Cuisine Technology
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The 6 Best Sous Vide Containers for Immersion Circulators in 2020

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Before we begin: want to just skip ahead to our top recommendation? It’s the EVERIE Sous Vide Container 12 Quarts with Lid and Rack. We love this container because it comes as a complete set, and is the ideal size for most typical home cooks.

So you’re ready to sous vide! You know you need an immersion circulator, and you already have your Ziploc bags (or other sous vide bags) ready to go. Now all that’s left is to find an appropriate container. Here at Cuisine Technology, we’ll never try to convince you that you need something when you really don’t. And the truth is that you don’t need a special container for sous vide cooking! You can definitely do it in a large pot, which you may already have in your kitchen. 

But a designated container can make things a lot easier. Once you have one, you can shop for a lid and rack to fit it (if they’re not included with the container). And having a container just for sous vide cooking will also free up that big pot. This is especially important once you start doing longer cook times! You’ll quickly run into problems when you want to do a long sous vide cook but still have all your kitchen basics on hand.

At the moment, for example, I’m about 5 hours into a 99-hour cook time with my sous vide machine. I’d hate to be without my favorite big pot for over four days! Having a sous vide container with a lid lets me run it for prolonged periods like this without stressing as much about the water level or having a pot out of commission.


Best Sous Vide Containers at a Glance

Best for: A Great Comprehensive Kit for our Favorite Devices
Best for: An All-Purpose Container
Best for: Range of Sous Vide Specific Containers
Best for: Avid Anova Users Who Cook Large Quantities
Best for: A Party-Sized Solution for Generous Cooks
Best for: A BPA-Free All-Metal Solution


The Top 6 Sous Vide Containers


#1. EVERIE Sous Vide Container 12 Quarts with Lid and Rack

Best for: A Great Comprehensive Kit for our Favorite Devices

When you’re buying a sous vide container, you basically have two options: buy just the container and piece the rest of your kit together yourself, or buy a container that includes just about everything you need (except the immersion circulator, of course!). 

This EVERIE container offers both options, but we suggest going for the container with the included lid and rack. You won’t need to track down other parts, and you’ll be ready to start sous vide cooking right away! 

The silicone lid is designed to be compatible with a wide range of devices, including several of our favorite immersion circulators. This lid is particularly useful for long cooking times, and will help you keep the moisture inside the container where it belongs. The rack in the kit is also super useful; it helps hold food in place, ensuring good water circulation and even cooking.

Note: EVERIE also offers an option with a sleeve to insulate your container. If you tend to do long cooks, we recommend upgrading to this option to help keep in the heat. However, it’s not available at the time of writing.

Specs and Features

  • BPA free? No
  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 12 quarts
Pros
  • Includes everything you need to get started (except an immersion circulator)
  • Compatible with a wide range of quality sous vide devices
  • Several different configurations available
Cons
  • The lid is compatible with most (but not all) sous vide devices; check whether yours will fit through a 2-5/8” opening before ordering
  • EVERIE sous vide racks don’t have handles, making it harder to place or remove your food

#2. Rubbermaid Plastic Space Saving Square Container, 12 Quart

Best for: An All-Purpose Container

Do you really need a special container designed exclusively for sous vide, like the EVERIE? Definitely not! Many basic plastic kitchen containers work for sous vide, and the Rubbermaid square container is a great example.

This container isn’t made with sous vide in mind, but it’s a fantastic option anyway. Plus it’s affordable and durable! What more could you want? And to be honest, Rubbermaid or Cambro containers are among the most popular options for sous vide cooking, so you’ll be in good company if you go with this option.

Of course, since this container isn’t specifically for sous vide, you’ll miss out on some of the features of other options that are specifically designed for the purpose. For example, it doesn’t come with a sous-vide-compatible lid (or a lid at all, for that matter), and there’s no option to buy it with an included rack. If you want these items, you’ll need to get them separately. 

On the other hand, the fact that the Rubbermaid isn’t designed for sous vide means that it’s available in a variety of sizes. Depending on your cooking style, one of these other sizes may be better for you than the standard 12 quarts often used for sous vide. 

Specs and Features

  • BPA free? No
  • Material: Polycarbonate
  • Capacity: Varies
Pros
  • There’s an option in several popular sizes
  • Clear polycarbonate with easy-to-see measurements
  • Can withstand sous vide temperatures
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with a lid or rack
  • Not intended exclusively for sous vide

#3. LIPAVI C10 Sous Vide Container 12 Quarts

Best for: Range of Sous Vide Specific Containers

If you’ve settled on getting a purpose-built sous vide container, LIPAVI is a great choice. They make containers in several sizes, which gives you more flexibility to choose one (or more!) to suit your cooking style. And since they’re made for sous vide, even the 7-quart container is deep enough to accommodate a typical immersion circulator. (You’ll find this often isn’t the case with smaller containers not made with sous vide in mind, which tend to be wide and shallow.)

This listing is for the container only. If you want a lid and rack, unfortunately you’ll need to buy those separately; there’s no bundle kit (and we wish there were!). On the bright side, LIPAVI does make lids and racks designed to fit each of their sous vide containers! It’s just a matter of wading through the many available options to figure out which are compatible. 

To make things even more complicated, LIPAVI offers tailored lids for each container based on which sous vide immersion circulator you have. You can find the right lid for your container and device in Amazon’s LIPAVI store. There, you’ll also find LIPAVI racks designed to fit each container.

Specs and Features

  • BPA free? No
  • Material: Polycarbonate
  • Capacity: Varies
Pros
  • While this particular listing doesn’t include any, there are many lid and rack options to suit LIPAVI’s containers. These cater to most of the popular immersion circulators on the market.
  • Clear and marked with measurements
  • Made specifically for sous side, capable of withstanding the heat necessary and designed to fit circulators well
Cons
  • Not BPA-free
  • The measurements are quite hard to read
  • It can be confusing to shop the LIPAVI lineup and find the right parts for your chosen container

#4. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Cooker Cooking Container

Best for: Avid Anova Users Who Cook Large Quantities

Are you an Anova fan? We understand—in fact, Anova took top place on our list of the best immersion circulators for 2020! They make fantastic products for sous vide, and their large container is no exception. If you have an Anova immersion circulator and want to be able to cook in relatively large quantities, look no further.

While a 12-quart container is adequate for most home sous vide users, sometimes you just want a little extra space. Maybe you like to host dinner parties for your friends, or you’re in charge of cooking something for the whole family at holidays. Having the luxury of a larger container can help you handle these situations with ease, instead of struggling to make multiple batches.

The Anova container comes with both a lid and a rack included, which makes its relatively high price much more reasonable. And while of course it’s designed to be compatible with Anova sous vide devices, it’s not limited to its own brand. Its lid design makes it compatible with almost any wand-style immersion circulator. Just be aware that the sides of the container tend to bow outward slightly when it’s full and warm. This can make it tricky to keep the rack in the right position.

Specs and Features

  • BPA free? Yes
  • Material: Polycarbonate
  • Capacity: 16.9 quarts
Pros
  • Larger than the standard 12-quart container, perfect for those who need a bit more cooking capacity
  • Comes with a removable lid and rack
  • The bottom is raised off of the countertop, protecting your finishes from the heat of the water bath
  • BPA free
  • Compatible with (just about) any sous vide immersion circulator, not only Anova products
Cons
  • The rack requires the container to be filled entirely to really function; it’s just a crossbar that hangs from the top rather than a rack sitting on the bottom.
  • Pricey for a sous vide container
  • It bows in the middle when full and warm, which can make it challenging to use the rack

#5. VÄESKE Large Sous Vide Container & Lid with Insulating Sleeve

Best for:  A Party-Sized Solution for Generous Cooks

Are you the go-to host for your family’s holiday gatherings? Do all your friends know to keep their calendars clear for your amazing dinner parties? If your home tends to be the hub of food-based events, you’ll need something bigger than the standard 12-quart container to make sure everyone has plenty to eat.

At a whopping 26 quarts, the VÄESKE container is by far the largest on our list—and the perfect option for the generous home chef who wants to make sure no one gets left out. This whopper of a container lets you cook up to 10 steaks at a time, and fits entire large cuts of meat without requiring you to break them down.

While this container isn’t the cheapest option, you definitely get what you pay for. In addition to a delightfully large container, you’ll also get a lid, a rack, and even an insulating sleeve that helps protect your surfaces or countertops from prolonged heat.

There are plenty of other configurations available, including smaller sizes or options without the sleeve. But we’d suggest other alternatives if you want a smaller container, and recommend opting for the sleeve to add insulation since the 26-quart container is so large.

Specs and Features

  • BPA free? No
  • Material: Polycarbonate
  • Capacity: 26 quarts
Pros
  • Large size is perfect for exceptionally large cuts of meat or feeding large gatherings
  • Comes with everything you could need, including a sleeve to help protect your countertops from the heat
  • Compatible with most immersion circulators
Cons
  • Takes up a lot of space to store

#6. EVERIE Stainless Steel 18/8 Sous Vide Container

Best for: A BPA-Free All-Metal Solution

We’re not concerned about BPA in our sous vide containers, for reasons we explain in detail below! But if you are, you’ll love this stainless steel sous vide container from EVERIE. Its extremely reasonable price, versatility, and BPA-free construction solidly earn it a place on our list.

Keep in mind that the lid that comes with this pot is designed to fit Anova sous vide circulators. If you have a different brand, it may still work, but you’ll want to double-check before buying if the lid is important to you. While this pot doesn’t come with a rack included, you can buy a compatible rack from EVERIE as well.

One thing we love about this option is that it doubles as a pot, and you can cook with it on your stove just as you would with a normal pot. (It even comes with an extra lid for use in everyday cooking!) But the addition of the sous vide lid and the option of buying a compatible rack from the same company makes it ideal as a primary sous vide pot as well.

Specs and Features

  • BPA free? Yes
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: 12 quarts
Pros
  • All metal, so no BPA and easy cleanup
  • Compatible with most Anova circulators (and any others that will fit!)
  • Comes with a regular pot lid and a silicone sous vide lid
  • Functions as a quality stock pot as well
Cons
  • Not compatible with every sous vide immersion circulator

What Is a Sous Vide Container? And Why You Need One

We always like to point out that you only really need three things to get started with sous vide, and you probably already have two of them! You’ll need a sous vide immersion circulator, plastic bags (Ziploc-brand bags work!), and a container of some sort.

In other words, the container is one of the non-negotiables of sous vide. After all, you need something to hold the hot water that circulates around your food!

This doesn’t mean, though, that you need to buy a sous vide container. You probably already have one at home that will work! If you’re just getting started and don’t want to spend the money on a designated container, we recommend just using a nice big stockpot for now.

If you can get one, though, having a dedicated sous vide container is fantastic. It lets you save your kitchen pots for other cooking, but may also work better for sous vide. Many sous vide containers come with extras like lids designed to fit immersion circulators, racks, or even insulating sleeves to help keep the heat in and protect your counters.


The Different Types of Sous Vide Container

The more you dig into sous vide, the more you realize that  there are a huge range of options for containers. We’ll take a moment to talk about some of the most common, and explain their basic pros and cons.

  1. Plastic food storage containers (not designed for sous vide). For many home cooks, Rubbermaid or Cambro containers have been the go-to for sous vide for years. While these containers aren’t specifically designed for sous vide cooking, they work well and tend to be relatively inexpensive. Plus they’re transparent, so you can easily keep an eye on your food. The biggest downside is that they don’t come with sous vide lids or racks, so you’ll need to source those separately if you want them (or create your own lid by cutting out a portion to fit your immersion circulator).
  2. Plastic sous vide containers. This is the most common option among containers that are actually designed for sous vide cooking. Many of these (including several on our list) come with appropriate lids and racks, or at least have the option to buy compatible ones separately. The biggest downside for many people is that almost all of these contain BPA. We’re not personally concerned about that, as you can read below in more detail. If it worries you, though, give yourself peace of mind by choosing another option!
  3. Metal sous vide containers. These are far less common than plastic ones, but it is possible to find metal containers specifically designed for sous vide cooking. The EVERIE Stainless Steel 18/8 Sous Vide Container on our list is a perfect example of this! We appreciate the versatility of these containers, which can typically be used as pots on your stove as well. However, since they tend to be round, it can be a bit harder to find compatible racks (since racks are usually designed for rectangular containers).
  4. Large pots. Do you already own a metal stock pot that holds at least 12 quarts (3 gallons)? If so, you can use that for now! Stock pots work fine for sous vide cooking—they just don’t include many of the features you might want from your container. For example, it can be hard to find a lid that fits, leaving you to mess with plastic wrap or plastic balls instead. And, just like with metal sous vide containers, you may struggle to find a rack that fits.
  5. Coolers. That’s right—you may even be able to use your cooler for sous vide cooking! On the plus side, coolers are intentionally well-insulated, which will help keep your hot water hot. And you might already have one at home! But coolers come with some major downsides too. It’s next to impossible to find a compatible lid, so you’ll need to figure out your own if you want one. And depending on your cooler, it may not be designed for prolonged high temperatures (after all, they’re intended to keep things cool, not hot). Check with your manufacturer to make sure yours will work with the high temperatures involved in sous vide cooking before you use it for this purpose. Finally, some coolers are thick enough that it’s hard to attach an immersion circulator.

The Big BPA Question

Almost as soon as you start learning about sous vide cooking, you’ll be confronted with the question of whether BPA is present in the plastic involved—and how dangerous that is. Most people agree that the bag you use should be BPA-free, but does it matter if the container has BPA?

There are great arguments for either side. Some people worry that the BPA from the container will leach through the plastic bag into the food. Others state that as long as the bag itself is BPA-free, the container doesn’t matter.

I’ll tell you upfront that I’m personally moderately cautious about what goes into my food. I shop organic when I can (but not obsessively), I avoid most processed foods most of the time, and I prefer to store leftovers in glass rather than plastic (but make exceptions fairly regularly).

And with all that said, I personally don’t worry about BPA in my sous vide containers. Here’s why: the container itself should never come into contact with the food. Neither should the water it contains. It’s impossible so far to find a definitive answer as to whether BPA leaches through the bag into the food, but I believe the contamination is minimal (if any). And, unfortunately, we’re exposed to so many potentially harmful substances and chemicals all the time that I don’t choose to spend my energy worrying about this particular possibility.

I do, however, make sure that my sous vide bags are BPA-free. Those do come into direct contact with the food, so I’d rather be safe on that count.

But that’s just me. You’ll need to make your own judgment call based on your personal opinions and comfort level. If you’re worried about the potential risks of BPA in your sous vide container, you can either use a metal pot that you already have or go for a completely BPA-free option like the great EVERIE Stainless Steel 18/8 Sous Vide Container.


What to Look For in a Good Sous Vide Container

The perfect sous vide container should combine several traits, some of which are universal and some of which will depend on your preferences:

  • Compatible lid and rack options available (or included). Honestly, I don’t use either a lid or a rack most of the time, because they’re often not necessary. But when you do need them, it’s invaluable to have ones that perfectly fit your container and your sous vide device.
  • Correct size for your cooking style. The typical sous vide container is 12 quarts, which is adequate for an average family. If you have a large family or tend to cook for lots of people, though, you may want a larger option. On the other hand, if you only cook for one or two people, you can get away with a smaller container.
  • Well-built, durable, and capable of withstanding wet heat for hours or days on end. You don’t want a flimsy, cheap container made of plastic that will soften under the conditions involved with sous vide! 
  • Made from a material you’re comfortable with. If you’re not concerned about BPA in your container, you have a lot more options. If you are worried about it, though, you may prefer a metal container since it definitely won’t have BPA.
  • Insulating sleeve available (optional). This one isn’t as important as the others, but you may appreciate having an insulating sleeve, especially if you tend to cook for long periods. This sleeve not only keeps your water warm, but also helps to protect your countertops from the prolonged heat of sous vide cooking.

Conclusion 

There’s a good chance that you don’t need to buy a sous vide container. But if you want a serious, complete setup (and to free up your big stock pot for other uses!), you’ll eventually want to get one. Sous vide containers often come with lids and racks, helping to keep your food in place and stop the water from evaporating too quickly. While there are plenty of sizes available, we recommend the EVERIE Sous Vide Container 12 Quarts with Lid and Rack for most typical home cooks.