Anova’s Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Sous Vide Cooler

This sous vide cooler guide has everything you need to cook for days (literally!). In a recent post, we talked all about different cooking vessels–from sous vide coolers to stock pots–and what you can do to make them most effective. The key word is insulation! So how do you make the MOST effective cooking vessel? Start with an insulated container, like a cooler–or, in this case, a Frankencooler!

So many of our amazing customers shared photos of their Frankencoolers in the comments of that original vessels post. And even more had questions about how to build their own, so we’ve decided to break it down step by step, right here in the Anova Office. Speaking as the chef who is charged with writing new recipes from the Anova Test Kitchen, you can bet this means that you are going to be seeing longer-cook recipes in the near future!

What You Need For Your Sous Vide Cooler AKA Frankencooler



First things first, you’ll need your Anova Precision Cooker

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 one or a new one so long as it is well insulated and does not leak. We ordered 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.

The Anova supports 20 quarts/5 gallons/~19 liters of water. When insulated properly, it can handle as big of a cooler of water as you can find. We chose this size to allow for water displacement, though our customers have had success with up to 33 quarts and up due to how well the insulation helps things. That’s bananas!

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.

Medium-grit sandpaper

This helps gently widen the hole where necessary.

Safety Glasses

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.

PRO TIP: 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! Just fill it up and get cooking.

Got the materials, missing the cooker? Pick up an Anova Precision Cooker to complete this setup and nerd out with the #anovafoodnerd family.