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Prioritize Healthy Eating With the Best Food Steamers of 2022Last updated: 5 Sep 2022
Food steamers are a leading trend in the health food world, promoting clean eating and a whole-foods lifestyle. While some may think that food steamers are high-powered, electrical machines found only in industrial kitchens, we’re here to shatter that misconception. We’ve compiled an extensively reviewed list of food steamers you can use in the convenience of your own home.
But first, why invest in a steamer? We’re so glad you asked! Many use food steamers to steam all kinds of foods, including vegetables, meat, and grains. Unlike sauteing or frying, the real draw of a food steamer is that they require no oil. By using water to steam your food, you can cook fresh, wholesome meals without any added calories. What’s more, foods cooked in steamers tend to be more nutritious and crisp, making them ideal for preparing healthy, vegetable-heavy dinners like stir-frys. Coming in both stovetop and electric versions, there’s an option for everyone. Whether it be a simple bamboo steamer or a multi-tier electrical one, explore our guide below to pick a steamer that suits the type of kitchen and stove you own along with the type of meals you love to prepare. So, without further delay, let’s make the most of your meals and get steaming!Show contents
Buyer’s Guide: Food Steamers
Steamers serve multiple uses, but depending on the type of kitchen and stove you have you’ll need a specific type of steamer. Narrowing in on the features that matter most to you will save you time and money. Let's take a look at the most important factors to consider when buying a food steamer and make sure you purchase your perfect product.
What Type of Steamer Makes Sense for You?
The type of steamer you choose hugely impacts what foods you cook and how you cook them. It also determines how the steamer will fit into your kitchen and lifestyle. Here are the most common steamers to choose from:
Electric steamers are usually more advanced and feature many compartments, trays or baskets for steaming food. They plug into the wall and usually offer a variety of different cook settings and controls. These steamers are a great multi-purpose cooking option and they free up space on the stovetop.
Stovetops steamers feature a lower pot with an upper pot, which is removable and functions as a tray or basket. Together, the bottom pot and upper steaming pot are then placed on top of the stove. The heat from the flame or induction boils the water in the lower pot and turns it into steam, which steams the food in the upper pot/basket. Keep in mind that stovetop steamers are different from stovetop pressure cookers.
Steaming baskets fit inside any pot or pan. Add water to the bottom of the pan and place a lid on top and you’ve got a steamer. These meshy baskets cradle the vegetables or food while the basket legs raise the food up out of the boiling water beneath. Steam baskets are great for converting any cooking pot or pan quickly into a steamer and they take up minimal space.
Bamboo steamers are circular bamboo boxes that are usually placed inside pots with boiling water and steam. The bamboo allows the steam to enter the steaming chamber and cook the food while keeping the food moist and warmer for longer.
What Size Steamer Should You Consider?
A steamer’s size impacts how much food can be prepared at once. Usually, electric and stove top steamers come in 3-quart and 6-quart capacities. If you’re looking for a smaller steamer, some can be as small as 2-quarts.
Both bamboo steamers and steaming baskets can accommodate at least one cup of food, such as vegetables or dumplings, at once.
Choosing the best sized steamer for you depends on the size of your kitchen and the amount of food you prepare on a daily basis. Large steamers are best for bigger families that have spacious kitchens, while smaller ones are great for a compact space like an apartment or student dorm.
Electric or stovetop?
It’s important to consider what type of heat source or power makes the most sense for you, your home, and your kitchen when choosing what type of steamer to buy. If you live in a home with a large stovetop or in a place where gas is significantly cheaper than electricity, then we recommend going with a steamer that works on the stovetop, such as a traditional steamer or steamer basket. Alternatively, if you don’t have a stove and electricity is ample, electric steamers are a great choice. Lastly, keep in mind that some stovetop steamers may work on an open flame, such as a gas stove, but they might not work on an electric induction top stove.
How Safe Are Food Steamers?
Most food steamers are quite safe and work similarly to a pot on a stovetop. However, some high-tech steamers function more like pressure steamers and pressure cookers can be potentially dangerous when not used correctly or with caution. If you want a safe, easy-to-use steamer, we recommend choosing a standard, conventional stovetop steamer or steaming basket. Ultimately, when purchasing a steamer, you should prioritize your safety and comfort level with whichever model you choose.
What Are the Storage Requirements for a Food Steamer?
The storage requirements of a steamer play an important role when you consider your kitchen space. Electric steamers can be difficult to store as they tend to be large, bulky, and sometimes awkwardly shaped; they often take up valuable counter or table space.
Alternately, stovetop steamers are usually smaller than traditional cooking pots and pressure cookers. They are easy to store as the lids come off and, in most cases, they compartmentalize well. If you’re looking for a steamer that stores well and takes up the least amount of space, bamboo steamers and steaming baskets are our top pick.
What About Compartments?
Steamed meals can be tricky since different foods have different cooking times. For example, potatoes can take longer to cook than carrots or peas; however, vegetables in general often take much less cooking time than meat. If you plan to cook a variety of foods at once in your steamer, having a steamer with separate compartments is essential.
Electric steamers have the greatest option for compartmentalization; they often come with several trays, cooking molds, and steaming boxes allowing you to divide food based on type and cook time within the steamer. The foods that take the longest to cook take the bottom tray while those that cook quickly can take the upper tray.
Stovetop steamers can steam vegetables in an upper tray while cooking grains, such as rice, in the lower pot. So your veggies can steam while your rice boils, making it easy to cook two elements of your dinner at once. Plus, some stovetop steamers feature more than one steaming tray adding to their functionality. On the flip side, bamboo steamers and steaming baskets have little to no room for compartmentalizing food.
Is a Water Gauge Essential?
Water is essential for steaming food and it’s important to have just the right water levels throughout the steaming process. Because of this, many steamers have a water gauge so chefs can check water levels and add more water throughout the cooking process, if needed. If you’re using a bamboo steamer or a steaming basket in a pot, try to use a pot with a transparent lid so that you can monitor the water levels as your food cooks.
The Best Food Steamers You Can Buy In 20221– Top Traditional PickCheck On AmazonTHE SCOOP
The Oster Steamer Stainless Steel Cookware is our top pick for a traditional stovetop steamer. This simple steamer features a stainless steel pot with a steaming tray or basket that stacks on top of the pot, fitting perfectly inside. This multifunctional option is intended for dual-purpose use, such as cooking rice on the bottom while steaming vegetables on top at the same time.
While smaller than most pots, it’s extremely easy to store. Hand-wash friendly and dishwasher-safe, this sleek steamer is made from stainless steel with a mirror-satin finish. At 3-quarts capacity, this is a good and simple food steamer that won’t let you down.2– Top Quality PickCheck On AmazonTHE SCOOP
The BELLA Two-Tier Food Steamer is an electric steamer that’s perfect for the home kitchen. Ideal for crowds or large families, this steamer has a 7.4-quart capacity, and can cook a significant amount of food at once. With two dual tiers for cooking different foods separately, this steamer is a great option if you prefer to cook meat separately from vegetables or have guests with special dietary needs.
A clear lid allows you to watch the food cooked, gauge the water level, and refill the water if needed. Two interesting features of this steamer are its quick-start feature — enabling you to steam the food faster — and its auto-shutoff function.3– Editor’s ChoiceCheck On AmazonTHE SCOOP
A family favorite, the Baby Bullet Turbo Food Steamer is our Editor’s Choice. This convenient, multipurpose product can be used for steaming, cooking, and defrosting food, as well as sterilizing bottles. Highly versatile, this food steamer comes with several trays, compartments, and a built-in indicator that tells you when the food is cooked.
It is an easy-to-use machine that has a measuring cup included for maintaining water levels and measuring your baby’s food. This steamer is perfect for a family with a young child, but it also works wonderfully for adults, expertly steaming vegetables, hard boiling eggs, and defrosting sauces.4– Top Minimalistic OptionCheck On AmazonTHE SCOOP
With so many high tech steamers on the market, some might be surprised by the Consevisen Store’s Steamer Basket, a simple, steaming basket with a minimalistic design. This unique product is made of stainless steel with food-grade silicone legs and a handle.
This steaming basket can turn any pot into a steamer. Just pop it into your favorite pot, add some water, and start steaming! The silicone legs ensure the food remains above the water level at all times, and the handle makes it easy to carry. You can adjust the capacity of the steamer by opening and closing its petals. In addition to being a steamer, this genie can even be used as a strainer or a fruit container.5– Top Multipurpose OptionCheck On AmazonTHE SCOOP
The Aroma Housewares Food Steamer, with its multiple cooking options, can be used to make a variety of dishes. Much more than a steamer, this food steamer can also function as a slow cooker and a rice cooker.
The most unique aspect of this product is its variety of controls and features, such as its “keep warm” mode and the measurement markings on the inside the steamer bowl marking the optimal water level. Overall, this food steamer is one of the most advanced on the market.
People Also AskedQ: Is steaming your food healthier than other cooking methods?
A: Yes, steamed food has significantly lower calories than fried or baked food because it does not require oil. Steaming also preserves the nutritional value of the food, making it healthier to eat.Q: Are pressure steamers dangerous?
A: Yes, pressure steamers can be dangerous if used incorrectly. Since the pressure build-up is significant, you need to make sure you have closed the lid properly and you must let the steam out correctly before opening the lid after you have steamed the food.Q: How do I time a manual stovetop steamer?
A: Stovetop steamers can be timed using a kitchen timer or the clock in your phone. Compared with electric steamers, stovetop steamers don’t feature settings that tell you when each food is finished cooking, so you must monitor the cooking time and check the food periodically while cooking.Q: Can I put different foods with different cooking times in the same steamer?
A: We don’t recommend cooking foods with different cooking times together in the same steamer at the same time because one food may be ready much sooner than another food and it will likely be difficult to separate them.