April 18

How To Keep Sous Vide Bags Submerged | Our Guide With Actionable Tips


Author: Colin Ma
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One of the most common problems that both new and experienced cooks face when sous vide cooking is keeping the sous vide bags submerged in water.

This can be frustrating, as it can lead to unevenly cooked food and ultimately ruin your meal. The main cause of this problem is often not removing all the air inside the bag when vacuum sealing.

But don't worry, in this guide, I will share with you various solutions on how to keep sous vide bags submerged and ensure that your meals are cooked to perfection every time.

Key Takeaways

  • When cooking sous vide, it is crucial to keep the bags submerged in water to ensure even cooking.
  • Floating bags are usually caused by trapped air inside the bag.
  • Improper sealing of the sous vide bag or water displacement may cause some air to remain.
  • To avoid floating bags, it is essential to take your time to ensure that all air is removed from the bag before sealing it. Using a vacuum sealer is the most effective method of eliminating air from the bag.
  • If your food is naturally buoyant and floats on water, use food-grade weights to keep the bags submerged.

What Causes Floating Bags during Cooking Process

Trapped Air inside Sous Vide Bag

One of the most common reasons why sous vide bags float is due to trapped air. While a vacuum sealer will help remove all the air inside the bag, the water displacement method may not remove all the air.

Therefore, it is crucial to take the time and remove as much air as possible before sealing the bag if using the water displacement method.

Just note that using a vacuum sealer is the only way to help eliminate all the air inside the sous vide bag, ensuring that the bag sinks and remains submerged throughout the cooking process.

Your Food Is Naturally Buoyant

However, even if you have removed all the air from the bag, some foods may still float due to their buoyancy.

Weigh Food Down

In such cases, you can weigh down the bag using food-grade stainless steel objects such as a butter knife or even just coffee mugs to keep your sous vide bags from floating. These objects will not affect the cooking process or the food's taste and are safe to use.

Use a Heavy-Duty Bag

Another tip to keep the bags submerged is to use a heavy-duty bag that can withstand the pressure of the water. Some bags are specifically designed for sous vide cooking and are made of thicker material to prevent floating.

How To Keep Sous Vide Bags Submerged?

Sous vide is a technique that involves cooking food in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag, immersed in water, at a precise temperature.

However, there can be a challenge in keeping sous vide bags submerged in water, especially when cooking light food. Fortunately, there are several ways to solve this problem.

Use Dish Drying Racks

One effective solution is using dish drying racks to hold the sous vide bags in place. These racks are designed to fit over the rim of a pot or container, ensuring that the bags remain submerged.

Simply place the bags on the rack, and they will stay put without requiring any additional weight.

Use a Butter Knife

Another method is to use a butter knife or a few spoons that are food safe inside the bag to weigh it down and prevent it from floating.

This approach is useful when cooking small or delicate food that might be damaged by heavier weights. To use this method, simply insert a butter knife into the bag, making sure that it is positioned in a way that will keep the bag submerged.

Use Binder Clips, Pie Weights

Clipping the bags with pie weights or heavier ceramic bowls is another option to keep food submerged.

Pie weights are small, flat, and heavy metal disks that are typically used in baking.

Racks, bag with meat and butter knife in it and binder clips

They can be attached to the bag using binder clips or clothespins to keep the bag securely submerged.

Alternatively, heavier ceramic bowls can be used instead of pie weights, but they need to be large enough to hold sous vide bags down with a large binder clip.

Is It OK If Sous Vide Bag Floats?

No, it’s not okay if the sous vide bag floats. When cooking sous vide, the bag containing the food should be fully submerged in the cooking container. If the bag floats, food will not cook evenly.

Additionally, a floating bag can interfere with the circulation of water, which can affect the cooking process.

To prevent floating, make sure to remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing, use heavy-duty bags, and use clips or weights to keep the bag submerged. If you encounter a floating bag during cooking, simply use a clip or weight to hold it down.

Sous vide cooking technique

Does All Air Need To Be Out Of Bag For Sous Vide?

Yes, all the air needs to be out of the bag for sous vide. When cooking sous vide, it is essential to remove all the air from the bag to ensure even cooking and prevent the formation of air pockets or bubbles that can affect the cooking process.

These trapped air bubbles can result in uneven cooking, which can lead to sous vide food that is overcooked in some areas and undercooked in others.

Also, air trapped in the sealed bag can insulate the food from the water bath, slowing down the cooking process. Therefore, it is crucial to use a vacuum sealer to remove all the air from the bag before cooking sous vide.

What Happens If There Is Air In Sous Vide Bag?

If there is air in the sous vide bag, it can cause several problems during the cooking process.

The presence of air can cause a persistently floating bag, preventing food from cooking evenly. This can result in undercooked portions of the food, which can be a health hazard. Therefore, it's essential to remove all the air from the bag before placing it in the sous vide water bath to ensure the best possible results.

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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