Tri-tip is a flavorful triangular cut of beef cut from the bottom sirloin that is super popular in California for its rich, beefy flavor. While the tri-tip is traditionally grilled or smoked, this sous vide version version tenderizes it to succulent perfection unlike other preparations, and uses just 4 ingredients. Add some herbs to infuse the meat while it cooks for 3 to 6-hours in the water bath, followed by a quick sear to develop the most tender texture and amazing flavor.

Sous vide cooking removes the guesswork of traditional cooking methods for incredibly easy, foolproof tri-tip. The precise temperature control essentially “cheats” the system, eliminating overcooking. The meat cooks evenly edge-to-edge, so when sliced, you’re assured the perfect temperature for juicy medium-rare doneness every time. If you can seal a bag, you can make better than restaurant-quality tri-tip easily at home with ease.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Incredibly tender and flavorful
  • So easy to make and almost completely hands-off
  • Meal prep friendly – make it ahead and enjoy it when you want it
  • Great for entertaining
  • You choose the doneness
  • Perfect edge-to-edge doneness

What You’ll Need

  • Tri-Tip – Typically 2 to 4 lbs. USDA Prime grade is a nice splurge, but when cooking it sous vide, choice is great. It is available online and usually from Costco.
  • Kosher salt – I prefer Diamond Crystal brand and use about 1 tsp per pound of beef. See salt conversion chart and calculator for other types of salt.
  • Additional optional seasonings – Kosher salt, black pepper, and other spices if desired. Fresh herbs such as thyme and rosemary add a wonderful essence that gets infused into the steak as it cooks sous vide.
  • Skillet for Searing – Use a heavy-bottom skill such as cast iron or carbon steel. Using a hot grill or charcoal chimney starter is also a good option if you already have those fired up.
  • Oil for Searing – A high smoke point oil such as avocado oil, or you can even use beef tallow
  • Immersion Circulator and Container

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Sous Vide Tri-TIp

seasoning tri tip for sous vide
  1. Season the tri-tip with kosher salt, covering all surfaces generously. Refrigerate uncovered on a baking sheet for 1-24 hours. This dry brining helps flavor and tenderize.
  2. Prepare the Water Bath
    Preheat the sous vide water bath to 131-134°F for medium-rare doneness.
vacuum sealed tri tip
  1. Bag and Seal Place the seasoned tri-tip in a vacuum seal bag and vacuum seal. Alternatively, place it in a ziplock bag and use the water displacement method to remove all air.
cooking tri tip sous vide
  1. Sous Vide Cook. Submerge the sealed bag in the water bath and cook for 3-6 hours. Longer time yields more tenderness.
cooked sous vide tri tip in bag
  1. Cool and Dry Remove bag from water bath and let cool slightly on the counter, or refrigerate. Take tri-tip out of the bag, pat dry thoroughly with paper towels.
searing sous vide tri tip
  1. Season for Searing. Season the dried tri-tip with black pepper and any other desired spices/seasonings.
  2. Hot Sear. Preheat a heavy-bottom skillet (such as cast iron or carbon steel) or grill until ripping hot. Add a high smoke point oil like avocado oil if using a skillet.
  3. Sear All Sides. Sear the tri-tip for 60-90 seconds per side until a deep sear develops.
how to slice a tri tip
  1. Slice and Serve Slice the tri-tip across the grain into 1/4-inch slices. Serve immediately with sides.
sous vide tri tip overhead on cutting board

Once it’s up to temperature in about 2 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat, it only gets more tender, and not more “done.” While it is technically “cooked” in just 2 hours, a cut like tri-tip benefits from about 5 hours in the water bath at 133° F, but really doesn’t need any longer.

Water Bath Temperature: 131-134°F (55-56°C) for medium rare recommended. Learn more about additional steak temperatures.

Cook time: 2 to 6 hours (I prefer 5 hours)

Tips for the Best Results

  • Salt ahead of time (dry brine) at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours before cooking for maximum flavor.
  • Slice the tri-tip across the grain for maximum tenderness.
  • After the tri-tip is cooked sous vide, you can chill it and refrigerate it right in the bag for up to 5 days, or even freeze it to warm up and sear when you are ready.
  • Skip adding butter to the sous vide bag, as it will draw flavor away from the beef.

Serving Suggestions & Pairings

Tri-tip pairs perfectly with traditional barbecue sides like baked beans, grilled broccolini, or a fresh arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette to brighten everything up. Chimichurri sauce is excellent for drizzling over the steak, doubling down on herb flavor while cutting through the rich meat. Buttery sous vide potatoes and garlic green beans utilize the water bath for easy vegetable sides. Get more delicious veggie side dish ideas.

Leftovers are fantastic in tri-tip sandwiches. And if you love the sous vide version of this recipe, be sure to check out tri-tip on the grill.

sous vide tri tip close up vertical

Sous Vide Tri-Tip

Sous vide transforms the flavorful tri-tip into supremely tender, juicy perfection with ease. Just salt, pepper, herbs and the steak itself highlight this California cut's rich, beefy glory through the hands-off sous vide method.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 47kcal


  • 1 tri-tip steak (2-5 lbs)
  • kosher salt
  • herbs such as rosemary and thyme springs
  • ground black pepper
  • avocado oil tallow, etc for searing


  • Prep. Trim excess fat if necessary (often isn't needed), drizzle with a little oil and season generously with kosher salt on all sides. Add herbs to both sides of the steak in the bag.
  • Preheat the water bath to 131-134°F (55-56°C) for medium-rare.
  • Vacuum seal the steak or use the water displacement method with a ziplock freezer bag, removing as much air from the bag as possible for maximum contact with the water.
  • Cook sous vide. Place the vacuum-sealed tri-tip in the water bath and cook sous vide for 3 to 6 hours. The longer it cooks, the more tender it will get.
  • Remove from the water bath and cool slightly on the counter. (at this point, you can either sear to serve, refrigerate for up to a week or freeze to use later)
  • Remove the tri-tip from the bag, discard the liquid and pat both sides of the steak dry with paper towels. Season with some black pepper (and additional salt if desired) and any desired seasonings (be aware some can burn during the sear).
  • Sear. Preheat a heavy-bottom skillet over high heat with your range exhaust fan on high, or a grill until it starts to smoke. If using a skillet, add 1 tbsp of avocado oil, grapeseed oil, beef tallow, or other high smoke point oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Sear each side for about 60 to 90 seconds per side, until browned.
  • There's no need to rest the meat, just slice against the grain into 1/4" slices (or the desired thickness and serve with a sprinkle of finishing salt and your favorite sides.


  • For maximum flavor, season the tri-tip at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours prior to cooking.
  • Slice against the grain for the most tender bites.
  • I recommend cooking this cut to medium-rare, but if you want to cook it more, you can go 135 to 145° F for medium. See more steak temperature options.


Calories: 47kcal | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 90mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.