Gone are the days when everyone used to eat food to survive. Also gone are the days when everyone had limited options for food and limited tools for cooking like the best food steamer. Now the ultimate question is, what do we not have in this world?
We have developed and popularized so many food items and methods to cook them. We have steaming, deep-frying, shallow-frying, blanching, double-boiling, poaching, roasting, braising, and whatnot.
Amongst these and the ones not here, there are a few healthy techniques out of which steaming is worth mentioning. So, here we are about to discuss the best food steamer.
Steaming is a cooking method in which not only does the texture of the food remain the same as before, but the nutrients are also not lost. Other than this, steaming can be used to recook those foods which require humid heat, for example, momos and tamales. So, I don’t see why it is not a win-win for everyone.
So, the first section of the article is going to deal with the primary factors that decide which is the best food steamer. And then, we are going to take a look at five of the best food steamers available in the market and understand some of their features. This is to give you an idea about the food steamer you would like and also to cover the features that are not considered in the first part of the article.
Best Food Steamer – Buying Guide
Finally, we will see the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about food steamers.
Factors to look for when you are going to buy the best food steamer
Buying a food steamer is super easy when you know what you are looking for. So, to help you with that, here are the things you should take care of before you zero in on the best food steamer.
Frequency of usage
How often are you going to be eating steamed food?
Figuring out an answer to this question will give you an idea about the budget you need to set for buying the food steamer.
Also, buying a high-quality and expensive food steamer just to cram it into some shelf after a use or two and then never using it again is plain illogical.
And a waste of money!
Size and capacity of the steamer
Why are you buying the food steamer? Is it for personal use or a commercial purpose?
Figuring out the answers to these questions will give you an idea about the size of the steamer you should be looking for. This is because we have steamers right from small countertop ones to huge, multi-compartment floor ones to choose from.
Furthermore, commercial steamers are of different types and quantities and differ from the small food steamers a lot. (which we will discuss later).
One more thing you should note is that the capacity of food steamers is expressed in terms of ‘quarts’. Simply saying, 1 quart is approximately equal to 1 liter.
Number of tiers or compartments in the food steamer
Food steamers usually have 1 to 3 tiers with the most commonly used being 3-tiered.
Usually, the food item placed in the bottom-most tier cooks for the longest while the food that is in the top-most tier takes the least cooking time.
So, the more the tiers, the more is the number of different food items that can be cooked at the same time.
You also need to check which food steamer consumes how much power, especially if you are going to use it regularly.
Types of food steamers
There are a lot of food steamers for personal use, for example, bamboo steamers, microwave steamers, electric steamers, multi-cooker steamers, and built-in countertop steamers. Then, there are collapsible steamer baskets that are very easy to store.
Also, their sizes can be adjusted according to the quantity of the food contents or the pot. The collapsible baskets are made of stainless steel or silicone.
They are placed inside a large pot individually or one over the other to steam food. After use, they have to be hand-washed. The only ‘defect’ seen in them is that they change color over time.
As the name suggests, these food steamers run on electricity. Most of them have timers that can be adjusted according to the food to be steamed. Also, they have multiple tiers mostly made from plastic.
The microwave food steamers steam food when placed inside a microwave oven. These can also be multi-tiered.
Built-in countertop steamers
These food steamers are designed to fit inside a space or cavity on the countertop.
They cook in a variety of modes and are quite similar to electric steamers.
They are not portable and are pretty expensive.
Availability of timer
A programmable timer will help you adjust the time. This timer along with an auto shut-off feature will switch the appliance off after the set time.
This is an interesting feature that locks the flavor of the food in and prevents it from seeping out.
An easily understandable user manual will help you get an idea about the working of the food steamer. Some products have certain buttons that confuse customers. This does not allow them to make proper use of the product for which they spent a great deal of time and money.
In such cases, a user manual that explains each part of the product and its use will be of great use to them. Also, these manuals might give them an idea about how much time a particular kind of food item might need for proper cooking.
Always choose a product that has a legit warranty. This serves as an additional assurance regarding the product’s promising value and the company being responsible for any inconvenience.
Additional cookware offered
Many brands nowadays offer accompanying utensils and cookware like bowls and dishes. So, wouldn’t it be great if your best food steamer brings along a kitchen accessory in which you can present the food you cooked?
All these factors should be more than enough to wade through thousands of food steamers available in the market and find the best food steamer.
Our top Picks of Food Steamer
Many food steamers have gained popularity due to their remarkable features and long-lasting nature. And when all of this is offered at an affordable price, the products are bound to collect hundreds and thousands of happy customers.
So, let’s see what these products have got.
1. Rosewill Electric Food Steamer
The first food steamer on the list is from the well-known brand Rosewill. It
has some great features which are the reasons for its popularity and
- Capacity – 9.5 quarts.
- Wattage – 800 W.
- Sufficiently high power generates steam within 40 seconds.
- Number of tiers – 3.
- The tiers are made from BPA-free see-through plastic.
- The package also contains an egg holder (for boiling eggs – 6 in one basket) and a rice bowl (for boiling rice).
- The steamer has a 60-minutes timer with an auto shut off feature so that it shuts off when the water level is too low or the steam cycle is complete.
- There are water-fill inlets on both sides of the basket along with a water-level indicator.
- Every lid has vents for proper and even steam circulation to ensure complete cooking.
- The food steamer is easy to store.
2. Oster Double-Tiered Food Steamer
The second product on the list is from the brand Oster. This is another promising food steamer that cooks delicious and healthy food.
- Wattage – 400 W.
- Capacity – 5 quart.
- Number of tiers – 2.
- It has an auto shut off feature.
- It also has a 60-minutes timer.
- The cooking bowls are transparent to help see how the food is cooking inside.
- The food steamer also has a power indicator light.
- It can be dismantled into separate bowls for easy storage.
3. Kalorik Food Steamer
The third food steamer is from the brand Kalorik. It has many features and an affordable price.
- Capacity – 9.5 quart.
- Number of tiers – 3.
- It has a 60-minutes timer and an auto shut off that switches the steamer off after the water completes vaporizes.
- It also has a transparent water tank so that the water level can be checked.
- The handle does not heat up easily. So, it can be handled easily.
- The product is manufactured from plastic and metal.
- It is very easy to clean.
4. Secura Stainless Steel Food Steamer
The next one featured on this list is from the brand Secura. It has some great features and reviews that prove that it deserves the high ratings.
- Wattage – 1200 W.
- Capacity – 8.5 quart.
- Number of tiers – 2.
- The inside of this food steamer is made from stainless steel while the outside is made from BPA-free plastic.
- This has an auto shut off feature that switches the appliance off when the cycle is complete or when water is finished.
- The handle has anti-scalding protection. Hence, you can easily handle it.
- It also has an LED digital display.
- The water level is easily visible.
- The product also has a 2-year warranty.
- It is also easy to clean.
5. Hamilton Beach 37530A Digital Food Steamer
We end this list with a product from the very famous brand Hamilton Beach. This food steamer is promising, has many great features, a reasonable price, and lots of rave reviews.
- Wattage – 800 W.
- Capacity – 5.5 quart.
- Number of tiers – 2.
- The tiers are separated by a center divider which can be removed to add bigger food items.
- It has a stylish silver & black color combination.
- The package also has a drip tray and rice bowl.
- The product has a digital touchpad for convenience.
- It beeps when the food is cooked perfectly.
- After the timer switches off, the food steamer automatically switches to warm mode for an hour during which the steamed food remains warm.
- It can be easily stored after use.
- The bowls are made from BPA-free plastic.
- The water level is easily visible.
There are so many food steamers that it is confusing. But when the above-mentioned factors are followed to the T and some inspiration is drawn from the listed products, you will easily end up with the best food steamer.
There are a few tips that you could follow during and after purchasing a food steamer.
- If the food steamer is made from plastic, make sure it is BPA-free. This kind of plastic is environment-friendly and does not emit any chemical post-heating.
- Certain accessories are dishwasher-friendly while some are strictly advised against dishwashing. Some must be washed by hand while a few just need a little wipe to get cleaned. So, thoroughly read the description and the manual before cleaning your food steamer.
- Pouring too much water at a time is the most common reason for leakage. So, be careful while filling the water.
Now, these are just a few things you need to keep in mind when you handle your food steamer. Although there are many other dos and don’ts, these are some that stand out.
These are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about food steamers.
Why should we use a food steamer?
Steaming is a very healthy method of cooking. Not only does the texture of the food remain the same but a food steamer also cooks the food in their natural juices using steam. This enhances the flavor of the food.
Food steamers also come with multiple compartments, rice bowls, egg holders, etc. So, a lot of things can be done in the same cookware.
Which is a food steamer without plastic?
Plastic containers are honestly not so bad, especially when they are BPA-free. This kind is plastic without most of its harmful effects.
If you still insist on buying non-plastic food steamers, you can go for the ones made from stainless steel or glass. You could go for Cuisinart Digital Glass Steamer or products of a similar kind.
But, they are comparatively heavy and hard to maintain.
Which is a food steamer with a warm function?
There are a few good-quality food steamers with a warm function. Due to this function, the steamed food remains warm even after the timer turns off. A product with this feature is Hamilton Beach 37530A Digital Food Steamer. It has many other remarkable features.
Is steamed food bland?
Steamed food, when prepared properly, can be flavorful and delicious. While some may associate steaming with blandness, the reality is that steaming helps retain the natural flavors and nutrients of the ingredients. The taste of steamed food largely depends on the seasoning, sauces, and ingredients used in the cooking process. By incorporating herbs, spices, and sauces, steamed dishes can be incredibly appetizing and satisfying. Additionally, steaming is often considered a healthier cooking method as it requires little to no oil, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a nutritious and flavorful dining experience.
What foods can you steam?
You can steam a wide variety of foods, including:
- Vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, green beans, and more.
- Seafood: Fish fillets, shrimp, mussels, clams, crab legs, and scallops.
- Poultry: Chicken breasts, chicken wings, and turkey cutlets.
- Dumplings: Dim sum, potstickers, and momos.
- Rice and grains: Jasmine rice, brown rice, quinoa, couscous, and bulgur.
- Eggs: Steamed eggs or custards.
- Tofu and tempeh: Soft tofu, firm tofu, and tempeh.
- Fruits: Some fruits like pears, apples, and peaches can be steamed for a softer texture.
- Desserts: Steamed cakes, puddings, and custards.