Sous vide

Sous vide and refrigeration: this is why they are a golden duo


Sous vide is a cooking technique that can help every (home) chef to always achieve the perfect end result. Using sous vide you can ensure that the core of that beautiful piece of meat can reach the right core temperature, without the outside being able to cook too far. The result of sous vide: always a perfectly cooked, tender piece of meat.

Did you know that by cooling the meat back in the sous after cooking, you can often get an even better result? It may sound illogical to cool your dish immediately after sous vide cooking. In this blog we explain why refrigerating your sous vide preparation is a good idea and we also explain the best way to refrigerate the dish.

Cooling down your sous vide dish

Why would you first cook meat sous vide, cool the product and then reheat it? You may know that in professional kitchens it is very common to prepare all dishes as much as possible. There is even a term for it: mise-en-place. There are also several good reasons why it can also be useful for you as a home cook to refrigerate your sous vide cooked products.

Some types of meat need to cook longer in the sous vide than is strictly necessary to reach the correct core temperature. Oxtail, bavette, sukade. Each piece is beautiful, but “difficult” meat. Cooking too quickly does not exactly improve the taste and that is where sous vide comes in and can offer the solution. Because with the right time in the sous vide, even this difficult meat can eventually become butter-tender.

You can read, for example, how long the meat should be cooked sous vide in our other blog about making the perfect steak, but for certain pieces of meat, such as lamb shoulder or pulled pork, the best results can only be achieved after a few days in the sous vide bath. . Only then will the meat have the structure and tenderness that you want to achieve with sous vide.

Although sous vide is very easy, because as a chef you only have to do a little, it is of course not really practical or economical to turn on the sous vide for only one or two portions for a long time.

If you cool the meat immediately after cooking - and then freeze it if necessary - you only need to warm it up sous vide before use. So if you cook several portions at the same time, you will save a lot of time and energy the next time.

There is another important reason to cool your dish immediately. Thin meat, approximately two centimeters thick, that has not been cooked sous vide, normally reaches the required core temperature after just a few minutes of frying in the pan. If you put the meat directly from the sous vide into the pan, meat where the core is already at the right temperature, the outside will be much overcooked when the meat is finished, but the inside can also overcook quickly. Of course, it's a waste of your efforts to get your steak perfect on the inside.

By first cooling the thinner meat before frying, you can provide the outside of the meat with a nice crust in the pan, while the inside can also slowly reach serving temperature during baking.

The benefits of cooling down with sous vide

There are several advantages to refrigerating your sous vide dishes for you as a home chef, we will briefly summarize them:

  • Time-saving : You save yourself time because you can make multiple portions in advance. You can store these portions in the refrigerator or freeze them whenever you want.
  • Cheaper: You ultimately use less energy, because the already prepared portions only need to be heated sous vide and not fully cooked. The dishes therefore need to be in the sous vide for less time, you use less energy and this way of working saves you money.
  • Better results: With thin meat, cooling back gives you better control of the core temperature of the meat and therefore you have control over the end result. After cooling, you can heat the meat in the pan for the maillard reaction or use the kitchen burner for a nice crispy crust on your meat. This also brings the core of the meat back to serving temperature.

How do you cool down?

Proper cooling is very important. By properly cooling the product you prevent harmful bacteria from developing. This means you can store the product longer, but even more importantly; You can prevent annoying food poisoning by properly refrigerating.

The most important thing is that the cooling must be done quickly. Reduce the core temperature to 5 degrees Celsius or even lower in less than two hours.

In professional kitchens, a special blast cooler is used to reduce the temperature of a preparation as quickly as possible. As a home chef, such a device will generally not be part of the kitchen equipment. We will therefore have to quickly cool your dish in another way. Because your sous vide dish is of course already vacuum packed, you can use cold water to cool it down.

  • Refrigerating thin meat: You can perfectly cool thinner pieces of meat in cold tap water. Place the vacuum bag from the sous vide directly into a sink filled with cold water until the product has cooled down sufficiently.
  • Cooling thicker meat: for thicker pieces of meat, in addition to cold water, you also need a large number of ice cubes to keep the temperature of the water low. The large piece of meat cooked sous vide is still warm and the water will heat up very quickly. The ice water helps to reduce the (core) temperature of the product as quickly as possible.

Chill in the refrigerator: don't do it

Chilling a dish or preparation in the refrigerator is certainly not recommended. Placing the warm dish in the refrigerator causes the refrigerator to heat up and that certainly does not improve the shelf life of the other products in the refrigerator. So always cool the dish in the above manner and back to 5 degrees Celsius as quickly as possible.

The added value

Although it may go against your nature, refrigerating your dish certainly has added value in many cases. By quickly cooling you can eat or freeze the dishes later, which saves you preparation time in the kitchen, but also sous vide time. The energy savings this produces is of course a bonus.

By cooling you can also prevent thinner meat from burning too quickly during finishing. Overcooked meat is of course a waste of your efforts and is not why you opted for sous vide preparation.

Cooling down is therefore not something that should only be found in the professional kitchen. By recooling correctly, you as a home chef can benefit even more from all the benefits that sous vide cooking has to offer.

Reading next

sous vide spareribs


Wanneer een biefstuk wordt teruggekoeld, (ingevroren) hoe lang moet deze daarna weer in de sous vide?

Hi Ineke, dat is afhankelijk van de dikte en temperatuur die je instelt. Je kunt het beste zelf even experimenteren voor een optimaal resultaat.

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.