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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 during 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 brands, priced from about $10 to about $25 per lid (all 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.
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 use 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.
Next, we tried four rectangular lids made by Everie, all sold separately and priced at about $10 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 the Anova circulator 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.
All the lids were less fussy than plastic wrap and equally as successful at slowing evaporation during testing. We recommend them for anyone looking for a reusable cover, but which one you should buy depends on the container and immersion circulator you use for sous vide cooking. We prefer the versatility of the ChefSteps Joule Flip Top. It works best with the containers we use most often, and we found that it can be used with both the Joule and the Anova circulators (though the fit on the Anova isn’t as snug). However, if you regularly cook in Cambro or Rubbermaid containers that are 12 quarts or larger, one of the Everie lids may be a good option; just be sure to buy the appropriate lid for your immersion circulator and container.