Sous Vide Ping Pong Balls: Do They Work?

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What’s the best way to cover sous vide containers? I’m sure you’ve tried plastic lids, saran wrap, aluminum foil, towels, and other things.

But have you tried ping pong balls? This guide will cover everything there is to know and if it acts as a good sous vide container cover. Hint, sous vide balls are great to use. 

What Are Sous Vide Ping Pong Balls?

Sous Vide Ping Pong Balls are flexible, spherical objects made of polycarbonate, plastic, foam or other shapeless, malleable materials.

The balls are used to cover vessels or pots and keep them from losing heat or moisture during the cooking process.

These materials are the same for the cooking pot and the lid in which the sous vide balls are placed.

When it comes to size and function, the balls conform exactly to the interior of the cooking pot or container.

That means you can use different sized containers without purchasing separate container lids for all of them.

You can use a pot one night for a small cooking session and a larger plastic storage container for a bigger meal. You’re no longer tied to one dedicated container.

Sous Vide Balls vs Regular Ping Pong Balls

A regular ping pong ball is designed for table tennis and, thus, must be made with sturdier material.

The ping pong ball is made of a stiffer form of plastic known as celluloid, and a see-through and flammable type of plastic in layers of camphor and nitrocellulose.

While ping pong balls are meant to bounce, sous vide balls are produced for cooking and trapping steam to prevent its escape from a sous vide container.

The heat gathers at the bottom of the balls and is retained in the container as it rises and then falls. The steam is spread equally throughout the surface of the container, enabling even and thorough cooking of foods.

This makes for the juiciest steaks, pork chops and baby back ribs, and renders them more naturally flavorful, hearty and nutritious.

Benefits of Sous Vide Ping Pong Balls

The main benefits of sous vide balls are that they are flexible, affordable, convenient and easy to clean.

  • Heat Insulation – The water that evaporates turn into steam that will condense on the balls and stay in the container, so you don’t lose water. 
  • Flexible Sizes – Sous vide balls work in any container, regardless of the size or shape, as long as you have enough balls to to surround the water bath container surface.
  • Cheaper – A standard lid is twice as expensive as a package of balls. I would usually purchase the sous vide balls in a package of 75 to 100. 
  • Easy Access to Food – For convenience, I can add more food, change its position or remove it without having to deal with a lid. I simply dip a pair of tongs into the container or pull the bag from its interior.
  • Easy Cleanup – In terms of clean-up, after I finish cooking, I just drain the water using a strainer to capture the sous vide balls and let them dry. Storage can be in a bag or a pot, so they won’t take much more space.

How to Use Sous Vide Ping Pong Balls

Using sous vide balls is simple. Float the balls on the water surface to insulate the hot water from evaporating. 

I place my sous vide ping pong balls in the water to keep it hot and prevent evaporation in the midst of cooking.

That’s pretty much it. Instead of using a container lid or foil/plastic wrap, use the sous vide balls.  

Sous vide balls are low-maintenance in that they do not require much cleaning either. 

After cooking, I need only drain the water with a strainer. I place the balls back in my sous vide container and let them sit for 10 minutes. The extra moisture on the wet balls will evaporate quickly as the water is already hot.

Whenever I am prepared to cook again, I only have to add water to the container. The balls are then ready for use.

Depending on the brand of balls or sous vide container, I can purchase them in a mesh bag. I can always return the balls to the bag after my cooking is complete.

If not, I can always place the balls into a dish rack to dry until their next use.

Sous Vide Ping Pong Balls vs Container Lid

Sous vide balls are among the most ideal means of keeping heat and moisture within a cooking vessel or pot because of their flexibility, convenience, affordability and ease of cleaning.

However, some sous vide owners prefer to use a container lid. The hardest thing about using a lid is the need to cut a hole in the lid to fit the sous vide cookers. The cutting process is not easy and will often result in cracked plastic and holes that were too big or small. 

As a result, the sous vide industry began to manufacture lids with holes already cut into their tops. I would need to be careful that I select the right lid for the sous vide cooker. And if I were to change the sous vide immersion circulator, I’d need to buy a new lid.

The combination of container size, container lid, and sous vide cooker would be endless. It could be end up being an expensive upgrade process. 

Sous Vide Ping Pong Balls Final Thoughts

I think the sous vide ping pong balls are a great option that’s flexible if you want to cook more or less. The only problem is that they don’t work very well as an actual ping pong ball. If you want to play ping pong with them, you can still try it out! 

On Sale
Locisne Sous Vide Cooking Balls BPA Free 20mm 250 Balls with Mesh Drying...
  • Food grade materrial: BPA free, made of Food material polyethylene. Reusable and can be used for sous vide cooking. Lower energy loss during cooking. Provide more convenient cooking for your family.
  • No more middle of the night water level alarms: Sous vide balls are able to minimize the effect of heat loss and water evaporation, allow you cook water for hours on end without ever having to re-fill. Due to the surface exposure between the water and air, water hardly evaporates during the cooking process.
  • No more lids: Acts as lid to reduce splashing hazard and allows easy access to all shapes and sizes contents. Compatible with Anova, Nomiku, Gourmia, Sansaire, PolyScience Sous Vide Controller and other professional sous vide cookers of different shapes and size.

Last update on 2021-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API