you can discover that one of these methods will be perfect to make sure you can get the most out of your own sear.

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If you like this you can get more than 85 inspiring recipes to get you on your way to sous vide success. It's all in my best selling book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Sous Vide - Get Your Copy Today!

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All tags for this article: Sous Vide, Sous Vide Searing, Sous Vide Searing Equipment


Jason logsdon headshot This article is by me, Jason Logsdon. I'm an adventurous home cook and professional blogger who loves to try new things, especially when it comes to cooking. I've explored everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to pressure cookers and blow torches; created foams, gels and spheres; made barrel aged cocktails and brewed beer. I have also written 10 cookbooks on modernist cooking and sous vide and I run the AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com website.
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