With modern technology, food steamers can cook lots of dishes while locking the nutrients, vitamins, and taste in. A food steamer can change the way you cook and the way you think about cooking.

There are so many food steamers on the market that it can be hard to know where to start.

  • Do you choose an electric steamer or a stovetop steamer?
  • Should you choose between a bamboo steamer or a stainless steel steamer?
  • What should you look for when you are buying a steamer?
  • Why should you even want a steamer?

There are a lot of good questions to be asked before you commit to a food steamer, but, thankfully, there are also a lot of good answers.

With so much information and disinformation out there, it can be hard to know what is helpful and what is hindering you.

We have scoured the furthest reaches of the internet to compile all the information you need to make an informed choice for a food steamer.

Not only that, but we have also compiled ten of the best food steamers for you.

As always, we recommend you to read our buyer’s guide to have a more in-depth understanding of what you should be looking for before you dive into our list of the best food steamer.


Best Food Steamer in 2018

Food Steamer Capacity Best For Price
Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer (Editor’s Pick) - Best for Economic Cooking Price
Oster Double-Tiered Food Steamer (Editor’s Pick) - Best for Cooking Fish Price
Aicok Food Steamer (Editor’s Pick) - Best Large Electric Steamer Price
Bella Healthy Food Steamer - Best for Small Kitchen Price
Circulon Stainless Steel Universal Steamer - Best for Ease of Use Price
VonShef Two Tier Bamboo Steamer - Best for Traditional Asian Style Steaming Price
Concord Cookware Steamer - Best for Professional Steaming Price
Mr. Rudolf Steamer Set - Best for Adaptable Cooking Price
O’Salata Premium Food Steamer - Best for Pressure Cooking Price
Geotel Steamer Basket - Best for Instant Pot Cooking Price

1. Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer — Best for Economic Cooking


Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer

This is an economical and versatile food steamer from Hamilton Beach. The steamer comes with two tiers which makes it perfect for meal times.

You can cook your vegetables on one level and your rice or meat on the other; making one entire meal with only one appliance.

The two food baskets also nestle for easy storage in your kitchen cupboard. The great thing about this steamer is that you can use the steamer with one basket or two.

You can use one basket when you want to cook a small amount of food or, perhaps, a side dish for the main meal.

If you want to cook an entire meal, then you can use both the baskets. If you want even more versatility, then you can remove the central divider and steam food which will not fit into one of the baskets.

The ample space available means that you can cook big batches of food at one time, or food of big sizes.

This steamer comes with a digital touchpad which makes it easy to use. There are many functions which can be controlled by the touchpad, including a countdown timer.

The display is also easy to see which makes it ideal for tracking how much time is left before your food is cooked. There is also an automatic warm function which is switch on when the food is cooked.

This means that your food will be kept warm when it is cooked without it going soggy.

There is a countdown timer that will buzz when the food is cooked so that you are alerted to your food being ready.

There is also a delay function that allows you to start the cooking process later. This is a great function if you want to start your food cooking, but have to be somewhere else. Just press a few buttons, and your food will be ready when you are.

There is also a rice bowl which you can use to cook perfect and fluffy rice. It is excellent for white or brown rice.

However, most of the parts of this steamer are not dishwasher safe and have to be washed by hand, but they are quite easy to deal with.

Bottom line

This is an excellent food steamer for couples. There is enough space to cook a full meal, and there are a lot of functions which are going to make your life a lot easier.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Rice bowl
  • Countdown Timer
  • Keep warm function
  • Versatile baskets
  • Cooks the most flavorful and most tender vegetables and fish
Cons
  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Only two levels
  • Small capacity

Get the Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer


2. Oster Double-Tiered Food Steamer — Best for Cooking Fish


Oster Double-Tiered Food Steamer

This food steamer is excellent for all manner of food, but in our tests, it was perfect for cooking fish. The gentle steaming of this steamer leaves your fish moist and flaky.

An excellent steamer for crafting a meal of salmon and asparagus. The steam cooks your food quickly and locks the nutrients and vitamins in, giving you a healthy and nutritious meal.

The two tiers allow you to cook two different types of food at the same time without one coming into contact with the other. The two tiers also nest together for easier storage.

This is perfect for when you are cooking your salmon and asparagus. The fact that the two tiers are completely see-through also means that you can see your food as it is cooking.

This lets you see the progress of the food, and can stop cooking when the fish is ready (fish is robust and delicate. If you cook it to perfection, there really is nothing better).

This food steamer comes with a 60-minute automatic timer. The timer will shut off when your food is done to save you on the utility bill and to stop the food from overcooking.

The generous 60-minute timer also means that you can cook large items in the steamer, such as belly roasts of pork or chickens. It will also shut off when the food reservoir is empty.

The steamer has five quarts of capacity, making it perfect for large meals.

The parts are also completely dishwasher safe. You do not need to worry about hand washing the parts when you are done cooking. Simply place the pieces in the dishwasher and clean them at a touch of a button.

What could be more convenient than cooking your food at the touch of a button and clean up at the touch of a button?

Bottom line

This is another excellent food steamer for couples. The two tiers allow you to cook an entire meal at once, without the food mixing. The timer is great for protecting the food, and the unit is straightforward to clean up.

Pros
  • Two Tiers
  • Timer
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Auto shutoff
  • Compact storage
  • Functions are easy to understand, and parts are easy to clean
Cons
  • Small capacity
  • Not BPA-free
  • Fogs up

Get the Oster Double-Tiered Food Steamer


3. Aicok Food Steamer — Best for Large-Capacity


Aicok Food Steamer

This is a large steamer; you can steam a lot of food with this steamer and on three levels with its 9.5-quarts capacity.

The powerful 800W motor warms the water quickly and evenly distributes the steam to cook the all the food at the same time.

This is an excellent steamer for a large family; you can cook the main meal for four people with ease, and have three separate tiers to prepare three different levels of food, which is great for multiple food items and for large families.

We appreciate the timer with auto shutoff function. You can set your food to cook for up to 60 minutes, and when the food is done, the timer will shut off so that your food is not overcooked.

Not only will the timer shut off when the time is up, but it will also shut off when there is no more water in the reservoir. (You should always make sure to check that you have enough water in there to cover your cooking time, though there is a water level window where you can check the level of water in your steamer, so you should not have a problem with that).

Furthermore, the steamer will also buzz when the time is up.

This is an extremely easy steamer to use.

The baskets are stackable in the steamer to give you enough space to cook as much food as you want, and they are also nest-able to use up less space in storage. The baskets are also dishwasher safe. You do not need to worry about hand washing your equipment when you are done.

The steamer comes with a 2-year warranty. If anything does go wrong with your steamer, then Aicok will be happy to put it right.

Bottom line

If you are looking for a large capacity steamer which will quickly cook your food, then this is the steamer for you.

We love that you can cook a large amount of food in this steamer, but, even more than that, we love how easy this food steamer is to use.

Pros
  • Large capacity
  • Egg holders
  • BPA-free
  • Powerful steamer
  • Timer
  • Built-in functions control with LCD
Cons
  • Larger footprint
  • No recipe book

Get the Aicok Food Steamer


4. Bella Healthy Food Steamer — Best for Small Kitchens


Bella Healthy Food Steamer

This is the perfect steamer for smaller kitchens. It is small in footprint, but adequate capacity means that you can cook a lot of food without needing a lot of space.

The two-tier design means that you can cook two levels of food. You do not need to worry about combining your rice and vegetables, or your fish and chicken; you can separate your food into two levels and have them cook independently of each other.

There is also a separate tray for cooking rice. The special rice tray is perfect for cooking fluffy and delicious rice to go with freshly steamed chicken.

The simple steaming chart allows you to turn the dial and choose the setting for your favorite food without having to look up the cooking times online. This also helps when you want to cook two things which take different amounts of time to prepare.

You can simply look up the times on the front of the device and cook the longest one first, adding the second when the first is partially cooked. We love cooking dim sum and dumplings in this steamer. They always come out perfectly cooked.

The auto shutoff on the steamer will turn off the steamer when the time is up. This stops the food from cooking too much and getting too soft.

The steamer will also shut off when the water reservoir is empty. This saves the steamer from becoming damaged. The other great feature on this steamer is the water level window. You can see at a glance whether the water reservoir needs filling and fill it before you start cooking. All of these features help you to protect your steamer from damage.

You do not need to use any oil with this steamer, which not only cuts down on the unnecessary fat in your diet, but it also means that there is less mess when you are down cooking.

Another great thing is that, if there is a mess, the parts are entirely dishwasher safe. Throw them in one of the dishwasher racks, and they will be cleaned without you having to lift a finger (except for the one you use to push the “start” button).

Bottom line

This is an excellent steamer for anyone with a small kitchen who wants to cook a lot of food. You have two levels for all your favorite foods and a rice bowl for perfect rice.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Rice bowl
  • Two Tiers
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Small footprint
  • Automatically shuts off once the cooking process has ended
Cons
  • Baskets must be in the correct order
  • Small printing on dials

Get the Bella Healthy Food Steamer


5. Circulon Stainless Steel Universal Steamer — Best for Ease Of Use


Circulon Stainless Steel Universal Steamer

The Circulon Stainless Steel Universal Steamer is good looking.

The stainless-steel finish means that it will become a part of the design of your kitchen. It looks sleek and elegant. It is also designed to fit with most of the pots and pans in your kitchen.

The steamer will fit 2-, 3-, and 4-quart pans. It does not matter if the containers are straight or tapered, the steamer will fit on top.

Simply fill a pot with some water, and place this steamer on the top. The lid (which is shatter-resistant) will fit tightly on the top to keep the steam in once the water warms up.

We love how easy this steamer is to clean. With most electric steamers, there are parts which cannot be put into the dishwasher. With this steamer, you can place the entire steamer in your dishwasher to wash it.

You can also easily hand wash it. The stainless steel is durable and sturdy. Even after a lot of use, the stainless steel will look and feel great.

The dual-riveted handles give you great strength. You will not be loading your steamer so full that it will be too heavy to lift, but over time, even the smallest weight will take a toll over time.

This is one of the easiest to use steamers on our list.

The fact that you do not need to plug the steamer in means that you need not mess around with power (or use electricity at all).

There are no settings to choose from. All you have to do is monitor the time. You can also monitor the food inside by looking through the glass lid. The entire steamer is also oven-safe to 500° F. Once you have steamed your food, you can keep it warm in the oven or add a roasted taste to it.

Bottom line

An excellent steamer for anyone who wants something easy to use. The stainless steel will look great stored with your pots and pans, and there is no need to worry about programming timers.

Pros
  • Tough and durable
  • Looks great
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Easy to use
  • Compact and can fit on most kitchen counters
Cons
  • No timer
  • No auto shutoff; you have to switch it off manually

Get the Circulon Stainless Steel Universal Steamer


6. VonShef Two Tier Bamboo Steamer — Best for Traditional Asian Cooking


VonShef Two Tier Bamboo Steamer

This steamer is made from natural woven bamboo.

Many bamboo steamers will begin to lose color over time and start to look a little shabbier, but this one will stay looking fresh and new for a lot longer.

Natural bamboo is also better for your food, helping the food better retain the moisture, keep its color, and lock in more of the flavor.

This steamer is ideal for cooking up dim sum, dumplings, and buns, and is also great for a range of food, such as vegetables, rice, and fish.

Anything you can cook in an electric steamer, you can cook in here. The two tiers mean that you can cook two separate food groups at one time. The layers are also completely reversible.

The lack of oil means that the food you cook is healthy and tasty, without being saturated with fat.

We love that you get some extras with this steamer. Two pairs of chopsticks are included, perfect for eating your food when it is cooked, and 50 wax steamer liners.

The liners stop the food from sticking to the bamboo. This makes clean up extremely easy. In fact, you may find that you do not need to clean the bamboo at all after making a meal with this steamer.

Bottom line

Perfect for anyone who wants to cook authentic Asian food. The look of the steamer also makes it a great focal point for your kitchen. A great conversation starter.

Pros
  • Compact
  • Easy to use
  • Great for dim sum
  • Reinforced bamboo
  • Multi-use steamer which can steam any food
Cons
  • No timer
  • Small capacity

Get the VonShef Two Tier Bamboo Steamer


7. Concord Cookware Steamer — Best for Professional Steaming


Concord Cookware Steamer

This steamer is an all-in-one steamer for the hob in your kitchen.

The bottom piece can be used as a standalone pot if you wish, and you can fit the lid on top of it to cook anything which you would cook in a regular pot.

There are also two steaming inserts which can go into the large-capacity pot. This gives you more versatility.

You can place one insert into the pot or two, depending on what you want to cook. Added to this are two parts which sit on top of the pot to add two more steaming tiers.

The inserts can also be used in these tiers. This means that you have four possible tiers for steaming, and you can choose between a variety of sizes for your tiers.

When you compare this steamer to an electric steamer, it is easy to see that this one is much more durable. You could dent or drop one of the steamer baskets, and it would not break.

Each part of this steamer can take a lot of abuse without you having to replace parts completely. The stainless steel also gives a professional finish which will look great in any kitchen.

This is a kitchen steamer which will last you for a long time and is akin to those used in professional kitchens.

Bottom line

A great food steamer for producing a large quantity of food. We would recommend this steamer if you want to cook professional-grade food for a large number of people. Great for anyone who has a lot of functions or parties.

Pros
  • Large capacity
  • Easy to use
  • 4 tiers
  • Looks great
  • Durable
Cons
  • Very large
  • Heavy

Get the Concord Cookware Steamer


8. Mr. Rudolf Steamer Set — Best for Adaptable Cooking


Mr. Rudolf Steamer Set

This steamer is great for combining with other Mr. Rudolph kitchen accessories.

There are many kitchen accessories to choose from, and this steamer will not look out of place on display with all of your stainless steel pots and pans.

The base of the pan is triple-ply aluminum. This helps to spread the heat more evenly in the pot and stops hot spots from building up. This means that the steam is distributed more evenly around your steamer, and your food is cooked more evenly.

The exterior of the pan is made from stainless steel for a high-class mirrored-finish. The surface not only looks great, but it will also withstand discoloration from food or steam. The stainless steel will also leave your food tasting as it should.

The rim of the pan is also tapered to eliminate spills and drips when the steamer is steaming, and when you are pouring water from it. Stainless steel build also means it cleans easily, and when you are done, the steel will shine like it is new.

The welding on the handles is extra-sturdy. This is great for when you want to transfer the steamer into the oven to finish cooking. This especially great for cooking meat; you can steam it if you wish, but if you want to roast the meat, then you can put the steamer in the oven and have the meat juices drip into the pan.

This is a perfect steamer for all types of hobs. It works with gas, electric, and even induction. This steamer is easy to use and easy to clean.

Bottom line

A simple steamer to use which has functionality beyond a simple steamer. It is great for cooking on, and in, a variety of appliances. Great for small-scale professional cooking.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Looks great
  • Multifunctional
Cons
  • No timer
  • No auto shut-off

Get the Mr. Rudolf Steamer Set


9. O’Salata Premium Food Steamer — Best for Pressure Cooking


O’Salata Premium Food Steamer

This is the ultimate steamer for pressure cooking.

There are two tiers inside to cook two types of food at the same time. The two tiers are placed inside a separate pan, and the food is cooked by the heat around the metal, instead of the steam inside the pans. This means that the food is cooked by pressure instead of steam.

The great thing about pressure cooking is that you can cook a wider variety of food than you can with a steamer. Not only can you cook delicious vegetables, fish, and rice, but you can also cook lasagna and cheesecakes.

Some call it magic; we call it delicious.

This steamer is also completely dishwasher safe, or you can hand wash it if you wish.

The great thing is that because the cooker takes advantage of pressure cooking instead of steam, then there are fewer tiny holes to clean out, making it a lot easier to hand wash than conventional steamers.

Drying the components with a towel will leave them looking as good as when you first bought them.

There is a sling incorporated in the design if this cooking device so that you do not have to buy one separately. The handle on the top also makes it easy to get the cooker in and out of the pot.

The design is also streamlined so that the two tiers will fit inside a pressure cooker ranging from 5 quarts to 8 quarts.

This is a steamer that will open you up to the world of pressure cooking. The materials used can ensure that this apparatus will last you for a long time.

It can stand up to being dented and bashed without having to have parts replaced. If you drop one of the plastic baskets of an electric steamer, then you run the risk of damaging it completely. That is not the case with this seamer.

This is a compact steamer which is perfect for low-volume cooking. Great for couples to cook professional meals without having to go to a restaurant to taste them.

Bottom line

A very nice looking steamer which will unlock the world of pressure cooking. It will leave all of your vegetables tasting fresh and crunchy.

Pros
  • Silicone feet
  • Durable
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Easy to use
  • Pressure cooking
Cons
  • No timer
  • Not a traditional steamer

Get the O’Salata Premium Food Steamer


10. Geotel Steamer Basket — Best for Instant Pot Cooking


Geotel Steamer Basket

This is a steamer basket that can be used in your instant pot.

It will fit into a 6 or 8-quart instant pot, and, of course, will fit into larger electric pressure cookers too. The design means that the steamer basket looks small, but the capacity is exceptionally generous.

The basket is perfect for cooking meat, veggies, rice, eggs, and more, but also functions in other ways. You can use it as a strainer when you are not using it to steam your food.

The basket is made from high-quality materials. Geotel is focused on health and safety, and the basket is FDA approved. The stainless steel has a brushed finish which will look great no matter how old it is.

The basket is also wide with strategically placed holes to ensure that the food is steamed evenly.

The steam is allowed to penetrate the holes on all sides of the basket, so the steam is not only coming from the bottom of the steamer. The base comes with feet to steady the basket, and the feet are covered with silicone.

This is great for protecting your ceramic pots or any work surfaces. The silicone will not scratch any surfaces, and cushions the basket. The steel and the silicone are easily cleaned.

The basket is entirely BPA-free; the steel and the silicone are food-grade. Everything is dishwasher safe and easy to wash by hand.

The steel will look great after every clean, and you will not have to worry about the steel retaining any of the odors of the food which has been cooked in it.

We like the care and attention Geotel’s customer service provides. If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, you can contact them, and they will resolve the issue within 24 hours.

They also have a 100% money-back guarantee. If you are not satisfied with the product, they will give you money back without asking any questions.

This is a great steaming accessory for anyone with an instant pot. You can really add to your cooking experience and create food which is healthy and nutritious.

Bottom line

An excellent steamer for anyone who wants to add hassle-free steaming to their cooking. The basket looks good when standing alone, and will gently steam all of your food.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Durable
  • Dishwasher safe
  • BPA-free
  • Small footprint
Cons
  • Needs an instant pot
  • Small capacity

Get the Geotel Steamer Basket


Food Steamer Buyer’s Guide


Buying a food steamer is not as easy as just choosing one from a list.

While steamers are built to do the same thing, not all of them are built equally. There are some things which you should think about before you go out and buy one.

When you know what is out there, then you can plan to find a steamer which will steam food the way you want it to.

How Does a Food Steamer Work?

A food steamer is a kitchen appliance for cooking your food. A food steamer has a base which contains a reservoir. The reservoir is filled with water, and then the steamer is plugged into the wall.

Most steamers are electric-powered, but there are models which can be placed inside a pot and then cooked over a flame or electric burner.

You will also have steaming baskets which hold your food. Some steamers have uniform basket sizes, and some have different-sized baskets.

Your food baskets will go on the base, and then a lid will be placed on the steamer.

When the steamer is turned on, the water in the reservoir is heated and turned to steam. The steam rises through the steamer and comes into contact with the food in the baskets.

The hot steam cooks the food without drying it out.


What are the Benefits of a Food Steamer?


Improving your diet and cooking more healthily are among the main reasons for buying a food steamer.

Let’s take a look at how a steamer can improve the way you eat, and some of the other benefits to a food steamer.

Nutrition

When you steam your food (especially your vegetables), you keep in more of the nutrients and vitamins.

Other cooking methods, especially boiling food, remove the nutrients from the food. A lot of the nutrition is sucked out into the water, and then that water is usually discarded.

When you steam your vegetables, the nutrients are locked in. Your vegetables will be packed full of health benefits, and you can improve your diet by eating exactly the same food.

When you are cooking food, especially vegetables, and especially when you are boiling them, the food can begin to lose its color.

There is nothing which looks better on your plate than some vibrant vegetables.

Food steamers are great for preserving the color of your vegetables. Not only that, but the structure and texture of the food are also preserved.

As you are steaming your food, there is less need for oil to be used. It is only water which is used to cook your food, which means that you are not adding unnecessary fat to your meals.

You should have fat as part of your diet, and it is healthy to have fat daily, but you do not want to have too much fat, and a food steamer will ensure that you do not have any unnecessary fat in your diet.

Instead of roasting your vegetable, covered in oil, you can gently steam it and pair it with a piece of pork. You get to eat the food which you want to without having to count the calories or fat content.

Because you are not cooking with a lot of oil, and instead are cooking with water, you can actively lower your cholesterol. You will be consuming fewer fats which contribute to high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Steaming food is a healthy option when it comes to cooking your food.

Versatility

When we think about steamers, we have this image in our head of vegetables, but did you know that food steamers are great for cooking all types of food?

You can cook some fantastic fish in a steamer.

By cooking the fish gently, the flavor is locked in, and the fish is not damaged. You can cook almost any seafood in a steamer and chicken too.

A food streamer is also great for cooking grains such as rice or couscous. You can boil (or steam) an egg in a food steamer, and you can even cook up your fruit (which gives the same health benefits as cooking your vegetables).

Convenience

With a food steamer, you have a lot of space for food.

Most of them also have different levels to cook your food on. This means that you can cook a lot of varied food at the same time.

A meal for a family of four can be cooked in your steamer, instead of using up multiple burners and your oven. You could create a meal of salmon, rice, and vegetables, all in a single appliance. The other convenience comes in not having to touch your food once the cooking starts.

You do not need to turn your food to cook the other side. You do not need to stir your food. Once the food is in the steamer, you can leave it until it is cooked. The space you save by using your steamer will help you to keep your kitchen organized (and your mind organized too).

Food steamers also cook your food quickly. The steam (and the heat) are locked into your steamer. This means that you only need a few minutes to cook your favorite foods.

Having a cooking system which is fast and easy is a great benefit to anyone. Not only can you save time on your cooking, but you can also save money and energy.

Large food steamers also mean that you can cook a significant amount of food at the same time. And different baskets means you can cook different food on different levels.

By using only one appliance to cook all of your food, you can save quite a significant amount of money on the utility bills.

It also saves you energy as you do not need to use multiple cooking utensils, and you do not need to use multiple appliances. When it comes to cleaning up, you will have less to clean.


Types Of Food Steamers


There are many types of food steamers on the market, and you can use a basic steamer to do most things, but the type of cooking you do will dictate the type of steamer you need.

If you want to do specialist steaming, then you will need a special steamer.

Variable vs. Equal Baskets

Most steamers will have three stackable baskets.

This allows you to have three levels of food cooking at the same time. You do not want to stack food too high in your steamer, or the steam will not be able to permeate it adequately, and the baskets help to ensure that you can cook a lot of food without having to stack it.

There are two main types of basket size which you will find in most steamers.

Equal-sized baskets are, as the name would suggest, equally sized. You will have three baskets all of the same sizes to steam your food in.

The three baskets can be fitted into the steamer in any order, and if you want to move them about to change the temperature and intensity (food near the bottom will be steamed quicker), you can.

Variable-sized baskets are different depths. This allows you to cook food of different sizes, and makes it so that you are not wasting as much space as you can do with fixed-size baskets.

With variable-sized baskets, you have to plan your cooking a little more, making sure that you have everything where you want it, as it is harder to know the cooking times when you move the baskets.

With variable baskets, you generally have a more compact storage option, with the ability to fit the baskets inside of each other.

Bamboo and Metal Steamers

These types of steamers usually have two tiers of baskets which sit upon a pan or a wok, with water at the bottom of it.

There is no need to plug them in, but that also means that they do not have functions, such as auto shutoff and timers.

Ease Of Use and Clean Up

Cleaning your food steamer can be tricky, and we would recommend investing a little extra money to get one which is easier to clean.

Steamers need to have holes to allow the steam to move through the steamer and into contact with all of your food.

There are usually grease traps and condensation trays too. Look for parts which are removable for cleaning, and parts which are dishwasher safe.

The grease trays and condensation trays will be easy to clean, but it is the steaming baskets and trays which will be the hardest to clean.

The trick is to find trays with holes which are easy to clean, which would be bigger holes, but still, holes which are small enough so that the food does not fall through.

What to Look For in a Food Steamer

Price

You do not need to spend a fortune to get a high-quality food steamer.

In fact, you may be able to get one which will fit your needs for as low as $50. We always recommend that you do not make a decision on a food steamer based solely on price, though if the cheapest steamer fits your needs, then that is the one which you should get.

When it comes time to decide on a steamer, you should first decide on your budget. This will be the most which you will spend on a steamer.

Feel free to go below this, but once you have set your budget, you should not go over it.

Once you have your budget, you should use the rest of our buying guide to decide on the features you need in your food steamer. Find the steamer with all of the features you need, and then find the best steamer at the best price.

With all the products we review, we always recommend spending a little more to get a high-quality product. If you do choose the cheapest product possible, then you may end up paying a lot more for it than expected.

Higher-quality products will last longer. With a cheap product, you may be replacing parts sooner than you want to, and you may be replacing the food steamer entirely.

Look for quality parts which are going to last, and do not be afraid to spend a little to get that.

Footprint

When you are looking at food streamers, you need to be aware of how much space you have in your kitchen.

A food steamer will need some counter space, but the great thing about food steamers is that they usually take up real estate in a vertical direction.

The actual footprint on your kitchen countertop is not very much, so what you should be worried about is the height of your steamer.

The height will dictate where in your kitchen you can use it and where you can store it.

If you are going to have the steamer out on your counter at all times, then you do not need to worry about storage space. The height of the steamer may be a problem if you have upper kitchen cabinets above your countertop.

If your cabinets are low, then you may not have a prominent place to use your steamer. If you are storing your steamer, then you should ensure that you have a steamer which comes apart for easy storage.

Brand

As with any appliance, there are name brands, and there are other brands.

When you are looking for an electric food steamer, it is beneficial, in our opinion, to look for a company which has a good track record in making kitchen appliances.

Companies which have a history in kitchen appliances, generally have departments which can be dedicated to research on how to cook food.

Capacity

The capacity of your steamer will depend on the type of cooking which you want to do.

Apparently, the more you want to cook, the larger a steamer you will need. The great thing about food steamers is that most of them come with baskets which can be added or taken away.

This means that even the biggest steamers can be used economically to cook a small amount of food. The main thing to think about is that a large steamer can be used to cook a small amount of food, but a small steamer cannot be used to cook a significant amount of food.

Of course, a large steamer will probably cost you more money, and a larger size means that you will need more storage space in your kitchen.

If you live alone and only need to cook a little food each night, then a smaller steamer will be a better investment.

A smaller steamer will also be more economical and use less power. Even if you use a larger steamer to cook a small amount of food, you will use the same amount of power as if you were cooking a large amount of food.

Modes and Features

When you go to buy your steamer, you want it to do one thing, and that is steam.

However, modern steamers offer all kinds of features and modes. You should look for a steamer which offers you a right balance between functionality and price.

Of course, if you only want a steamer, then go for one which has simple functionality. If you want more, then you can shop around and find a steamer which can do a lot more than just steam your food.

Warranty

The more extended the warranty, the better, but you should weigh this up against the price of the unit.

There is no point in paying for an extended warranty if you can replace your food steamer cheaply. But then, there is no point in buying a cheap food steamer if you are going to need to replace it without getting much use out of it.

The key is to buy a good food steamer with a decent warranty. We recommend looking for at least a year’s warranty.

We also recommend reading the fine print of the warranty. There is no point in getting a 3-year warranty if it does not actually cover you.

Some warranties will cover certain parts, but may well not cover you if the product breaks down when you are using it.

Check to see if you are covered and then make the decision.

Customer Service

Customer service is vital when you buy your product and beyond.

Many large companies will give you excellent service as they have been doing this for a long time and do not want to have their reputation tarnished.

Having said that, with a large company you run the risk of becoming another number. Family-run and small companies usually strive to give excellent service, but there are times when their aftercare can be lacking.

Look for reviews of the product which you want to buy and especially look for reviews based on customer service.

When people have lousy service, they are usually vocal about it. If you see more than one review of lousy customer service, then it might be best to stay away.

One bad review could just be an anomaly. No customer service reviews generally mean that you will get excellent service from the company.

Good reviews when it comes to customer service means that you are going to be treated well.

Extras

There are many additional extras which can come with your steamer.

Some units will be shipped with extras, while others will have the option to be bought individually. There are some great extras out there for improving and adapting your steaming. Here are some of the best.

Rice Cooker

Some steamers will come with a rice bowl to allow you to steam your rice. The dish sits in your steaming basket and is designed explicitly to steam rice.

Many people are put off by the cooking time (it can take between 20-40 minutes to cook your rice), but the rice you get at the end of the cooking process is better than anything which you could do in a pot of water.

As long as you plan ahead, you can have amazingly fluffy rice for your lunch and dinner. A rice bowl is also perfect for boiling eggs.

Water Gauge

You need to have water to provide the steam. A water gauge will tell you how much water you have left in the steamer and whether you need to top it up.

If you let your water reserve run dry, then it can damage your steamer, so you should always check the levels in your steamer.

A water gauge will tell you how much water is left in the steamer without you having to open up the reservoir.

You should also look for reservoirs (and gauges) with minimum and maximum fill lines so that you always have the correct amount of water in the tank.

External Inlets

When it does come time to add more water to your steamer, you want to be able to do so quickly and effectively.

Many units require you to have to remove the steamer baskets for you to add the water. If you have not planned ahead, then this can be a real nuisance (especially if you are in the middle of steaming some food).

External water inlets will allow you to add more water without having to take the steamer apart at all.

Timer

Most steamers will come with a timer, and you will be hard-pressed now to find one which does not, but you should be thinking about a timer, and which type of timer you want.

Analog and clockwork timers are easy to use, but they can be inaccurate (especially if the quality of your food will be affected by 30 seconds of cooking time. A digital timer will be more accurate, but will generally set you back a little more money.

With a digital timer, you also have access to additional functions. You may want to find a timer which allows for multiple countdowns, or one which has a delay function.

Some timers can also be set to come on at a specific time, which is great for food which is non-perishable.

Keep-Warm Function

There are times when you are cooking lunch or dinner and you are interrupted.

If you have a keep-warm function on your steamer, then you can keep your food warm after cooking without the food cooking more and becoming mushy.

This means that you can have warm food for an hour or two after cooking it. The key here is to make sure that you have enough water in the steamer to keep the food warm.

Auto Shut-Off

When the water gets low in the steamer, you want it to shut off so that you do not run the risk of damaging the motor or burning it out.

The best electric steamers will either shut off the power when the water is too low or alert you when that is the case.

Some will even do both. A steamer with this function will help if there is a chance you will forget about your steamer.

It is also an essential function for taking care of your steamer and may even protect you from having to buy a replacement steamer.


Bonus: Food Steamer Tips


Heat your water before you add your vegetables.

When you plug your steamer in, it will take a little time for the water to heat up.

Placing your vegetables in the steamer as the water is warming is fine, and you will end up with delicious vegetables, but we would recommend waiting until the steam is steaming before adding the vegetables.

This will ensure that you get the crispiest vegetables possible.

Do not steam for too long.

The longer you steam, especially for vegetables, the softer the food will become. You want your food to be cooked and have some texture to it.

When you are following recipes for vegetables in your steamer, you should try the veg before the time is up to make sure that the veg still has some bite to it.

Use stock and herbs for more flavor.

You will have to ensure that your steamer can handle this, and when you are done, you will need to make sure that you clean out your steamer.

If you want an extra kick of flavor in your food, you can use stock in your water reservoir instead of water.

If you are cooking vegetables, you could use vegetable stock to add some extra flavor to the veg. If you are cooking rice, you could use chicken stock to add some extra flavor to the rice.

Seal the steamer

Food steamers work by creating a hot environment for your food, which comes into contact with a lot of steam, to cook the food thoroughly.

If there is a place where the steam can get out, then the interior of the steamer is not going to stay at optimum temperature.

The steam will also escape and not cook the food as well. Make sure to fit the lid tight before you begin cooking your food.

Prep your food

When it comes to steaming vegetables, there is a stereotype that they can be bland and tasteless.

While other cooking methods, such as grilling, can add more taste to your vegetable, steaming will give you a vibrant taste which will highlight the taste of the vegetable.

If you are worried about there not being enough taste to your vegetables, then you can season them before cooking them.

Add some spices, herbs, garlic, or just salt and pepper to your veg before steaming it. This will add some extra flavor to your food.

Use it as a sanitizer.

Did you know that you can also use your food steamer to sanitize?

A food steamer is great for sanitizing items such as baby bottles, cloths, and pacifiers. They are easy to use and sanitize your items in minutes.


Conclusion


That is a lot to take in, but you should now be equipped to make an informed choice on a food steamer.

There is a lot of information out there about steamers, but it is worth knowing what you need to know before taking the plunge.

A good food steamer can revolutionize the way you cook. They are easy to use. They cook your food quickly. They lock in the nutrition and taste. They are versatile. They cook entire meals, and they can even sanitize your equipment.

Having a food steamer in your kitchen can give you a lot more options when it comes to cooking.

Whether you choose a bamboo steamer for cooking dim sum or an electric steamer for cooking up large batches of vegetables, a steamer can replace your microwave, stove, and hob.

The only thing to do now is to choose the perfect steamer for you.

Start with your needs, and then figure out your budget. Once you know what you can afford, you can narrow down your choices.

Do not be afraid to spend nearer your upper limit to get a steamer which will last you. Make your choice and enjoy your freshly steamed food.

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FlikTeoh

By: FlikTeoh

Author @ HOMEQUIPMENT