Sous Vide Air in Bag: Causes and Let’s Solve the Mystery

Recently, many Sous Vide bag owners complain about the floating complication. You are cooking your Sous Vide and all of a sudden the bag starts to float. Some parts of the bag will be breathless and the next thing you will do is to dry and correct the difficulty.

Well, if you are one of the victims, then it’s time to think out of the box. There are several things that can give rise to this complication like the imperfect seal. This should not bother you anymore because we are here for a rescue. After you are through with reading this report, you will know why such an issue is likely to occur as well as how to pin it down.

Fortunately, cooking for an extended period prevents the bag from puffing up; the air won’t find its way in there. Well, I would urge you to continue reading the entire article for more juicy information.

Causes of Sous Vide in bag problem

sous vide air in bag

Imperfect seal

From the introductory part, you can realize that the most notorious culprit to be held responsible for such complications is the imperfect seal. Before you even start to cook, there will already be air accumulated in the bag as a result of a broken seal. This issue occurs mostly when you decide to use the water displacement method for removing air out of the zipper-lock bag.

High temperatures

With prolonged cooking or high temperatures, vapor is likely to be formed in the sous vide bag as a result of evaporation. Additionally, air bubbles stuck in the vegetables or meat can also escape, puffing up the bag.

Less dense food

Lastly, your bag is likely to float as a result of less dense food.  This is a clear indication that whatever you are preparing is lighter than water. For instance, sous vide bacon that has excess fatty pieces.

What to do when there is air in the Sous Vide bags

What to do when there is air in the Sous Vide bags

Re-bagging is not allowed when your Sous Vide bag is puffed up in a certain part. However, below are some of the actions you can put into place to correct the mistake;

Method 1: The “arm”

This method is taken as the least of all, but it can do wonders to eliminate air from your sous vide. We have some lads that don’t even have an idea of this method. Such a method is only suitable for ‘soupier’ foods such as marinated food. I say so because this lodges the bottom part of your corner to corner.

You are supposed to put food in the high quality bag before squishing it to the bottom part. Lay the bag flat on the counter before zipping it entirely. Put one of your arms on the food and then slide the bag using the other hand. Doing so will push out the air via the top.

Method 2: Water displacement

There is a slight difference between the ‘arm’ method and the displacement method of eliminating air from sous vide. The method is also suitable for marinated food or anything that seems delicate to be destroyed by an extreme method of removing air from sous vide.

Under this method, you are required to purchase a freezer-grade zipper top bag. Take a sizable container and then fill it with water. Learn to use the water bath before triggering the heating process. Zip your bag almost entirely; ensuring the zipper is kept away from water.

Immerse the bottom part of the sous vide bag in the water while directing the air out of the bag via the zipper’s opening. Submerge to ensure the zipper is over the water before zipping the whole bag.

Method 3: Vacuum seal

The third method for removing air from sous vide is the vacuum seal, the easiest and most sure-fire one. The method is known to be expensive, but the surest of all. The cheapest option can go up to $55; for example Foodsaver sealers. The most exciting fact about these vacuum sealers is that you won’t experience complications from seals.

Additionally, your food will sink easily and there is nothing to wash after use. Using this sealer is a walk into the park. As if that is not enough, you can season your food, seal it, freeze, and then place it right into the water bath.

Method 4: Recyclable vacuum seal bag

Another option to clear out air from the sous vide bag is opting for reusable vacuum seal bags. These are great air removers because they are meant for sous vide. More so, using them is straightforward, greener and super affordable. However, cleaning it might be hectic since you will have to turn it inside out, dishwash, rinse and finally air dry.

Fill the bag with your food when it is fully dry. If there is a small hand pump, then use it (most of these reusable vacuum seal bags come with the pumps) to suck all the available air from the bag.

Method 5: Rotate the bag

Make a few bag rotations throughout the cooking period. Doing so will circulate the water in the bag at varying angles. Such an action is necessary to enhance even heat transfer, exposing the bag contents to equal temperature.

Method 6: Use small meat pieces

You have to understand that sous vide air in bag complications can occur as a result of using coarse meat pieces. Large or irregularly shaped meat pieces like brisket, ribs, or pork shoulder will interfere with the smooth sous vide cooking. Such meat cuts tend to cook for the whole day.

Method 7: Extend cooking time

Despite being the last method, it also seems to be natural. The cooking period is always long, therefore there’s no need to worry about air accumulating in the sous vide bags. The temperature will be transmitted equally, finally reaching the entire bag contents. However, while cooking, you should involve other methods like rotating the sous vide bag.

Try to extend the cooking time by something like 30 minutes.

Tips when sous vide cooking

  • For vacuum sealing, add another layer of seal on the bag and ensure the food is pat dry.
  • Buy and use a large bag to provide the contents with sufficient space when you are eliminating the air. Avoid tight fit bags.
  • When using the water displacement method, avoid zipping the bag entirely; leave a small opening. Use a clip on the container’s top while hanging the zipper part on the side. Doing so is necessary, to make a way out of the air from the bag while cooking.
  • For coarse meat cuts, make small pieces before you bag them.   

You might be interested to read also our another comprehensive article of: What is a Sous vide bag? Packaging food for sous vide cooking


  • Can air in the sous vide bags affect the cooking process?

Of course yes. When air finds its way in the bag, it will create a vacuum between the food contents in the bag and water. More so, air does not transfer heat evenly. This implies that your food won’t have direct contact with the lining of the bag.

  • What happens when you cook something for a short period?

Heat won’t be transmitted to the food contents evenly.

Final words

The article has been all about how air in the sous vide bag can affect the cooking process. Luckily, we have covered several methods on how to correct the sous vide bag complication. The tips should also help you obtain better results when using sous vide bags to cook.