Steaming is a moist-heat cooking technique that involves enveloping food in a steamy vapor to cook it. Using this method, you can cook without using any oil or fat at all. Many foods can be prepared using the steamed or roasted method.
A stovetop and electric steamers come in a variety of configurations. This list includes both stand-alone electric models and inserts that can be used in pots you already own, so you don’t have to buy a new appliance if you don’t need one.
These are the best food steamers, according to our experts.
Our Top Picks
What Is Food Steamer?
A food steamer is one of the most practical and functional kitchen appliances available. It is a sealed container with a series of tiers stacked one atop the other. It is constructed to cook food with steam heat.
For instance, in a stovetop steamer, the insert fits into or on top of a saucepan containing hot water. The food to be cooked is placed within the insert. The insert’s perforated base allows steam to surround and heat the food.
Although using a food steamer may appear simple, it requires patience and a few hours of practice before you can master this healthy cooking method.
Benefits Of Using Food Steamer
- Food steamers offer the following benefits in addition to their practicality:
- It saves time – Rapidly prepares food and is simple to operate.
- It requires minimal supervision – A timer is included.
- Cooking healthily. Successfully locks in most nutrients and preserves the natural vitamins and minerals.
- Maintains the food’s structure. The structure and color of vegetables remain intact.
- Many consider this to be the healthiest method of cooking.
- Time, money, and effort are saved.
- Compared to other cooking methods, this one requires minor cleanup and is less messy.
What to Look for When Buying a Food Steamer
Every online shopper has a preconceived notion of what he intends to purchase. Knowing what to buy is insufficient; you must also see the product characteristics necessary to meet your purchase criteria. A buyers guide aims to help you make the best purchasing decision possible by facilitating selection.
BPA Free Ceramic
When purchasing a food steamer, the absence or presence of bisphenol A (BPA) should be the first consideration. It is almost always included in the product description. Most BPA-free steamers are made from either stainless steel or glass. These allow you to cook without BPA, but they are also much more durable than plastic ones. Knowing that it does not contain BPA is a step in the right direction towards protecting yourself and your health.
Its capability is determined by the amount of food it can hold and prepare. The capacity should be sufficient to keep your ingredients and prepare a family meal. The capacity of a steamer can range between 5 and 9.5 quarts. Depending on the size of your family or the number of people you intend to feed will determine the size of your turkey.
If you choose a large-sized steamer, it will suffice even if the item you wish to steam is small, whereas a small-sized steamer will be ineffective whenever you need to cook something substantial.
Electric or Stovetop
There are two types of steamers: electric and stovetop. The stovetop steamer is an insert that fits inside or on top of a saucepan or other pot containing one to two inches of simmering water. The food is placed in the insert, and the insert’s perforated base allows steam to heat and surround the food. These types of steamers are available in the following configurations:
- Folding or collapsible (often stainless steel or silicone) raised platforms to sit at the bottom of a pot.
- Like a double boiler, a perforated metal pan fits within a saucepan.
- A bamboo basket designed to fit in a wok.
Electric steamers, meanwhile, are available with stackable, perforated trays or compartments that allow for the simultaneous steaming of large quantities of food or different types of food. A chamber is filled with water, and a heating element transforms the water into steam. Some kitchen appliances, including rice cookers and multicookers, include a steamer function. Electric pressure cookers and stovetop pressure cookers typically come with a steamer tray that can be used as a steamer.
Electric steamers make the task simple, as you only need to add water and food and turn on the steamer; however, you should consider whether you will use it frequently enough to justify the counter or storage space it requires.
Number of tiers
Consider the quantity and variety of foods that you intend to steam simultaneously. Multiple-tiered steamers allow for the separation of certain foods from others. In addition, you can add and remove foods at different times if one is done before the others are ready.
Depending on your cooking style, special features may enhance the value of a steamer. Consider whether your steamer has additional functions, such as a timer or the ability to dry food.
1. Best Overall: Hamilton Beach Digital Food Steamer for Quick, Healthy Cooking with Stackable Two-Tier Bowls
- 5.5 quarts of cooking capacity
- Includes 2 steaming bowls plus rice basket for rice or small foods
- Stackable 2-tier steaming
- DIGITAL TOUCHPAD
- FITS NEATLY IN CABINETS
- DELAY START timer
- Rice bowl and drip tray are dishwasher safe
|Color||Black & Stainless Steel|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||13.7 x 7.28 x 12.6 inches|
|Item Weight||3.97 Pounds|
It's satisfying to consume a home-cooked meal, but using multiple pots and complicated ingredients can take time and effort. Thankfully, food steamers facilitate healthy eating for individuals and families. To determine if this popular 5.5-quart model from Hamilton Beach was up to the task, we tested it at home by steaming meats, vegetables, and more and then evaluating design and performance features. Read on to discover our insights.
- Includes two steaming trays
- Can steam taller items
- Steam delay setting
- Easy-to-use timer
- Trays are made of plastic
- Warm mode continues to cook food
Even though this item has a capacity of 5.5 quarts, its dimensions of 13.7 x 7.28 x 12.2 inches do not require much counter space. We love that the steamer has two separate baskets so we can cook meats and vegetables at the same time and that the base of the top basket can be removed to accommodate taller foods such as corn on the cob.
We also think it's cool that you can steam eggs in the baskets' indentations. In addition, a drip tray and rice bowl are provided.
We found this steamer to be easy to store when not in use due to its small footprint. In addition, for added efficiency, the rice bowl can be stored within the top steamer basket.
However, it is essential to note that the steaming baskets are made entirely of plastic, so if you dislike cooking food in plastic, this steamer may not be for you (though the plastic itself is food safe).
This digital steamer has a delay start timer that I can set from 30 minutes to 24 hours in the future. The maximum steam time is one hour, but I just added water and reset the timer because tamales can take up to two hours to steam. When the timer expires, the unit enters "warm" mode for up to one hour.
If I am not vigilant and the water level drops too low, the unit will sound an alarm and display "Lo." To add water, merely pull out the water drawer and fill it. There is a viewing window so I can constantly observe the water level.
To help users determine how long to steam specific foods, Hamilton Beach includes suggested steaming times in the instruction manual. Following the manufacturer's instructions, we steamed broccoli, a household favorite, and green beans in the upper basket while simultaneously steaming salmon in the lower basket.
We believed that this steamer performed flawlessly. The broccoli was tender, the green beans had the ideal balance of tenderness and crunch, and the roasted salmon was flaky and cooked to perfection. We also enjoyed steamed rice (using the included insert), carrots and potatoes, and even pears that had been steamed.
Before testing this steamer, we steamed food using a stovetop basket, but this product won us over. We discovered that it provided the same level of cooking quality while consuming significantly less energy and being easier to clean.
Cleaning the Hamilton Beach 5.5-Quart Digital Steamer is relatively simple. The drip tray and rice basket are dishwasher safe, while the bottoms of the steamer baskets are removable, making them particularly easy to clean. We recommend cleaning the steamer basket immediately after cooking food, especially when steaming protein, as these items can adhere and become more difficult to clean over time.
Should you buy Hamilton Beach Digital Food Steamer?
The Hamilton Beach 5.5-Quart Digital Steamer is the ideal solution if you're interested in preparing meals without spending a great deal of money on appliances or time on cleanup. This is precisely what you need for basic steaming, and the budget-friendly price is unbeatable.
2. Best Stovetop: Anolon Classic Stainless Steel Steamer Insert with Lid, Silver
- UNIVERSAL STEAMER INSERT: Made of durable stainless steel, this steamer insert fits both tulip and straight-sided 2-quart, 3-quart and 4-quart sauce pots
- LOCK IT IN: Stainless steeel steamer lid provides a snug fit to lock in heat for perfectly steamed foods
- EASY TO HANDLE: Dual riveted handles are large enough to grip this steamer when moving around the kitchen
- TURN IT UP: The universal steamer insert is oven safe to 500 degrees F, making it easy to finish cooking in the oven
- EASY TO CLEAN STEAMER: Designed for convenience, this steamer insert and lid are dishwasher safe for easy cleanups
|Product Dimensions||10.98 x 8.23 x 6.69 inches|
|Item Weight||2.13 pounds|
The Anolon Classic universal stainless steel steamer insert with a lid allows you to steam like a pro. This durable stainless steel universal insert fits tulip and straight-sided cookware with ease. This steamer set includes a stainless steel steamer lid that seals in heat and flavor, making it ideal for steaming tamales, lobster, or linguine for pasta night. This steamer set is oven safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
- Stainless steel construction
- Fits a variety of pot sizes
- Fits a variety of pot sizes
- Can steam only one type of food at a time
This steamer insert fits virtually all 2-, 3-, and 4-quart saucepans, including those with straight and tulip-shaped sides. The steamer rests on the sides of the pot, allowing the food in the steamer bowl to remain close to the simmering water.
The steamer is made of stainless steel and has a shatter-resistant glass lid that fits snugly and keeps steam contained while allowing you to observe the cooking process.
Even if they are not the same brand, a simple design works well in numerous pots. Excellent quality and depth. Approximately the volume of a three-quart saucepan. Depending on the type of food cooked, all steamers can become stained.
Compared to another brand I own, all handles seem to get quite warm, and I'm surprised that more people haven't complained. I've observed designs with superior heat dissipation.
The lid and steamer are dishwasher safe. The steamer can be used in an oven up to 500 degrees if you need it.
It is ideal for one or two people, accommodates various pans, and has a glass lid. Yes, the handles become warm, but I have oven mitts, so it's not a problem. It is not more difficult to clean than my stainless steel pans.
I frequently steam vegetables while simultaneously reheating rice (on top of the vegetables) in the steamer, and the rice does not fall through the holes. I believe this basket cooks my vegetables faster than my previous mesh basket.
It's straightforward to clean and sits high enough in the pot that I can add a couple of inches of water below it and not worry as much about the pot boiling dry, which is an excellent feature for an easily distracted cook like me.
The stainless steel is simple to clean, and the glass lid fits snugly so that steam does not escape around the edges. The handle is made of metal, so it does become hot; use a potholder to grasp it.
It's lovely that there's no plastic involved, as heating food in plastic is generally not considered very safe, so the all-metal construction is ideal for this purpose.
Should you buy Anolon Classic Stainless Steel Steamer?
This is well worth the price, in my opinion. Many of the folding steamer baskets were flimsy and prone to disintegration. With this steamer insert, we have more control over the amount of food that can be steamed than we did with the little folding basket steamers that we previously used.
It's well-made, simple to clean, and convenient to store (which is excellent for those with limited space, as it can sit in one of your pots when being stored and is versatile with three pot sizes).
3. Best High-End: Cuisinart STM-1000 Cook Fresh Digital Glass Steamer
- Powerful steam system and glass lid with stainless steel rim
- 5L dishwasher-safe glass pot
- 5 preprogrammed food settings: seafood, poultry, grains, vegetables, and manual
- 60-minute countdown timer, LCD control panel, audible alert and start/stop, pause & reheat buttons
- 1L removable water tank and stainless steel steaming tray flips to hold different types of food
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||13.74 x 13.23 x 9.37 inches|
|Item Weight||15.75 Pounds|
The new Cook Fresh Digital Glass Steamer from Cuisinart will appeal to consumers seeking a healthier cooking method. A powerful steam system delivers steam from the top-down, allowing the food to be cooked rapidly and evenly.
The capacity of the 5-liter glass cooking pot is sufficient for family-sized portions of vegetables, fish, chicken, rice, and other foods. The 1-liter water tank of the steamer is also easily removable for refilling. Cuisinart's new glass steamer makes healthy cooking simple and convenient.
- Glass steaming basket is dishwasher-safe
- Reservoir holds 1 liter of water
- Presets for different types of food
- Steams food evenly
- Only comes with one steamer basket
This steamer has a five-liter glass cooking pot, a stainless steel steaming tray, and a glass lid with stainless steel trim if you dislike cooking in plastic. All components are dishwasher-safe for simple cleanup.
The LCD control panel's start/stop, pause, and reheat buttons and its pre-programmed food settings make cooking simple. You can also manually set the controls for customized cooking.
The steaming system surrounds the food with steam from the top-down, cooking it quickly and evenly. The water tank is detachable to facilitate filling. The steamer tray's two handles make it simple to remove the cooked food.
I've steamed tilapia, cod, rainbow trout, shrimp, scallops, and lobster, and they've all turned out PERFECT! The flavor is incomparably superior to frying, grilling, or baking, and the food is never dry or greasy.
The delicate flavor of the tilapia remains in the steam, which is so flaky. Scallops are tricky for me to pan fry and get perfect every time, but I've steamed them three times in this steamer, and they've come out perfect every time, with a sweet flavor and without being greasy complex or dry.
I tried lobster on the grill and in the oven. Again, it is difficult to be consistent (and it makes me cry if I mess it up, as lobster is not the cheapest seafood), and the grill takes away some sweetness with smokiness...but in the steamer...turn it on, dial to seafood, press start, and in 10 minutes it is PERFECT!All seafood can be cooked in 10 minutes (thin fish fillets may require 8 minutes, but a quick reference guide is provided for various food types).
It's also a cinch to tidy up! For the most part, it consists of just a metal tray on which food is placed, a bowl, and a glass lid. Once the steaming is done, I turn the water tank upside down and put foil over the connector.
So I can use the remaining distilled water later (though I'm not sure I'm supposed to, it has no smell, and I've been steaming every few days) and then rinse it out thoroughly when it's time to refill it.
Should you buy Cuisinart Digital Glass Steamer?
Thanks to this steamer, I can now consistently prepare food. It is incredibly well-made, and the large water reservoir is handy. I use bottled water rather than tap water because the water where I live is "harder." The presets adequately functioned, and the stainless grating is rust-free and easy to clean. The base and lid are constructed primarily of sturdy glass. Oh, and the vegetables are so crisp and flavorful. Oh, and steamed dumplings in this dish are fantastic.
I am delighted with my purchase and its performance. A bit pricey but significantly superior to plastic alternatives. In addition, be sure to drain your reservoir and leave it upside down by the sink for a couple of minutes before storing it. Take your base to the sink and dump it to drain the water.
4. Best Compact: OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer
- High walls keep contents contained and away from boiling water, while stay-cool handles allow for stable transfer
- Pleats allow steamer flex accommodating pots that have a 7″ diameter or greater
- Flexible handles fold inward and lock in place allowing the use of lids on pots
- Ideal for use in pressure cookers
- High walls keep contents contained and away from boiling water
- Large capacity with flat bottom fits larger items such as fillets of fish
- Steamer rolls up and handles hook onto feet for compact storage
- Dishwasher safe
|Product Dimensions||7.25 x 3.75 x 10.5 inches|
|Item Weight||8.2 ounces|
|Country of Origin||China|
|Item model number||1142380|
The OXO GG Silicone Steamer makes steaming easy in the microwave and stovetop. High walls prevent food from falling into boiling water, and the steamer's large center makes it ideal for fish fillets and other large foods. The steamer's flexible pleats allow it to fit into various pot sizes.
Silicone feet elevate and stabilize the steamer over water and do not scratch glass or non-stick cookware, making it ideal for both. Flexible handles fold inward to accommodate the pot lid and remain cool to the touch for transporting food safely and securely. The steamer's one-piece construction makes it simple to clean, and its handle allows it to be rolled up for compact storage.
- Rolls up for compact storage
- Silicone construction
- Fits in a variety of pots and cookers
- Small capacity
This silicone steamer fits into any pot with a 7-inch or larger diameter, and it rolls up for easy storage if you don't want another appliance on your counter. The stay-cool handles make lowering food into the pot simple.
This steamer can be used both on the stovetop and in an Instant Pot or another electric pressure cooker, multicooker, or rice cooker. The handles interlock to keep them out of the way when closing the cooker's lid.
Silicone is naturally nonstick, making it simple to clean and dishwasher safe. Additionally versatile, it can be used in the microwave.
I specifically purchased this item for use in my InstantPot. I was dissatisfied with my old stainless steel steamer because I use my InstantPot frequently to prepare hard-boiled eggs, steamed vegetables, fish, etc. This is suitable for larger stovetop pots, but the legs were tall, and the handles were absent. This steamer is ideal for my requirements.
Some of the negative reviews mention the shortness of the legs. If you wish to bring water to a boil in a stovetop pot and steam there, the answer is likely yes.
But in pressure cookers, you don't use a lot of liquid, which makes more sense and provides more usable space. You would probably be better off using one of those bamboo steamers as a stovetop pot. I possess one, and it is flawless. You can fill a large pot with water and steam whatever is in the steamer without constantly monitoring it.
It has a high wall, is easy to clean (dishwasher safe), is easy to store, and provides a convenient method for steaming small vegetables and other foods. It has been run through the dishwasher twice, used for pressure cooking twice, and boiled once. So far, so good. No unpleasant odors or odors after washing.
Should you buy OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer?
This steamer basket is unbelievable! This oxo silicone steamer is perfect for my 6-quart instant pot! Initially, I had purchased a generic metal steamer basket for the instant pot, but it was of poor quality and left black residue all over my produce, even after cleaning.
I didn't think the sides of this OXO steamer were high enough, but I could still fit a lot inside. It fits easily in a 6-quart instant pot (make sure you overlap and lock the handles as designed). I adore this product and strongly endorse it.
5. Best Budget: BELLA Two Tier Food Steamer
BELLA Two Tier Food Steamer is the optimal and healthiest method for preparing your favorite foods. This health-oriented cooking method eliminates unnecessary calories and cooking additives/oils, allowing you to live a healthier and cleaner lifestyle!
The BELLA Food Steamer prepares your preferred meats, vegetables, and grains with a simple turn of a knob. Add water, place food in the cooking basket, and set the cooking timer. Voila! In less than an hour, you'll be able to enjoy your succulent and flavorful meal.
- 7L capacity provides ample space to cook various items simultaneously
- Removable base and stackable trays offer convenient storage
- Easy-to-read water level indicator makes it convenient to operate
- The tray is difficult to clean
BELLA Two Tier Food Steamer allows for the simultaneous preparation of multiple types of food. The two baskets are see-through, allowing you to see what is being steamed.
The design highlights this steamer's versatility. It has two levels that permit you to perform multiple cooking functions. The timer is a unique feature that allows you to set the appropriate cooking time for your food, preventing it from becoming overcooked or undercooked. A grain tray and two containers with lids are included in the design.
Water is indispensable to the steaming process. This steamer tank's reservoir has a window that displays the water level. This feature eliminates the need to guess whether the water will soon evaporate.
How quickly or slowly something is steamed determines the cooking time. The heating system permits food to begin cooking within seconds. This heating system can be used to steam red meat, fish, vegetables, shellfish, and poultry.
By separating two distinct food types, you can prepare different dishes while preserving the ingredients and flavor of the foods by separating meat and vegetables, heating them in a basket, and preserving their original flavor and freshness.
This BELLA Two Tier Food Steamer performed just as well as the Hamilton Beach 5.5 Quart model when we cooked fish, chicken, potatoes, and rice. The 6 ounces of fish we cooked in 15 minutes had an excellent texture, flaked easily with a fork, and tasted delicious.
We found that chicken steamed in general was subpar, but this steamer produced the best chicken overall. The chicken that had been marinated was thoroughly cooked, juicier, and tastier than those that had not been marinated.
BELLA Two Tier Food Steamer produced tasty potatoes, but the garlic did not come through as strongly as other steamers. As a vegetable steamer, however, the BELLA made a quality product: tender potatoes but not mushy and thoroughly cooked.
However, the rice was the best rice we've ever tasted from a food steamer. The texture and level of moisture were ideal. Even more surprising was that the suggested cooking time was only 20 minutes.
When the predetermined time expires, features such as auto-shutoff assist with powering down. The steam basket and rice cup are both dishwasher-safe and straightforward to clean.
BELLA Two Tier Food Steamer didn't require much time to clean; the pieces were simple to wash by hand. However, holes allow steam to pass through the tiers and cook the food as with all steamers. However, food can become trapped in these holes, making cleaning more challenging. Except for the base, all of the components are dishwasher-safe. If you have limited space on your countertops or in your cabinets, the rice bowl and the lower tier can fit inside the upper tier for more compact storage.
Should you buy BELLA Two Tier Food Steamer?
It is highly user-friendly and practical. I've always disliked using a stove because they're hot, making cleanup difficult, and they always create a mess, but not with this device. The quality of meals I can prepare about the time and effort required for preparation and cleanup is astounding.
The only thing I dislike about this is the "fill tray" where new water is supposed to be added. Thankfully, that item is both useless and pointless.
You can easily remove the top pieces and have direct access to the water basin, and if it's close to the sink like mine, you can extend the faucet hose and directly fill the water basin.
It's quick and easy; if you couldn't do this and had to use the fill tray to add water, I probably would have returned the product, such as the fill tray's ineffectiveness. The water basin is large enough to steam root vegetables simultaneously. I typically prepare green vegetables once per day and replenish the water every day.
Best Food Steamer To Help You Prepare Healthy Meals - FAQs
Vegetables, meat, and seafood are the most popular foods to cook with steam. Tender proteins, such as lean fish fillets and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, steam more effectively than tough proteins, such as steak.
Peaches and pears, for example, hold up well to steam cooking, whether you’re preparing a cooked fruit compote to top pancakes or your baby purees.
The tightly woven lid of bamboo steamers prevents steam from escaping. Bamboo absorbs some of the excess moisture during cooking, preventing the steam from condensing back into water and dripping onto your food.
Although not strictly a kitchen necessity, electric steamers are indispensable for some. Frequently, steamers are purchased for health reasons, as steaming is believed to preserve more vitamins and nutrients than boiling. It is a significantly gentler cooking method than most, preserving the flavor and texture of all foods.
Bring the water to a boil in your steamer/wok. Place the dumplings about 1 inch apart to allow for expansion. Once the water is boiling, add the dumplings, cover, and steam for 8 to 10 minutes over medium to medium-high heat. The water must be simmering sufficiently to produce steam.
Because vegetables do not meet boiling water, steaming is a gentler cooking method. Peas, cauliflower, and zucchini are particularly susceptible to nutrient loss during boiling, losing more than 50 percent of their antioxidants, according to a 2009 study.
According to Dudash, steaming food is a healthy method of preparation. While boiling completely submerges vegetables in water, causing some nutrients, such as vitamin C, B vitamins, and antioxidants, to leach into the water, steaming helps retain more of these nutrients.”
Choose a steamer that is two inches smaller in diameter than the pan you’re using. Use wax paper or parchment paper as a liner to prevent food from sticking. When cooking multiple types of food (such as meats and vegetables), place those with the longest cooking time on the lowest tier.
Keeping a food steamer clean is relatively simple, as no cooking oils or sauces are involved. According to the manufacturer’s instructions, removable steamer bowls, trays, and lids may be cleaned by hand or by dishwasher. Before cleaning, ensure that the steamer is turned off and cool to the touch.
Steaming is a great way to cook food without destroying any nutrients, and it’s also relatively easy to execute. Bring water to a boil, place vegetables in a steamer, and allow the steam to cook the vegetables.
Some plastic steamers advertise that they are BPA-free, but the truth is that plastic is not safe for cooking. Even if it does not contain BPA, it may still leach other chemicals into food.
Electric food steamers are renowned for their spacious interiors and numerous baskets. With a large basket, you can steam a great deal of food for many people. It is highly secure and healthy.
Food steamers are an excellent way to prepare nutritious and flavorful meals. Especially if you plan to utilize them frequently, they are an investment worth making.
They cook food with steam from heated water. In a short time, you and your family will be able to enjoy delicious and nutritious meals.
These appliances are simple to operate. Just add water and food, and you’re good to go. Food steamers range between $50 and $200 in price.
The price depends on the product’s size and characteristics. Determine your needs to select the appropriate food steamer.
Obtain one immediately and share your experience. We are interested in hearing about it!
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