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Turn a Cheap Cooler Into a Sous Vide Super Machine

cooler retrofitted to be a sous vide machine
Anova

If you’re willing to sacrifice a cheap cooler and about a half-hour of your time, you can create a massive super-insulated sous vide machine perfect for batch cooking large amounts of food to absolute perfection.

We’re big fans of sous vide cooking and the way it can simplify everything from a regular weekday meal to a big feast like Thanksgiving.

While most people, especially when just making one item or two, stick to using their sous vide cooker with a big pot of water or maybe a deep plastic food prep container, neither of those is particularly ideal. Why not? Because you have to keep water from evaporating using a lid of some sort (which will need a hole for the sous vide cooker) and they aren’t insulated (which means the machine has to work harder to keep the water at the perfect temperature). On top of that, neither container is typically very large, and even using a giant stockpot doesn’t give you much room to stack up the vacuum-sealed bags with proper room for the hot water to circulate.

The clever solution? Grab a key-hole saw and drill a hole in the top of an inexpensive camping cooler. Then, just drop your device in the hole, fill it with water, and use it like you would a pot with a sous vide cooker attached. Except, in this case, the container is exceptionally well insulated, and except for the tiny sliver of space around the wall of the cooker and the edge of the hole in the lid, there is nowhere for the water vapor to escape. The folks over at Anova have step-by-step instructions if you want to follow along.

With all that extra space you can easily sous vide many bags of food at once, including piles of ribs, enough delicious roast to feed your extended family, or as many delicious glazed carrots as you can eat.

Jason Fitzpatrick Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick is the Editor in Chief of LifeSavvy. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at LifeSavvy, Review Geek, How-To Geek, and Lifehacker. Read Full Bio »

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