The sous-vide cooking hack that uses nothing but a cooler
Just like a machine, sous-vide in an insulated cooler allows you to maintain a constant water temperature for cooking. Although coolers are designed to keep things cool, insulation also keeps hot things warm.
Start by filling your cooler with water two degrees above your desired cooking temperature. For example, if you are aiming for a final sous vide water bath temperature of 140 F, start by heating your water to 142 F.
Next, add your food to a resealable bag and place it in the water. Close the cooler lid and let the sous vide process begin.
Depending on the type of food, vacuum sealing in a cooler can take a few hours. Coolers can lose some heat during this time, so it’s essential to check your water bath every hour or so to make sure the temperature hasn’t dropped too much. If so, add more hot water to bring the sous vide water bath back to your ideal cooking temperature.
Timing also plays a role in vacuum packing in a cooler. You will generally want to cook your food sous vide for at least an hour, making sure not to leave it in the cooler for more than four hours. You may need to play around with timing to find what works best for your cooler.
Once your food is cooked, it will be prepared evenly and precisely to the desired doneness. Grab it quickly before serving and enjoy.