The best steak I have ever had is one that is reverse-seared, meaning that the beef is gently cooked in sous vide and is then seared in a cast-iron skillet or on the grill.
What if I promised that you could make your own restaurant-quality, perfectly sous vide steak at home?
It all starts with a sous vide container, in which the food is gently brought to temperature in a warm water bath.
We researched at length to find the best sous vide containers of 2021, and evaluated each model based on the following parameters:
- Quality of materials
- Easy to clean
- Unique features
- Value for money
As a person who goes to great lengths to eat healthily, a perfectly cooked organic steak is my weakness, and sous vide steak is the tastiest way to cook this delightful cut of beef.
Sous vide is the process of vacuum sealing any type of food, and then submerging it in a temperature-controlled water bath.
The term actually means “under vacuum” in French, which is a quite literal translation.
The three main components you will need for sous vide cooking at home are the immersion circulator, the sous vide container, and a vacuum sealer.
Our main focus was centered on the container for the sous vide water bath, and our favorite was the Homenote Sous Vide 12-Quart Container.
We realize, however, that different folks have way different needs, so we created a [top 3] list of the best sous vide containers in 2021, which are:
- Homenote Sous Vide 12-Quart Container – Best Overall Sous Vide Container
- Rubbermaid Food Storage Container for Sous Vide – Best Affordable Sous Vide Container
- Anova Precision Cooker Container 12L – Best Upscale Sous Vide Container
What is the Best Container to Sous Vide In?
We tested a variety of well-known sous vide containers, and our favorite by far was our top choice, the Homenote Sous Vide 12-Quart Container.
This model not only worked the best but comes with tons of additional useful tools for sous vide cooking.
Can You Sous Vide in a Plastic Container?
You can sous vide in a plastic polycarbonate container, however, some modifications need to be made first.
First, be sure that the container is deep and large enough to hold 12 quarts of water comfortably.
The immersion circulator has to fit comfortably on the side of the sous vide water bath, so the sides need to be sturdy.
Lots of home chefs and restaurants use plastic food storage containers for their sous vide, but there is always the concern of the container not being BPA–free.
When sous vide cooking, there are two reasons to not worry about BPA in your food:
- The temperature in the sous vide water bath is very low and controlled, meaning BPA is not likely to release.
- The food is always vacuum-sealed inside of the container for sous vide. This means there is no route for BPA to get inside.
If you are still concerned about whether the water bath is BPA-free, use a container specifically made for sous vide cooking.
Our second pick, Rubbermaid Food Storage Container is a dishwasher safe plastic food storage container that restaurants have been using for years, and they swear by it.
Do I Need a Special Container for Sous Vide?
You cannot sous vide in just any container, so yes, there are special features that you want to look for in sous vide containers.
An aforementioned plastic polycarbonate container is fine, a large induction-ready soup pot is an option or a container made by the immersion circulator manufacturer is best.
The container made of polycarbonate material that matches your sous vide circulator was always fit the circulator best, leaving little room for error.
Can You Sous Vide in a Mason Jar?
Sous vide enthusiasts know that you can cook more than just steak with this method.
Instead of vacuum sealing, you can cook certain items inside a mason jar, leaving the lid about water.
You can gently cook panna cotta, pate, yogurt, eggnog, and even pickles!
Sous vide recipes that require higher temperatures or are wet in nature, such as beef stew, lend well to the use of mason jars.
Of course, always be careful pulling your glass jars out of the hot water bath!
What Bags Are Safe to Use with Sous Vide?
When cooking in sous vide water bath, a quality bag made of trusted materials is what you should look for.
Unlike a plastic container, you do want BPA-free bags, as they come into direct contact with your food.
These bags can either be reusable or disposable, but they all need to be vacuum-sealer-compatible.
You also want a reliable bag so that the water seal is not broken during sous vide cooking.
A broken seal means a ruined meal.
Is a Ziploc Bag Safe for Sous Vide?
I would not do it, but many people do.
If you are absolutely in a pinch, a heavy-duty or freezer-safe Ziploc bag can be used for sous vide.
It is not the best option, as you will need to manually remove the air from the bag, creating a not-so-tight seal.
Make sure the Ziploc bags in question have the label “food safe” on the packaging.
Bags sold as sous vide cooking bags that also list their ingredient composition will be the most trustworthy type.
What Factors Drove Our Ratings?
We decided on our selections by using several factors to determine the best sous vide containers across various categories, which included:
- Quality of materials – Any containers for sous vide that we choose for THT’s top list are made of quality materials to ensure the container will last and be safe use.
- Easy to clean – No one wants to hand wash a huge tub that has tons of nooks and crannies. Each container we chose was simple to clean after each test.
- Unique features – We love any features not found on any other containers- what makes this water bath container stand out from the rest?
- Value for money – All of the aforementioned factors help determine if the value for the container is worth the cost.
User reviews were also a large part of our research, to ensure verified buyers were happy with their purchases, and to compare our findings with the reviews.
Here at The Healthy Treehouse, we value quality over quantity. If we felt that the cost was greater than the value of what the appliance included, that model would be excluded from the list.
Top-Rated Best Sous Vide Container – Best Overall Sous Vide Container
Homenote Sous Vide 12-Quart Container
- 1 sous vide container
- 1 sous vide rack
- 1 container sleeve
- 1 lid
- 1 sous vide cookbook
- BPA-free container and lid
- Heat-resistant container sleeve to ensure quick heating times and maximum work surface protection
- Anti-rust stainless steel, adjustable rack
- Compatible with most immersion circulators
The container that does it all and then some impressed us the most and that container is the Homenote Sous Vide 12-Quart Container.
The container itself is great, and the accessories included are truly amazing.
We loved that the Homenote comes with a lid and a rack, but also included is a heat-resistant container sleeve that effectively stores heat, so that it is not lost during the cooking process.
The BPA-free polycarbonate containers hook onto the adjustable sous vide rack, where you can safely lay your bags and mason jars for submersion, and even cooking.
The rack itself is made from anti-rust stainless steel, which is completely safe for cooking.
Our personal favorite part is that an entire sous vide cookbook is included with purchase, so any novice cook will be sous viding in these polycarbonate containers in no time!
This container is compatible with most immersion circulators.
Quality of Materials
We love that the container is made of BPA-free polycarbonate, which is the safest material for this type of cooking. Combined with the stainless steel rack, lid, and insulator, this rig should last you for years.
Easy to Clean
Once disassembled, the parts are easy to wipe clean and leave to air dry.
The container, lid, adjustable rack, heat-proof insulation sleeve, and cookbook are all amazing features, we can’t believe it is all included in one set!
Value for Money
Because this set includes everything but the immersion circulator, the one-top shop makes it well worth the value.
Dallas (verified purchase) said this after purchasing, “This container works great! I really like the protective sleeve as well to keep the heat in. This container fits my Anova 1000 watts perfectly. The rack is adjustable for larger or small portions being cooked.”
Why Buy This Product
This product is our number one pick for a reason.
It is the perfect beginner or intermediate temperature control container.
We love the quality materials of the container itself and all of the extra add-ons, so buy the Homenote sous vide container if you need the whole set-up to begin your sous vide journey.
Top-Rated Best Sous Vide Container – Best Affordable Sous Vide Container
Rubbermaid Food Storage Container for Sous Vide
- Food storage container (no lid)
- Commercial-grade, break-resistant, polycarbonate material that ensures durability, allows visibility, and easy cleaning
- Square-shaped container designed for saving space
- FDA-compliant materials, dishwasher safe, and able to withstand temperatures from -40 to 212ºF
- Great for wet and dry items
- Food measurements are written on both sides of the container for easy preparation and portion control
- NSF 3-A and NSF 2 certified
If you are someone in the foodservice industry who is used to sous viding inside a food storage container, or just on a tight budget, the Rubbermaid Food Storage Container is perfect for you.
This is a simple, clear container that holds 12 quarts and can also be used for storing food and marinating meats, but is optimal for sous vide cooking.
The size options go up to 22 quarts, so you are not stuck with one limited size.
The material is commercial grade, break-resistant, and made of polycarbonate for safe heating.
The high heat resistance and strong design make this vessel ideal for sous viding, even on a budget.
We also love the quart and liter measurements located on the side of the container for easy water measuring and portion control.
Quality of Materials
This food storage container is a trusted gem among food professionals due to its reliable quality and heat resistance.
Easy to Clean
We found that this container was as simple to clean as a regular plastic bowl, with just some soap and water after testing. The material is also dishwasher safe if you have a large dishwasher.
Aside from the fact that this water bath container can also double as food storage, we love the liquid measurements on the side of the Rubbermaid commercial container.
Value for Money
The Rubbermaid container is going to be your best deal in tis realm, and it is so loved and trusted in the restaurant community that we had to include it in our list.
Bert (verified purchase) had this to say about his Rubbermaid commercial container: “Works perfectly with my Anova precision cooker. A great size to sous vide three or four steaks. The best container for any sous vide device.”
Why Buy This Product
Buy this container if you are on a budget and have a standard Joule or Anova immersion circulator.
This quality and price of this model is perfect for sous vide beginners.
Top-Rated Best Sous Vide Container – Best Upscale Sous Vide Container
Anova Precision Cooker Container 12L
- 12-liter Container
- 1 silicone rubber lid
- 1 removable rack
- 12-liter, patented Hemiflow design container, which heats the water bath faster and circulates the water more efficiently
- 100% silicone rubber lid, which stops water evaporation while sous viding
- Removable rack, which allows the food to be fully submerged
- Compatible with any immersion circulator
- Comes with a downloadable Anova app upon purchase, allowing access to thousands of sous vide recipes for free
Coming from one of the most prominent sous vide machine makers is this impressive Anova Precision Cooker Container.
There are a 12-liter size option and a larger 16-liter option for more sizable cooking needs.
These sous vide containers have a patented Hemiflow design, which circulates the water more efficiently and heats the water bath more quickly.
Testers appreciated that this container comes with a 100% silicone lid, which stops water evaporation during the cooking process.
The Anova comes with a removable cooking rack that keeps all of your food submerged and cozy inside the cooker container.
A 3mm raised base protects countertops and tables from any overheating.
Lastly, we love that downloading the Anova app with purchase opens up thousands of sous vide recipes for free with your purchase!
Quality of Materials
The brand is a high-quality manufacturer, and the quality does not stop at the immersion circulators. The polycarbonate water bath is sturdy and cooks food very evenly.
Easy to Clean
Without many nooks and crannies, this container is an easy-clean model that simply wipes clean with soap and water.
Not only is the lid airtight preventing heat loss, but buying Anova products unlocks thousands of recipes and tons of sous vide resources via the company’s app.
Value for Money
This container is worth it because it fits most immersion circulators and is the perfect size for sous viding at home. The larger one is pricier, however most homes will enjoy the smaller 12 liter size.
G.B. said this about his recent purchase, “I’ve had the Anova precision cooker nano for a while but used various make-shift containers to cook with it. I finally decided to invest on this container and boy, why didn’t I buy this sooner? It’s changed the entire sous viding experience… so much easier, cleaner, no more topping off the top with water etc. Now my Anova cooker is user a lot more often, definitely worth it!”
Why Buy This Product
This sous vide water bath will work so well with whatever immersion circulator you have.
You can rest easy knowing your container is optimal for water circulation and temperature.
Other Helpful Information
Now that you know the essentials of what makes a great sous vide container, you can put that knowledge to use.
If you want to know all of the health information related to cooking sous vide, browse through our analysis of healthy sous vide cooking.
There is a whole world of immersion circulators out there; the most notable brands are Anova, Joule, and Yedi.
You may want a bunch of sous vide recipes and content to get you started on this cooking journey, and we do not want to disappoint.
Vacuum sealers are also a must-have in this cooking space, and you will also want to find some reliable bags in which to sous vide.
The Sous Vide Experience
Sous vide is one of the most innovative cooking methods of our time.
Finding the perfect sous vide container can be quite a challenge, so we need to make sure the water containers can withstand temperatures that are high for a long period of time.
Once you get started on your sous vide cooker journey, you may never make a steak the same way again.
In addition to water baths, you will need an immersion circulator, sous vide bags, and a food storage vacuum to complete your gear.
The first time you try this method out, let us know about it below!