Can You Cook Sous Vide Without Plastic Bags

Sous vide has exploded in popularity in the culinary world, capturing everyone’s interest. For many people, it makes cooking simple and comfortable. Most people try this method of cooking.

This technique gives you excellent results and flavor. However, certain questions can arise in the minds of those who practice this technique. Is it safe to use the sous vide method for cooking? Can we cook Sous Vide without a plastic bag? Since this is an often asked question, knowing the solution is important. Human nature is fearful of the unexpected, which is why getting a thorough understanding of what you’re doing is important. Otherwise, thoughts may arise that will leave you unsure of what to do.

Plastic cooking safety, low-temperature cooking safety, and vacuum sealing safety are the three most common sous-vide cooking issues. Today, we’ll look at the plastic issue to answer all of your questions and dispel any fears you may have. If you are interested in sous vide cooking, you can read this article because it will be very useful. Today, we’ll dig at some alternatives to plastic bags.

What is Sous vide cooking?

Sous vide is a basic but efficient cooking technique that uses ideal and accurate temperature to produce restaurant-quality food results. It is pronounced sue-feed and means "under vacuum" in French.

Many restaurants often employ sous vide preparation methods, so this means that you can rely on them. Due to the advancement of sous vide kitchen appliances, this technique has recently become very common among households. The food is enclosed in a vacuum bag before being put inside a water bath at a specific temperature for cooking. It will give you results that you won’t be able to achieve with any other cooking method.

Click here to buy the sous vide cooking equipment (circulator)

This technique is very straightforward and can be completed in three easy steps.

  1. The first step is to connect your cooker to a pot of water, then set the temperature and time.
  2. Take a sealable bag and place your food inside before clipping it to the pot’s edge.
  3. Finish the process by grilling, searing, or broiling the food according to your preferences.

Can you cook Sous Vide without plastic?

Yes, it is possible to cook sous vide even without keeping your food sealed in a vacuum-sealed bag. Many people use plastic bags as it is one of the best ways to prevent the water and ingredients from getting mixed.

You can make use of a canning jar instead of plastic bags. Some food items do not require containers to cook like eggs. Some of the chefs make use of glass containers while others go with Pyrex casserole dishes. The most important thing required for sous vide cooking is food should be cooked underwater and by using the correct temperature. It is not necessary to use plastic.

Is it necessary that food needs to be vacuum sealed in sous vide?

Sous vide simply means under vacuum in French and therefore many people think that they need to use a vacuum sealer if they want to cook sous vide. You don’t have to purchase expensive vacuum sealers for cooking sous vide.

If you are on a budget and do not want to spend so much then instead of vacuum sealers, you can also use Ziploc-style bags.

How to use a bag without sealing it?

If you are making use of a Ziploc style bag and you are unable to seal it then you need to just remove the air before putting it inside the water. You can follow these steps to do it correctly.

  • You need to ensure that the device that you are using should be filled with a water bath.
  • Always make sure that the food ingredients are placed properly inside the bag. Ensure that they are not 1 inch or 2,5 cm away from the bag’s opening and close the zipper almost completely.
  • You will be able to notice that there is a tiny bit of air present at the top of the bag. Do not worry this air will get displaced when you place the bag into your sous vide machine by water.
  • Dip the bag into the water gently, leaving the top part of the bag where the crease is exposed.
  • Towards just below, the water must rise where you can zip it.
  • Shut the bag

There shouldn’t be any worries about the air present inside your bag as the temperature that you will be cooking at will prevent any kind of bacteria growth.

If not plastic, what other things can you use?

If you do not wish to use plastic for cooking sous vide and if you also do not prefer Ziploc-style bags then there are other alternatives that you can try.

If not plastic then you can try making use of a canning jar. They are made of glass and traditionally used for canning and pickling food. These jars can be reused several times. These go very well with sous vide cooking especially when you are to perform batch cooking. They are very good to be used where you need to set the recipes like yogurt and custards.

Click here to buy the best canning jars for sous vide

There are a few things that everyone needs to remember when using a canning jar while cooking sous vide.

  • Make sure that the lid is not very much tightened as the air has to escape while cooking sous vide.
  • Your jars should be able to float in the water.
  • You need to be careful while touching the jars as they get heated and stay heated for a very long time.
  • One thing to keep in mind is that when you use a canning jar for cooking sous vide it is going to take a lot longer compared to plastic bags. Glass is an insulator and if you are cooking frozen food items then it will take a long time to cook compared to items that are at room temperature.
  • Heat takes a lot of time to cross or pass by the glass so here the jar is going to be the same as an oven. You can make use of liquid sauces if you want the heat to reach the food.
  • You need to be very sure about the liquid levels. If they aren’t right then there are good chances that they might get oxidized.

These are the most important considerations one needs to remember and other than this you should also make sure that the jar is sterile. Make sure to store the sous vide food refrigerated and do not ever keep them unrefrigerated. If you are not going to eat the food after the cooking process is completed then placing them inside the refrigerator is the right thing.

What type of plastic bags can we use for Sous Vide?

These are some of the plastic bags you can use for cooking sous vide.

Ziploc-style bags

If you do not wish to buy a vacuum sealer then you can make use of Ziploc-style bags. These bags are the best alternatives and you can cook sous vide with these bags easily.

You can cook a lot of meat by using a Ziploc-style bag. You can cook chicken breasts, burgers, fish, pork chops and steaks. You can look at the large gallon size bags if you want to prepare a lot of food at once. Make sure that you purchase these Ziploc-style bags which are made of high-quality plastics. If you are going to cook at high temperatures like 158 degrees F or 70 degrees C then you can use two Ziploc-style bags.

Sous Vide Bags

These by the name suggests that they are specially made for cooking sous vide and they can easily handle higher temperatures. They can be vacuum-sealed too.

You can also clip these bags at the side of the pot. You can secure these bags with lids and they are also much bigger than Ziploc-style bags. You can cook a large variety of food items using these bags especially braised meat, beans, and vegetables.

Plastic wraps

One should always avoid using plastic wraps. Even if you have got the best quality wraps they will never be good for cooking or wrapping food.

You can use them to wrap the outside part of your sous vide machine.

Are Ziploc Bags BPA-free?

Yeah, almost all Ziploc brand bags are free of BPA. This means they are not manufactured from poor plastics such as polycarbonate which releases the Bisphenol A chemical (BPA).

Generally speaking, this is plastic wrap fasteners, plastic cups, or rather inexpensive plastic dishes, utensils, and containers which do not contain BPA and are released onto the food when heated.

Is Sous Vide expensive?

If we went back a few years, sous vide cooking would have been prohibitively expensive. A water bath, circulator, and vacuum bag sealer must have cost between $1000 and $2000.

This improved as more restaurants began to use the sous vide technique. The equipment required for sous vide cooking is now very inexpensive. If you buy a water bath along with a vacuum sealer and immersion circulator, or whether you only use your pots and clamps for the immersion circuit and skip the vacuum sealer, the cost varies.

A water bath or oven costs around 300-500 dollars nowadays, a circulator costs around 70-200 dollars, and a vacuum sealer costs about 40-50 dollars. and fifty dollars in US currency

When we look at the present situation, we can see that you are just spending half of what you would have had to pay a few years before. It’s now very inexpensive!

Click here to buy the sous vide cooking equipment (circulator)


Yes, you can cook sous vide without plastic bags as there are alternatives available to do so. However one should keep in mind that sous vide and Ziploc bags are very safe for cooking sous vide.

I hope you find this article useful and relevant.


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