I Waited 10 Years to Try This Brilliant Cooking Gadget and Can’t Believe It Took Me So Long

published Nov 29, 2023
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chicken breast prepared in a sous-vide, plated and sliced, and served with salad greens. A glass of seltzer with lemon in the upper right
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

Have you wondered what makes restaurant meals so dang delicious? The secret ingredients are butter, salt, and sous vide. Butter and salt need no introduction, but many home cooks only know about sous vide from their persistent place in holiday gift guides. Sous vide machines are the novelty gift for the cook who has everything, dating back to the early aughts when the term molecular gastronomy was trendy. 

I am a notorious late-adopter of kitchen technology (I didn’t own an Instant Pot or air fryer until after their popularity peaked). I never thought I needed a sous vide machine when my focus was getting dinner on the table, not learning an entirely new way of cooking. But when Breville released the new Joule Turbo Sous Vide, I figured it was finally time to see what all the fuss was about.

After cooking with it for six months, this sous vide skeptic is now dishing up food just like the Jetsons, even reaching for my sous vide more than over almost any other appliance this year. It took me over a decade to take the plunge into sous vide cooking, and there’s no better time for you to try it too with holiday cooking around the corner

Credit: Patty Catalano

What Is Sous Vide Cooking?

Sous vide means “under vacuum”, and it’s a method of cooking where food is vacuum-sealed and immersed in warm water to cook. To cook using this method, the only “must-have” equipment is a sous vide machine (also called an immersion circulator). The sous vide heats and holds water at a set temperature — the desired doneness temperature of your food. You can use zip-top bags from the grocery store for most recipes, though the sous vide experts at Breville do recommend vacuum sealer bags when cooking vegetables. 

Food is placed in a plastic bag or a jar, lowered into the water where it is cooked to the perfect temperature. Since the sous vide machine maintains a constant set temperature, once the food reaches that temperature it won’t overcook. For many recipes there’s a grace period where the food can remain in the heated water until you are ready to serve.

What Is So Great About Breville’s Joule Turbo Sous Vide?

The first sous vide machine I ever saw was larger than a microwave with more buttons than an airplane cockpit. I figured technology had made progress in the years since, but was truly surprised by the small, slender cylinder that arrived on my doorstep. The Breville Joule Turbo Sous Vide is sleek, stylish, and surprisingly easy to use. If you have entire kitchen cabinets dedicated to storing slow and pressure cookers, you’ll be pleased to hear that this sous vide is compact enough to store in a kitchen drawer.

Breville’s Joule Turbo Sous Vide pairs with the Breville+ app on your phone to cook your foods to the exact, perfect, desired temperature every single time. The app is interactive and user-friendly so the learning curve is practically nil. All you have to do is browse the app for a recipe that piques your interest and follow the guided instructions. 

Visual learners, like me, will appreciate that many recipes contain step-by-step videos integrated within the recipe so it’s easy to see what each step should look like. In some recipes, like my new go-to for basic cooked chicken breast, you add details specific to the actual pieces of food you’re cooking like whether the meat is fresh or frozen and the number and thickness of the chicken breasts you’re cooking. Once the app has all of that information, press start, and the sous vide takes care of the rest. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

What’s the Best Way to Use Breville’s Joule Turbo Sous Vide?

Intensive meal prep doesn’t fit with the rhythms of my life, but I do like to start each week with a few recipe-ready foods. Cooked chicken is always among the first foods I prepare, and I’ve found no better way to prepare it than sous vide. I use the make-ahead chicken breasts recipe on the Breville+ app, set up the sous vide, and let it work its magic while I move onto other tasks. I love it because I can cook several pieces of chicken at a time and they turn out juicy and perfectly cooked every single time. Plus, as long as I separate the chicken into different bags, I can season some simply and others with more spice. 

Even with meal plans in place, finding a pocket of time to prep and serve dinner around the revolving door of afternoon activities can feel like an impossible feat. That’s when I’ve relied on Breville’s Joule Turbo Sous Vide the most. I can season a pork tenderloin, for example, and set the sous vide to cook on its own. And since the water is held at a constant temperature, even if I can’t pull it from the pot exactly when the timer dings, I know that I won’t be serving overcooked, dry pork.

Breville’s Joule Turbo Sous Vide excels in serving up perfectly cooked proteins from steak to salmon and bison to bacon, but it doesn’t stop there. Perfectly cooked eggs, Starbucks-style egg bites, chocolate pudding, and even pumpkin pie all can be made with the sous vide machine.

I have been cooking with Breville’s Joule Turbo Sous Vide for over 6 months, and am still discovering features that make cooking sous vide even more convenient like voice control with Amazon Alexa, Echo, or Dot and expanded recipe collections. But for those who are late-adopters of kitchen tech, like I once was, the Joule Turbo Sous Vide also has a manual option for controlling the time and temperature so that you can use your own tried-and-true recipes, like these recipes for bone-in chicken breasts or sous vide salmon.

Buy: Joule Turbo Sous Vide, $249.95