A sous vide cooker with floating packets

Keep Sous Vide Bags Submerged with This Clever Trick

If you have experimented with your sous vide machine long enough, you’ve encountered the occasional sealed bag of food that does not want to stay under the water properly. Whether it’s due to a pocket of air trapped in the bag, or the food itself is just not very dense, those floating bags are a problem because the heated water does not evenly surround them, and that’s essential for proper sous vide cooking. Adding some weight to those bags is the key to getting them underwater, and we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve that will help.

The first and most simple hack is to add a small but heavy food-safe item directly into the bag with the food you’ll be cooking. If there’s nothing food-safe available to slip in the bag, you can make a weighted bag with pennies or a handful of marbles and clip that to your food bag as an alternate way to keep it underwater.

Choosing items to weigh down your sous vide bags

A sous vide bag with steak

One item you can add to the sous vide bag is right at your fingertips — a table knife. Choose a knife that’s all stainless steel, with no plastic handle that could break down during the cooking to keep the food safe from contamination. When you have a shallow water bath, add one knife to each side of a bag or position one knife directly down the middle of the bag so the item will lay flat under the water. If you prefer to clip on bags of weights, we recommend one weight on each side of the sous vide bag to keep it from shifting around during cooking.

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Some other techniques for holding bags down rely on a top weight that stays above the sous vide food bags, but because the water is circulating in the container moving everything, bags often find a way to slip up to the surface. Adding weight directly to the bag is the most foolproof way to keep it fully immersed so that your food is completely and safely cooked.

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