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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Understanding Sous Vide Cooking Times and Temperatures

Welcome to lesson five of the free Sous Vide Quick Start Course! Today we are going to be diving into time and temperatures so you will understand how they work!

So far we have been looking at the basics of sous vide and now it's time to handle the "meat" of the subject! Now it's time to get a little technical.

I like to dive deeper into this subject because understanding times and temperatures is the most vital part of being a successful sous vider.

There is a huge mindset change when using sous vide compared to other methods of cooking.

Sous vide strip steak herb butter 5

The change is you are cooking the food at the temperature you want to eat it, instead of a much, much higher temperature. So a medium-rare steak is sous vided at 131°F (55°C), instead of being grilled at 500°F (260°C) until the middle reaches 131°F.

What this means is that the amount of time something is cooking in the sous vide machine doesn't affect the doneness of the food and it can't be overcooked!

With grilling, the meat needs to be pulled off the heat exactly when it reaches 131°F (55°C) (or maybe slightly before due to carryover cooking) or it will quickly go from medium rare to medium to well done. A few extra minutes on the grill can ruin a great steak.

But with sous vide, leaving the steak in the sous vide machine for an extra 10 minutes, or even an extra hour or two, will not make the steak become overcooked. All the extra time does is tenderize the steak more and more.

To be clear, if you continue tenderizing a steak for way too long it will lose a lot of the bite we look for in a good steak, so most recipes will give you a time range of when it will be done, such as 2 to 4 hours.

This indicates that the steak will be heated through and ready to eat after 2 hours. Any time from 2 hours to 4 hours and it'll still be cooked "perfectly". After 4 hours, it will start to decrease in quality slightly due to the tenderization. It's a slow process though, and most steaks will be just fine for an extra few hours past the cutoff.

Sous vide chuck steak sherried mushrooms 2748

Here's the rule of thumb I use to remember this:

Temperature equals "doneness" - such as medium-rare, medium, or a pot roast-like texture

Time equals tenderness - the longer you cook it, the more tender it gets

Because time and temperatures are such an important part of sous vide, I've decided to give you access to two videos from my popular Sous Vide Made Easy video course. It's a paid course but I want to make sure you have the foundation you need to get started with sous vide, so I will share them with you for free.

The first video dives into many more details about sous vide times and how to determine them.

The second video is all about sous vide temperatures and how to find ones you like.

You should now have the foundation you need to really understand what is happening with sous vide!

Your Homework

I'd love to know what is the biggest benefit you are excited about using sous vide for? Let me know in the comments. Is it the convenience, bulk cooking and meal planning, gourmet cooking, making great everyday food, cooking for parties and large gatherings or something else entirely!

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.

Sous vide quick start lead magnet header.png

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All tags for this article: Sous Vide, Sous Vide Quick Start Article

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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