Skip to main content

Get instant access to everything. 2-Week Free Trial

Make 2021 the year of “Why not?” in the kitchen with Digital All Access. Get all our recipes, videos, and up-to-date ratings and cook anything with confidence.

Get Free Access ▸

5 Tips for Using a Vacuum Sealer

By Kate Shannon Published

For long-term food storage, you can’t beat a vacuum sealer. Here are five tips for vacuum sealing efficiently and effectively.

If you have a good machine, vacuum sealing food is quick and easy. Here’s how they work: Vacuum sealers typically come with a starter set of plastic bags, after which you buy more separately. You place the food you want to seal inside the bag, taking care to keep the top of the bag clean because food reside can prevent the bag from sealing tightly. Next, open the machine’s lid and position the bag. It goes over the seal bar and inside a small chamber ringed by a foam gasket. Shut the lid and press or lock it into place following the manufacturer’s directions. A port inside the machine pulls air from the bag and the seal bar heats up and melts a narrow strip across the top of the bag, sealing it shut. If you follow that basic method, plus our tips below, your food will last much longer than it will in conventional zipperlock bags or storage containers.

1. Label First

It’s hard to write neatly on a bag that’s full of food. Instead, label your bags before you fill and seal them.

2. Make Bags Flat and Stackable

Bags that are flat stack better and save space. Both for food storage and sous vide cooking, arrange food so that it’s flat before you seal it. 

3. Elevate the Machine When Sealing Liquid

A vacuum sealer can pull liquid into the machine, making a mess and potentially causing damage. To avoid this, place the machine on an overturned baking dish to raise it by a few inches—gravity will keep the liquid at the bottom of the bag. 

4. Use a Bag That’s the Right Size

Any food residue on the top of the bag can prevent it from sealing tightly, so be sure to choose a bag with enough wiggle room to get the food inside neatly—with minimal extra space around the edges. For most foods, 2–3 inches of headroom is sufficient. 

5. Only Seal What You Want to Use at One Time

Portion large amounts of meat, coffee, or other foods into several small bags rather than pile them all into one giant bag. If you’re freezing food, freeze small amounts (only what you’ll want to thaw at one time) in each bag.

Equipment Review Countertop Vacuum Sealers

If you regularly buy or prepare food in bulk, a vacuum sealer can save you time and money—but only if the machine is quick, effective, and easy to use.

Leave a comment and join the conversation!

0 Comments
Read & post comments with a free account
Join the conversation with our community of home cooks, test cooks, and editors.
First Name is Required
Last Name is Required
Email Address is Required
How we use your email?
Password is Required
JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.