12 Best Food Steamers (Review) In 2021
- The Best Food Steamer
- 1. BELLA 7.4 Quart Healthy Food Steamer
- 2. Hamilton Beach 5.5 Quart Digital Food Steamer
- 3. Cuisinart Digital Glass Steamer
- 4. Oster Sangerfield Stainless Steel Steamer Set
- 5. Rosewill BPA-Free 3 Tier Electric Food Steamer
- 6. Consevisen Steamer Basket
- 7. OXO Stainless Stell Good Grips Steamer
- 8. Secura Electric Double Tiered Food Steamer
- 9. Joseph Joseph Lotus Steamer Basket
- 10. Magic Chef 3 Tier Electric Food Steamer
- 11. OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer
- 12. Komfyko Steamer Basket
Are you fed up with overcooked food? Or want to try a healthier way of home cooking? Or maybe you just want to spend less time in the kitchen but still eat well. The steam cooker could be your solution.
Steaming food means cooking with the steam that comes off boiling water. This is opposed to the more traditional method of boiling, which can result in overcooked, soggy vegetables that are neither delicious nor nutritious.
Steam cooking is one of the healthiest ways to prepare food, as you do not need to add any oils or fats, and it retains all the natural nutrients and vitamins of the foods.
If you considered trying steam cooking before but were overwhelmed by all the options out there, you are not alone. Steam cookers come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from basic steam inserts up to high-tech electric models. Here, we define some of the characteristics of the different options available and identify the key features to consider when choosing the best food steamer for you.
The Best Food Steamer
7.4 quarts (7 liters) cooking capacity
Two separate steaming containers
Auto shutoff & boil dry protection
All containers are dishwasher safe
Guess-free steaming guide chart
Quick start heating system
Our best electric steam cooker choice, the Bella Healthy Food Steamer is a safe, user-friendly model. The ability to cook multiple dishes simultaneously is an advantage. It also helps if you need to prepare for different dietary requirements, for example, meat in one basket and vegetarian in the other.
The design isn’t overly appealing, but it is great value for a lightweight multi-basket machine that you can use without worrying. The transparent water view window allows you to see if the water level is running low, and the shutoff/boil dry protection feature means that you can program your timer and then relax while it works its magic.
Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
Auto shut down
Ready to steam in 30 seconds
Easy to use timer
Recipe guidance included
Not the most attractive design
The water reservoir is very shallow
One of the best features of this electric food model is the guess-free guide that comes printed on the outside of the machine. This makes it even easier to get the best steamed food.
Versatile, stackable 2-tier steaming
Centre divider option
Keep warm setting
5.5quart (5litre) volume
Timer delay option
Hamilton Beach Digital Food Steamer comes with a vast array of useful features. The digital control allows you to program the time quickly, and also has a time delay function, so you can set it to start cooking even before you get home!
With the keep warm function, you don’t have the stress of having to precisely set your steamer to finish cooking at precisely the same time as other non-steamed dishes. This makes co-ordinating your meals a whole lot easier!
Comes with dishwasher safe drip tray and rice bowl
Automatic warming keeps food warm once cooked
Nesting storage to save space
Centre divider can split a container in two to cook a variety of items at one time
Easy to refill the water reservoir
Food containers are not dishwasher safe
The Hamilton Beach product is affordable and easy to store with additional features that make steam cooking a large quantity of food a breeze.
The only downside is that not all containers are dishwasher safe, so there is an element of washing by hand involved.
Powerful steam system
5litre (5.2quart) dishwasher-safe pot
Five pre-programmed food settings
Start/stop, pause & reheat buttons
LCD control panel
1L removable water tank
Keep warm function
stainless steel steaming tray
The Cuisinart Digital Glass Steamer is our premium pick for an electric food steamer. While it comes with a higher price tag than many other machines, it is robust, professional-looking, and highly adaptable in terms of cooking times. With start, stop pause, reheat, or keep warm options and an easy to read timer, perfect steam cooking is highly achievable. There are five pre-programmed settings, including a manual option, so lots of flexibility around cooking times.
Although it only comes with one tier, and no rice cooker basket, the cooking container itself has a capacity of 5 liters, so cooking for a family of four shouldn’t be an issue. The large water reservoir also means that you will not need to refill it during a 1-hour cooking cycle.
Pre-program settings for perfect cooking
Glass container – heavy duty and no concerns about cooking with plastic
Pausing and reheating options give you flexibility on cooking time
Only one tier
Takes up a lot of work surface space
If you are someone that plans to do a lot of steam cooking, the features and robustness of this machine could make it the best food steamer option for you.
3-quart casserole dish with steamer insert and lids
Stainless steel base for even heating
Vented glass lid for easy monitoring of the cooking
Additional purpose as a Dutch oven
As an alternative to an electric steamer, Oster Stainless Steel Steamer is our best cookware pick. It is incredibly easy to use. Simply boil water in the casserole pot and place the steamer pot on top. As it is stackable, it doesn’t take up much room and comes with a glass lid so you can see your cooking in progress.
The Oster stainless steel set is excellent value for money as it can be used as a food steamer, and also as a stand-alone pan, so you don’t need to invest in an additional sauce pan.
Bottom casserole pan can be used as a pot on its own, even when not steam cooking
Incredibly simple to use
No timer or programs
Not suitable for induction use
Of course, with it being a stovetop steamer, there are no additional functions in terms of timers or programming, so you will need to keep an eye on the cooking process.
3-tier stackable BPA-free transparent baskets
BPA free rice cooker bowl
9.5 quarts (9L) capacity
Steam generation in under 40 seconds
60-minutes timer with safety auto-off when water is empty
Water level indicator with see-through water-fill inlets on both sides for easy water refilling
Dishwasher safe baskets
Built-in egg holder
Rosewill Electric Food Steamer is the best value option for an electric food steamer, primarily for the amount of space and additional features you get for the money.
The three different tiers give you a total of 9L cooking capacity, yet the nesting design means that it takes up minimum storage space. It also comes with an egg holder for up to six eggs and a rice cooker bowl, all BPA free, meaning there are very few things that it won’t safely steam.
Transparent design to monitor cooking and water levels
Switches off automatically when water tank is empty
Guaranteed BPA free, so no harmful plastic exposure
No keep warm or reheat function
Rosewill has a functional rather than an aesthetic design, equipped with transparent containers, two water inlets for easy refilling, and dishwasher safe construction. It also is ready to use in less than 40 seconds.
The ink printed numbers and images on the steamer may fade quite quickly, but this product is still excellent value for money and easy to use.
High-quality stainless steel petals
Food grade plastic handle
Silicone feet – doesn’t scratch
Opens up for cooking and folds compactly for storage
Central handling post helps easy insertion into the cooking pots and safe removal from the boiling water
Can be used as a strainer or fruit container
A simple basket design, Consevisen Steamer can expand to up to 9 inches and collapse down to 5 inches, giving you versatility over the size of pot you place it in. The long plastic handle in the center of the basket makes it easy to remove from the pan once cooking is completed without burning yourself, and the silicon feet should stop the steam from scratching your pans.
It is one of the best vegetable steamers, although not ideal for steaming larger items of food. This steamer could double up as a strainer if you wanted.
You May Also Like: Best Salad Spinners
Takes up minimal space
Comes with a money-back guarantee
Adjustable size to fit in many different pots
Not dishwasher safe
It is worth noting that there is a small amount of self-assembly for this product, which essentially involves three screws and while it says is it safe to put in the dishwasher, we would recommend handwashing and thoroughly drying to preserve its quality.
Handle hole for a fork to protect you from burns
Fits pots 8″ in diameter and up
Feet to elevate steamer above water
Easy to clean
Stainless steel construction
Similar to the Consevisen model, OXO Stainless Stell Steamer basket sits inside a pot of boiling water, although it is larger in diameter and more suitable for pots bigger than 8-inches.
The retractable handle feature means that it extends to help you remove or place the steamer inside the pot, but then retracts to allow the pot lid to close. It is a nice feature, although the handle does get pretty hot, so we recommend using oven gloves or a fork to help grab hold of the stem once cooking is completed.
Can be put in the dishwasher
Handle helps with transportation without consuming much cooking surface space
Handle gets hot
Stainless steel with stay-cool handles
15 seconds to generate steam
Stackable 2-tier containers
8.5litre (9quart) capacity
The Secura Electric Food Steamer is another electric steamer that can cook multiple dishes at one time. With an 8.5l capacity when both tiers are in use and ultra-quick heating ability, you can prepare family meals in next to no time.
There are no pre-programmed settings, but there is an auto shut off function should water run dry function and a delay start option if you want it to start cooking before you get home.
Very quick to heat up
Stay-cool handles make it easier to move the tiers
Delay start function
Prone to rust
Rice bowl not included
The stay-cool handles are definitely a bonus and not standard in many steam cookers. We want steamed food, not steamed hands!
This is one of the best food steamers if you want a user friendly, quick heating, electric food steamer.
Minimum pan diameter 6.25 inches
Heat-resistant up to 230°F
Features heat-resistant silicone side fins, silicone feet, and an innovative silicone finger guard
Joseph Joseph produces colorful, quirky kitchen gadgets, and their Lotus Steamer Basket is no exception. Brightly colored, adjustable sizing and silicon safety features, it is a vegetable steamer to brighten up your kitchen!
As there are no automatic features with this, it is just a basket, you will have to do the timing and monitoring yourself. You need to be sure there is always water in the pot, otherwise, when the steamer into contact with a dry, hot pan, you will end up with a melted mess of plastic/silicone. If you want to give a steamer for vegetables a go, then this will do the trick.
The finger guard is a thoughtful touch
Easy to clean
Not very durable
3 tier steam cooker
Stainless steel shell
7 “Easy Touch” Program Settings
11.3l (12quart) capacity
Magic Chef Electric Food Steamer is exceptionally spacious, with a sizeable steaming tray and three tiers, which make it ideal for cooking large quantities. It also comes with a rice bowl. The auto shut off function and the fact you can pop all the containers in the dishwasher, then nest them in storage, help make to make it an attractive choice.
The unfortunate oddity of this machine is that you cannot manually set the timer. You have to choose one of the pre-programmed settings, so there is a considerable risk of overcooking or undercooking your food. So while it is easy to program and use, this is only the case if you want to cook one of the seven types of food suggested by the manufacturer.
Comes with a rice bowl
Seven pre-programmed settings
No manual timer
No keep warm setting
High walls to keep contents securely contained
Accommodates pots with a 7″ diameter or greater
Handles fold inward to allow the use of lids
Ideal for use in pressure cookers
Flat bottom provides large capacity
Rolls up neatly for compact storage
Our silicone pick of food steamers – OXO Good Grips Steamer is designed for pots that are greater than 7inches in diameter, and ideally less than 10 inches for best results.
The small silicone feet ensure the steamer surface doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan and also doesn’t get too hot during the steaming process with your food processor. This means that once your food is steamed, you can rest the silicone on your counter and hold the handles without discomfort. It may be a little flimsy when you first remove it, so there is a danger of dropping food if you aren’t careful. This is one of the better steamers for vegetables.
Can be used in pressure cookers
Large surface compared to other steam inserts
When removed from the pot, it is a little flimsy
This is also a popular choice as, when not in use, it stays rolled up thanks to its clever design, so takes minimum space in your draw or cupboard.
As with all plastic or silicone steamers, please ensure you always have water in the pan, as contact with a heated dry pan will cause the material to melt.
Stay-cool silicone handle and feet
Non-toxic and BPA free
Sturdy and corrosion-resistant
6 quart (5.6l) capacity
Compatible with Instapot and many other brands of pressure cookers
The Komfyko Steamer Basket is one of the deepest steamer baskets available and is designed to fit inside most brands of pressure cookers. This gives you the advantage of setting the timer on a pressure cooker to steam your food so that you can get more precise results.
Having said that, the basket can also be used inside 6quart pots for regular stovetop steam cooking or can function as a strainer, colander, storage bowl, or egg basket. With a stay-cool silicone handle, plus silicone feet that won’t scratch, the Komfyko is very easy to use. Considering the simple design and affordability, it is a durable, versatile choice.
You May Also Like: Best Thermal Pots
Can be used as colander or strainer
Cool to touch handle
High-quality stainless steel
No adjustable size
Does not fold/collapse for storage
Features To Consider With Food Steamers
Ease Of Cleaning
Steamers are quick and easy to clean compared to other styles of cooking. As they don't use any oil or sauces, there is no grease to clean up. Many models also now come with dishwasher-safe parts, so washing-up is a doddle! Parts that are made of stainless steel, can be cleaned with specialized stainless steel cleaners.
Tiers are useful for increasing the cooking capacity of your steamer. They are also great for cooking non-related dishes at the same time. For example, vegetables in one tier, fish in another. If you plan to use steam cooking for dinner parties or large families, then you will get the best use of out multiple tiers. For individual cooking, one tier is usually enough.
This refers to how much food you can cook at one time. Home steam cookers usually range from 1 quart (1 liter), which is suitable for steam baby food or small portions of vegetables, to 10.5 quarts (10 liters). Of course, the larger the food steamer, the more space it is likely to take up in your kitchen.
A large capacity steamer works best if you are cooking for the whole family or hosting dinner parties. If you are cooking for one or two people, then a smaller model with a 5-quart capacity will be more than adequate.
The more precise you are with steaming, the better results you will get. Therefore, having a timer that is easy to set and easy to read is very helpful. Some electric steamers will come with pre-programmed settings, which should give you guaranteed great results and make the steamer more user friendly. Others require manual settings.
Non-electric steamers do not have the timing feature so you will need to run a timer separately and monitor your cooking to get the best from your steamer.
As with any kitchen gadget, a food steamer will take up space in your cupboards. If you are concerned about storage, then look for a steamer that is foldable or has a nesting feature. Folding features are more common with silicone and stainless steel vegetable steamers. Nesting is where the containers will fit inside one another when stored, thus saving space.
During steam cooking, you need to be able to check the water levels so you can add water when needed and avoid your food being boiled dry. If the water dries up, both your food and potentially your pot, will be ruined.
The best food steamers will let you gauge the water level and add water easily during the cooking process.
Types Of Food Steamers
With electric steamers, the base of the machine is filled with water, and the elements heat that water to the required temperature to constantly produce steam. Food is placed in a perforated, usually transparent container, and stacked on top of the base. The benefit of electric steamers is that you can set a timer or select a pre-programmed option on the machine and walk away until the time is finished. You don't need to constantly monitor the cooking.
These food steamers are often the most versatile due to their digital programming, fully enclosed containers, and broad steaming trays.
A steamer basket is placed directly into a pan or pot and used on the stove. You add a small amount of water to the pan, place the food-filled basket into the pan and then close the lid. As the water boils, the steam is contained in the pot, cooking your vegetables. You will notice that basket and folding steamers appear to be very similar. The difference is really in their storage abilities as baskets generally cannot be folded away.
A pan steamer looks like a series of saucepans. The base saucepan holds the water and the second pan, which has holes in the bottom, sits on top. They stack together in tiers, just like a multi-tier electric steamer would.
You simply place water in the main saucepan and bring it to the boil. Place your food items in the second pan, put this on top of the saucepan, and then cover it with the lid. Simple stovetop steaming. These are very popular as they reduce the need for multiple pans on your stove. You could be cooking pasta with your pasta maker in the boiling water of the main pan, while the second pan sits on top and acts as a food steamer.
You May Also Like: Food Dehydrators
Silicone steamers look like colanders, but smaller and made of, yes, silicone. They are very versatile as they fit a variety of different pan sizes and can roll up for storage. You simply place the silicone steamer, loaded with food, on top of a pan or pot of simmering water. Some of these steamers do fit inside a pot, allowing you to cover it with a lid, which will speed up the steaming process. A silicon steamer best suits vegetable cooking.
A folding steamer sits directly inside a pan, close to the bottom. Due to its folding nature, it can adapt to fit different sizes of pans. You ensure there is a small amount of water in the pan that will just reach the base of the steamer. This is usually about 3cm. Place the steamer inside the pan. Once the water is boiling, the food inside the steamer will start to cook.
Folding steamers are popular because they can be easily stored in a compact or flat form when not in use.
Bamboo steamers are small, open baskets that fit on top of one another. These are what dim sum dishes are usually cooked and served in. A bamboo steamer best suits Asian cooking.
Enough water is poured into a wok to cover the bottom rim of the bamboo steamer and then parchment paper or leaves are placed in the steamer. The food is then added to the steamer, and the water is heated until it's simmering. Once the simmering starts, the food begins cooking. The paper or leaves prevent the food from sticking to the bamboo.
Due to their construction, bamboo steamers are the only type of steamers that can be used over a large work or frying pan.
Food Steamer FAQ
Q: Is steaming your food healthier?
Steaming your food is healthier than frying or boiling food. Firstly, you don't need to add any fats or oils as the heat and moisture provide the right conditions needed for thorough cooking. Secondly, a steamer best retains the nutrients and minerals of vegetables, which are often lost in a pan of boiling water. Air fryers are another great option if you are into oil-free cooking.
Q: Is steaming quicker than boiling?
Once the desired steaming/boiling temperature has been reached, boiling is the quicker option for cooking.
However, the reason you will see claims that steaming is faster is that it is a lot quicker for an electric steam cooker to heat up ready for use compared to waiting for a pan of water to boil. The best electric food steamers can produce steam in less than 30 seconds.
Q: How long does it take to steam vegetables?
Steaming vegetables will depend on the type of veggies you're cooking, the steaming method used, and how soft you would like them. For example, in an electric steamer, asparagus can be cooked in as little as 3 minutes. Carrots or broccoli could take around 8 minutes.
Q: Can a food steamer cook rice?
Yes. For best results, it is advised that you cook rice in a special rice-steaming bowl, but you can also use the vegetable section of the steamer or a basket steamer. You don't need to invest in a special rice cooker.