Sous-Vide Burgers

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Read all about sous-vide burgers here »

About the author: After graduating from MIT, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt spent many years as a chef, recipe developer, writer, and editor in Boston. He now lives in New York with his wife, where he runs a private chef business, KA Cuisine, and co-writes the blog about sustainable food enjoyment.

Sous-Vide Burgers


  • 24 ounces freshly ground beef (preferably the Blue Label Burger Blend)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Aromatics as desired (optional—see note)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 slices cheese (I recommend American or cheddar)
  • 4 soft hamburger buns, lightly toasted


  1. 1

    Divide meat into four equal 6-ounce portions and gently shape each one into a patty 4-inches wide by approximately 3/4 of an inch thick. Season generously with salt and pepper. Place patties and optional aromatics in individual sandwich-sized zipper-lock bags. Seal bags, leaving one-inch open at top corner. Slowly lower bags one at a time into pot of water by holding onto the open corner. Press air out of bag as it is submerged. Seal bag just before last corner is submerged.

  2. 2

    Preheat water oven (or beer cooler) to desired final temperature (120 degrees for rare, 130 degrees for medium rare, or 140 degrees for medium). Add burgers and cook for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours (do not cook burgers longer than 4 hours if your temperature is below 130 degrees).

  3. 3

    Remove burgers from bags and carefully dry on paper towels. Season again with salt and pepper. Heat 12-inch heavy-bottomed cast iron or stainless steel skillet over high heat with vegetable oil until oil begins to smoke. Add patties and cook until well browned on first side, about 45 seconds. Flip patties (add cheese as desired) and cook until second side is well browned, about 45 seconds longer. Place patties on buns, top with condiments as desired, and serve.


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