Novice Guide

I received my anova oven this week. I have never cooked anything sous vide and really have no clue but wanted to try something new.

I was sent the link to the sous vide guide but found it terrifying and overwhelming.

I have emailed support a couple of times.

There seems to be very little to guide a newbie on using the oven or creating my own recipes.
The app does have a good supply of recipes but it doesn’t cover everything.

Any suggestions as to how best to learn without feeling overwhelmed.

Absolutely: Ask your questions here. People on this forum are very quick to help and also very knowledgeable (@chatnoir for example, is a very well-travelled chef whose grasp if the science is better than anyone I’ve ever come across). I myself was a complete noob when I started with my oven late last fall, and he and the others on the forum have kept me safe and well-fed.

One thing I HAVE noticed is that some of the recipes in the app, especially fish recipes, tend to land you up with what I, as a bit of a traditionalist, consider way too fleshy, so don’t be afraid to Google the correct finished temperatures and question what you’re being told. Use your experience, ask questions, and learn from the experienced folks on this forum.

So, what kind of foods do you plan to cook? I am a more traditional BBQ/smoker user, but, of course, winter in Canada tends to bring me indoors, so the APO has been a lot of fun for things like nice, thick steaks, roasts, ribs, and, most recently the most amazing pork shoulder I have ever had (but I cheated and finished it with heavy smoke on my smoker).

So, what do you want to make today?

Hi again Jess, when working with novice cooks this cat first tells them, “Go slow to go fast.”

Don’t rush into this. SV is an entirely different cooking technique from the conventional cooking you know. Most of the rules and standards you previously followed don’t apply. Think about the technique you are employing, not recipe. Start with simple, easy menu items such as Chicken Thighs or Breasts.

Above all, start keeping your Cooking Journal now. I’m a digital age Luddite so i maintain a detailed written record of every new item i cook. Those more advanced in the use of contemporary technology will use their preferred devices.

For every cook record the item by name,
its thickness (not weight),
the cooking time and temperature setting,
oven mode used,
and most importantly your objective comments on results attained.
If perfection was not attained, or nearly so, also note recommended changes you will make the next time you cook the same item.

Gradually your Journal becomes your personal recipe development tool enabling you to cook items you enjoy precisely the way you best enjoy them every time. Doing this will enable you to become ever-better.

Here’s a link to a useful site all about cooking with steam:

Low temperature cooking has its pitfalls for those accustom to the relative safety of conventional cooking. Although written for water based Sous Vide cooking, the following link contains useful information on food safety and the SV cooking technique that you need to know.

Do the work and you will do well.

Stay safe.


Thanks for your response.
I probably will mostly cook chicken, pork and steak.
I will keep reading and learning from this forum.

Thanks for the links. I will read them this week.
Will def use the journal and I must go slow. I agree.
I think what is confusing me is that so many website refer to the anova precision cooker and not the oven.
Would the settings be different?

Hi Jess, part of going slow is becoming consciously competent as you learn. It’s good to know you plan to keep a journal.

Much of your learning is going to be the result of your experiences and your careful thinking about them. Some readers of my posts will recognize how often i use the work think when discussing cooking. Thinking is being conscious of your actions as you learn from them.

Blindly following apps or recipes can bypass thinking and learning. Better for you to go slow, think and learn. Isn’t it disappointing how many people resist thinking and accept whatever they are told?

You ask about the two Anova cooking products. Basically, they are significantly different, but in Sous Vide mode the oven when used correctly can be considered similar in operation and outcomes.

Think about the differences. The APC cooks a sealed product using conduction in a circulating heated water bath. Your oven cooks using fan-assisted hot air and water vapour. I maintain that water transfers heat energy more effectively than moist air. Would you rather put your hand in a vessel of hot water or in your operating oven at the same temperature? Thus i don’t consider them to be the same and the settings will be different based on differences in heat transfer rates.

However, i do not own an Anova oven, so just think of me as a somewhat skeptical observer and commentator here. You would be better informed with detailed information from JoeinOttawa who is enjoying considerable success with his oven.

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@chatnoir is far too kind in his assessment of my success, and he’s been a big part of my learning curve. That said, I’ve had excellent results doing chicken, steak, and, most recently, a pork shoulder. The only thing I would caution you on at this point involves the chicken: If you cook anything with a fatty skin like chicken at more than about 20% steam, the fat gets waterlogged, and you will never get it to crisp. You’ll end up with slightly browned rubber.

There is a recipe on the app for a spatchcocked whole chicken that worked out really well for us. Equally impressive, we reheated it the next night at 170F/50% steam (left it in for about 10 minutes, as I recall) followed by a 5-minute broil at 0%, and you could not tell the chicken was reheated, it tasted like a first cook.

It was a far cry from my Christmas Eve salmon (from the app), which was an epic fail…

Highly recommend you check out the 101 recipe to start! Many include sous vide mode with proper time and temp