Does Sous Vide Kill Bacteria? (Yes! See How)

Does Sous Vide Kill Bacteria?

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Does Sous Vide Kill Bacteria?

Sous vide in French translates to ‘Under Vacuum.’ Sous vide is a cooking method where food is cooked in a vacuum-sealed bag then cooked in temperature-controlled water.

Sous vide cooking ensures no contact with the food with a heated metal surface, steam, fire flames, or smoke, and the water never reaches it’s boiling point.

There is a metal coil that heats up the sous vide machine, warming the water at a constant temperature without changing to low or high temperatures.

But, Does Sous Vide Kill Bacteria?

Yes! Vacuum-packed food creates an oxygen-free environment. So, poor food handling can allow a number of the worst bacteria to grow, such as botulism and Salmonella.

However, with Sous Vide they will start dying when the temperature is at 135°F and when at 165°F, the temperature will immediately kill them.

Well, with this process of cooking, it needs time, and it is controlled too. Sous vide needs several pieces of equipment like Sous Vide water Bath containers;

Sous vide immersion circulators, vacuum seal, and Ziplock bags for perfect doneness of food preparation.

In sous vide, all the nutritional value is retained together with an excellent taste to the food.  

Sous vide kills bacteria. It has always been a safety concern for sous vide about bacteria propagating at certain temperatures, specifically Salmonella.

Salmonella thrives within a temperature range, from 40°F to 135°F, known as the “danger zone.”

This danger zone makes us refrigerate food for an hour before preparing to cook the food.

A fun fact is that bacteria begin to die in relation to the temperature directed to them. For instance, let’s take how humans react to a change in temperature.

When the heat is at 100°F or less, we will be okay with it.

But the moment the temperature rises to, let’s say, 110°F or more, we will start getting cases of people dying because of heatstroke.

So, imagine the temperature rose to, let’s say 190°F, we will not be able to go out for more than a minute because it will be too hot.

And the temperature might kill if exposed to it directly. Bacteria have the same characteristic.

They will start dying when the temperature is at 135°F and when at 165°F, the temperature will immediately kill them.

It’s advisable to always prepare your food at a bit higher temperature than the recommended temperature and a bit longer than the stipulated time. 

Do Bacteria Grow In Sous Vide?

Yes. Bacteria do grow in sous vide. Vacuum-packed food creates an oxygen-free environment. So, poor food handling can allow a number of the worst bacteria to grow, such as botulism and Salmonella.

It’s advisable always to ensure proper food handling and high hygiene standard are maintained.

Another cause for bacteria growth in sous vide is having the food cooked for a more extended period within a temperature range of 40°F and 140°F.

This allows food to multiply rapidly, making them even more dangerous. A point to note is that when the food has been cooked and is ready to be eaten.

It should be served immediately or chilled fast in less than 6 hours with temperatures as low as 41°F. 

Do Restaurants Use Sous Vide?

Yes. Restaurants use sous vide.  As we all know, restaurants need to maintain a good reputation for all the meals they serve and using sous vide is a crucial element to maintaining that reputation.

Using sous vide is a simple way of making high-quality food, especially steak, and with good food comes more customers.

This brings the business more profit. Most professional chefs use sous vide in their coking style, even though many do not admit it.

It’s easy to identify sous vide cooked steak and a traditionally cooked steak. Here is an example to differentiate the two;      

As you can see from the the above, when you use sous vide cooking, it ensures uniformity on the beef.

It’s perfectly cooked, whereas using a traditional cooking method will have some parts of the steak well cooked, others are undercooked, and some are overcooked. 

Most chefs use sous vide because it gives them that perfect doneness in both steak and other foods.

This will have the customers enjoying their meal at your restaurant and come back with more customers hence a good thing for the business.

Many restaurants pre-cook their meat using sous vide and then complete the surface browning and braising for better quality on the grill.

Pre-cooking saves on time when it comes to serving customers as the meat will only need a little work to get it ready for the table.

Some of the restaurants that use sous vide in America are Equinox (Washington, D.C),Kayne Prime (Nashville, TN), Boston Chops (Boston, MA), Chipotle Mexican Grill fond across the U.S.

Can You Leave the Meat in Sous Vide Too Long?

Yes, You can leave the meat in sous vide for too long. If you are cooking at temperatures above 130°F, there will be no health risks when cooking for too long using sous vide.

However, there will be a change in texture, and for those who love a great result, you should cook for the stipulated time frame and temperature.

Sous vide gives a big-time window for perfect doneness.

Using sous vide means the food will not be overexposed to heat and cannot overcook as it would with traditional cooking methods. 

The time frame depends on the thickness of the meat and its tenderness too.

Sous vide cooking time can go up to 72 hours if the meat is tough and thicker, but will take less time, 30 minutes, on food like scrambled eggs and lean fish.

The thickness of the meat will determine how long the meal will take to prepare in sous vide.

Meaning the time it will take for the temperature to be distributed equally to the whole chunk of meat.

It’s advisable to cook your meat in sous vide for the recommended time.

This will help avoid the meat getting mushy as most people love a steak that chews like a traditionally cooked steak.

So, cooking for too long, beyond the stipulated time, means ruining the texture of the meat, but it has no health risk at all. 

Is it safe to sous vide salmon?

Yes, It’s safe to sous vide salmon. As much as it is safe to sous vide salmon. It’s very delicate than chicken breasts, and with a bit of practice, you can have the perfect medium-rare center on salmon.

Since salmon is more fragile than chicken breasts, you will need to be excellent at making it to prevent overspending on trying to cook it well.

Often by buying more and more salmon for practice. A perfectly sous-vide salmon will have some of the best textures you will ever come across.

We are talking from the texture of being buttery-soft to a texture of meltingly tender and flaky but moist at the same time.

The disadvantage of preparing salmon sous vide is that it will need a lot of care to not flake before hitting the plate.

Well, that is not too much of a loss because you will get to enjoy the moistest fish around.

You should not cook the fish for too long at low temperatures because it might turn mushy and watery.

But it will turn dry and chalky if cooked for too long at high temperatures (above 125°F). There is no specific salmon when it comes to sous vide cooking.

You can buy any salmon as long as it is fresh. A fresh salmon does have glistening firm flesh and has no signs of mishandling.

Fresh salmon should always maintain its shape even after its touched. To sous-vide salmon, you will need;

Buy a large cut of salmon, which you can divide into portions of your liking.

You will first remove the salmon’s pin bones and ensure you have removed all of them as some might not be seen easily.

An excellent way to remove the bones is using needle-nose pliers. After that, slice the salmon into portions of any size, marinate it and place it in the Ziplock bag.

You do not need a vacuum sealer because it takes a short time to cook the salmon; a regular zipper-lock bag will work fine.

Cook it for the stipulated time, then serve to your liking, either by searing it or chilled first, or you can as well serve it usually after cooking. 

Is Sous Vide The Same Thing As Boiling?

No. Sous vide is nothing like boiling; it is a different thing. You place the food in a vacuum-sealed bag with sous vide, unlike regularly cooking food in a bag.

The main difference between sous vide and boiling is that the temperature is precisely controlled with sous vide machine(Amazon Link) with sous vide.

In sous vide, with the help of its technology, you can warm the water to the lowest level of your choice and keep it at the same temperature for an extended period.

Unlike in boiling, where the temperature constantly increases the longer you boil.

In sous vide, the sealed bags make a good humid environment which braises the food at the same time, leaving it juicier and tender. 

Boiling food kills all the nutrients in the food and also removes the natural flavor, whereas in sous vide, the vacuum-sealed bags restrain oxidation.

Hence the food retains its original flavor and all its nutrients. It would be best if you had little to no fat for cooking in sous vide because the food is prepared without boiling.

Less salt and spices are needed, too, since the food is being prepared in an airtight bag which helps it retain its natural flavors and nutrient value.

Unlike in boiling where the food is in direct contact with the water.

Another difference between sous vide and boiling is that with boiling, you can overcook or undercook the food.

Whereas, in sous vide, the temperature is constant; hence it cannot overcook or undercook.

Boiling might need to use a lot of water because of evaporation when the water has reached its boiling point, whereas sous vide uses a little water. 

To sum it, sous vide is way better than boiling in all aspects and superior to traditional cooking mode.

You get the perfect texture, flavor (natural taste), and a high nutritional value with sous vide. Nobody wants to miss any of that in their meals.  


Sous vide or “under vacuum” is a cooking method where food is placed in vacuum-sealed bags and placed in sous vide machine to cook.

The temperatures in sous vide are controlled, which helps keep a constant temperature preventing overcooking or undercooking of food.

Bacteria cannot survive in sous vide because they start dying when some heat is applied.

To avoid having your food in the danger zone, you should always keep temperatures of 135°F and above so the bacteria can die quicker.

Since sous vide is used for the perfectly prepared meal, several fine dining restaurants have incorporated it as their cooking method.

Sous vide gives perfectly and evenly cooked meat, and some restaurants use it to pre-cook steak.

This saves time as all remaining is serving the dish or adding a little detail to it before eating it. 

How long is too long? When it comes to sous vide cooking, time does not factor in as much because the temperature is always constant, so there is no fear of overcooking.

The worst that would happen when you cook meat or any other food for too long.

Using sous vide is that you would end up with mushy food or meat that shreds down quickly without some chew in it.

When it comes to cooking salmon using sous vide, it gives the best meal you will ever have of salmon; From the texture to the flavors and nutritional value. 

Boiling is not the same as sous vide in any way.

When it comes to boiling, food gets in direct contact with the boiling water, killing the nutrients and destroying the natural flavor.

In sous vide, the food is placed in an airtight bag and cooked at a constant temperature.

With that, you will not need many spices and salt because the food will retain its natural taste and nutritional value.

Sous vide is the best cooking method compared to boiling or even the traditional cooking methods.  


Hi! I' am Tom. I was a manager in one of the biggest stores for over 10 Years, am also an SEO by night. I don't like to call myself a blogger; they are very analytical, do email marketing, and know all SEO stuff. I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. After learning all the things about these products as a manager the hard way, I decided to start a blog and help other people.

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