Steaming is a moist-heat cooking technique that food is cooked by surround it with hot steam in an enclosed environment. Once water is heated past the 212°F mark, it turns into steam. This cooking method has an advantage over methods such as boiling is that it doesn’t require the food to be submerged, so it avoids the loss of nutrients through leaching. And since there is no agitation involved, it’s gentler on delicate food like seafood.
Steaming is one of the effective cooking methods for retaining the most nutrients in vegetables and fish, all while supporting your health and delighting your palate. It doesn’t require a use of fats or oils and also takes a relatively short time. For the best result, it’s best to add a little seasoning first, whether that’s a squeeze of lemon juice or a sprinkle of salt. If the carcinogen-fighting glucosinolates in broccoli are important to you, some research suggests inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
Steaming is safer than some other common cooking techniques (such as frying) that require unhealthy oils and fats for a delicious meal. That said, this is a great choice for people who are conscious about the nutrients quality of the food they often make at home and parties.
The only downside? Maybe steaming doesn’t always taste great for some people. But if it’s not the case, then this effective and healthy cooking method is a great choice for food. It is an excellent alternative cooking method for some vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli since these vegetables can turn soggy when simmered.
So If you love this cooking method or you are planning to adopt it as your favorite cooking method, then finding a tool that can help steam vegetables and other whole grains makes sense and save you a lot of time in the kitchen. Using a vegetable steamer is considered the most effective and convenient way to do that. For this reason, this guide is made to provide you some information on choosing the best vegetable steamer that you will need to know before making the final decision. Keep on reading!
Top Picks Summary
- Sensible Needs TWO-PACK Vegetable Steamer Basket Set
- OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Steamer
- Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Steamer
- VonShef Premium 2 Tier Bamboo Steamer
- Oster 5712 Electric Steamer
- Sistema Microwave Cookware Steamer
- Sunsella Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer Basket
- Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Bamboo Steamer
- Cuisinart STM-1000 CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer
Best Vegetable Steamer Reviews
1. Sensible Needs TWO-PACK (Large and Standard) Vegetable Steamer Basket Set
Decent pricing, compactness, safety are some of the reasons that make this steamer a popular choice. This vegetable steamer set comes with two baskets: aside from standardly sized 5.3 – 9.5 inches one, you will get a larger 6.4 -10.5 inches vegetable steamer. Which means you can make as much or as little food as you want. Owners usually love the larger-sized item since it can be used for steaming everything – from large servings of broccoli to seafood like crab legs.
Both are made from 100% stainless steel, which means they will tolerate the high temperatures and resist rust but will maintain their elegance for a long while. They are dishwasher friendly, thus less mess when cleaning.
One thing you may find out when using these steamers is that the large steamer with 1.25-inch legs is better than the smaller one with 0.9-inch legs since you can pour more water in the pot when you cook and you will need to check the water level less often.
These vegetable steamer baskets are very compact that you can even store them directly in your large pots so they will take up no room at all. The set also comes with universal basket hook in order to make sure your hands will be at a safe distance from the steam and heat.
2. OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Steamer with Extendable Handle
I really like OXO products and this sturdy steamer does not disappoint in the least as it has all the attributes of a well-designed kitchen tool. In fact, it is loved by many owners thanks to its decent price and sturdy construction. It is easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and withstands everyday abuse.
Steaming food, contrary to boiling, makes it retain not just all of its natural taste, but also a higher nutritional value, which you can exactly achieve with the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Steamer. This product is ideal for vegetables, baby food, fish, corn, and other food items takes lesser space compared to a bamboo steamer. It features a high-grade stainless steel body so you don’t have to worry about rust, fading or it losing its appeal.
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Steamer has an adjustable design that fits various pots type up to 8-inches in diameter. It’s easy to fold it into a smaller diameter for low food volumes or increase it to larger size for large quantities. The OXO steamer has feet that elevate it 1 ¾” to allow for plenty of water in the bottom of the pan.
The OXO stainless steel steamer comes with a sturdy and extendable handle which is very convenient if you are steaming vegetables in a deep pot. Ideally, the lockable handle can be removed, which is the nice feature if you want to use the entire surface of the steamer for the whole fish. The removable handle also helps to keep hands away from hot steam and will lie flat when not in use.
3. Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 3-Quart Covered Stack ‘n’ Steam Saucepot and Steamer
Farberwave is a well-known brand which manufactures kitchen and household devices. It was founded over 100 years ago and went through management changes. Today, Farberware brand license belongs to Meyer Corporation which is one of the largest distributors of high-quality cookware in the world. Farberware manufactures non-electric and electric steamers, pots with steamer inserts from stainless steel which are in high demand.
This multi-purpose food steamer from Farberware is one of the most popular vegetable steamers for its versatility, durability, and simplicity. It is dishwasher safe and oven safe to 350°F. The bottom of the Farberware steamer is high enough from the bottom of the pot that I can put up to 4 inches of water without getting my vegetables wet.
There are some other great features of this kitchen device that you may also like:
- It’s made of 10/18 stainless steel with the aluminum core in its base. This ensures that food heats evenly for great results every time.
- The removable basket insert for steaming veggies, pasta, and potatoes
- The basket insert has its own Bakelite handles, so you don’t struggle to get it out.
With this 3-quart food steamer, you can steam anything from vegetables to meat. Just add some water in a sauce pot and steam vegetables or meats in the steamer insert.
Goof thickness to the steel, smooth matte-exterior and mirror-exterior finishes, good Bakelite handles that don’t get overly hot on the stove, nice rolled edges. For frugal buyers, this multi-purpose food steamer delivers excellent performance for a competitive price. However, this vegetable steamer is just the right size for small meals to full family dinners for four as the pot has a 3-quart capacity and the steamer basket has a 2-quart capacity.
4. VonShef Premium 2 Tier Bamboo Steamer
VonShef is a UK-based leading kitchenware manufacturer. With this traditional bamboo vegetable steamer, VonShef offers to improve the way you steam your food. This product provides the perfect way of adding a genuine authentic feel to the meals you prepare. It is made of traditional high-quality natural bamboo wood, which is sturdy, water-resistant, and able to produce high-quality results. Unlike other metal with nonstick coating, with the VonShef Premium 2 Tier Bamboo Steamer, you are sure that your food will not stick at the bottom.
The fact that it’s made of bamboo wood which not only helps to retain the moisture, the flavor of the food compared to the convention method, but also ensures that all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in your dishes are preserved for your health well-balanced. You can use it with a wok or over the pan sauce or stockpot. This is a very versatile vegetable steamer which is ideal for steam-vegetable, fish, dim sum, and couscous.
With the premium design featuring dual-rack, users can cook several dishes and food items simultaneously. VonShef also equips these baskets with the stainless steel ring bands that could protect the rim of the unit after multiple stackings.
When it comes to cleaning, this bamboo steamer is not dishwasher safe, but you can hand wash it with warm water and dry at the full-ventilated space.
This set comes with the tight-fitting lid made of the woven bamboo. This lid could trap the heat of your food, resulting in the warm food serving at the dinner table. Also, when you buy it, it comes with two free pairs of authentic bamboo chopsticks and 50 wax papers in the set to ensure a complete Chinese culinary experience. It’s ideal for a variety of cuisines.
5. Oster 5712 Electronic 2-Tier 6.1-Quart Food Steamer
If you’re going to steam food frequently or are planning to serve a crowd, an electric steamer can be a more convenient option than a stovetop steamer. Then the Oster 5712 Electric Steamer maybe a great option for you to consider.
As the name suggests, this electric steamer comes in a double-tier design consisting of two steaming bowls that let owners multitask on more than one meal at the same time. It’s time-saving and inexpensive.
The steamer has a capacity to holding 6.1 quarts of content. It has small and large steaming bowls have the capacity of 2.3 quarts and 3.8 -quart respectively. You can also use this steamer to make hard- or soft-cooked eggs by laying them on egg holders which come with this unit.
The Oster 5712 Electric Steamer comes with the transparent containers which allow you to check on the food’s progress without removing the lid and letting heat escape. There is a see-through external water fill system reservoir which can be filled and replenished externally. It also has a window that lets you monitor to make sure that the food steamer has enough water.
Other great features of the Oster 5712 Steamer:
- Stay warm – Once cooking is done, the steamer automatically switches to warm. This keeps your food at the right temperature for up to one hour. This feature helps eliminate your need to steam a second time.
- Large capacity – If you have a large family or you plan to entertain guests, you can actually depend on the capacity of this steamer. Since it can hold as much food inside its 2-tier compartment, so you don’t have to worry about cooking the same food for the second time.
- Drip pan compartments – Thanks to the wide drip pan of the unit, you can steam pork, chicken, beef without the fat. The steam eliminates all the unwanted fats out of your meats and diverts them into the drip pan located at the bottom of it.
- Delay cooking for up to 12 hours – If you want to program your cooking, the Oster 5712 Steamer features a user-friendly interface featuring an LCD display which allows you to preset your steaming for up to 12 hours.
In conclusion, this steamer has all the useful features which make cooking more convenient and healthier. Additionally, it has a white color which will easily blend in with any decor you might have in your kitchen.
6. Sistema Microwave Cookware Steamer
But what exactly is microwave steamer? This is a special kitchen tool that takes the design and form similar to a pot that you can stick it inside a microwave for cooking food. The microwave steamer has a design in which the water swirling around the container where the food is located instead of the water sitting right beneath your food.
Sistema Microwave cookware steamer has a 13.6 cup capacity, and its dimensions are 9.9×9.4×4.5-inches. The basket is constructed out of BPA-Free plastic that assures you of zero rust and contamination.
This cookware steamer is very easy to use – Simply fill the BPA-free plastic basket with veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, or brussels sprouts, add water into the base, snap the vented lid into place, and toss into the microwave. The steamer comes with easy locking clips and steam release vent to make way for splatter-free heating. If you’re pressed for meal prep but still want to prepare a healthy diet, this time-saving and easy-to-use microwave steamer will be a life-saver.
7. Sunsella Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer Basket
This model is a regular single no-additional stuff vegetable steamer. It comes at a low price and It is a great option for the ones who just want a simple and easy-to-clean vegetable steamer for daily use.
When you get this item from the package, you will find it collapsed. Just put your finger in the hold and pull it. It can work with most pans sizes thanks to expandable and collapsible wings.
It measures 5.3 inches in diameter in collapsed form but it can reach a diameter of 9.3 inches when fully expanded. it prepares 1-2 servings of food. Its ability to expand and collapse also saves users on storage space and you can even keep it in your dishware.
The Sunsella Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer Basket has a center post for easy removal and can also be unscrewed to accommodate large volumes. While other stainless steel models feature aluminum legs, this model features stainless steel legs that can scratch the non-stick coating of the pan. So it’s recommended to use stainless steel pan or pot with this unit.
For steaming: add some water in a pot (keep some distance between the water level and a basket so that water doesn’t reach your veggies). Cover the lid and steam for the required time until the desired softness. Since its legs are not long, you can’t add a lot of water and forget about it. With steamer with longer cooking time, you will have to watch the water level in your pot and add some more water if needed. The center post in the middle is not long, so be careful when you lift the unit to avoid burns.
Overall, this model from Sunsella is easy to use, compact and is made from the safest material – stainless steel. Not only it helps preserve the nutrients but also safeguard your health.
8. Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Bamboo Steamer
This classic Asian-style bamboo steamer from Helene’s Asian Kitchen is one of the best bamboo steamers for its ergonomic and user-friendly design. It is made of 100% expertly and tightly woven quality bamboo which is known for its high resilience with the heavy-duty cooking and does not bend in shape when exposed to heat. Such material also helps the owners to enjoy the safe cooking because it is more insulated compared to metal.
The 10-inch steamer has 2 tiers which can be used to steam a large quantity of dumplings or other foods. You can use the two tiers to steam two different parts of your meal at the same time.
This two-tier bamboo steamer is designed to trap sufficient steam for quick and efficient cooking, at the same time absorbing condensation so that food won’t get soggy. It also includes two racks of the steamer and the tight-fitting lid that could trap the heat in it for a long time.
You can use this bamboo steamer for steaming vegetables, fruits, seafood, and meats. It can be used for reheating and serving your favorite Chinese dim sum, Merican tortillas and more. This bamboo steamer is suitable for use as serving pieces at your dining table for fruits and pasties.
The Helene Chen’s Asian Kitchen Bamboo steamer is hand-crafted, it is recommended to clean it by hand with the warm water after use. In order to eliminate the bad odor, you can keep it dry at the well-ventilated place.
9. Cuisinart STM-1000 CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer, Stainless Steel
Cuisinart is a well-known manufacturer of small kitchen appliances and it has made a reputation of making the high-quality product. The Cuisinart STM-1000 steamer is no exception. It is an innovative digital food steamer that stands out from other options on our list. If you are looking for a convenient and healthier way to cook your food, you will love this powerful food steamer. It delivers from top-down, thereby cooking food evenly and quickly.
This stainless steel and glass steamer is stylish and sleek, but it still holds five liters of food which is enough to serve an average family portion of vegetables, chicken, fish, rice, and more. This steamer also has a one-liter water tank which helps with steaming. Its removable water tank enables you to refill the steamer anytime you feel your foods need additional water when the food steaming is on.
Besides boasting 5-liter glass pot, this steamer comes with pre-programmed steaming settings which is simple to use. You just need to choose a customized steaming program that suits your dish-press preset button and wait for it to cook. The Cuisinart STM-1000 steamer also features a large LCD control panel with helpful buttons. The user-friendly LCD panel is easy to understand that you can easily operate this machine. There are a start, pause, stop, and reheat buttons for your convenience.
This vegetable steamer is certainly expensive than most of the other vegetable steamers, but it delivers a great value for its money thanks to its wide range of premium features. With healthy cooking being the latest trends, this innovative steamer from Cuisinart will make it easy and quick.
What to look for when buying a vegetable and food steamer?
Capacity is a very important factor to consider when shopping for the best vegetable steamer since it determines how much you can cook at once. You may be fine with a steamer insert when you’re cooking for one. Larger options are better if you have a small family.
If the amount of food you steam varies each week, you will want to buy a steamer basket which is designed to expand and collapse to fit various sizes of pot. Such a vegetable steamer will allow you to make different amounts of food comfortably.
If you want to steam more than one type of food at once, you may want to choose a bamboo steamer or an electric steamer which comes in a few different sizes and have multiple tiers.
There are also some that are made to fit a specifically sized pot. For example, microwave steamers are fixed in size and tend to take up the most storage space.
Frequency of use
Another thing you will want to consider is how often you plan to use your food steamer. If you mostly eat out or you steam only on rare occasions, you want to consider a less expensive option such as a simple steam basket. However, if you plan to steam vegetables or other food daily, you will definitely want to buy a quality and effective steamer that can help you save time and money in the long run.
Ease of cleaning
Convenience is another factor to consider since some steamers are more hands-on than others. While stovetop steamers require you to monitor the cooking, electric models use timers so you don’t need to keep an eye on the cooking process as closely. Another ease of use aspect includes how easy it is to clean the food steamer. Dishwasher safe is a nice feature when it comes to cleaning.
When you have a large kitchen, then space is probably not a problem. Then you can feel free to purchase any steamer you want. If you are short on space, you probably want to go with a collapsible steaming basket.
One thing you will want to consider is what material you want. Many steamer baskets are either made from stainless steel or bamboo. These are both durable materials that have proved to be effective. The main difference between these two materials is that the bamboo steamer will change color with time, while a stainless steel model will remain the same even after years of use. Some steamers are made of plastic, such as microwave steamers. Electric models are made in a wide variety of materials, commonly with plastic inserts for the actual steaming process.
The type of materials used also impact the diversity of steamers. While stainless steel steamers are oven safe, other models can only be used on the stovetop.
The last factor to look at when choosing a material is the decor in your kitchen. You want to choose one that fits perfectly into the theme color and designs.
Food steamer types
The stovetop steamer is an insert which fits into of a saucepan or other pot which is filled with an inch or more of water. The food is placed in the insert, and the perforated base of the insert allows the steam to surround and heat the food. With this method, you will be required to keep monitor your food since it can easily overcook.
If All you want to steam is vegetables, especially if you’re a new cook, there is no reason to look any further than this type of steamer since they are inexpensive, easy to use, and most important, they work.
These types of food steamer can be found in some forms:
Steam saucepot and steamer
The Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 3-Quart Covered Stack ‘n’ Steam Saucepot and Steamer is a good example of this type. As the name suggests, this type of steamer includes a saucepot and a steamer which fits inside the saucepot. It also comes with a lid for steaming. Once a lid of the saucepot is closed, the food will be heated by the creation of steam. The lid which is often made from glass or from the same metal as the entire steamer. The metal lid is more protected from damage than the glass lid but it doesn’t allow you to monitor the cooking process without lifting it. Opening the lid will cause the escape of steam which often leads to a longer cooking process.
Steamer baskets come with two or three stackable baskets that have holes in the base to allow the steam to pass through them and cook the food.
The basket is often made of stainless steel so it wouldn’t rust and it is easy to clean as well. There are some steamer baskets made of silicone that won’t scratch anything, so if your pots are lined with Teflon or other non-stick coatings, you may want to choose these baskets.
You can also find legs on the bottom of these steamers which helps to keep the vegetables away from the pot.
There are two main types of steamer basket: fixed size and adjustable size.
- Fixed size steamers can fit only pots or pans of the same size, so you will be limited to what you can use for cooking. If you need a steamer for one purpose only, the fixed size steamer may be for you, otherwise, get an adjustable one.
- Adjustable size steamers are expandable and can fit various sized pots. They can be opened easily with one finger.
This type of steamer is designed for use in a microwave. It can be made of different microwave safe materials such as plastic, ceramic, silicone. Because it functions in the microwave, it steams food quickly and timing can be regulated easily. The microwave steamer offers 2 types of cooking processes at the same time: steaming and cooking by microwaves.
Bamboo steamer has been most commonly used in Asia. And similar to a steamer basket, this version of the steamer is placed in a cooking vessel and uses very little water. It usually consists of 2 or 3 equal size baskets sitting on the top of each other. It also has a lid, so it’s possible to place this in any style of cooking vessel that is large enough to accommodate it.
With the bamboo steamer, you will enjoy the fact that you can steam more than one dish at the same time.
However, this type of steamer cannot be used directly on the stove or other heating equipment. It requires a cooking vessel bigger size than the steamer or wok. Add a little water in the bottom of the pot. Leave at least 2 inches between water and first bottom basket in order to make sure water is not reaching the food. Close the lid and then wait for it to steam.
As with other steamers, place food items which are required longer cooking time on first the bottom steaming basket, so you can remove upper baskets with vegetables when they are done.
Really, an electric steamer is meant to make life easier but they do come with a price tag. So, If you plan on steaming large batches of food or different types of food at the same time, then consider the electric steamer. It is the latest and greatest when it comes to steaming in your own home and can be found with stackable, perforated trays or divided. It features a warm function which keeps your food warm while the rest of the meal is prepared.
These steamers tend to look like crock pots, and they have multiple levels so you can steam more than one thing at once. For example, you can have a batch of grains cooking and then just before they are finished, add the next layer to steam some vegetables.
The brilliance of the electric steamer is you can just set it and walk away until the timer goes off.
Add enough water to a chamber, water is heated by a heating element until it turns into steam.
There’re some rice cookers or multi cookers that have a steamer function. Stovetop pressure cookers or electric pressure cookers often include a steamer tray and can be used as a food steamer. So if you can afford one, I really recommend you get yourself a 3-in-1 cooker – that means it’s a steamer, a slow cooker, a pressure cooker all rolled into one, for example, the Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use. You pay one price for one small appliance and you can use it to steam veggies, steam delicate grains, to slow cook soups, and to pressure cook beans and some grains.