Can a Sous Vide Touch the Bottom?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

When you begin cooking food with a specific technique, it is best to know all about it. If you have recently tried cooking with vacuum bags and water, you might be concerned about how to keep the bag secure. Can a sous vide touch the bottom? Get to know how to follow the process for the best results.

Beginner Cooking Tips
Beginner Cooking Tips

Can a Sous Vide Touch the Bottom?

Sous vide bags must remain submerged in water, and they can touch the bottom. A special setup for this type of cooking does not involve direct heat that could melt the bag and spoil the contents. However, since this cooking process requires water to be all around the bag, you may want to keep it a little off the base so that all sides get uniform heat.

A person using a silver stainless pot to cook on gas cooktops in the kitchen

Secondly, the special cooker, or container made for this cooking technique, does not have any inlet or outlet at the bottom, which means that if the bag touches the bottom of the container, it will not stop the water circulation.

A Floating Sous Vide Bag Is Not Right

While a plastic bag touching the bottom of the container is not harmful, a floating bag means that the vacuum packing is not done correctly, so there is air in the bag. While you try to keep the bag above the bottom to maintain a uniform temperature, be sure that it does not float because that would mean that the process is not followed correctly. All cooks must ensure that the bag remains submerged.

Can a Sous Vide Touch the Sides of the Container?

Just like it is better if the vacuum-packed does not touch the bottom, it will be good if you keep the bag away from the sides of the container. This is because most of the special cookers or containers have water inlets and outlets on the sides from where the water circulates in the container.

If you place the bag leaning on the wall of the container, it might block one of the inlets or outlets. Moreover, at the point where the water comes out and touches the bag, the temperature may be higher slightly.

The concept of this cooking style is that the temperature must be the same all around and inside the bag so that the food inside the bag cooks uniformly. While touching the sides is not harmful to cooking, it may not fulfill the need of suspending the bag in a way that water circulates around it freely.

Sous Vide for Convenience

While the bag must get heat from all sides, it is not harmful to the vacuum-packed food to rest at the bottom of the pan or even touch the sides. This makes the process convenient for people because they do not have to watch the food as it cooks. Moreover, since the temperatures are low, you don’t have to worry about food getting burnt. Many people have turned to this method of food preparation for different kinds of foods, such as

  • Beef steaks
  • Chicken filet
  • Turkey or another kind of meats
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Purees and Sauces

This setup can be made by leaving a pot of water on a hot plate and bringing it to the optimum temperature needed to cook the food. Once the water is preheated well inside the sous vide, you can hang the vacuum-packed bag from the lid to ensure that it is suspended in water. This simple sous vide setup allows the bag to touch the bottom or sides of the pan without any harm.

Most people use a standalone pot with a heater. Some professionals have invested in sous vide pots or containers that can maintain a steady temperature for days. Whichever setup you use, the bag can touch the sides because no direct flame is involved.

The Use of Towel Under the Container

Many people may have said they use a towel or cloth under the container. This is not because of any harm to the food touching the bottom. However, it is to ensure that there is no heat loss.

If you have placed the container on a marble top, you may worry that the stone will absorb heat from the container. Placing a towel or cloth under it is just a way of ensuring that there is no heat loss and that your food cooks at the right temperature.

Two men in gray long sleeves and blue aprons cooking on stainless steel in the kitchen

Cooking With Multiple Bags in the Container

If there is more than one plastic bag or silicone bag in the container, ensure they do not touch one another or the immersion heater. Any hot or cold spot on the bag can hamper the results. However, if any bag touches the walls or base of the container, there is no harm.

Related Questions

When experts answer common questions, it may be helpful for everyone. Reading through frequently asked questions helps you understand this special cooking process so that you can follow the instructions well and get the best results.

Can Sous Vide Rest on the Bottom of the Pan?

Yes, the plastic bag will not get any harmful effects from resting at the bottom. However, the cooking method specifies that the bag is surrounded by water on all sides. You should try to suspend the bag freely. However, if it touches the sides or bottom of the container, it will not pose any danger or will not spoil the results.

Do I Have to Supervise This Cooking Process?

No, you can leave the sous vide all day unattended when using this technique, as it does not cook at very high temperatures and takes hours to complete. When using this cooking process, you do not have to stir or mix anything, so there is no need for standing around.

What Is the Danger Zone for Sous Vide?

The products prepared through this cooking method must be specifically heated, cooled, and reheated. Ensure you do not leave the cooked food in the temperature danger zone of 41 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range can cause bacteria growth, which can cause food poisoning.


Can a sous vide touch the bottom? If you are new to this method of cooking, you would want to know all about it so that you can use it to create healthy and flavorful meals. Since no direct flame is involved in this process, the vacuumed bag can touch the bottom or sides of the container without harming the food.

Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. With inspirations like Alton Brown and Gordon Ramsey, Nathaniel focuses on simple processes to make amazing food.