February 27

Can You Sous Vide In Original Packaging? | Don’t Do it Before Reading Our Guide!


Author: Colin Ma
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I know the desire to sous vide using original packaging from the grocery store but I don't recommend it before you read this article.

A lot of people are doing this, especially when they don't have extra vacuum food-saver bags. It is dangerous especially if the original packaging bags are not food safe.

Key Takeaways

  • Sous vide is a cooking method that involves immersing food in a temperature-controlled water bath for an extended period of time. The food is vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag to eliminate air and retain moisture
  • Sous vide in original packaging is possible and can be a convenient way to cook food without having to transfer it to a separate container.
  • However, it is important to ensure that the packaging is food safe, heat-resistant, and heat-sealed in order to ensure that your food stays moist and flavorful during the cooking process
  • It's always best to check the packaging for compatibility and follow recommended guidelines for food safety.

Can You Sous Vide In Original Packaging?

One of the questions that many people ask is whether or not they can sous vide in the original packaging.

The answer is yes, you can sous vide in the original packaging as long as the bag is food safe, can withstand the temperatures of sous vide cooking, and is heat sealed.

Food Safe Plastic Bags-Are BPA Free

The original packaging of some food products is BPA-free, which makes it safe to use in the sous vide cooking process. BPA (Bisphenol A) is a chemical used in some plastic materials that have been linked to various health concerns.

However, it's important to note that not all plastic packaging is BPA-free and some types of plastic can degrade or leach chemicals into the food when exposed to high heat.

To ensure food safety, it's recommended to only use BPA-free plastic bags or containers specifically designed for sous vide machines and other sous vide appliances.

various food packed in plastic bags

Polyethylene and Polypropylene

Bags made of materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene are ideal for sous vide cooking, as they do not contain any harmful chemicals that could leach into your food.

These materials are also heat resistant and can withstand the high temperatures required for sous vide cooking.

The Store Packaging Should Be Safe For High Heat Cooking

Additionally, it's important to check the maximum temperature the plastic packaging is rated for, as some packaging is only safe for low-heat cooking. If the original packaging is unsafe for high-heat cooking, it's best to transfer the food to a bag meant for sous vide cooking.

Heat Sealed Packaging

It is crucial that the bag be heat-sealed instead of glued in order to prevent water from entering and diluting the flavor of your food. If the vacuum seal bags are sealed with glue, there is a risk that it could come apart and cause water to enter the bag or the food to leak. This will result in a loss of food. That's why vacuum sealers are one of the most useful tools for sous vide. 

Some pre-packaged foods are already vacuum-sealed which is ideal for sous vide cooking.

a person holding a sealed bag with food

Precautions to Take When Sous Vide Cooking In Original Packaging

When cooking in original packaging, it is essential to take certain precautions to ensure that the food is safe and properly cooked.

You should be careful not to puncture or tear the bag while handling it, as this could also result in water seeping in and diluting the flavor of your food.

Check if Food is spaced out evenly

Make sure that the food is spaced out evenly in the packaging. If the food is packed too tightly, it may not cook evenly, resulting in undercooked or overcooked sous vide.

Can You Sous Vide In A Normal Bag?

Yes, you can sous vide in a normal bag if it’s safe to cook with. Normal bags, such as Ziploc bags, can be used for sous vide cooking, but it's important to double-check their safety and temperature resistance before use.

Use Sous Vide Bags

It is recommended to use specially designed bags for sous vide as they are less likely to break during the cooking process.

 It is worth noting that sous vide bags come with a vacuum seal feature, which helps to remove excess air for good heat transfer. Normal bags may not provide a tight seal, which can affect the cooking process and result in inconsistent results.

Is It Safe To Cook In Plastic?

Cooking in plastic can be safe if the plastic is BPA (bisphenol A) free. BPA is a chemical found in some plastic materials and has been linked to negative health effects such as hormone disruption and an increased risk of certain cancers.

Many plastic products are now labeled as "BPA free" and are safe to use for cooking and food storage. Read the labels on plastic products to ensure they are free of BPA.

Can You Sous Vide In Butcher Box Packaging?

a person preparing sous vide fish

Sous vide is a method of cooking where food is placed in a vacuum-sealed bag and then cooked in a temperature-controlled water bath for an extended period of time.

While vacuum-sealed bags are an important aspect of sous vide cooking, it is possible to use other types of packaging as long as they can withstand the high temperatures involved and keep the food sealed.

Butcher Box Packaging

Butcher Box packaging is often made of plastic and is used to package and transport meat. To determine if it can be used for sous vide cooking, you need to check the label to see if it is safe for use at high temperatures.

It is also important to ensure that the packaging is BPA-free, as BPA is a chemical that can leach into food and cause health problems.

If the packaging is safe for high temperatures and is BPA-free, then it is possible to use Butcher Box packaging for sous vide cooking.

meat in plastic bags

How Will I Know If the Bags I'm Using Are Safe?

To ensure your bags are safe, look for BPA-free and food-safe labeling.

Avoid using plastic bags that are old, scratched, or damaged, as they are more likely to release harmful chemicals into your food. Remember to also follow the manufacturer's instructions for using the bags, such as not heating them in the microwave.

About the author

Colin Ma

An avid home chef, Colin is equally passionate about delicious meals as well as the latest cooking appliances. He's also a keen writer about cooking-related topics.


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