Terrible for slow cooking!
Worst slow cooker I have ever bought. After 8 hours on slow cooking the meat is just starting to be tender on Hi setting. Can't alter settings unless you turn it off. Never again Sunbeam back to Breville.
Purchased in November 2018 for $98.00.
Not really happy with this......
I purchased one of these last month as I want to try sous vide and I must say I'm new to the sous vide world so this does the job for me for now. I will be replacing it in next year once I get enough experience for one of the higher end circulating sous vide's.
BUT as a slow cooker and I have a lot of experience with this style of cooking the MU4000 is absolutely useless, I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy as a slow cooker as it takes NOT 6-8 hours to slow cook a roast on LOW of any type but up to and beyond 16-20 hours. I have also tried to cook a roast on HIGH for 3-4 hours and it was basically just getting warmed. I think Sunbeam needs to spend a little more time with the slow cooker side of this device BUT as a sous vide for anyone starting in the game I highly recommend it.
Healthier and more efficient meals
Always wanted to try Sous Vide cooking and glad we bought this product. Meal prep is a breeze and we cook a weeks worth of meals at a time and refrigerate until ready to cook. And by cook I mean a quick grill to add heat and colour. Vegetables cooked in portion control serves has us eating healthier and with less waste.
It cooks stuff ... slowly
This machine is OK, the sous vide function does seem to get the job done, although lacks the ability to circulate the water so the temperature across the food is not consistent, although I have no complaints. The slow cooking function doesn't really seem to work as well as the traditional slow cooker - it just doesn't get hot enough to properly cook the food - e.g. a pea and ham soup left on for 2 days didn't really go to that "perfect" consistency that I got with the old sunbeam and it's stone pot.
temperature is 2-3C off
I bought this when I started sous vide cooking, thought it wouldn't harm to get an entry level machine, but I was wrong on saving a few dollars... The temperature is never the same as the hand held meat thermometer I use, and it's kind of frustrating to always have to manually adjust the temperature to counter its inaccuracy, which kind of muck up the whole idea of SV.
Slow cooking is too slow .
This device seems to work fine as a rudimentary Sous Vide machine and keeps the temp fairly constant but has no way of circulating the water which is fine at this price point .
The big disappointment is the ridiculously slow slow cooking . After it took 2 days to cook a stew I decided to drop a temp probe in to find that it only ever gets to 83c when in slow cooker mode . You are actually better off putting it in Sous Vide mode and setting the temp for 90c which is unfortunately as high as it will go . You will never see this thing get to anywhere near a simmer , where as a normal slow cooker will .
I bought this machine to have one device to do the job of a separate slow cooker and Sous Vide machine . What you actually get is a very mediocre Sous Vide machine and a useless slow cooker . I threw my old slow cooker out but will now have to replace .
I could only recommend this as a cheap Sous Vide machine which does work get to temp and maintain that temp but is extremely slow to get there .
I've used better
I'd prefer to have visible temperature ranges on this machine so I could better fine-tune cooking with this slow cooker. I'm not very experienced using them and found that the settings on the machine don't really match up with slow cooker recipes I've seen so it's taken a lot of trial and error to cook things well. I think I'd buy another model if I could go back in time as I've left food cooking while I'm at work and had to come home and finish cooking things in the oven which contradicts the whole point of buying this
Works as it should
The interesting thing I found here are the comments about the temperature on this machine.
Maybe Sunbeam got sick of addressing peoples queries because now you cannot see the temperature fluctuations on this latest edition 2016/2017.
i think this is a good thing because some people tend to worry and fret about things too much.
trust me the temperature is fine, the machine heats to the selected temperature and gives you three rings when its done.
Now you add your product .
next be careful, if you dont press the start again your cooking time wont start.
The unit will still keep the water heated but the timer will not.
if the dots on the timer panel are flashing then it has started and you should have a steady light on the sous vide.
Don't take too much notice of the recommended cooking times in the manual it's best to experiment and set your own.
For instance I had a small roast and i wanted it pink and able to cut slices, instead i ended up with it well done and falling in pieces.
Next i tried a pork belly with out the skin.
I had marinated this in a sealed bag for a day or two.
Once finished the flavours of my marinade proved too intense so be careful what you add to your bag.
Next a piece lamb about 50mm thick it was about 200wide and 250 long.
I did it at 85 degrees for 1 hour. It came out nice and pink but the flavours once again where overpowering .
The best thing to do is undercook and then put the product into a hot oven and finish for about 40 minutes.
I found the long settings too long,so shorten these up a bit and just experiment with your temperature settings.
The unit is easy to clean, its just a matter of tipping out the hot water and giving it a good wipe.
i don't use the slow cook on this as I have a slow cooker and an electric pressure cooker.
The Sous Vide Duos does what it is supposed to with a minimum of fuss, it heats the water and holds the temperature and i definately would not pay $800.00 for a unit that does the same thing and just adds a water circulator.
If you don't like it or stop using it you don't lose much cash but if you were paying $800.00 and over that would be a waste of money.
slow cooker useless
sous vide was ok but tried the slow cooker twice and after 9 hours on high I had to remove and finish on stove top on low forget it only gets warm returned for full refund.Billy Guyatts were great to deal with and there was no issue wit a full refund
You Have to Trust It - 2
Following my last review I have now cooked steak and salmon. As noted originally forget the built in temperature display, it is reading air temperature underneath the water bath, and not the water bath temperature. Water can never fluctuate in temperature as quickly as the in built temperature display does. If you have purchased a Sous Vide you would have a digital thermometer for food already, if by some reason you haven't spend $10 to get one and use this in the water. The machine actually controls temperature surprisingly well. So the steaks were perfect, cooked medium at 61o for 1 hour then lowered temp to 56o and cooked medium rare for another hour, perfect. Cooked salmon at 55o for 40 minutes, again perfect. As for the slow cooker, forget the slow cooker mode, it does not work. Simply set the Sous Vide mode to up to 90o for "high" for as long as you need to slow cook and redice to 70o if you want slow. Forget the machine and modes, it is just time and temperature, use your own thermometer and timer, that's what you get for $120 but it works great.
A good starting point
Overall I'm happy with this sous vide. Given the price of the Anova these days, I'd probably go for that (actually I'm considering getting one to allow for cooking larger items).
There are a lot of reports on here about temperature fluctuations. I've experienced the exact same thing. However, whenever I check it with my instant read thermometer it is within 1/2 a degree of the set temperature. I have no idea why the display temperature is so wrong - this is my biggest gripe with the machine, but weirdly if you trust your settings, it will work.
The other drawback is that the tub is quite small. You have to be creative to fit larger steaks in here if you want them vertical (imagine toast in a toaster). You can't really fit larger items like a shoulder of lamb, so cooking for more than 4 is a bit of a challenge (you could probably fit 6 steaks in there if they were the right shape).
This machine also does not circulate the water with a pump, so it relies on convection to move the heat around. Water is an excellent conductor of heat, so I'm not overly worried. But, if you put cold water in and let the sous vide heat it up, it's possible you'll end up with a temperature variation or even a thermocline. My trick is to fill the tub with hot water. From my tap it is around 56C so it also saves warm up time and avoids the temperature variation problem (just remember to give the water a whirl to even out the temp if you need to add more hot or cold).
The 1 hour timer problem has never bothered me. I just set it to 5 hours usually and take it out when I'm ready. The beauty of sous vide cooking is that overcooking by 30mins or even an hour is usually no big deal. You'll actually end up with worse results if you use the timer because it shuts off the heat, meaning if you don't take it out at exactly that time you'll end up with cold food! So the timer issue, really isn't.
I have not used it as a slow cooker.
I've made some absolutely killer food with this sous vide and never had a problem with getting the food to my specified internal temp. It's fantastic for steaks especially, and pork is also brilliant. In fact, this one works so well, it's the main reason I haven't bought the Anova yet since it doesn't offer me significantly more features - the temp control on the Anova seems to be far more precise and you can attach to as large a container as you like. Other than that though, it's pretty much the same deal (holding water a set temp). The other advantage of the Anova is that you don't need as much storage space, which is also an issue for me in my smallish apartment kitchen.
Happy sous viding! If this is your first sous vide and you can't stretch to a more expensive one - go for it! (I've seen this one for around $150 online which is pretty amazing). I
P.S. I have a sunbeam vacuum sealer too (not the bottom end one) which also works fine - although I've found most butchers are happy to vacuum seal anything you want for free, so you could manage without one, or even just use a zip lock bag (although I've never done that).
Don't do it! Get a Sansaire or Anova or similar.
Haven't tried it as a slow cooker, but it is a disaster at sous-vide. The temperature fluctuates all over the place +/- 3 deg. The timer cannot be set to less than one hour, which I need to be able to do when cooking for 1.One of the worst buying decision I have ever made.
Literally threw it out the back door after giving it a second chance!!!
I've had 2 other slow cookers over the years and the best thing about this one was the sound it made hitting the concrete. Both times after prepping for 2 hours hard to get ingredients the food turned up barely warm and on hi after 8 hours just started steeming. poor product
I desperately wanted to like this device. I wanted it to work, and I wanted to jump on this site and give it a good review. But the simple fact is you cannot polish a turd! Sous Vide cooking is dependent on control of cooking temperature to within half a degree, the fact that the Sunbeam machine only allows increments of one degree should have been my first warning. If it had been capable of at least managing that I would have been happy, but this machine is an absolute joke. After multiple failures with "medium rare" steaks coming out medium I started monitoring the water with several different calibrated thermometers and the results confirmed my suspicions.
In a typical cycle the water temperature usually deviates from the display temperature by up to 5 degrees Celsius, and there is only a cursory correlation between those measurements and the one you enter into the control pad. (For the engineers among you poor calibration is only half the problem....the PID, assuming it even has one, doesn't appear to even come close to being tuned properly let alone implementing basic features like derivative kick). There's a common saying: "You get what you pay for". With the Sunbeam Sous Vide cooker you don't even get that.
Better than it would have you believe!
This is a fantastic entry point into the world of Sous Vide cooking and a good buy at twice the price!
First of all I'll address the elephant in the room - temperature precision...
It's significantly more accurate than the control panel/display would have you believe. At least my one is!
I was concerned about the temperature control after reading several reviews and was disappointed to see my new machine exhibit similar tendencies on the display...however having checked it with instant read thermometer I can confirm that my Duos holds temp within half a degree of target throughout the cook.
It is baffling and disconcerting that the display temp swings by several degrees up and down thru the process but testing actually shows this not to be the case - go figure!
Normally that oversight would disqualify an appliance from a 5 star review for me but the cost of the unit is so low (sub $200) for what this thing does - AND it doubles as a conventional slow cooker!
So far the food we have made with it has been nothing short of stunning. Exquisite steak, succulent salmon and perfectly poached breakfast eggs! If I use it only for these three dishes (trust me I won't) it will have been an absolute steal...
Holds steady temperature
A fraction of the price of other local machines
Doubles as a slow cooker saving cupboard space on other appliances
No water circulation (but doesn't seem to matter at all)
Unreliable display (again not a huge problem for me)
'Only' runs up to 24 hours - some adventurous cook ups could go for 72
Does what it says on the box. An excellent introduction to Sous Vide, better machines are undoubtedly out there but priced accordingly. No regrets and even if we upgrade to a different, more flexible Sous Vide one day (waaaay down the track) this doubles as a slow cooker and will probably be kept as a backup or to run two cooks at once!
John the Pom
Rubbish. Spend your money more wisely. Buy a real one.
Sous vide is supposed to be about precision temperature control. This model does not comply. First, when you set the target temperature it will overshoot by two degrees celcius before the start beeps. Then, when loaded, it will fall to less than three and sometimes four degrees below the target temperature. This goes up and down over the cooking period, but averages three degrees below the desired temperature. That is a temperature inaccuracy of five to six degrees. At best that is the difference between medium and well done. At worst, it is the difference between sterile food and food rife with salmonella. This is my second unit. I sent the first one back. Both performed exactly the same. Waste of money.
A worthwhile extravagance!
I had been hearing professional chefs talking about "sous vide" cooking for years and eventually my curiosity could stand it no more, so I took to Google to find out what it was all about, Having initially come from a French chef in the mid-seventies it has certainly taken it's time to get to Australian domestic kitchens. However, it now explains how over the years I have had some of the juiciest and most evenly cooked meats at some restaurants. I think "sous vide" cooking is suitable for people who participate in the Italian Slow Food Movement, not for busy Mums trying to get out half-a-dozen meals for her kids in record time.
While this unit does represent good value for money, there are now other units on the market, that compete. Online department stores and electrical shops are now stocking "sous vide" appliances more often, so the choice of unit and functions for under $150 has suddenly increased. It needs to be noted, that to use the "sous vide" correctly you also need a vacuum food sealer, which uses disposable plastic bags. So there is an additional expense in buying that unit and the plastic bags, but lookout for some retailers who are selling the "sous vide", the vacuum sealer and a supply of bags for a bundled price, to get the best bargain.
I find the most efficient use of the "sous vide" is to buy meat in bulk, divide it up into meal size portions, vacuum bag it, cook it all at once, let it cool and then freeze it until required. All my red meat is cooked to medium rare and after thawing, just require a couple of minutes on a grill before serving. Cooked boneless chicken thighs are fantastic to add in a curry after thawing, a couple of minutes before serving and so on.
The second function of the unit, as a "Slow Cooker" is really the same as any other type of slow cooker, but because of the large sized non-stick cooking bowl, it makes it suitable for slow cooking whole joints of meat, like a leg of lamb or a rib eye roast etc. In conclusion, I find my Sunbeam Sous Vide to be useful in certain specific circumstances, but it's not something I use very often, despite the amazing culinary results that can be achieved.
Brilliant for the money - entry level sous vide
Hopefully this helps some of you out there. Firstly, it's $160. Hard to beat that for a sous vide. It heats water to a set temp for a set time, that's it. There is no water circulation - this is why it's so cheap. The Breville equivalent is $800, twice the size and circulation which is what a sous vide is meant to do. I would have liked the Breville as everything in my house is Breville - but couldn't justify the extra money, counter space, storage space it required.
For the size I think this is great for 2 people / 2 meals.. You might squeeze fours serves into it but it's not going to be great for parties or large families.
I also considered to Anova sous vide stick - but the iPhone app for that doesn't appear in the Australia iTunes store, so be careful if you plan on buying that to use with your iPhone, it did look like it would fit my price point and storage requirements and it does circulate, this will likely be my next purchase when I upgrade and I will Ebay the sunbeam sous vide now I know how to use it and cook some great sous vide meals. The Anova simply lets you turn any large pot into a sous vide.
And that brings me to why I rate this 4 stars.. I've only cooked fish and lobster in it - and it was amazing. Best fish and lobster I have ever made. A $160 spent to see if a sous vide was worth the fuss - and it is, and this unit proved that pretty well for minimal outlay. Circulation would be good to have but from what I can tell only really needed for larger quantities to ensure even temp around the entire food parcel.
Also recommend using the vacuum seal food saver appliances from sunbeam or Breville, I already had one so it was easy to start with, don't know if I trust a zip lock bag, and I think the air pockets would make the bag float.
One of the best appliances I've bought
I'd been wanting to try Sous Vide for a while. I can cook a decent steak but I frequently err on the side of over-cooked with meat because of fear of under-cooking. This was cheaper than other Sous Vide machines and it was on special so I figured it was time to try. First thing I cooked was a porterhouse steak. Set it to 56 degrees and put it in for one hour. Took it out, gave it a salt and pepper seasoning, and then did both sides for about 10 seconds on a very hot griddle with a small amount of oil. First go, best steak I've ever made and close to the best I've tasted. Melt in the mouth. Have since done salmon, chicken breast and lamb backstrap all with great results. Chicken breast especially gives me hope of delicious yet healthy meals to come. Moist with no stringiness at all. The fact it doubles as a slow cooker is a bonus, although slow cookers can be had for about $30 (albeit without even the limited programmability of this unit) so it's nice to have a second unit (you can do a main and dessert at the same time, or two dishes). One minor gripe - the manual talks about "hold time" but after the programmed cooking time is done, the unit turns off (and the temperature will start to drop). So if you want to use this holding time, you need to set the time for greater than you need to include any extra/holding time. Another gripe, but nothing to do with this unit, is that doing meat and vegetables at the same time is not generally possible due to different temperatures required. That's not such a problem as the long water bath gives me plenty of time to do the sides separately on the stove or steamer, but I'd be interested to try vegetables in the machine too. For the previous reviewer, I tested the temperature with milk thermometer and it's spot on.
It does what it's supposed to do. Makes cooking meat perfectly very easy. Maintains a steady temperature.
Some more programmability would be good, ability to set hold time or change time during cook without resetting.
Love the sous vide
We bought this recently and haven't put a thermometer in it to check how well it maintains the temperature - however cannot fault it and the quality of the food that comes out of it. We primarily use it as a water bath, but have also tried it a couple of times as a slow cooker & have not been disappointed. When comparing this to the Breville there is just no competition price wise. The Sunbeam for $170 or the Breville for $800.
The fact it is a slow cooker and a water bath.
Takes some time to heat up