If you are someone who likes to eat plenty of vegetables with your meals, you probably would be boiling or blanching the vegetables to cook them plainly. While this will work, you will lose most of the nutrients and vitamins in the vegetables. By using the best food steamer money can buy, you will be able to have perfectly steam vegetables every time without having to sacrifice all the good stuff that comes with your veggies.
Food steamers will cook the food properly and fast by locking in the nutrients and flavors of the vegetables. There are many different types of food steamers and each one has a different function and outcome.
In this article, we will go over some of the different types of food steamers as well as what to look for when purchasing a new unit. We will also go over some of the best food steamers available for purchase on the market today and which one may be the best fit for you and your family.
Types of Food and Vegetable Steamers
While most food steamers will provide the same outcome, there are a few different types depending on the heat source you are using, the type of food you are trying to steam and the actual productivity of the device.
One of the first types of steamers is a bamboo steamer which is probably one of the first models of steamers produced in Asia and is still widely used today. They are very popular in Dim Sum restaurants because they can be used as a vessel not only for cooking the food but also serving the food in at the table.
The baskets are made completely of bamboo and have a lid as well. They also are able to stack on top of each other as high as you want. They can be placed on just about any heat source from flat-top grills to rice cookers. They are able to cook anything in them as well, but mainly they are favored for dim sum or small appetizer bites. There are also steamer baskets which probably will not work the best when it comes to steaming the food. The problem with them is that they need a lot of attention during the cooking process and usually tend to be used as containers for boiling food rather than steaming.
There are steamers that can be used in the microwave as well. They are usually just a plastic cover that will go over a plate of food and then zapped in the microwave. Some rice cookers and pressure cookers are also able to have a slot for a steamer to be used at the same time too.
Lastly, the best of the steamers are the electric steamers. They are individual machines that sit on the countertop and literally only steam food. This method of using this machine is the best way to steam food and vegetables most efficiently but they also tend to be more expensive than any other model. However, they have a better range of options, efficiency, time and productivity when it comes to steaming.
These machines are going to be much more sophisticated than any other model because of their ease of use and one-touch button systems. A great example of one of these machines is the instant pot which will cook rice and steam veggies at the same time or just steam vegetables under pressure as well.
How to Choose the Best Food Steamer
When choosing the best food steamer, it is best to go with the machine that is constructed of the best materials possible. Depending on the type of steamer you go with that will change from material to material but still want to make sure it is made with the consumer in mind. With that being said, in order to make sure you are covered on your new machine it is best to make sure it is protected in case something happens. Try to get a machine with a manufactures guarantee or at least some kind of warranty to protect it from damages or defects that may occur while in use or during the shipping process.
You also want to consider the type of steamer you are wanting. There are mainly two different methods. One is the suspension steamer where food is placed in a bowl or slotted rack and is hung above boiling water so that the steam penetrates the food.
The other is where food is sealed and set just above the boiling water in order for the food to be cooked in the sealed package. This makes sure all the juices and fluids stay intact with the food while it cooks keeping all the moisture and flavors intact. Another method is the bamboo steamers which can also be used on a portable grill if you wanted with a boiling pot of water. You can even use a steamer to sterilize baby bottles, pacifiers and anything you would want to sterilize.
If you plan on purchasing a steamer that has a water tower or overfill attached to the machine rather than separate, then make sure it has a water gauge. This will help you to know how much water is left in the tank and also change the level of steam placed in the machine.
You will also want to make sure the machine has a timer. There is a fine line between cooked and overcooked food when it comes to steaming so if you are not planning on pay too much attention to the steamer while it cooks, a timer will definitely come in handy.
Almost all steamers have lids as well. It is best to go with a clear plastic or glass lid so you can see how the food is going without removing the lid. If you are having to remove the lid constantly to check the food, you are just slowing down or restarting the steaming process which could, in turn, take much more time.
You will want to also make sure and get the right size of the machine that will be enough to feed your family with one turn around or a smaller one if it is just for you.
You also want to make sure that the machine you choose is going to be not only very easy to use but also very easy to clean. There are sometimes many different pieces that are put together to make the steamer and washing them all individually can be somewhat of a pain. So, try to get a machine that is able to be cleaned in the dishwasher to make the cleanup process that much easier.
Best Food Steamers
Oster Double Tiered Food Steamer 5 Quart
The Best Food Steamer
This is one of the best steamers around and boasts its name on its efficiency and ease of use. The machine is very affordable but does not come with a warranty to protect it. The machine is an electric steamer that looks great on any countertop, is very easy to use and is also dishwasher-safe for ease of cleaning. The steamer has two different compartments for different foods able to be steamed at one time and they are also clear so you can see inside on how to cooking process is going without having to open the lid. The compartments total up to 5 quarts to fill food with and lock in place on top of each other on a 400-watt steamer. There is also a 60-minute timer on the unit.
- The steamer has two compartments for steaming different types of food at the same time
- The compartments total 5 quarts and are clear to see inside
- The machine is dishwasher safe
- While it is very affordable, it does not come with a warranty to protect it
Secura Electric Food Steamer (DZG-A80A1)
This next steamer is equally as good as the last but a little different. The model is much more expensive than the other but it does come with a 2-year warranty to protect it.
The steamer is powered by a 1200-watt motor and has a clear water line to gauge how much water is in the tank. The display is also led and digital while there is also a 60-minute timer. The machine is also two tiered like the last one but it is not clear and metal instead so it’s a little harder to see inside during the steaming process. The handles and knobs are slip resistant and heat resistant as well. The machine is easy to use and easy to clean as it can be placed in a dishwasher.
- The handles and knobs of the machine are heat and slip resistant
- The machine comes with a 2-year warranty
- The 2-tiered machine is powered by a 1200-watt motor with a water gauge
- The machine is not clear to see inside during the cooking process
- While the machine does come with a warranty it is quite expensive
Cuisinart STM-1000 Digital Glass Steamer
The Most Powerful Food Steamer
This machine is pretty legit when it comes to steaming but with a couple fallbacks. The machine is very expensive to purchase and does not come with a warranty to protect it.
The machine has a very powerful steam system and a water gauge. The steamer is a glass 5-quart dish with a lid that is dishwasher-safe. There is an LCD digital display with presets, preheat and pause settings and audible alerts equipped with a timer. The water tank will hold 1 liter and is also removable.
- The display is LCD controlled with preheat, pause and presets settings
- The steamer container is 5-quarts and is made of glass with a lid
- The water tank is 1 liter and is also dishwasher safe
- The machine is very expensive to purchase and does not come with a warranty to protect it
BLACK+DECKER RC506 Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
The 2-in1 Food Steamer
This food steamer is more than just a steamer since it can also cook rice to perfection. It is actually very affordable to purchase but does not come with a warranty to protect it. It is really a rice cooker first and a food steamer second but it can do both at the same time.
It is able to cook 6 cups of rice at once while also steaming vegetables, fish and other foods in the steamer basket. It also comes with a measuring cup and a spoon to measure out the rice.
The inner lining has a non-stick surface and everything is able to be placed in the dishwasher making cleanup a cinch. It has a simple on function and also a warmer function to keep food that has already cooked warm until you are ready to serve it.
- The rice cooker is able to cook up to 6 cups of rice at once while also steaming vegetables, fish and other foods in the steamer basket at the same time.
- The pot has a non-stick surface and comes with a spoon for stirring that will prevent scratches on the surface.
- The rice cooker has a warming function, comes with a measuring cup and is also completely dishwasher safe.
- While the rice cooker is very affordable to purchase, it does not come with a warranty to protect it.
Hamilton Beach 37530A Digital Food Steamer
The Sensible Food Steamer
Here is a steamer that would be perfect for anyone that just wants to cook solo meal for one or two people. The machine is very affordable but does not come protected by a warranty. The machine has a tiered plastic stacked compartments for steaming foods separately. The display is led digital and has timers and 3 different heat settings. The machine needs to be handwashed though and is not dishwasher safe. The handles and knobs are heat resistant and there is an auto shutoff switch.
- The machine has two different compartments for cooking food separately
- The digital display has a timer and 3 different heat settings
- The handles are heat resistant
- While the machine is very affordable it does not come with a warranty
- It is not dishwasher-safe
Aroma Housewares 6-Cup (Cooked) Pot-Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
The 2-in-1 Food Steamer
This machine’s main function is to be a rice cooker. The machine costs hardly anything around $20 but does not come protected by a warranty. While the machine has plenty of functions to cook rice properly, we are looking at the steaming functions. The machine can be programmed for presets, has alarms and will also hold food warm. The basket on top is able to sit on top of the rice while it cooks and steam the food. The steam basket is dishwasher safe and the handles are heat resistant.
- The handles are heat resistant
- Food a is able to be seton top of the rice while it cooks to steam it
- The machine has alarms and a hold warm function
- The machine is very cheap but it does not come with a warranty
Aicok HY-4401S Food Steamer
The Triple Layer Food Steamer
This is one of the bigger food steamers available out there. It also comes very reasonably priced and also comes with a 2-year warranty to protect it.
The machine is powered by an 800-watt motor which heats up the chambers evenly. There are three compartments to steam different foods separately. The containers are clear so you can see inside but they are not dishwasher safe and need to be cleaned by hand. There is a water gauge, a 60-minute timer and a keep warm function.
- The machine is very affordable and comes with a 2-year warranty to protect it
- There are three different compartments so you can steam foods evenly and separately
- There is a 60-minute timer and a keep warm function
- All pieces need to be hand washed and are not dishwasher safe
Rosewill Electric Food Steamer RHST-15001
An Ordinary Food Steamer
This food steamer is almost identical in terms of functions and looks as the last one. It does cost a little bit more and does not come with a warranty to protect it. There are 3 separate containers to steam food in separately and they are clear so you can see inside during the steaming process without opening the lid. It too is powered by an 800-watt motor and has the same water gauge. There is a 60-minute timer, an auto shutoff and a keep-warm function.
- There are 3 different containers that steam different foods separately and evenly
- The containers are clear so you can see inside without removing the lid
- There is a 60-minute timer and a keep warm function
- While it is very affordable, there is no warranty to protect it
- Not dishwasher safe
All-Clad E414S564 Stainless Steel Steamer Cookware
The Fancy Food Steamer
This food steamer just looks brilliant because of its construction. It is a little bit expensive though and it is covered by a lifetime warranty.
The double boiler pot is constructed of 18/10 stainless steel and works more like a boiler than a steam so it would be great for lobster boils and crawfish settings. The pot comes with a steamer pot and a steamer basket for different methods as well. The pots are all oven safe to 600 degrees and dishwasher safe. They will also work on any type of burner including induction.
- The pots come with a steam pot and a steamer basket
- Covered by a lifetime warranty
- The pots are dishwasher safe, oven safe and work with induction burners
- While it does come with a lifetime warranty, the pots are very expensive to purchase
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Steamer with Extendable Handle
The Steamer Basket
This last item is just the basket, nothing else so you would need a pot or a pressure cooker to use it with. The basket is very affordable but does not come with any warranty to protect it. The basket is constructed of stainless steel and the handle extends for the proper length. The basket retracts up and down to hold the food in the basket. It is also dishwasher safe.
- The basket is very affordable
- It is dishwasher safe
- The handle extends for safe lengths and the body retracts up and down to hold the food inside the basket
- Does not come with a warranty
- Does not come with a pot, just a basket
Well now that we have gone over most of the models available for purchase, it is safe to say you would be doing yourself a service if you went with any of the first three models on the list. They are versatile, easy to use and clean and they are very affordable.