Unfortunately, meats also post unmatched difficulties on top of the unmatched taste: just an extra minute or 10 degrees can quickly turn your expensive ribeye into a rubbery mess.
The solution? Sous vide! This cooking process relies on keeping the water temperature tightly controlled for long times.
Lately, immersion circulators have made sous vide easier and more accessible for everyone. But what happens if you don’t want to get an altogether new appliance just to cook the occasional steak?
One option is to continue taking your chances with a grill. The other one is to try to replace the immersion circulator with another appliance. A popular candidate is specific instant pot models, which can be tweaked for a very similar effect.
So which instant pots have sous vide? The answer includes the Instant Pot Ultra, the Instant Pot Duo Crisp, the Duo Evo Plus, and the Max Instant Pot models.
In addition, some older models under the Instant Pot brand, such as the Instant Pot Duo Via or the Duo Plus, also offer a sous vide mode.
On the other hand, the Instant Pot Duo Nova and the Lux model do not have a sous vide mode.
How Does Sous Vide Work?
The term “sous vide” stands for “under vacuum” in French. This technique began as the darling of many molecular cuisine chefs, as it provides an exact way to cook meats and vegetables to perfection.
Sous vide uses vacuum-sealed bags, where the food has no contact with the air. Then, it places them in warm water to simmer them.
Temperatures are usually well below boiling point, and cook times are generally two to three hours.
The main advantages include:
- It gives you a lot of leeway in case you leave the meat cooking for longer
- The cooked foods are handled slowly and evenly
- Meats cooked sous vide tend to be juicy and tender.
How Can You Use an Instant Pot for Sous Vide?
Most of us think of Instant Pots as a way to cook pulses or stews very quickly and without any fuss. Their primary mechanism is based on keeping all heat inside to reach very high temperatures.
So how can this be adapted to a method that is all about precision and long cooking times?
To replace a traditional sous vide machine, most instant pots that offer a sous vide option offer a specific preset or “smart program”. In addition, you will also need:
- Ziploc bags or a vacuum sealer
- Oven mitts
- A digital thermometer
Preparing sous vide on an Instant Pot
No matter which Instant Pot model you have, the first step will always be to season the meat, either with salt, pepper and garlic or with a non-acidic marinade.
Then, you should vacuum seal it to ensure there is no air around it. Once it’s sealed, place them inside the pot.
Next, you should pour enough water inside the Instant Pot to cover the meat bags in their entirety.
Before closing the lid, check the steam release valve and ensure it’s open (or in the “Vent” position).
Then, you will need to set the program. This step will depend on the instant pot model you have.
Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus
This model has a special Sous Vide button on the right side of the control panel. Select it, and then select the type of meat you will be cooking.
It will suggest an ideal temperature and cooking time. However, you can tweak it before pressing the Start button.
Instant Pot Ultra
The Instant Pot Ultra doesn’t have a separate Sous Vide program. However, it allows you to set the temperature and cooking time to whatever you need.
Because of this, it can also be used to pressure cook, slow cook, or make air fried foods.
On this model, you will need to twist the knob until the “Ultra” function is selected. Then, press the knob to confirm your choice.
Then, twist the knob until the screen displays the desired cooking time. For sous vide, you are looking at 2 to 3 hours.
Press the knob to confirm your choice and twist it again to select the Pressure mode. Make sure to set it to “None”.
Then, press the knob and turn it again to change the temperature to “Custom” and set the temperature you want (usually between 130 and 150 F).
Finally, twist the knob again to select “Start”.
Instant Pot Duo Crisp, Duo Plus, or Duo Via
These Instant pot models have more straightforward controls than the Ultra but still offer multi cooker capabilities.
To use their sous vide function, use the dedicated Sous Vide button on the main control panel.
Then, use the + and – buttons to tweak the temperature and the time in that order.
As soon as the display changes to On, the timer will start counting down while your foods are cooked.
Sous vide is a brilliant way to experiment in the kitchen. Thanks to its consistent results and the great leeway it provides your cooking times, it allows you to impress your guests.
Using an Instant Pot means you can try Sous Vide without buying a new kitchen appliance.
If you would rather take your foodie efforts up a notch and you already have an Instant Pot, why not invest in a multi-function toaster oven?