The Science Behind Sous Vide: Everything You Need to Know | The Tool Shed

The Science Behind Sous Vide: Everything You Need to Know

meat being prepared in a sous vide bath

Sous Vide is a method of cooking which provides incredible results for a huge range of different types of food, offering a consistent level of quality. While you can be sure of the fantastic meal you’ll enjoy from sous vide cooking, you may not be entirely sure how it works.

However, understanding the science behind sous vide may help you to become an even better cook, giving you the confidence to be a little more adventurous in the kitchen.

So, how does sous vide cooking really work?

How It Works…

When cooking sous vide, food is cooked slowly at lower temperatures than with traditional methods in a water bath. This results in meat that is perfectly tender and juicy, without any shrinkage. If you have ever cooked meat at a high temperature, such as steak, you’ll know that it can shrink drastically, particularly if you like it well done. This shrinkage is caused by cooking food at higher temperatures as the fibres in the meat begin to contract, losing a lot of the water and shrinking.

Food that is cooked using the sous vide method however, is cooked at much lower temperatures over a longer time frame, ensuring that these fibres don’t break down, maintaining the integrity and moisture of the meat. When we cook food in the oven or pan, the exposure to extremely high heat can sometimes result in drying, overcooking and food which is not cooked evenly throughout. When using sous vide, the temperature is just high enough to allow the food to cook without these drawbacks.


Why This Method Is So Effective…

The sous vide method is incredibly popular, particularly with professional chefs, both at work and at home. Not only does sous vide help you to create fantastic meals, but it also provides a consistent method which ensures that your food is never overcooked. As the temperature is kept at a low level, the food you place in the water bath won’t overcook once it reached that desired temperature, no matter how long it’s left for.

This means that you can confidently cook food for a number of hours, allowing it to become perfectly tender, moist and delicious without worrying about what will happen if it is left to cook for too long. And while with traditional cooking methods you have to cook your food from the outside in, with sous vide, the heat is distributed much more evenly throughout all of the food, whether it be meat, vegetables or any other food.

Sous-vide literally translates as ‘under vacuum’, with the food cooked in vacuum-seal bags, meaning that much of the flavour and nutrients that you might lose in other methods of cooking are kept inside, ensuring that your food is more delicious than ever.


Sous vide cooking is an excellent way of preparing food which gives you consistent and fantastic results, no matter what you are making. You can check out our blog to take a look at some of our suggested recipes as well as for advice and tips to help you get the most out of your sous vide. You can also browse our selection of tools and equipment for the home cook and the professional chef.