Does a Sous Vide Need to Be Preheated?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Cooking with a special technique is simpler than many people think. Moreover, it gives you the liberty of getting done with work while it cooks by itself. However, does a sous vide need to be preheated? You must know all about this technique to use it successfully and get excellent results.

Beginner Cooking Tips
Beginner Cooking Tips

Does a Sous Vide Need to Be Preheated?

A sous vide needs to be preheated to the desired temperature. The optimum temperature for most recipes is between 133 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range is good for meats, poultry, and even some vegetables like carrots and asparagus.

A person using a silver stainless pot and a spoon for cooking on an electric stove

Whatever recipe you use, preheating is an essential step as you ensure that when you leave the vacuum-packed plastic bag in the water, the cooking process starts immediately. Moreover, when cooking steaks, if it takes some time for the water to get warm, the steak will lose its juices and not be as soft and melt-in-the-mouth as when you immerse the bag in preheated water.

How to Preheat Food With a Sous Vide

This cooking style is all about precision, so it is a good idea that you learn how to preheat the setup before putting in the meat, eggs, or whatever you want to cook. The constant temperature of this cooking technique is what will make a big difference in the results.

It is best to ensure that there is no fluctuation in water temperature. You do not need a precision cooker, or a sous vide stick to use this technique. If you do use these appliances, you can set the temperature on it directly. However, if you do not use special cookers, here is an easy method of preheating.

  1. Fill a big pot with water,
  2. Place a thermometer on the side of the pot so that it is submerged,
  3. Turn the stove to medium-high heat
  4. Note the temperature on the thermometer and when it reached the needed mark,
  5. Turn the burner to a lower flame and let it go on for as long as you require.

When the water has reached the right temperature you do not need to keep the flame medium high because that may result in the evaporation of water. A low flame will do the trick and you will not have to keep an eye on the water level, or the dropping temperature.

How Does Sous Vide Work?

Many people have not tried using this special method before. Many good cooks do not know all about this cooking technique. If you see this setup, it is basically a pot of water with a standing heater that maintains the temperature of the water in the pot. When you want to cook something in this, you take a plastic bag and place the raw food along with seasoning in it.

A sous vide bag is special as it does not melt, neither will it be harmful for the food inside. However, it is not impossible for this kind of bag to open from the seams so users must ensure that they vacuum seal the bags properly. If a bag has air, it can burst.

The vacuum cooking and the constant temperature of water used for this technique work together to ensure that your food is cooked well. Additionally, the preheating step ensures that as soon as you place the bag in, there is no time wastage.

What if Sous Vide Is Not Preheated?

To understand what will happen if the sous vide is not preheated, one must know what happens to the meat, or vegetables when you cook them in the special cooker for this process. The constant temperature makes the food tender and it does not lose its juices, while the flavor of the seasonings gets settled and a delicious, tender, and flavorful food item is prepared.

People can use this cooking technique for various kinds of foods such as eggs, fish, vegetables, meat, and even poultry. However, the cooking time for each of these items is different. It might not matter much if you forget to preheat the sous vide for a recipe that requires long hours. However, for a food item that requires less time, not preheating the water may mean slow, and uneven cooking.

A woman cooking in a red pot while a man chopping the ingredients in the kitchenA woman cooking in a red pot while a man is chopping the ingredients in the kitchen

The same is true for when you put the bags in the water while the water is preheating. The constant raise in temperature and then remaining steady for a long might not impact beef steak or lamb chunks. However, if you are cooking eggs or vegetables, starting the process while water is preheating will elongate the preparation time.

Related Questions

There are so many ways of learning about a particular topic. One of these ways is to understand what others ask, and then see how the experts answer them. Get to know more about preheating the water for the vacuum-packed food to go through related questions;

Can You Add Hot Water to the Sous Vide?

It is better not to add water to the pot with hot water because that can cause a change in the temperature. The aim of this cooking technique is to combine all the flavors in a vacuum bag by keeping the temperature constant. Adding hot water may seem harmless, although it can reduce or raise the temperature of the water in the pot.

How Long Does It Take To Preheat?

This cooking setup takes almost fifteen to twenty minutes to preheat and reach temperatures between 130⁰ Fahrenheit and 140⁰ Fahrenheit. It is best to preheat on medium-low heat to ensure a steady and gradual temperature rise.

Will Ziploc Bags Melt in the Water Pot?

If you use food-safe bags they can do well in a pot of hot water and do not melt. However, if you use low-quality plastic bags they can melt. Moreover, it is not safe for you to use plastic bags because the fumes can impact the food.


Many cooking enthusiasts and novice cooks do not know a lot about this cooking technique. Does a sous vide need to be preheated? You should know the correct technique to ensure that the meat or vegetables cook well and the results are good every time.

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.