If you’re cooking sous vide, part of your success will depend on the type of bag you use. Made from silicone or plastic, the best sous vide bags are available in reusable and one-use options, and they create a tight seal that prevents leaks and allows for even cooking.
When it comes to bags for sous vide, you’ll want a secure seal that won’t leak, and you’ll also want to make sure you can remove all (or most) of the air inside — this helps guarantee that the bag will remain submerged in the water to ensure even cooking. You essentially have three bag options, and they’ll all achieve both of these goals to some degree, but each one has its pros and cons. Here’s what to know:
- Reusable silicone bags: These durable bags are an eco-friendly and cost-effective option (since they can be reused endlessly), but the stiffer texture means it’s a bit harder to remove air. You can use manual methods like rolling or folding, or the water displacement method, in which you slowly lower the bag into the water, allowing the pressure to force air to the top before sealing. Still, you may find you need to use weighted sous vide magnets or clamps to keep the bags from floating.
- Vacuum-sealed bags: Available in single-use and reusable designs, these will give you the tightest and most leakproof wrap around food, and since they don’t trap any air, they’ll help guarantee full submersion while cooking. Of course, you’ll have to invest in a vacuums sealer (if you don’t already have one).
- One-use plastic bags: Plastic freezer bags also require rolling, folding, or the water displacement method to remove air, but the thinner and more flexible material makes this easier to achieve than when using silicone. Keep in mind these run the risk of bursting at temperatures above 158 degrees Fahrenheit, so they’re not ideal for vegetables or well-done cuts of meat.
Whether you’re new to this method of cooking or a seasoned pro, you’ll find the best sous vide bags below.
1. The Best Silicone Bag
- Pros: eco-friendly, reusable, highly durable
- Cons: more expensive, stiff texture makes it harder to remove air, may require clamps or magnets
Platinum silicone is a bit pricier than straightforward food-grade silicone, but it has greater temperature durability and won’t shrink or become brittle over time, meaning this pick will stand up to lots of use. The reusable half-gallon Stasher bag is flexible and lightweight, and it has an airtight pinch seal that stays securely shut. You’ll need to roll the bag or use the water displacement method to remove air and ensure even cooking, which can be a bit tricky, and you may still need clamps or magnets to make sure the bag is fully submerged, as some air pockets may remain.
With more than 23,000 reviews on Amazon and an impressive 4.6-star rating overall, Stasher’s BPA-free bags come in a variety of colors, sizes, and bundled packs. Plus, they’re dishwasher- freezer- and microwave-safe.
Helpful review: “Finally! I cook via the sous vide method frequently and have been wanting a reusable bag for this purpose. This thing worked amazingly well for this. Couple of pork chops went in, used the water displacement method and it sealed up very easily- sunk too! Super easy to use for this purpose!”
2. The Best Budget Silicone Bag Set
- Pros: eco-friendly, reusable, cost-effective
- Cons: stiff texture makes it harder to remove air, may require clamps or magnets
If you’re looking for a cost-effective and reusable option (and trying to limit your reliance on single-use plastic), this four-pack of silicone sous vide bags is your best bet. The 6-cup bags are made from foldable food-grade silicone, with marked volume lines and sliding zippers that provide a leakproof closure. These will be a bit stiffer than one-use plastic, so you’ll need to roll the air out or use the water displacement method to force air out before sealing. (It also may be worth attaching clamps or weighted magnets to guarantee the bags stay submerged.)
The dishwasher-safe bags are BPA-free and can also be used in the freezer and microwave. Plus, they can be labeled using dry erase markers (when using them for storage), and have sturdy lips for spill-proof pouring.
Helpful review: “We have used these several times with the SousVide! Great affordable bags. No problems opening or closing them, and they completely seal all water out when submerged!”
3. The Best Vacuum Sealer & Sous Vide Set
- Pros: 100% leakproof and airtight, reusable
- Cons: plastic is less eco-friendly
If you want to go the extra mile to remove air from your sous vide bag prior to cooking — and don’t have a sealer yet — this sous vide kit will help you get started. Along with a portable, rechargeable vacuum sealer, it comes with 20 reusable vacuum seal bags — 10 medium and 10 small (exact size not stated). While the tight sealing will help ensure foods stay submerged, the kit also includes clamps to further guarantee submersion during long cook times, as well as sealing clips to close the bags’ zippered tops before vacuuming. The bags are also microwave- and freezer-safe, making them ideal for long-term storage (in fact, the tight sealing will help prevent freezer burn). This is a great value for a set if you’re new to sous vide cooking, and it comes at a fraction of what it would cost to buy a countertop vacuum sealer.
Helpful review: “I have been using my Food Saver for years but it’s really clunky and the refills are really expensive, hence trying this product. It is much smaller than I thought and unlike my expectations it actually does an amazing job. I used up all the bags that came with it and neither one has actually has leaked air inside. A great buy. I’m amazed how these little things are replacing our big expensive appliances.”
4. The Best If You Already Have A Vacuum Sealer
- Pros: 100% leakproof and airtight, works with your existing vacuum sealer, size versatility
- Cons: less eco-friendly, not reusable
Many sous vide purists depend on vacuum sealers to remove every speck of air from their bags to guarantee even cooking and eliminate the risk of leaks. While you can buy pre-cut bags for vacuum sealing, these rolls of BPA-free plastic from Nutri-Lock allow you to customize your sous vide bag to the size of the food load you’re cooking. In addition to sous vide cooking, the versatile multi-ply material can be used to vacuum seal liquid, dry, or loose ingredients for long-term freezer storage, where they’ll take up minimal space and be less likely to suffer from freezer burn. The material is microwave-safe, but note that it’s not reusable. Nutri-Lock’s plastic rolls are compatible with flat-style vacuum sealers, and have earned an impressive 4.7-star overall rating after more than 10,000 reviews.
Helpful review: “I use these bags with Anova vacuum sealer for sous vide and they never failed me. Never had any leaks, even with long cooks (24 hours). There's no plastic smell on the food as well - something I was worried about when I was considering sous vide. Definitely recommend.”
5. The Best One-Use Plastic Bags
- Pros: low up-front cost, thin material makes it easy to remove air
- Cons: less eco-friendly, not reusable, not compatible with high-heat sous vide
If you’d prefer not to use a vacuum sealer, it’s relatively easy to remove air from these one-use plastic Ziploc bags as the material is thinner and more flexible than silicone. (To remove air, you’ll want to roll the bag or use the immersion method.) That being said, they’re best used at temperatures under 158 degrees Fahrenheit — as they run the risk of bursting — which may limit you when cooking certain items. (They’re also not biodegradable — something to keep in mind if you’re trying to be more eco-conscious.) The BPA-free bags zip shut and are freezer- and microwave-safe. Each pack comes with 60 gallon-size bags, but you can also opt for quart-size bags if you’re planning to cook smaller portions.
Helpful review: “I do a lot of sousvide cooking and some foods are too delicate to stand up to vacuum sealing. These are perfect for that and are cheaper too.”