We've seen lots of super-cool DIY sous vide coolers that our crafty community of food nerds customized for their Anova over the years, and we've also received tons of questions from sous vide cooler-curious home cooks. So, we powered up our drill to build the ultimate #anovafoodnerd-inspired sous vide cooler guide, breaking down the entire process step by step. Follow along to learn how easy it is to build your very own custom sous vide cooler–or as we like to call it, a Frankencooler–at home!
Why Build a Sous Vide Cooler?
A sous vide cooler makes it easy to cook for days (literally!). The reason? Insulation. By insulating your sous vide container, you can prevent evaporation, increase efficiency, and maintain precise temperatures in even larger vessels.
The Precision Cooker is listed with a maximum vessel capacity of 20 quarts/5 gallons/~19 liters of water–but you can actually exceed the recommended max capacity and maintain temperature just as well with proper insulation. In fact, Anova can maintain down-to-the-degree temperature control with as big of a container of water as you can find. Our customers have had success with 33-quart coolers and up due to how well the insulation helps things. That’s bananas!
What You Need For Your Sous Vide Cooler AKA Frankencooler
Your Anova will be cooking massive amounts of ridiculously good food in the cooler once you're finished, but it's also a handy tool when building the cooler because of the adjustable clamp. You'll want to use the adjustable clamp that comes with it to trace an outline at the spot where you plan to drill the hole.
A cooler you are happy to disfigure slightly
This can be an old cooler or a new cooler so long as it doesn't leak and is well insulated. Our Frankencooler is a Coleman 25 Quart Party Stacker Cooler from Amazon for this project. The lid is removable, which is key so that you can remove it while cooking without sending water shooting everywhere. We also chose this size to allow for excess room for water displacement.
A 2 ⅜” Hole Saw
The diameter of the chassis, or cooking extension cover, on the Anova is 2.375”/60.325mm, or 2 ⅜”. We need to make a hole at least that big, and adjust with sandpaper if necessary.
An electric drill
Pretty standard, I have a $15 Coleman from the hardware store.
This helps gently widen the hole where necessary.
We recommend these. It’s best to protect those peepers whenever you’re working with potentially flying shards of plastic!
Let’s Get Started!
Don your safety glasses and choose your workspace near a sturdy surface and an electrical outlet. Now, it's time to bust out the tools and get started on your sous vide cooler.
If you're not using a cordless drill, attach the hole saw bit to the drill before plugging it in.
Choose where you want to make the hole and make guidelines for the drill bit. A great tip to do this is to trace the hole inside the clamp bracket.
Turn on the drill and get drillin’! Press down slowly with a light amount of pressure. It may take a couple of minutes.
Pop off the cooler's lid and drill from the underside. We found it's much easier AND keeps the top of your cooler looking pretty if you don't nail it on the first attempt.
Once the hole has been punched through, wipe off any stray plastic bits and try to insert the Anova. It will reach its greatest potential depth without compromising the electronics this way. If it’s a little too snug to fit, then get working with the sandpaper. Once your Anova sits in there comfortably, guess what?
You’re ready to go with your brand spankin' new sous vide cooler! Fill it up and get cooking, food nerds.
Got the materials, missing the cooker? Join the #anovafoodnerd family and build the ultimate sous vide setup with the Anova Precision Cooker.