Fancy enjoying your food neatly cooked and as warm and soft as the chicken’s belly? Hate the grease and oil that drips from leftover cooking?
Well, have we got a product for you!
It’s called the food steamer, and this clever kitchen contraption can turn your meat and vegetables into deliciously-cooked meals without using any vegetable oil or animal fat in the process.
Meals prepared by means of steaming tend to be much more palatable and tasty than those made the old way, and not only that – they’re much better for your health, as well. Indeed, if you decide to eat steamed food rather than that made using various forms of fat and grease, you can reduce the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol levels, and perhaps even obesity to an extent.
In this article, we’ve assembled a top 10 list of the best food steamers currently on the market. Each of the contraptions you’re about to see possesses the qualities necessary to make great steamed food, the only difference being the particular features each of these come with.
Also, we’ve prepared a brief buying guide for you, as well, so that you can have a clearer idea of what to look for when purchasing one of these useful kitchen appliances.
Editor’s Picks: 5 Best Food Steamer
Right then, without further ado, here’s the lot, folks!
What to Look For in a Food Steamer – A Brief Buyer’s Guide
Food Steamers, similarly to many other contraptions that got to do with food, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Since cooking is a discipline that has a certain goal to accomplish (feeding yourself, your family, or an entire restaurant full of people), the manufacturers of these clever cooking utensils have made sure that they are providing a suitably-sized food steamer for every part of the market.
So, whether you’re a student living in a small apartment all on your own, or you run a major restaurant and hope to sell steamed food there, chances are – you’re going to be able to find just the sort of device for your needs.
Of course, the larger the device in question, the higher the price for it will end up being, so buying a massive, industrial-sized food steamer may not be the wisest investment if you have only a small family to cook for, for example.
Typically, modern-day steamers are made out of stainless steel, heat-proof glass, or more rarely – aluminum. There are some other materials in there, as well, of course, but these three would be the main ones.
All things considered, the models made out of fireproof glass seem to be the most popular because they’re see-through. A big part of steaming is seeing the food inside the steamer slowly cook in its own vapor, so perhaps this is why these models are the most prominent, especially for personal use.
(Bigger, industrial-sized steamer models don’t really put that much stress on the looks, really.)
Electric vs. Stovetop Models
There are two main types of food steamers – electric and stovetop.
As their names themselves imply, the electric ones use the power of electricity to heat up the heating element that’s inbuilt inside them to jump-start the steaming process.
The stovetop models, on the other hand, only provide the steaming bowl or container, so you have to find some other source of heat – typically a stove, hence their name.
When it comes to practicality, the stovetop models seem to be the less viable solution, because they require a source of power, but then again they do cost less than the electric ones.
If you like to keep track of the cooking process itself or tend to forget you put the food inside the steamer and would like to be reminded when the cooking process is through, getting a food steamer with some additional features may be the way to go for you.
Nowadays, food steamers come with all sorts of possible and impossible additional features to make your life as a cook easier. For example, LCD control panels for easier maneuvering around the controls, audio alerts when the food preparation process is done, and various forms of countdown timers can all be quite useful!
Okay then, now that we’ve acquainted ourselves with the intricacies of the magnanimous machine that is a food steamer, let’s take a look at our top 10 picks for this particular category. Only top tier electric and stovetop steamers here, folks!
Top 10 Best Food & Vegetable Steamers
If you’re looking for a powerful steaming contraption that can turn your meat ‘n’ veggies into a soft and delicious meal, look no further than this STM-1000 model from Cuisinart! It’s got the lot – a 5-liter dishwasher-safe pot made of glass, an LCD control panel, a Start/Stop button, you name it.
One of the interesting things this model comes with is its 5 preprogrammed food settings: poultry, seafood, vegetables, grains, and manual – for the adventurous chefs out there. Also, to enable you to do other stuff while your food is getting ready, there is also a 60-minute countdown timer.
When it comes to the materials used to make this kitchen utensil, the folks at Cuisinart decided to go for a mixture of fireproof glass and stainless steel. Here’s the configuration: the steaming tray is made out of stainless steel, the tank is made of glass, the lid is also made of glass, while the rim is made out of stainless steel.
- The removable water tank of 1l capacity
- Made out of stainless steel and fireproof glass
- LCD control panel
- Start/stop option
- Audible alert
- 60 minutes countdown timer
- The water tank is made out of plastic
- The heating element is almost inaccessible for maintenance (if necessary)
Rocking the appearance of a digital alarm clock with two see-through cooking pots stacked on top of it, this steamer from Hamilton Beach can be an excellent choice for a person who’s after functionality AND cheeky looks when it comes to their choice of food steamer.
Thanks to its curious design, which has two separate pots laying on top of one another, you can steam two different meals at the same time. The pots in question have been so that they stack into each other perfectly, so you don’t really need to worry about the top one sliding off the bottom pot.
As far as the maintenance is concerned, the drip tray and the rice bowl can be washed in the dishwasher, but the two food containers shouldn’t be. Instead, you clean these by submerging them in soapy water and gently removing the excess food and stains with a sponge or something.
- 2-tier system of steam cooking
- Automatic warm option – switches to ‘warm’ when the food is ready
- A digital touchpad control panel
- Comes with a countdown Timer
- Delay start timer option
- The two bowls aren’t dishwasher-friendly
- The bowls are made out of plastic
As our entry number three, we’ve got quite a curious fish, so to speak. Namely, this product from NutriChef isn’t only a standard food steamer. It also enables you to dehydrate your food, which is great if you want to remove moisture from something without having to wait for it to dry off, which can take hours.
Using this contraption, for all of its bulkiness, is quite simple, really. All of its features can be easily handled by pressing either of the two buttons. So, even if you’re a complete and utter rookie at steaming, you’ll figure out how this one works pretty quickly. The red button is for steaming, while the green one is reserved for dehydrating your food.
Another interesting feature people are going to love with this product is its clever tray design. Namely, the trays on this device are stackable, meaning you can put them on top of each other or remove them quite easily. Of course, this also means that maintenance is a piece of cake with this model.
- 3-in-1 design – cooker, dehydrator, and steamer
- Stackable trays
- Easy, two-button operation
- Easy-to-clean removable trays
- The trays are made out of plastic
- The rubber seal tends to break after a while
Here we have a perfect example of a stovetop model of a food steamer. This OXO model comes in the shape of a shallow bowl, which can adapt to the shape of the pot or some other sort of container it’s placed in. Of course, it goes without saying that this sort of arrangement requires a stove, a separate pot or some similar kitchen utensil, and then this mechanical steamer on top of it.
The way you place this contraption into a pot is by using the extendable handle. To accommodate for the varying depths of pots you’ll be using, the handle is, as we said, extendable, so you can adjust the height to the degree where it is safe to handle the steamer without worrying about getting scorched by the steamed.
If the pot is too deep for you to actually lower this steamer into it by holding it with your hand, the manufacturers at OXO thought about this, as well. Namely, there is a small hole in the handle knob itself, so you can use it to stick a fork into it and move it about from a safe distance. Pretty clever, huh!
- Made out of high-quality stainless steel
- Comes with a handle hole for easy handling
- Dishwasher safe
- The handle is extendable
- This steamer adapts to the shape of the pot in question
- Some users have been reporting problems with the middle swindle
- Some of the inner parts can start rusting after a while
If you’re the sort of person that thinks wearing one hat on top of another is great fun and positively cheeky, this food steamer from Heaven Fresh is just the contraption for you! Only instead of the hats, you get three see-through pots on top of one another, enabling you to make delicious meals with vegetables, meat, and fish galore!
It’s not all just about the pots, either. At the bottom, where all the smart high-tech stuff happens, there is a bulky base housing an LCD screen and a digital control panel. These allow you to choose from any of the 6 preset program buttons, each aimed at preparing a specific sort of food.
In order to help you do more in the kitchen and bring your multitasking chef’s game to new heights, the folks at Heaven Fresh have decided to include a timer, which you can set up to 99 minutes at most. During this time, the steaming process will be on its merry way, and you’ll be free to do other tasks in your kitchen or around the house! (Or, you can just laze around and watch TV. Up to you, really.)
- 3-tier system allowing you to cook multiple meals at the same time
- Digital control panel
- LCD screen
- 99-minute timer (99 minutes is the maximum time limit)
- Stainless steel housing
- Detachable level separators
- The three-tier pots are made out of plastic
- Some areas can be tough to clean
Boasting a large container capacity and a sturdy base build made out of stainless steel, this Aroma Housewares food steamer is a kitchen appliance perfect for a mid-sized family. The steaming process is quick to commence, as the heat only needs about one minute to produce the steam for this purpose.
With this Aroma Housewares steamer, everything seems to revolve around time efficiency. Other than the rather quick set up time, this contraption also offers some advisory information for the time you need to steam various foods, so to speak. Namely, there is a small area next to the steam control knob to the left, where you can see printed the optimal steaming time for broccoli, corn, eggs, fish, asparagus, to name a few.
The design of the steaming container itself is two-tiered, so you can steam two different sorts of foods at the same time, without mixing up the flavors.
- Made out of BPA-free plastic
- 60-minute timer with automatic shut-off function
- The steaming process starts under 60 seconds
- Large-capacity 5-quart container
- The container is made out of plastic (Though it is BPA-free, in all fairness.)
- Some users have reported problems with the heater (The paint chips.)
A simple design, a reliable build, and a sturdy aluminum core are what makes this Farberware stovetop steamer unique. Although this product doesn’t come with fancy displays and advanced features such as timers and auto shut-offs, its bare bones design does its job well as long as you know what you’re doing. That said, this product can be a perfect choice for a chef who’s already experienced in steaming food.
As we already said, this stainless steel saucepot and steamer is made out of stainless steel but also features an aluminum core, which provides steady heat and accumulation of steam inside this pot. Also, this steamer is completely dishwasher-safe, so maintenance won’t really present that much of a problem. (Perfect for lazy cooks!)
- Features a thick aluminum core
- Made out of stainless steel
- Elegant lid
- The handles can heat up during the steaming process
- Not really a good solution for a complete rookie
In our spot number 8, we’ve got quite an unorthodox product. Namely, this can’t really be described as a traditional steamer per se. Rather, it’s simply a plastic red box with another, smaller plastic compartment you put in it. After you’ve set everything up, all you need to do is put it in a microwave oven to make the magic happen.
When it comes to the foods you can cook using this contraption, the choice is rather wide with everything ranging from vegetables, poultry, and chicken coming into question. The excess steam can escape through the vent on the lid, so you won’t really need to open and close the microwave doors all that often.
- This steam can cook fish, vegetables, and poultry
- Steam release vent
- Easy-lift hatches for easy opening once the steaming process is complete
- Made out of plastic
- You need a microwave in order to make it work
Another multi-story food steamer comes from a company called Oster. The deal with this contraption is pretty straightforward – there are two compartments for placing food, and then a base at the bottom with the control knob where you can make all the necessary adjustments before you start the steaming process.
This particular apparatus can be used to steam meat, fish, vegetables, and poultry. What’s more, thanks to the two-tiered system, you can use this device to steam two different sorts of food without having the fumes and the flavor mix together along the way. Also, the steaming bowls themselves are transparent, so you can follow the steaming process from the beginning till the end.
Once you’re done with your steaming tasks, you can disassemble this steamer and put the two containers into each other thanks to their nesting design. This makes storage easy, especially if you have a small kitchen.
- Two-tiered storage
- 5-quart capacity
- The containers are dishwasher-safe
- Easy storage thanks to the bowls’ design
- Automatic 60-minute timer
- Not BPA-free
- The containers are made out of plastic
Featuring two separate sections for steaming food, a special rice & grains tray, and some useful high-tech additions you can tinker with, this food steamer from BELLA can be a great option for a person in need of a large and easy-to-use contraption for cooking food.
In case you’re one of those folks who tend to forget to turn off their stove, you can rest assured such an incident won’t happen to you with this device. Namely, to prevent such an incident, the folks at BELLA decided to incorporate an automatic shut off feature into the design of this food steamer.
As far as the steaming process itself is in question, you can start cooking your food using steam in as little as in 30 seconds – the time the heater takes to ramp up the temperature. Speaking of which, you can set the temperature you desire easily by manipulating the knob on the bottom part of this steamer.
- A large, 7.4-quart container capacity
- Automatic shut-off function
- Steaming container on two levels
- Comes with a useful water reservoir window
- Two separate containers
- The heating element can start oxidizing after a while
- Some users consider the reservoir to be too shallow
How to Use a Food Steamer
- Mind the Safety – As is the case with pretty much any electrical appliance, ensuring the electric parts all work in an environment protected from moisture is essential for the safe and successful operation. Make sure no cord is submerged in water, and never run a steamer without the water in the tank!
- Set up the Steamer – This is the key preparatory part of the cooking process where you assemble all the necessary parts of the appliance, fil the water in the tank, and place the meat & veggies inside the steaming container. Take your time if you’re new to this whole thing because inadequate preparation can lead to soggy veggies in the best case scenario and an electrical catastrophe in the worst.
- Turn it on and Let it Steam – Many electric steamers, other than allowing you to set the steamer itself, also allow you to set the timer, the degree of the steaming intensity etc. Set all of these parameters according to your liking, and let it do its magic!
- Fill a Pot with Water – … and bring it to the boiling point. You can use any pot you like as long as the steamer can fit in it. When the water is boiling and the steam is ready, place the steamer on top of it to start the cooking process. (Of course, the food needs to be already placed on the steamer before you lower it into the pot.)
- Regularly Check the Food/Take out the Steamer – In order to ensure the steaming process is running smooth, you’ll need to check on its progress from time to time. When your food is ready, use the handle or some other tool to remove the steamer from the pot. Also, don’t forget to turn off the stove, either!
Overall, obtaining a steamer, whether stovetop or one of the electric models, is a sure way to spice up the cooking process in your kitchen. All you need to do, really, is to prepare the food beforehand, wash it up well to remove mud, baby snails, and tiny rocks, and then chuck it in the steamer, where it will cook merrily until it’s delicious and soft! We hope you found this article helpful, and wish you an easy and hassle-free purchase!