April 24

Season Steak Before Or After Sous Vide | How Does It Affect the Taste?


Author: Colin Ma
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Are you a steak lover looking to take your culinary skills to the next level? If so, you may be wondering whether it's better to season your steak before or after sous vide cooking.

While both options have their merits, many experts agree that seasoning your steak before sous vide is the way to go.

Why? By seasoning your steak before cooking, you can infuse the meat with delicious flavors, tenderize it to perfection, and ensure a mouthwatering final result. In this guide, we will discuss if to season steak before or after sous vide and show how to do it properly to achieve the best results.

Key Takeaways

  • You can season steak before or after sous vide. However, it is better to do it before so that the steak will come out flavorful
  • There are several seasonings that you can use to flavor your steak before cooking sous vide. These include salt, marinades, herbs, pepper, lemon slices, oil, garlic, BBQ sauce, hot sauce, and more.
  • If the steak is lean, adding olive oil to the seasoning mix can help prevent the meat from drying out during the cooking process.
  • It is important to not overdo it with the seasonings as they can overpower the natural flavor of the steak.

Seasoning Steak Before Sous Vide Cooking

Sous vide cooking has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its ability to cook food to a precise temperature and texture. When it comes to preparing a steak using sous vide, one of the most common questions is whether to season the steak before or after cooking.

While some argue that seasoning after cooking allows for a better crust to form, it is generally better to season the steak before sous vide.

The steaks and the ingredients for seasoning

Sous Vide Steak Seasonings

Salt is a key ingredient when seasoning the steak. Other seasonings such as herbs, sauces, pepper, garlic, and lemon slices can also be used to infuse flavor into the steak during the sous vide cooking process.


Salt is a crucial ingredient in cooking, and this holds true for sous vide as well. When cooking sous vide, salt plays an essential role in enhancing the flavors of the food by bringing out its natural flavors.

 Additionally, salt also helps to tenderize the meat, resulting in a more tender and juicy steak. However, it's important to note that when cooking sous vide, less salt is needed compared to traditionally cooked steak as the food retains more of its natural flavor and juices.

Spice Rubs

Spice rubs such as garlic powder, cinnamon, pepper powder, and cumin are essential ingredients for seasoning during sous vide as they enhance the flavor of the sous vide steak. Combining different spices, herbs, and aromatics can add depth and complexity to the taste, resulting in a more enjoyable culinary experience.

While salt is a necessary element, dry and fresh herbs can take the flavor profile to another level. Moreover, spice rubs are easy to apply and can save time when preparing steak. By using a spice rub, you can create a delicious crust on the surface of the meat, which adds both flavor and texture.

Olive Oil

If the steak is lean, it can be beneficial to add a small amount of olive oil to the sous vide bag before cooking. This will help to keep the meat moist and prevent it from drying out during the cooking process.

Steaks with spice rubs, olive oil and salt

What about Adding Butter to the Bag?

Adding butter to the bag will infuse the steak sous vide with a rich, buttery flavor and help keep the meat moist. This is particularly beneficial when cooking lean cuts of meat, which can dry out easily. Butter can also be used instead of olive oil to prevent lean meat from drying out during the sous vide process.

Use Sauces for Cooking Sous Vide

Sauces such as BBQ and hot sauce are crucial in the sous vide cooking of steak as they add flavor, texture, and depth to the dish.

BBQ sauce, for example, can add smokiness and sweetness to the steak, while hot sauce can add heat and good taste. A well-crafted sauce can elevate a steak from good to great, providing a balanced and complex flavor profile.

 In short, sauces are essential to sous vide steak cooking, enhancing its overall taste and making it a delightful culinary experience.

Applying the BBQ sauce on the meat

What About Marinating Steak While Cooking It?

Marinating while cooking steak sous vide will add a depth of flavor and tenderize tougher cuts of meat. Marinating works by breaking down the connective tissues and proteins in the meat, making it more tender and flavorful.

If you are planning to marinate your steak before sous vide cooking, it is recommended to marinate it for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

A Variety of Ingredients can be used for a Flavorful Steak

You can use a variety of ingredients for your marinades, such as herbs, spices, citrus, or vinegar. Just make sure that the marinade is well-balanced and not too acidic, as this can over-tenderize the meat and make it mushy.

Ingredients for the marinade

How To Season Steak For Sous Vide?

To achieve a more flavorful steak, it is essential to season the steak before cooking.

Step 1: Prepare Sous Vide Machine

The first step is to take your sous vide cooker and prepare it for cooking. Prepare the sous vide bath. Fill the container with water and set the temperature according to the desired doneness of your steak. For example, if you want a medium-rare steak, set the temperature to 130°F.

Step 2: Seasoning your Sous Vide Steaks

Next, take your steak and place it on a cutting board. Season it with the salt and herbs of your choice. Popular herbs to use when seasoning steak include garlic powder, cinnamon, and pepper powder.

Alternatively, you can use sauce instead of herbs if you prefer. If your steak is lean, you can add olive oil to the seasoning to prevent the steak from drying out.

Step 3: Vacuum Sealing the Steak and cook it

Distribute the seasoning evenly over the steak, then place it in sous vide bag. Vacuum-seal the bag using a vacuum sealer for sous vide and place it in the sous vide water bath. Set the timer and let the steak cook to your desired doneness.

Step 4: Sear the Steak

Once the steak is cooked sous vide method, remove it from the bag and pat it dry with a paper towel. Finally, finish the steak by searing it on a stainless steel skillet or grill the steak to give it a delicious crust or an evenly browned crust.

Seasoning a steak for sous vide cooking is a simple process that involves using salt, herbs, and optionally, a sauce or olive oil. By following these steps, you can achieve a perfectly cooked and seasoned steak every time.

Sous vide steak served on the plate

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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