Sous Vide Lids
How We Tested
We always recommend covering your water bath when you're cooking sous vide. This helps the water heat faster, slows evaporation so you won't need to add water over long cooking projects, and prevents things from accidentally falling into the bath. We usually use plastic wrap to cover ours, since we have it on hand in the kitchen and it fits any container. But plastic wrap is single-use, can become less adhesive with exposure to steam, and often bunches or tears when we remove it to check on food midway through cooking.
We've seen a number of reusable lids for sous vide cooking and wondered if any were as effective as—or easier to use than—plastic wrap. To find out, we tested five models made by two manufacturers, priced from about $10.00 to just under $25.00 per lid (all lids were BPA-free). We focused on lids that were designed specifically to work with either the Joule or the Anova Precision Cooker WI-FI, our top-rated immersion circulators.
A Versatile Lid That Fits Most Cookware
First up was the Joule Flip Top. It's made by ChefSteps, the manufacturer of the Joule, and is molded to fit that circulator. The design is very simple: just a circular sheet of flexible silicone with a Joule-size cutout. We found that it easily covered any container less than 12.5 inches wide, including our winning and Best Buy 7-quart Dutch ovens, our favorite 12-quart stockpot, and 6- and 8-quart Cambro and Rubbermaid containers. It was too small to cover the wider openings of 12-, 18-, or 22-quart Cambro and Rubbermaid containers; however, we rarely use the sous vide cooking method in containers that big. We liked that it was effortless to put on and take off, could be used with the pots that we most frequently employ for sous vide cooking, washes easily in the dishwasher, and rolls up compactly to stow away in a drawer. We also tried the Flip Top with the Anova circulator (even though it's meant to be used only with the Joule) and found that it actually does fit, albeit with a little bit of bunching around the circulator cutout.
Four Lids Meant for Bigger Containers
Next, we tried four rectangular lids made by Everie, all sold separately and priced at about $10.00 per lid. Each has the same basic design: a hard plastic lid that is hinged in the middle (so you can open it to check on food) and a hole for the circulator. Each lid is tailored to fit a specific immersion circulator and brand of container. We tested the lids that fit either the Joule or Anova circulators on Rubbermaid or Cambro containers.
Fitwise, these lids picked up where the Flip Top left off: All four fit the 12-, 18-, and 22-quart sizes of the Cambro and Rubbermaid containers that the Flip Top couldn't cover. We liked the hinge feature; however, these lids were too big for the vessels we most often use for sous vide cooking, such as smaller food storage containers, Dutch ovens, and stockpots.
We tested five lids made by two manufacturers, each meant to replace plastic wrap for covering a sous vide water bath. The models we tried were designed to fit either the Joule or the Anova Precision Cooker WI-FI, our two top-rated immersion circulators. We tested the fit of the lids on a variety of vessels we often use for sous vide cooking: a 4-quart saucepan, a 7-quart Dutch oven, a 12-quart stockpot, and 6-, 8-, 12-, 18-, and 22-quart plastic storage containers. We tracked how well the lids minimized water evaporation over 6 hours, how easy they were to use compared to plastic wrap, and how easy they were to wash and store. Products appear below in order of preference, and prices shown were paid online.
Versatility: We gave top scores to the lids that fit snugly on a range of different containers that we commonly use for sous vide cooking.
Fit: We evaluated how well the lids accommodated the immersion circulator, docking points if they left any large gaps where steam could escape, and awarding points if they minimized water loss when compared to plastic wrap.
Cleaning: Our favorite products cleaned up easily in the dishwasher and did not show signs of wear.