Has anyone tried styrofoam packing peanuts as a thermal cover?

I’ve ordered but not yet received my sous vide cooker in the mail, so right now I’m checking out what I should use to as a container for the sous vide bath. While browsing the available information on the net I’ve seen that some people use Ping Pong balls to hold in the heat, and there are even some rather pricey “Sous Vide Water Balls” for sale.

Has anyone tried just using some of those styrofoam packing peanuts? Seems they would work just about as well to both insulate and provide easy access to what’s cooking. Or has anyone tried something else that worked particularly well?


If you search the community for “Reflectix”, you will see some of us use the foil-lined bubble wrap as an alternative to ping pong balls. It’s easy to cut-to-fit most containers including insulating the sides of containers such as a metal stock pot.

I’d be concerned about styrofoam packing peanuts and possible leaching of stuff you don’t want. At least put some in really hot water to see what happens oven time before using them with your Anova. Many packing peanuts are now “bio-degradable” and dissolve in water. Which could mean a really gummy mess for your new Anova.

Some of the packing peanuts are water soluble and not really styrofoam at all.

The sous vide cooking balls are very inexpensive on Amazon. They work very well because they are solid and fit tight. Another good thing is that they will last a long time. I got 250 balls for less that $15.

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Outside the States, much more expensive at $30 on Amazon.ca while a 10 ft roll of Reflectix is cheaper, often can be free leftover scrap from other projects.

Sous vide cooking balls are also like “herding cats” when it comes to handling and storage while foil-lined bubble wrap is easy to roll up and store.

But as I often told students, “Best tool for the job at hand”. :slight_smile:

This is what I use. I found them on the Canadian Amazon for CDN $28. If you use a big spoon to bag them while they are still hot, they dry very quick in the bag.

Razor Sous Vide Cooking Balls 20mm 250 Count with Drying Bag

Absolutely agree!!

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Those “Razor Sous Vide Cooking Balls” are the “rather pricey Sous Vide Water Balls” I mentioned in my original post! :slight_smile: