Oh, the amazing Instant Pot. I love my Instant Pot so much that sometimes, it kind of feels like I neglect my other appliances. My oven range seldom gets any attention anymore. It just kind of sits there, lonely and waiting to be turned on. My Instant Pot just gets the job done faster and plus, it does most of the work while I just sit back, relax, and watch Netflix.
Considering how much I rely on my Instant Pot pressure cooker to prepare nightly meals, I was more than happy to take the opportunity to test out another Instant Pot device, the Instant Pot Accu Slim Immersion Circulator, an affordable entry into the sous vide method of cooking. After 80 hours of testing, here are some thoughts about the device.
Design and specs
When the Instant Pot sous vide machine arrived, I opened the box to find the fully-assembled immersion circulator encased in protective packaging and a user manual. The Accu Slim is similar in size to the Anova Nano, measuring approximately 13 inches long and roughly 2 inches in diameter. It’s small enough to hide away in a drawer or store away in a cabinet.
The Accu Slim has a touchscreen display with digital controls, and it’s made primarily of stainless steel. Rubber coating surrounds the handle, and it has a removable, stainless steel skirt surrounding the heating element. Speaking of the heating element, the Accu Slim uses an active pump system to heat the water evenly. It doesn’t rely on convection currents, and uses a 12V DC motor to heat the water between 68 degrees and 203 degrees Fahrenheit (within a 1-degree Fahrenheit accuracy). You can cook virtually any sous vide recipe, and cooking times range anywhere from one minute to 72 hours.
Elegant and simple, but not smart
One of the things I immediately noticed about the Accu Slim was the skirt surrounding the heating element contains holes around the sides, and it also contains holes on the bottom. This helps the water flow more effectively through the machine, and it helps to prevent cold spots.
The Accu Slim is very simple, providing just what you need to prepare foods Sous Vide style, but it doesn’t give you some of the smart features like you’d get with more expensive immersion circulators like the Anova Wi-Fi or the ChefSteps Joule. It doesn’t connect to an app via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, so you can’t control it with your phone, nor can you voice-control the device using Alexa or Google Assistant. If you’ve owned other Instant Pot products though, or if you’re familiar with the Instant Pot brand, you probably know that Instant Pot is more about creating gadgets that provide a lot of utility and cooking functionality rather than creating a slew of internet connected products.
The Accu Slim has a rubber clamp that opens up to about 1.25 inches wide. The inner pot from your 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot will function as a container to hold the water bath for your Accu Slim, as the clamp securely grips onto the side. But, I have an exceptionally durable and high quality sous vide Pot, the. It heats up water very quickly, and it has a lid with a cutout that’s designed to hold immersion circulators in place.
I wanted to see how the Accu Slim would perform if I used a professional-quality pot like the Tuxton versus if I improvised and used a pot I had lying around the house, like the inner pot of my Instant Pot pressure cooker.
The Accu Slim clamped securely to the side of the inner pot of my 8-quart Instant Pot Duo. I added six quarts of hot tap water (measuring 107 degrees Fahrenheit). I set the Accu Slim to 150 degrees for one hour, and the water fully heated in 12 minutes and 45 seconds. I repeated the same process with the Tuxton Pot, and the water heated up faster (in 9 minutes and 50 seconds). When the time ended, the Tuxton Pot maintained the heat at above 140 degrees for an hour, while the inner pot on the Instant Pot maintained the heat above 140 degrees for about 20 minutes.
While the inner pot of the Instant Pot does the job, a pot that’s designed to be used as a water bath, will probably heat up a bit faster and maintain the heat for longer after you turn off the machine.
I’ve cooked in sous vide machines in the past. There have been times when I’ve cooked four steaks at the same temp for the same time, but I’ve still ended up with two medium steaks and two rare ones. This can be caused by factors like overfilling the water bath with too many steaks or packaging the steaks incorrectly, but often it’s because of hot and cold spots in the water bath.
The Accu Slim produced evenly-cooked steaks that were cooked exactly the same. I placed six, thick-cut sirloin steaks in a 6-quart water bath for 1 hour and 30 minutes at 133 degrees, and then I seared the steaks in a cast iron skillet for two minutes on each side. I came out with six steaks that were exactly the same. They were all cooked perfectly medium, with the same even pinkness throughout.
Eggs, veggies, and more
Soft boiled eggs are another sous vide staple. If you haven’t tried them, they kind of taste like if a hard boiled egg and an overeasy egg had a baby. They have a runny yolk, but they’re similar to hard-boiled eggs in that the whites are mostly cooked and they have that oval-shaped, hard-boiled look. The Accu Slim made perfect soft boiled eggs. I also made zucchini, mushrooms, apples, and salmon.
The Instant Pot Immersion circulator perfectly prepared each food, but the steak was by far the best. There is no steak like steak sous vide; and, once you’ve tasted a perfectly cooked steak sous vide, no other steak can compare (not even one from a steakhouse).
Is the Accu Slim a worthwhile investment?
The Instant Pot Accu Slim is a solid performer. It doesn’t produce hot or cold spots, and it’s incredibly easy to use. While it doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles you’d get with some of the other immersion circulators, its performance, compact size, and affordable price make it a worthy addition to any kitchen. Now that I found a sous vide machine to cook me perfect steaks in addition to my Instant Pot Duo (which cooks all my casseroles and chicken dishes), my other appliances may just have to sit there collecting dust a little while longer.