Sous Vide Seasoning: When, How, Why? (Everything Explained!)

Sous vide is an ideal cooking method due to its precise and consistent temperature control. However, while the temperature is an essential part of the cooking process, it’s not the only thing that counts. The main thing that gives every dish its soul is the seasoning. 

Since sous vide is different from traditional cooking, the way you season your dish would also vary. For this reason, you may wonder about the seasoning aspect when cooking sous vide. Such a topic is what we’ll deal with in this article.

Below, you’ll see our in-depth take on the seasoning when cooking sous vide. You can look at these frequently asked questions and read our answers to serve as your guide before you cook sous vide.

This way, you can understand seasoning better and nail the perfect dish every time you’re dumping your food in the sous vide water bath.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Sous Vide SeasoningPin

Should you season before sous vide?

You should season your dish before sous vide, but only if you’re serving it immediately after cooking. However, if you’re not going to serve it after sous vide, you should season after taking it out of the water bath.

The thing about sous vide is that it helps the seasoning penetrate the dish. So, for instance, if you’re cooking meat, you may end up with a mildly cured taste if you season it before sous vide.

In short, it depends on your preference. However, if you season your food before sous vide, make sure that you don’t overdo it since it may overpower your food with flavor.

Now, if you’re putting the food in the freezer after sous vide, you shouldn’t season it before putting it in the water bath as it can make your food taste like a cured one.

Should I salt steak before sous vide?

If you’re cooking steak sous vide, you may or may not season it before the water bath. However, most recipes suggest seasoning it before sous vide. 

While it works well, some people prefer seasoning it after the water bath since they would still sear it in the pan or the grill.

In short, seasoning the steak with salt before sous vide is a matter of preference. Of course, you can always season it afterward. However, if you’re serving it immediately, you may find the seasoning ideal to get the best flavor before the water bath.

Should I pepper steak before sous vide?

Pepper provides a bit of kick in the steak, and it will do well if you add it before sous vide. The sous vide water bath will help the pepper penetrate the meat and give a flavorful kick to your steak. 

Should you season after sous vide?

You should season after sous vide if you’re not serving the meat immediately after the water bath. For instance, if you’re planning to freeze the meat after sous vide, you may simply add your seasoning once you’re ready to sear.

Some people freeze the steak after sous vide because they want to sear it whenever they want and avoid a long time of water bath. This way, they use their free time for the water bath and simply enjoy the perfectly cooked steak afterward.

If you find the same thing ideal, you should season your steak after sous vide, right before putting it in the pan or grill for searing.

Should I salt steak after sous vide?

As I mentioned, you should salt your steak after sous vide, right before putting it in the pan. Such a method of seasoning will not let the water bath give your meat a cured taste. 

Further, this method will allow you to enjoy the flavor of the steak cooked on its juices without the salt. 

Should I pepper steak after sous vide?

The pepper gives a slight kick and aroma to your steak. Thus, if you have a freshly-cracked black pepper, you’ll enjoy it more if you season it after sous vide, right before searing in the pan or the grill.

Sous vide seasoning before or after?

Many sous vide recipes call for seasoning before bagging and placing in the water bath. However, it boils down to your preference. 

For instance, some people prefer seasoning before sous vide because it lets the seasoning penetrate the meat while cooking. 

On the other hand, some people say that doing so gives the meat a cured taste. Thus, they season the steak after sous vide. 

In short, it depends on your preference to season your food before or after sous vide. If you have the time, you can try both to see which taste suits you best.

How do you add flavor to sous vide?

Sous vide allows a longer cooking time, which means you can always add flavor through seasoning with aromatics and spices. 

For this reason, the sous vide is an ideal method for recipes that call for more extended cooking methods. Now, if you want to add flavor to your sous vide, you can do so by adding aromatics and spices to your food before putting it into the water bath.

Some of the things you can add are the following:

  • Garlic – to alleviate the raw smell
  • Thinly sliced shallot – to add some aroma and extra flavor
  • Fresh thyme – to add a touch of fresh herb
  • Fresh rosemary – to get a citrusy scent
  • Bay leaf – to give an extra aromatic scent
  • Olive oil – to help the aromatics penetrate better
  • A pat of butter – to enhance the food’s flavor
  • Lemon zest – to give a deeper citrus scent than rosemary

How do you season sous vide meat?

Like all other methods, sous vide also requires seasoning. However, many opinions are divided between seasoning before or after the water bath.

In general, it depends on the cook’s preference. For example, if you want to let the seasoning penetrate better, you can season your food before putting it in the water bath. 

On the other hand, you can also season your food afterward if you want a milder seasoning taste.

In a word, the most important thing is that you season your food, be it before or after. You can always experiment by trying the two and comparing which one is better for you.

Can you use dry herbs in sous vide?

Yes, you can use dry herbs in sous vide. Sous vide lets herbs and spices penetrate better. Now, since you’re adding dry herbs, they work best if you rehydrate them.

You can always do so by placing the herbs in the bag together with your meat. This process will allow the herbs to get rehydrated by the juices and have plenty of time to give your food great flavor.


In a nutshell, you can always season before or after sous vide. It all boils down to the user’s preference. If you still can’t decide, take it as a rule of thumb that seasoning before sous vide gives a deeper flavor from the seasoning. On the other hand, seasoning after sous vide gives a milder flavor.

Thus, you can always experiment by trying both things. This way, you can compare which one you enjoy better and choose it the next time you put another food in your sous vide water bath.



Image credits – Canva

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