December 21

Does Sous Vide Kill Bacteria? | We Addressed Your Health Concerns


Author: Ana Stanar and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Sous vide cooking has become popular in recent years due to its ability to provide consistent results.

However, many people are concerned about using this method because they believe it will not kill bacteria that may be present in the meat or fish being cooked.

This article will explore whether or not sous vide kills bacteria and if it is safe to eat food cooked using this method.

Key Takeaways

  • Sous vide is a cooking technique that is often used to cook meat, but it can also be used to cook vegetables, fruits, and even eggs.
  • Does sous vide kill bacteria? Yes. Sous vide cooking temperatures ranges from 136°F and 158°F. These are enough to kill all bacteria
  • The longer you cook your food in the water bath, however, the more bacteria you'll kill and the better your chances of making sure those bacteria are all gone are.
  • An important thing to remember when cooking with this method is that you must take precautions against cross-contamination of your food when handling it before and after cooking.
  • Does Sous Vide Kill Bacteria

    The method of cooking food by immersing it in water held at a constant temperature is called "sous vide." The method is often used to cook meat and fish but can be applied to other foods as well.

    It's popular because it results in tender and evenly cooked food that doesn't dry out or get overcooked. Yes, sous vide kills bacteria. Food is cooked at temperatures that will kill bacteria that cause food poisoning.

    Types of Bacteria That May Be Present in Food


    Salmonella is a bacterium that causes food poisoning. It can occur from eating undercooked food such as raw beef, poultry products (chicken, turkey),

    You can also sous vide an egg, and milk products such as raw milk or cheese made from unpasteurized milk.

    When they are not cooked properly or when they are not stored at proper temperatures Salmonella bacteria can live in these foods.

    E. coli

    E. coli is a type of bacteria commonly found in the intestines of humans and warm-blooded animals like cattle, sheep, and pigs.

    It causes gastrointestinal problems when it enters the body through contaminated water or food like undercooked beef or unpasteurized milk products like raw milk cheese. The symptoms include bloody diarrhea and stomach cramps within 3 to 4 days after consuming contaminated food or water.


    Campylobacter, a bacterium that causes intestinal infections is spread through contaminated food.

    People usually get sick from Campylobacter after eating undercooked birds and chickens where the bacteria survive best. That’s why it is important to cook your food very well to make sure all bacteria have been killed.

    Listeria monocytogenes

    Another type of bacteria that you can get from food is Listeria monocytogenes. It is found in unpasteurized or raw dairy products, vegetables,s and fruits that are not washed and deli meats.

    Listeria monocytogenes can cause a mild infection that can go away on its own. However, it can also cause serious illness in people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, and newborn babies. In these cases, it may lead to meningitis (brain infection), blood infection, etc.

    various food on the table

    What Temperature Do You Cook Food to Kill Bacteria?

    Bacteria are sensitive to heat. They can be killed by heating them up to 140°F or higher for at least 2 minutes.

    When preparing food in sous vide cookers, we use water temperatures between 136°F and 185°F because these temperatures are sufficient to kill any bacteria in the food but still allow us to cook sous vide food slowly instead of instantly.

    Internal Temperature Guidelines for Several Common Types of Food

    The recommended internal temperatures that your meat should reach in order to be fully cooked vary from 165°F for poultry to 145°F for beef or pork, fish to 145°F (64°C) and ground meat to 160°F

    These temperatures are high enough to kill bacteria, but not high enough to alter the taste of the food. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food when cooking sous vide.

    One of the benefits of using the sous vide cooking method is that it ensures that all parts of your meat come out exactly the same every single time (which means no more undercooked or overcooked parts of the beef.) This makes sous vide cooking safer than some traditional cooking methods.

    Searing your Steak

    Searing is a cooking technique where the surface of the food is browned by direct contact with a very hot pan or griddle. This helps to create a crust on the surface of the meat, which seals in juices and adds flavor.

    Apart from being beneficial for both the appearance and texture of your meat, searing the steak after sous vide will also help to reach the internal temperature needed to kill bacteria in food.

    a person checking the meat in the pan

    Basic Food Precautions When Sous Vide Cooking

    Food safety is important for everyone, but it's particularly crucial for those who are preparing food for others. As sous vide cook, you want to make sure that your food is as safe as possible to prevent bacterial growth and food poisoning as much as possible.

    There are some basic precautions that you can take when cooking with sous vide to prevent bacteria contamination.

    Wash your Hands

    The most important thing you can do is wash your hands before and after handling raw meat and poultry, especially if you're using your hands to make a sandwich or touch something else in the kitchen.

    Wash your hands between handling different foods in the same session as well; this will help prevent cross-contamination and keep your kitchen clean.

    Keep Raw Meat Separate

    Keep raw meats separate from other foods, especially during storage and preparation. Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them raw.

    Use Separate Cutting Boards for Raw and Cooked Meat

    Use separate cutting boards for different types of foods such as raw meat, poultry, and cooked meat so that juices don't contaminate one another during preparation or cooking (this applies especially to those who cook for large groups).

    Use Clean Kitchen Utensils

    Use clean kitchen utensils and equipment for preparing sous vide food. Never use utensils or pans that have touched raw meat or poultry before to eat with it. This will prevent foodborne illness and you will be observing food safety.

    kitchen utensils in the metal jar

    Is Sous Vide Cooking Safe?

    Sous vide cooking is safe. Food is cooked with or without sous vide machines at temperatures needed to kill bacteria, so there's no danger of food poisoning or food-borne illness from improperly cooked meat or fish.

    The only real risk with sous vide cooking is food poisoning from bacteria on your hands or in your kitchen. Make sure you wash your hands well before handling any meat, poultry, or eggs; these are the most likely sources of bacterial contamination.

    Is Less Messy

    This cooking method is less messy than traditional poaching and allows you to retain more moisture in your meat and vegetables when you cook them. This makes sous vide ideal for making steaks, tender chicken breasts, and flavorful vegetables that are cooked just right.

    food prepared for sous vide cooking

    Is It Safe to Cook Food in Plastic?

    We consulted Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.

    He told us that any plastic bag is not safe for sous vide unless it is marked BPA-free and can withstand high temperatures. So you must use BPA-free packaging such as sous vide bags designed specifically for this purpose.

    What is BPA?

    Some plastics are not safe for use with sous vide because they can leach chemicals into your food. The most notable of these is BPA (bisphenol A), which is a compound used in many types of plastic.

    BPA has been linked to health concerns like cancer and reproductive problems and is banned in several countries.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved sous vide cooking as a safe process for cooking meat, poultry, and fish. The FDA has also approved sous vide bags as biocompatible materials that do not leach harmful chemicals into sous vide food.

    Is Sous Vide Safe When Pregnant?

    If you're worried about the safety of sous vide cooking during pregnancy, you can rest assured that it's perfectly safe to prepare and eat foods using this technique.

    Just follow some basic food safety precautions that I discussed in this guide. Also, never consume raw or undercooked food, the sous food needs to reach the internal temperature required to kill bacteria.

    a pregnant woman cutting meat

    Evenly Cooked Meat and Vegetables Due to Precise Temperature Control

    The benefits of sous vide include more evenly cooked meat and vegetables, which helps retain the nutrients in your food.

    It also makes it easier to cook fish without overcooking it. Due to these benefits, a pregnant woman would prefer vegetables and meat-cooked sous vide to other cooking methods.

    Is Sous Vide Healthier?

    The answer is yes, sous vide is a healthier way to cook food.

    Sous vide cooking is an incredibly healthy way to prepare food. It requires no added fats or oils. The process of cooking in a vacuum-sealed bag keeps the moisture from escaping, so the meat stays juicy and tender.

    The best part about sous vide cooking is that it can be done at a lower temperature than traditional methods, which means that sous vide won't overcook your meat or leave it pink inside. This makes the food safe for eating.

    Sous Vide Is Also More Flavorful

    Searing your meat after it's been cooked in the water bath gives it that crispy golden crust that makes steak taste so good without adding any extra fat or calories.

    About the author

    Ana Stanar

    An Art Teacher, entrepreneur, and a mother of three, Ana considers cooking a form of art - pleasure for all senses as well as a process that requires creativity, passion and devotion. Since she leads a busy life, Ana just loves testing various kitchen appliances for Kitchen Gearoid, especially those that save her time while preparing food and cooking but also make every meal a masterpiece!


    You may also like

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

    {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}