Instant Pot Sous Vide Review
Get the lowdown on Instant Pot's new gourmet cooking appliance
For restaurant-quality cooking in the comfort of your home, the Instant Pot Accu Slim Sous Vide is the ideal tool for the job. You can cook at precise temperatures with ease, ensuring a flavorful and perfectly cooked dish each time. And, you don’t need a whole collection of high-end equipment to make it happen.
Whether you’re a trained chef or a mom wanting to break out of the boring food rut, Instant Pot makes tastier meals possible. If you own an Instant Pot—or are considering one—here’s everything you need to know about the handy tool that makes gourmet cooking accessible to us all.
With or without an Instant Pot, the Sous Vide tool helps you maintain the ideal temperature for a range of complex and precise dishes. You can avoid overheating (or under heating) essential menu items, set and forget complicated recipes, and customize every diner’s plate to their specifications.
In short, you can create mouthwatering meals that retain flavor and freshness without spending the entire day at the stove. Plus, you can choose additional Instant Pot accessories to enhance your cooking experience even further.
Read on for more details on how this handy tool works in our Instant Pot Sous Vide review.
Sous Video Cooking
If you’re a home chef without formal training, you may not know what sous vide cooking is. Fortunately, it’s a simple concept that can elevate your meal prep no matter what palate you need to cater to. In short, sous vide cooking involves sealing your food items in an airtight container, then cooking them in temperature-controlled water.
Your Instant Pot Sous Vide provides uniform heat throughout the water in your Instant Pot (or another type of pot) to cook individually packaged food items. In French, sous vide translates to “under vacuum,” and this method of cooking prevents your meat from drying out and becoming rough and avoids soggy veggies and other everyday kitchen flops.
Although it sounds complicated, the sous vide cooking method that’s common in high-end restaurants is easier than ever to achieve at home with one simple appliance. Apart from the tool itself, you only need food pouches to seal ingredients in.
The process is straightforward:
- Fill your pot with water (preferably warm)
- Attach the sous vide and pre-heat the water
- Put food items inside pouches (spices and sauses included) and ensure they are free of air
- Insert the packets into the water
- Clip the pouches so they remain fully submerged (a wooden spoon or towel works well)
- Set the appropriate temperature and timer
In no time, you’ll be enjoying flavorful recipes without messy cleanup or complicated cooking methods.
Features & Specs
Active Pump System
The 12V DC motor operates an active pump which circulates water without the need for convection currents. DC power is quiet, durable, and the motor stops when the water level gets low (or you remove the appliance from the water).
With the auto-shutoff feature, you don’t have to worry about water evaporation and your appliances overheating. Of course, keeping an eye on water levels is smart, but knowing that the unit will shut off instead of overheating gives you peace of mind.
Touch-Screen Digital Controls
Despite its small size (the appliance weighs less than two pounds), the unit features a touch-screen display with digital controls. A glance is all you need to confirm the cooking temperature and elapsed time (and adjust as necessary).
Cooking times are adjustable between one minute and 72 hours while temperatures range from 68 degrees to 203 degrees in one-degree increments. Water bath cooking is straightforward and attainable, even without restaurant chef expertise.
You can attach the sous vide to a six-quart or eight-quart Instant Pot either on the inside or outside rim. Using the tool without an Instant Pot is also an option—you just need a container which retains heat and holds the right amount of liquid.
The manufacturer does recommend using a heat protectant mat underneath your pot. Using a well-insulated container is ideal, but either way, you’ll need to account for evaporation and keep an eye on your meals.
For an appliance that can thoroughly cook a range of foods to specific temperatures, the Accu Slim is deceptively small. It measures just over a foot long and a couple of inches wide, making it easy to store in a drawer or cabinet.
Plus, it works with an appliance you already have—your Instant Pot—and there are no extra parts to store. Compatibility with other cooking containers is a plus, too.
Unless you spring for the Instant Pot Max—which features built-in sous vide programming—the handheld immersion circulator is the most affordable and convenient way to cook in this French style.
Instant Pot Sous Vide Pros vs Cons
Quick At A Glance Info
Easy to view touch-screen information and accessible controls make for quick checks. Rather than hovering over your Instant Pot, you can set the temperature and time and come back later. A quick glance at the display shows you whether the temperature is within recipe parameters.
Easy To Use
Much easier to use than an Instant Pot or cooking pot full of water with a thermometer. It’s possible to cook sous vide restaurant-style without an appliance but maintaining even temperatures can prove challenging. Correcting temperatures is also tougher without the sous vide tool.
Precise Temperature Settings
Variation in temperature and timing settings enables you to cook a range of recipes. Whether it’s gently cooked fruit for a delicate dessert or a full steak medium rare, temperature and timing adjustments address each type of dish and ensure it’s cooked to perfection.
Easy To Clean
Cleanup is quick and easy because each portion stays sealed within its own bag. Pour out the cooking water—and maybe give your pot a quick rinse—and you’re ready for the next recipe.
Slim But Not Small
Though this is a “slim” sous vide, it’s still large at about 13 inches long and two inches wide at the base. Depending on how many servings you plan to prepare, you might find it challenging to fit food and the device into your Instant Pot. Of course, you can also use a stockpot or similar container if your Instant Pot doesn’t have enough space.
The sous vide method helps hold flavor in your recipes, but it can also affect how herbs and other sensitive ingredients taste. For example, Instant Pot cautions against using fresh garlic when cooking sous vide because it can become bitter. The manufacturer also suggests using a bit less salt than you normally do, then salting to taste once the food cooks.
The Instant Pot Sous Vide is compatible with Instant Pots and other appropriately sized cooking pots. This model works with six-quart and eight-quart pots, while smaller “mini” models don’t contain enough water to keep the motor operating.
Remember, the motor shuts off when outside water, so adequate water depth is essential in your cooking container. You may be able to use the Accu Slim with a larger pot or another cooking container, but you will need to monitor the water level and temperature to ensure everything cooks thoroughly without drying out.
Ensuring the heat doesn’t damage your countertop or another surface is also essential. You can use a heat-protectant mat underneath any dish to avoid warping, but using an insulated pot is ideal. Of course, most sous vide temperatures are low enough that you don’t need to worry about excess heat.
That said, follow common sense cooking practices and don’t leave your appliances plugged in and operating without taking appropriate safety precautions.
Sous Vide Cooking Times
When you turn the device on, the default setting is 133 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours. Here are cooking times for common dishes you might want to prepare, straight from the cooking guidelines section of the sous vide user manual.
Cooking times vary depending on how well-done you want your meat, poultry, fish, or eggs. Also, if you don’t plan to open the pouches and eat right away, you need to bring the temperature down quickly to avoid overcooking.
Note that the manufacturer suggests using a food thermometer to verify desired cooking temperatures, too. Even though the unit displays the water temperature, it doesn’t guarantee interior food temps, and you’ll need to check those to ensure each ingredient reaches a safe level of doneness.