We’re all trying to eat healthier these days. Sure we love our comfort foods like pizza, chicken wings and deep fried Mars bars. And we don’t have to stop enjoying them. But experts suggest we eat less fat and processed food to maintain a good body weight and healthy lifestyle. Steam cooking food, instead of frying it, is an easy and delicious way to eat everything you love, guilt-free.
Almost any food can be steamed, from rice and veggies to meat, fish and even fruit. This method of cooking uses the steam from water to cook food in a way that retains all the essential nutrients, keeping it juicy and moist while sealing in the flavor.
Using a good food steamer makes the process easy, and with so many different models available on the market, you can steam one food at a time or with a tiered model, different foods at the same time, all in one pot.
We feature five food steamers you can buy online. Read on to find the one that best suits your needs.
Top Pick Best Basic: Consevisen Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer Basket
Steaming food doesn’t have to involve using a special pot or pan with lots of bells and whistles. Those models are available for anyone looking for a food steamer that offers extra features. But for anyone who wants a simple method for steaming everything from broccoli to baby food, this simple, portable steamer basket will do the trick.
This classic foldable vegetable steamer has 18 high-quality stainless steel panels that expand or contract to fit the size pot you choose to use for each occasion. When fully collapsed, the diameter of the steamer is 5.1 inches, and it can expand to nine inches once the panels are stretched out. You can convert any pot or pan into a steamer due this product’s expandable “wings” that fold in and out to fit as needed.
Equipped with three foldable, 1.2-inch legs, the steamer elevates food above the boiling water for proper steaming, and each leg has a silicone tip on the end so your pots won’t get scratched. A central post measuring 2.9 inches is easy to grasp and helps for an easy insertion into a deep pot and safe removal from the boiling water. It’s also removable to steam large items, like a head of broccoli, corn on the cob or cauliflower.
And when you’re done, this neat little device folds away nicely for compact, easy storage. So affordable and versatile, it’s hard to think of a reason not to have one on hand.
- Compact and collapsible
- Expands to fit any sized pot
- Made of high quality food-grade material
- Three legs with silicone tips won’t scratch pots and keeps food above the water
- Limited use as a vegetable steamer
- Hand wash for best results
Top Pick Best Bamboo: LONTAI+Wiscue Bamboo Steamer
There’s nothing more delicious than sitting down to a batch of plump steamed dumplings. Filled with vegetables, meat, shrimp or a combination of food, these tiny doughy morsels are truly a taste of heaven. One of the best methods of cooking dumplings is to steam them, and there’s no better way than in a bamboo steamer, especially a multi-tiered one.
We like this two-tiered 10-inch bamboo steamer because you can cook different foods in each basket – dumplings in one and vegetables, rice, fish or meat in the other, for a perfectly balanced, delicious and healthy meal. Constructed from high quality, 100 percent all natural bamboo for better breathability, it’s durable and sturdy with rattan bamboo studs to reinforce the layers. Versatile too, as you can use one basket, or stack the two to cook more than one type of food at the same time.
Ideal for dim sum, dumplings and buns, vegetables and even eggs – just place the bamboo steamer in a large pot with some water and fill the baskets with a small or large amount of food. The intricate woven lid traps steam for even cooking. Great for reheating rice and quinoa, too. And the liners make cleanup easy and prevent food from sticking. Preserve the taste, flavor and nutrients of everything you cook in this bamboo steamer.
- Attractive-looking two-tiered steamer
- Made from 100 percent natural bamboo
- Versatile, stackable baskets to cook more than one food at a time
- Perfect for steaming dumplings
- Cannot be used in the microwave or a pressure cooker
Top Pick Best Overall: AmazonBasics 8.5 Quart 2-Tiered Digital Food Steamer
For people with large families, it pays to purchase large-capacity kitchen tools to help prepare lots of food to feed a hungry crew. It’s no different when it comes to a food steamer. Using one that can steam large quantities of different foods at the same time is an efficient and convenient way to make sure everyone can enjoy the benefits of this healthy method of cooking.
We like this 8.5-quart, two-tiered digital food steamer from AmazonBasics that has a black and stainless steel housing with cord storage for a sleek appearance. The intelligent design allows for steam cooking larger quantities of food or two different types of food at the same time.
Intuitive features include a water-level indicator to make sure you don’t put in too much liquid and the digital-display control panel takes the guesswork out of adjusting cooking times and the temperature. Once the food is steaming, you can get busy with other things, since an audible signal indicates when the cooking cycle is over. And if you’re not quite ready to serve, there is a keep-warm mode that holds cooked food at an ideal serving temperature.
This 750-watt steamer quickly heats water in the reservoir to generate steam that cooks food gently yet thoroughly for optimal results. Made of durable BPA-free plastic, the food containers offer reliable strength and transparency. And, you can use the included 1.5-liter rice bowl to steam-cook fluffy, delicious brown or white rice.
Easy to clean, the food containers should be hand-washed in warm, soapy water, and the rice bowl and drip tray are dishwasher-safe.
- Made of durable BPA-free plastic
- Parts nest together for compact storage
- Includes a 1.5-liter rice bowl
- 750-watt unit quickly heats water in the reservoir
- Adjustable time and temperature
- Water-level indicator
- Audible ‘done’ signal
- Baskets are not interchangeable
Top Pick Best for Microwave: Progressive International Microwave Mini Steamer
Cooking for one person can be discouraging. Firstly, it’s not always easy to find kitchen items geared for individual-sized servings and cooking large quantities at once can mean endless days of eating the same leftovers. Thankfully, some makers of pots, pans and cooking accessories are recognizing the challenge by designing mini versions of larger-sized products so that cooking for one can be a fun, enjoyable experience.
If you want to be able to steam vegetables quickly and easily in your microwave, we recommend this cute but effective mini-steamer from Progressive International. This mini-steamer allows anyone to quickly and easily steam fresh or frozen vegetables. The two-cup capacity is ideal for a single serving.
Constructed from high-heat BPA-free polypropylene, it has a non-stick surface and is dishwasher safe for an easy cleanup. Comprised of three pieces – the bowl, the steamer basket and the lid, the steamer basket can also double as a colander. At such a reasonable price point, you could buy one for home and one for school or the office. Totally portable, it measures 7.25 inches x 4 inches x 6.25 inches and weighs only 2.4 ounces.
- 2-cup capacity perfect for a single serving
- Works in the microwave, fast and convenient
- Dishwasher safe
- Steamer can be used as a colander
- Small capacity
- Can only be used in the microwave
Top Pick Best Versatile: Secura 2 Stainless Steel Food Steamer
If you’re an efficient chef, you like being able to cook different foods at the same time. Being able to do so using the same pot brings that level of convenience once notch higher. And if the cooking method is steaming, then you’ve got efficiency and healthy eating all in one.
For a sleek-looking large capacity steamer that not only gives you the flexibility to cook different foods at the same time in the same pot and is packed with features to make the process fast and easy, we recommend this two-tiered model from Secura.
Each of the stackable pots is constructed from stainless steel with stay-cool handles to keep your hands safe and burn-free. The powerful 800-watt steam system delivers steam from the top-down, surrounding food to cook quickly and evenly for perfect results every time.
An anti-dry protection feature has an auto shut-off mechanism for when the cycle is completed or there is no more water, so there is no worry that the food will burn. The built-in timer means you can program a start time and then get on to other tasks around the kitchen or other parts of the house. So versatile, you can cook fish or chicken in 20 to 30 minutes, grains in 25 to 30 minutes and vegetables in 15 to 20 minutes.
And when the meal is over, the steamer is easy to clean and is dishwasher safe. This steamer will look attractive in any kitchen and makes a very special wedding, anniversary or birthday gift for the chef in your life.
- Large capacity
- Anti-dry feature
- Stay cool handles
- Dishwasher safe
- Clear water line
- More expensive than other models
- Do not immerse power base in water
- Outer surface can only be wiped with a wet towel
Things to look out for:
Consider these things when looking for food steamer so you will choose the one that best suits your needs:
Before deciding what kind of food steamer to purchase, consider what you will use it for. Some people only like to steam vegetables. If that’s the case, then a simple expandable steamer is a good choice since it will pretty much fit into any size pot. These are inexpensive and usually last for a few years, although the metal sections have been known to fall off after a lot of use and some people find them difficult to clean.
If you want to be able to steam vegetables and other foods like chicken, fish and rice at the same time, then choose a multi-tiered unit. These are super convenient and come in a variety of sizes to accommodate small or large capacities. If you have a large family, then of course, go for a larger model. These allow you to steam every facet of a meal at the same time, which is a convenient way to plan a healthy, nutritious meal.
If you’re looking for something to steam dumplings and buns, then it’s best to find one that is designed to handle this task.
Finally, if you want a convenient way to steam vegetables in the microwave, then consider a model that is specifically made for this purpose. The material that the steamer is made of will be sturdy and safe and designed for steaming.
Many food steamers are pretty basic: They consist of two pots, one to put water in and one with holes on the bottom where you put the food that fits into the lower pot, and a cover to capture the steam. These are available in many sizes and have features such as cool-touch handles, clear lids, and inserts for different cooking functions. Simple, functional, with no real bells and whistles, they range in price from affordable to very expensive.
Then there are electric models that don’t require the use of extra pots. These stand-alone food steamers can come with a litany of features that include an auto-shut off when the food is cooked or the water runs out; a timer to program when the cooking starts; presets that are programmed to cook and steam at the touch of a button. The advantage of an electric food steamer is that you don’t need separate pots and pans to steam food so cleanup is easier.