The Best Containers for Sous Vide Immersion Circulators
Portability and storage have very often been my first concern in making a purchase. I benefit more from using an immersion circulator for that simple reason alone. But in doing so this meant I needed a water bath container so I began my search. From work, I am acclimated to using a Cambro system. This was my first purchase in sous vide actually. A very large cambro container for sous vide cooking. And although I have been very pleased with my purchase, specifically because it was a LIPVA product, I soon realized how many more options I truly had out there.
Now, of course, any one of us could very well choose to be thrifty and resourceful. Using your kitchen sink, for example, is one way to not need a cooking specific water bath. Along with a styrofoam beer cooler, or a tailgating cooler. These could be decent options for when frugality is on the top of your mind. However, nothing can really beat a product meant for a specific purpose!
Not all plastics are safe to hold food. I HIGHLY suggest that if you are unsure of the safety with what you are currently using or may have already purchased that you do the following. First, consult the price tag, manufacturer’s label, or other identifying tags attached to the container. Generally, safety information will be labeled around or near the recycling information.
The next option is to contact the manufacturer directly via their website or phone number and discuss the safety of their product for sous vide. In doing these simple steps you will end up in a much safer boat.
Our Favorite Containers
Tuxton Home’s Chef Series Sous Vide Pot 9.8qt
Although designed currently for Anova and similar fitting circulators right now, they have told me their pot will soon have the ability to fit adapters into the lid. Whether or not this happens soon, I can say with an outstanding YES that this is my absolute favorite water bath container for smaller cooks, especially for my Anova. The pot is sold with a custom fitting wire rack to help organize what you are cooking. In addition, it has this amazing style lid, with the offset hole. Not to mention its beautiful stainless steel handles adding to the outstanding build quality. And when you don’t need to use it for sous vide, a simple plug is provided and voila you can use the pot as a small stock pot and lid combination. The price is sort-of expensive, however with the discounts they have been giving out lately. This IS a product you don’t want to miss, as it simply cants let you down!
Cambro Camwear containers
Cambro is the name brand at my workplace. Its no doubt, they are very prominent in the professional kitchen world and that is for a specific reason! Having a durable product is amazing and they surely support this mindset. Plus, they offer a few styles of lids, however, I was not able to find any form of circulator specific cutouts on the lids. Instead, the Cambro brand lid carries a sliding door cover which works great as well, or you can go with a solid lid and do some modifying of your own. Luckily, off-brands carry lids that fit beautifully too, but not only for Cambro, other brands too. But if you wish to purchase cambro, and don’t want to spend the cash on the sort, my go-to is some cling wrap. A simple layer covering the top works great for me at work when I’m making cheeses, or just need to reduce evaporation for my longer, overnight cooks.
LIPAVI is probably my favorite brand when it comes to the cambro style containers with lids. Anyone can hack together their own “custom” fitting plastic lid but the cons of doing this can easily out-weight the pros. LIPAVI has specialty sous vide systems set up to help out any home or professional cook. Currently, they carry immersion circulator specific lids for a plethora of water bath sizes. But they also have available wire racks for each specific size which is quite amazing. Better yet, the prices are reasonable for a well-made product, and you won’t need to expect the worse as they are durable too! with water capacity options from 7 quarts, 12 quarts, 18 quarts, and 26quarts available they offer an arsenal of options for your home or the professional kitchen.
V Everie Containers & Lids
If you find yourself the type of home cook who likes to show off your gear and gadgets on your countertop I can not suggest any more how much I love V Everie products. The attention to detail is perfect for me. From different colored food dividers to a beautiful black neoprene sleeve all custom made to fit their water bath container designs. Which on their own come with a very useful lid design, corner cut for your immersion circulator but also built with a hinge design to easily add to or remove food from the water. Without breaking the budget, you can purchase their bundle kit which includes the sleeve and container with lid for under $50. Which will look beautiful in your kitchen setting, while it helps retain heat and reduce water evaporation. My only gripe is that the cutouts in the lids they make seem to be made specifically for the Anova and Anova Nano models currently. However, that does not totally mean all other circulators will not fit!
Rubbermaid’s Commercial space-saving food storage
If you own a home you’ve probably heard the name Rubbermaid. They are mainstream when it comes to plastic storage devices. Well, they even went into making some great food storage containers. I would suggest starting off with a 6-8 quart water bath container from them. But rest assured they also offer a 4-quart system all the way to a 22-quart system with lids available for the 12, 18, and 22-quart options. But buyer beware, they feel a bit flimsy and they look cheap. With a silver lining, they are very easy to cut through. With an old kitchen knife or utility knife, you can customize your Rubbermaid to whichever sous vide circulator you own! If that’s not your style check out V Everie’s Amazon listing here, where they are selling both plastic and silicone lids with circulator cutouts that work much better than any factory one Rubbermade provides.
Perfect-SousVide Polycarbonate Containers
Polycarbonate plastics are great for sous vide and cooking in general for their lower price point. However, Perfect-SousVide is not, in my opinion, a budget friendly build. That being said they package their products fairly well. for just over $70.00 you will get a 3gallon container to use as your new water bath. Included, is a lit with a notched out design; branded to fit Aicok, Anova, Avalon Bay, Azrsty, BlinBling, Chefelix, Chefsteps Joule, Gourmea, Gramercy, Hompo, Instant Pot, Kaloric,, Kitchen Gizmo, Magicelec, Monoprice, My Sous Vide, Nutrichef, Nokimu Classic, Primo Eats, Sansaire, Souvia, VaVa and Wancle circulators. Basically any circulator with a 3.2-inch diameter towards the base. They don’t stop there however, you will also get a very nice build quality expandable rack with the ability to secure your food items down. Meaning they won’t start to float up anymore if this was a problem you seem to have. The last inclusion they offer is an insulating barrier for the base of your water bath, which would help protect the surface of your counter space from heat damage. But you can also expect it to drastically reduce the transfer of temperature whether hot or cold into your water bath from the counter surface area.
The Beer Cooler Build
I figured I should include a cooler or 3 on this list. I personally am not one to use this type of system. But if it works better for you by-all-means, do it. Igloo island breeze, Coleman 16-quart, and the Coleman 28-quart are all going to be options for you under $20.00. At that point when you have one of these coolers or you are planning to use a spare you already own. Simply take a fairly large diameter circle drill cutter and put a hole in the cooler. Place your circulator through the hole and get to it.
Sous Vide organizer
Now in the food world, something you have to be is resourceful. One absolutely clear way of doing this is re-purposing dishes or tools, generally on the spot which makes my job just that much better (not). This is an IKEA lid organizer, I suppose they could be used for just that. However they work absolutely great for laying inside of your water baths. In doing so, you can organize to a fairly custom format, the distance between each packaged food item as they cook. Allowing for maximum water flow and ideally a quicker cook once you've done it properly.
One of the coolest things I have yet to pick up for my plethora of sous vide equipment would have to be an organizer. I find them very cool, and the fact that they can help increase the heating and control of water by equally spacing and improving water flow sounds absolutely great to me. Because of this, here is a cheap bonus item that won’t cost you more than $15.00.