You might’ve seen a sous vide button on your instant pot but don’t know how to use it.
Well, it’s super easy.
You won’t need fancy equipment, and sous vide produces the best-quality food every time. Restaurants even use it to get steaks to the perfect temperature without overcooking them.
So, in this post, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about how to sous vide in an instant pot. We cover the best instant pots with a sous vide function and what to do if your pot doesn’t have a sous vide button.
Step 1: Fill Up Your Instant Pot With Hot Water
Sous vide works by heating your water up to the exact temperature you want your food to be. This way, it’s almost impossible to overcook a meal.
In order to save time, heat up your water just before it starts to boil and pour it into your instant pot. You won’t have to wait as long for the water to warm up because it’s already close to the ideal temperature.
I like to fill my instant pot to the 10 cups line or two-thirds of the way full. This is if you’re using a six-quart pot. If you’re using something bigger, you’ll need to fill it up more.
Filling your instant pot with the proper amount of water is essential since it prevents your steaks from popping up or touching.
Step 2: Adjust Temperature and Time Depending on What You’re Cooking
Next, adjust the temperature and time on your instant pot.
This will depend on your cooking and personal preferences. With fish, you want to heat your water from 120°F to 140°F for 25 to 45 minutes. And a chicken breast requires water to be at 155°F for one hour.
But steaks are a bit more complicated:
- 120°F to 128°F for rare
- 129°F to 134°F for medium-rare
- 135°F to 144°F for medium
- 145°F to 155°F for medium-well
- 155°F and above for well done
Regardless of how well or rare you want your steak to be, always leave it in the sous vide bath for one to three hours. But this range isn’t an option like how recipes say you should add between five to eight teaspoons of sugar.
One hour is the minimum, and three is the maximum time to leave your steak in the bath. Anything more or less, and your steak will not have the ideal texture and consistency we are looking for.
Step 3: Prepare Your Food
Now it’s time to marinate your food.
Personally, I just season steaks, chicken, and fish with salt and pepper. However, feel free to add:
- Smoked paprika
- Brown sugar
- Garlic and ginger
- Dried thyme
- Lemon juice
You could even use a mixture of spices. Here’s one of my favorite steak marinade recipes:
- ⅓ cup of soy sauce
- ½ cup olive oil
- A sprinkle of lemon juice
- ¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce
- A teaspoon of garlic
- 3 tablespoons of basil
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- And 1 ½ tablespoon of garlic powder
Once you’ve added all these ingredients, put them in a blender and prepare yourself for the best-tasting steak you’ve ever had. If you don’t have a blender, you can use a whisk.
Some suggest leaving your steak in the fridge with these spices for at least 24 hours before cooking. This allows it to fully absorb the flavors. My preferred method is actually to season the meat after it is finished in the sous vide. Just pat it dry, season, and then give it a nice sear.
Step 4: Vacuum Seal Your Food
Now that you’ve marinated your steak in this tasty sauce, vacuum seal it on the strongest setting and highest heat sealing. This prevents any delicious flavors from escaping during the heating process.
You want to avoid adding slices of lemon to the vacuum-sealed bag because it interferes with the contact between plastic and steak. This can cause an undercooked steak. Instead, ensure that every part of your steak touches the plastic bag.
This is why I prefer using a vacuum seal because it gets rid of all the air.
But if you don’t have a vacuum sealer, don’t worry. The water displacement method also works well. It’s an effective way to vacuum seal food without a fancy machine.
Once you’ve put your food in a plastic bag, close it almost all the way. Leave an inch open.
Next, get a tub of water and slowly lower the food into it. The water pressure pushes air up and out of the bag. Keep going down until that little corner is almost underwater, and seal it.
Step 5: Add Your Steak and Take It Out on Time
After you’ve sealed your sous vide bag, put it in the bath. If you’re cooking with a six-quart instant pot, you can comfortably fit two large steaks in it. With an eight quart, you make three at once.
However, your sous vide bag shouldn’t be floating or touching other bags. This affects how well the pot cooks your steak.
Once you take it out, you’ll notice that the steak looks grey and bland. But this is entirely normal. You just need to sear it for some color and crust.
Step 6: Sear and Enjoy
I like using a cast-iron skillet because it distributes heat evenly, resulting in the best possible steak. But if you don’t have a skillet, a regular pan should be fine. Add two tablespoons of coconut or olive oil and put your stove on high heat.
You want your pan to sit on high heat for 30 seconds to a minute because it ensures it’s as hot as possible. This way, you won’t cook the inside much.
Let it rest on each side for 30 seconds max, and you’re good to go. Many people leave it in for way too long, which will cook the inside of your steak.
Now that you know exactly how to use an instant pot for cooking foods sous vide style, let’s look at some of the best instant pots.
The problem is, not all instant pots have a sous vide button. That’s why I rounded up the best pots for sous vide in my article here!