Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Long gone are the days of sous vide being relegated to fine-dining restaurants. The dead-accurate, low-temperature cooking is now an easy (and arguably more convenient) way to cook your finest steak or make vanilla extract or creme brulee.

Now, I’ve owned a Breville Joule sous vide machine since 2015 when it first came out. But, I’ll admit: I’m guilty of considering sous vide a weekend (or even special occasion) method. I don’t want to wait 30 minutes-plus for a water bath to preheat on a Tuesday night, you know? So when Breville released the Joule Turbo Sous Vide earlier this year, my gadget-loving ears pricked up. It’s the first time Breville’s made a hardware change to the Joule since the immersion circulator’s inception. The Turbo promises not only to be faster but that it will “make your favorite sous vide dishes in as little as half the time of conventional sous vide,” the company says

I put the Breville Joule Turbo to the test, evaluating its accuracy, speed, and compatible app.

The Tests

Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-SchirmWater Bath Test: I timed how long it took the Joule Turbo to heat a gallon of cold water (63°F) to 190°F. When the water bath was at temperature, I used an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature throughout the bath, evaluating its accuracy. I then checked the bath’s temperature every 10 minutes for an hour, to see if the temperature was stable.Chicken Breast Test: I timed how long it took the Joule Turbo to heat a gallon of room temperature water (72°F) to 150°F. Then, I lowered two chicken breasts in a vacuum-sealed bag into the water bath and cooked them for one hour, setting a timer on the Joule’s app. Turbo Filet Mignon Test: To see how the sous vide works with its app and its app-guided recipes, I made Breville’s recipe for a filet mignon that utilizes the sous vide’s Turbo feature.Vessel Versatility Test: I tried affixing the Joule Turbo to various sous vide containers, including a 6-quart Cambro, Dutch oven, and stockpot.User Experience Tests: Throughout testing, I evaluated how easy the Joule Turbo was to set up, how well it worked with its app, and how useful the app was.

What We Learned

The Breville Joule Turbo Was Accurate and Wicked Fast

Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Like the Joule, the Joule Turbo is spot-on accurate. It had no problems reaching and maintaining its set temperatures. 

As far as speed, the Joule Turbo heated up a gallon of cold water in about 22 minutes and room temperature water in just under 13 minutes. While the room temperature water is on par with our other favorite immersion circulators, its cold water speed was exceptional. Compared to the Joule and Anova, the Joule Turbo was 13 and 38 minutes faster, respectively. 

To delve deeper into its speed, I reached out to Breville to see if the company could share any insights into the Joule Turbo’s construction. While the Joule Turbo and Joule have the same wattage (1100), the Turbo “has a software update and the algorithm is better able to sense what is happening and relay data for faster results,” a company representative told me. 

Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

“When heating the water, the new Joule Turbo Sous Vide has an updated PID controller that allows it to heat the water a bit faster than the previous Joule,” says Douglas Baldwin, senior mathematician and food expert at Breville. “This updated controller also helps the Turbo algorithm cook tender cuts in about half the time of the previous Joule.” PID stands for Proportional Integral Derivative, which is an algorithm-driven temperature control module. (Our favorite Breville espresso machines also have this.)

The Breville+ App Was a Massive Improvement

The Breville+ app even offers cleaning instructions and videos.Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Compared to the original Joule app, the Breville+ app has a whole lot more connectivity and functionality. The app is chock full of videos and tips, like a step-by-step guide for cleaning your immersion circulator. The recipes include videos of each step, too. All in all, the app is now a well-rounded sous vide resource instead of just a place where you go for recipes and to set your sous vide’s time and temperature. 

The Turbo Feature Worked

The Turbo feature had you first measure and weigh your steak.Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Another notable app feature is the Turbo in Joule Turbo. Not every Breville+ sous vide recipe is Turbo, but the ones that are denoted by a little airplane in the bottom right corner and a lightning bolt in the top right corner of the recipe. 

To see how the Turbo feature worked, I tried the app’s Turbo Filet Mignon with Peppercorn Sauce and Air-Fried Garlic Mushrooms but just made the steak portion of the recipe. The app selects the time and temperature based on your preferred steak’s doneness. To further hone in on accuracy, the app also walks you through measuring (the Turbo even includes a small ruler for this very task) and weighing the steak, then spits out the temperature and time range based on these numbers. With Turbo, you add your food while the water is cold (yes, cold!) and immediately start the timer and water bath. My filet mignon was ready in 41 minutes flat. In comparison, a standard sous vide steak takes at least an hour after the water bath is heated.

The Verdict

Pros

The Joule Turbo is ultra-powerful, incredibly accurate, and heats a cold water bath lickety-split. Its app integration is incredibly helpful and the app itself is packed with helpful videos, guided recipes, and tips. 

Cons

Like the Joule, the Joule Turbo doesn’t have an adjustable clamp, which means its vessel versatility is limited unless you invest in a Big Clamp. However, the Turbo still has a magnetic base, which means it’ll stand upright in, say, a Dutch oven. It lacks an on-board display, which may be unappealing to the app-averse.

Key Specs

Materials: Polycarbonate; stainless steelWattage: 1100Connectivity: BluetoothWarranty: 1-year limited Price at time of publish: $250Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

FAQs

What does a Breville Joule sous vide machine do? 

A Breville Joule sous vide machine heats a water bath up to a set temperature and holds that temperature for a specified amount of time. To cook food in a sous vide bath, you’ll want to either vacuum seal it in a bag or press as much air out of a zipper-lock bag as possible before slowly lowering it into the water bath. The water bath cooks the food gently and slowly and the bag retains moisture, so it’s nearly impossible to overcook something. 

What can you cook with a Joule sous vide?

We have plenty of sous vide recipes on this very site (like sous vide duck confit, steak, and carrots). The Breville+ app also has plenty of guided recipes. 

Can I use Ziploc bags with my sous vide?

Yes, you can use a Ziploc bag to sous vide food. You’ll want to make sure you squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing it. 

Why We’re the Experts

To test the Joule Turbo, we tested its temperature accuracy, speed, app connectivity, and more. We’ve reviewed 18 other sous vide machines, so we know a thing or two about the appliance. Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm is the senior commerce editor for Serious Eats. She’s reviewed kitchen gear professionally for more than five years and has written reviews of air fryers, dinnerware sets, and more.

Editor’s note: We received a press sample of the Breville Joule Turbo, but all of our opinions are our own.

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