This article is a part of my FREE Sous Vide Quick Start On-Demand Class. If you want to consistently create amazing food with sous vide, then my class is exactly what you're looking for.

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Is Sous Vide Safe? It Is When You Follow These Tips!

Welcome to lesson three of the free Sous Vide Quick Start Course! Today we are going to be diving into the main safety considerations with sous vide cooking!

With any cooking method, food safety is very important. No one wants to get themselves sick - or worse yet, make their friends and family sick.

So I think it's important to go over the main safety issues around sous vide, most of which also apply to traditional cooking.

A great thing about sous vide is that it's easy to ensure your food is completely safe to eat, something that can't always be said of many traditional techniques.

Stay Out of the Danger Zone

The biggest concern, especially with sous vide, is food shouldn't be out of the refrigerator at temperatures below 127°F (52.8°C) for more than 3 or 4 hours. Below that temperature the pathogens and other bad things grow a ton and can eventually make the food unsafe to eat.

This includes the time sitting on the counter, defrosting, being prepped, or if it is cooked at temperatures below 127°F (52.8°C).

This is mainly an issue in sous vide for rare steaks and roasts, when you are cooking at a lower temperature. When I'm cooking for more than 2 or 3 hours I always set my sous vide machine at 130°F (54.4°C) or above, just in case the circulator is off or there are cold spots in the water bath.

There are some people who cook right at 127° (52.8°C), but I like the peace of mind the slightly higher temperature gives I love a medium rare steak, so 130°F (54.4°C) is perfect!

Sous vide bison strip steak carbonara

Scientists Agree, Plastic Is Fine

Many people have concerns about cooking their food in plastic, which makes a lot of sense. I'm not a scientist, but the scientists I do follow all agree that cooking in food-safe, BPA-free plastic at these low temperatures does not pose any risk.

This includes sous vide-specific bags, Ziploc-brand freezer bags, and most food-safe plastics. Though I encourage you to read up on the safety of plastic in sous vide and plastic in general and come to your own conclusions about the safety of using it in cooking.

Sous vide chicken legs honey sriracha 2

Always Pasteurize Certain Foods

Pasteurization is the act of cooking food for long enough to kill all the nasty things in it. With traditional cooking, this means certain foods like chicken or pork are often heated to very high temperatures, around 155°F (68.3°C) or 165°F (73.9°C). As we all know, this leads to tough, dried out meat.

However, the other way to pasteurize food is to HOLD IT at a temperature above 127°F (52.8°C) for a longer period of time. So chicken cooked to 140°F (60°C) and held there for 30 minutes is just as safe as chicken cooked to 165°F (73.9°C) and held for one second. But the 140°F (60°C) chicken is going to be so much more moist and tender.

I have a lot more about how to pasteurize with sous vide cooking including timing guides and charts.

With sous vide, you can also pasteurize many foods you can't with traditional cooking, such as medium rare or medium steaks, ground beef, lamb, and duck breasts.

You don't always have to pasteurize those foods, but doing so ensures they are safe, which can be really important when you are serving it to immunocompromised people such as pregnant women, the elderly, babies, or those with weak immune systems.

Now you know the main points about sous vide safety, most of which also apply to traditional cooking methods. Sous vide makes it super simple to ensure you are following hygienic practices, your food is safe to eat, and better yet, tastes amazing!

Your Homework

Let me know in the comments how long you have been using sous vide for, and what your favorite meal is!

Thanks, and happy cooking!


This article is a part of my FREE Sous Vide Quick Start On-Demand Class. If you want to consistently create amazing food with sous vide, then my class is exactly what you're looking for.

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Jason logsdon headshot This article is by me, Jason Logsdon. I'm an adventurous home cook and professional blogger who loves to try new things, especially when it comes to cooking. I've explored everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to pressure cookers and blow torches; created foams, gels and spheres; made barrel aged cocktails and brewed beer. I have also written 10 cookbooks on modernist cooking and sous vide and I run the website.
Affiliate Disclaimer: Some links on this site might be affiliate links that if used to purchased products I might receive money. I like money but I will not endorse something I don't believe in. Please feel free to directly go to any products I link to and bypass the referral link if you feel uncomfortable with me receiving funds.
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