Can You Leave a Sous Vide All Day?

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Some popular cooking techniques are so unique that the more you know about them, the more you feel you can incorporate them into your daily cooking. However, can you leave a sous vide all day? Know how to do it right so you can use this technique whenever you like.

Can You Leave a Sous Vide All Day?

You can leave a sous vide going all day, since many recipes involving sous vide require 12, 24, or even 48 hours, and that implies that it has to be left for an extended period without any problem.

The duration of the cooking process depends on the food you are cooking. In some cases, you can even leave it on for 2 days, like when cooking brisket or ribs.

A person holding a red pot filled with water in the kitchen

Once you start this cooking process, you cannot interrupt it by changing the environment, so leaving it for a day is not a problem. However, the only fear many chefs have is that if you leave the sous vide cooking for too long, the bag may burst, and food may spoil the immersion circulator.

Tips To Follow the Sous Vide Technique Correctly

You must follow the recipe if you are all set to prepare a dish where the meat slides off the bone, and you can cut it with a fork. However, here’s some general tips that will help you maximize your sous vide results.

  • Keep cords and plugs clear of water and splash zones
  • Keep the hot water container on a heat-resistant kitchen counter or silicone mat away from flammable materials like fabric
  • Keep the setup away from children and pets
  • Prevent evaporation of the hot water by placing a lid on top or covering the pot with foil, and they also make special sous vide floating ping pong balls to trap heat and moisture in
  • Ensure that the bag is clipped by the sides so that the fat, meat, or marinade does not leak out of the sous vide bag

How Long Can You Leave a Sous Vide on?

The correct way to prepare food for this cooking process is to vacuum-pack the meat with your seasoning in a plastic bag. This method also depends upon the temperature of the water in which you immerse the bag. Some recipes call for a few hours of this technique, while others may demand up to two days.

The ideal temperature for this sous vide cooking is between 120⁰ Fahrenheit and 150⁰ Fahrenheit. The temperature will depend on the meat you are cooking and the desired texture of the finished product.

For example, if you were cooking a brisket, you want a very low temperature for a very long time to break down the connective tissue without drying out the meat. You can serve the food immediately after removing the protein portion from the bag or cool it before freezing sous vide steak for a few days or up to a month.

Leaving Sous Vide Unattended

You do not need to sit by and watch the sous vide overnight, but you want to ensure it has plenty of water and that you top it off or seal the lid before leaving it unattended. One time, I was cooking an entire pork shoulder and left it overnight, only to sadly find that one corner had popped up over the water and did not cook.

So, make absolutely sure the water level is topped off for the sous vide method of cooking. Roughly 2 inches above your food is plenty in any sous vide stock pot that you are using.

One of the most attractive things about cooking sous vide is that you can leave it unattended, and the results are never compromised as long as you have a constant temperature, a sturdy silicone bag for sous vide, and a setup that can go for hours.

Is It Safe to Leave Sous Vide All Day?

Leaving your food in a sous vide is safe, so long as temperature and time exceed pasteurization thresholds. Remember, pasteurization is a function of heat and time, so lower temperatures may be fine when cooking overnight.

Usually, people use slow cookers or a sous vide cooker for a recipe. However, if you wonder if leaving the food in a bag in water may be dangerous for your recipe, then no worries! The meat will remain safe as there is no danger of it spoiling.

Now, while your food may not go bad, cooking food also changes the texture of it, and there are a few meats that are edible but not delicious when cooked for too long.

I recommend against cooking chicken, pork loins, or fish for more than 3-4 hours. When you cook tender pieces of meat for too long, they can turn mushy, which is not ideal. You can cook tough cuts of pork like shoulder or hocks for a day without a problem, as long cook times will be required to break down the connective tissue.

This technique is safe and has been a part of professional cooking for a long time. Due to the sharing of recipes across the Internet, and the love of trying culturally unique foods, this technique has become known. Many chefs and even home cooks want to try this method to create masterpieces.

A person in blue long sleeves filling a stainless pot with water in the silver faucet

What Can You Cook in Sous Vide All Day?

You can use this unique cooking method to prepare many things. However, the items that take a whole day will require you to leave them in the cooker for many hours. These foods can include steaks, ribs, brisket, and shanks. You will do this effortlessly if you learn how to make a steak in sous vide.

Foods that require alcohol infusion can be cooked with this technique, and they will come out better than when cooked in other ways. These recipes may also require you to leave the food to cook with this technique all day for better infusion without burning or spoiling the taste.

Related Questions

Cooking foods using this special technique can seem challenging, although it is a simple technique. You can get to know more about it when you go through the answers that experts give for all kinds of questions:

How Long can the Bag of Food Stay in Water?

You can leave the vacuum-packed food in water for up to two days, and it will remain safe. You may even leave it for a few hours more than that. However, any kind of meat will require a maximum time of two days to cook correctly.

How Often Should I Change the Water in the Cooker or Container?

The water in the cooker will work even if it gets slightly dirty. However, changing the water after using it a few times is a good idea so that your cooker remains clean. If a bag bursts accidentally, it is best that you change the water immediately.


Many first-time cooks may want to try new methods of cooking, and this technique seems to be an interesting technique. Learn all about this method so that you can create the masterpiece that you have in mind.

Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. He is a contributing chef at Mashed, and his recipes and contributions have been featured in Tasting Table, Edible Arrangements, Insanely Good Recipes, and The Daily Meal.