Steaming food is a process that is becoming more and more popular. Whether it’s because you don’t have enough time to cook for the whole day, because you want to eat healthily, or simply because enjoy the taste of slowly steamed rice, veggies, or meat, you’ll be able to find the best food steamer for you on this page. There are numerous proven benefits to steam cooking your food versus other ways of cooking, and you will learn about them later in the post, but for now, let’s look at our favorite products of this year. We extensively tested numerous different steamers for ease of use, longevity, build quality, and other useful functions and decided that the following are the best options for everyone ranging from experienced cooks to college students with no cooking experience.
We will review all of the steamers in detail later on, but for now, let’s talk about how they work!
How Food Steamers Work
There are different types of steamers out there, but the basic idea is always the same whether it’s a simple metal steamer that you put on a pot or the most advanced ones that we review on this page.
- Put the water that will be boiled and used for steaming into a pot or the bottom of your steamer.
- Put the food somewhere over the steam where it will be surrounded by hot water vapor.
- Close the steamer and wait for the food to cook.
As you can see it’s a very simple process that can shorten your cooking time by 1/4 or more especially if you use one of the steamers we review below.
Benefits Of Steaming Food
There are numerous benefits to cooking your food using a food steamer. Here are some of them:
- It allows the food to retain its vitamins and nutrients as it doesn’t have to be submerged in water or oil.
- It makes cooking easier as it’s a simple set-and-forget method. You don’t have to pay attention to the food while it’s constantly cooking.
- It keeps your kitchen clean and it’s easy to clean up after.
- The food retains its colors and natural flavors.
- You can cook almost everything using a food steamer.
- Better for the environment as you’re using less energy.
Disadvantages Of Steaming Food
Although there are many advantages to using a steamer to cook your food, there are also a couple of disadvantages that everyone should know before buying a steamer.
- Different food takes a different amount of time to cook. Most vegetables are ready very quickly, while rice and meat take longer.
- You can get burnt if you don’t use the steamer correctly.
- For those who are used to having foods that are high in fats or oil content the steamed foods might taste a bit plain.
As you can see, there are much more pros than cons, but everyone should still decide for themselves whether buying a food steamer is for you.
Top Food Steamers Reviews
Now that you’ve learned almost everything you need to know about steaming. We’re going to show you why we chose the steamers that we did and hopefully, we will help you come to a decision on what food steamer to purchase.
Aroma Food Steamer
The Aroma Digital Cooker is the best steamer/rice cooker combo we found while looking through dozens of possible models. It’s incredibly cheap, but it is more durable and well-designed that 90% of the more expensive food steamers out there. It’s incredibly well made and it still works perfectly after 8 months of everyday use.
It’s the perfect choice if you want to cook rice while steaming vegetables or meat as it has a compartment for rice and a separate compartment for other food.
It’s the coolest feature is the fact that you can delay the start of cooking for up to 15 hours so you can set it up before going to work and have it turn on 20 minutes before get home and will have well-cooked, tasty rice and veggies right when you get home. It also automatically goes to the keep-warm mode after the cooking is finished so if you forget about it, your food will still be a good girl and warm.
It beeps very loudly once it’s done with cooking so you should be able to hear it no matter where you are in your house, but this could also be a disadvantage if you have little kids that need sleep. It does not leak or spit out water as long as you follow the manual that comes with it.
Even though it says the capacity is 8 cups of cooked rice, in reality, it’s around 6 cups of cooked rice so if you need to feed more than 2 people you can get a bigger unit.
BELLA Food Steamer
The BELLA 7.4 Quart Healthy Food Steamer has more features that make it worth the price. This steamer also has 2 steaming containers, grain tray, and lid so you can cook for a fairly large crowd of people, or you can cook larger items.
It has a timer on it which makes it easier to figure out how long your food has been cooking for and how long you have until the food is done. It will alert you when the food is done with a beeping sound, and even though it isn’t as loud as our number one pick, you should still be able to hear it from anywhere in your house.
There have been some complaints about the instructions being unclear, but it is fairly easy to figure out on your own and the timing for cooking different foods is spot on so you don’t have to look it up online every time you want to cook. This food steamer comes with a rice steamer bowl and an external water filter.
T-fal Electric Food Steamer
There were many contenders for the number 2 spot, but after careful deliberation, we decided to go with the T-Fal VC1338. This product is a bit on the expensive side, but it comes with a 1-year warranty and it is packed full of useful features.
The coolest feature of this product is the fact that you can see the water level on the outside and the top part of the food steamer is see-through so you can check if your food is ready or not without disturbing the steaming process.
It has 6 egg holders on one of the trays so if you want to steam eggs this is the perfect product for you. It’s also very quiet, portable, and even though the trays might look small, they fit a surprising amount of food on them. Every part of the product (except for the base) is dishwasher safe, and it is very easy to clean.
Helpful Tips For First Time Food Steamers
- Be careful when taking the lid off! Steam can burn your skin really badly so be careful.
- Make sure you check how long each food should take to cook. Otherwise, you might undercook or overcook it. This will come with experience, but at first, you can Google it or check out your food steamers’ manual.
- Add as much water to the steamer as you can. You can always get rid of the unused water afterward, but having to add water disturbs the cooking process, makes cooking longer and cooks the food unevenly. (Make sure the water doesn’t touch the food however as then it will be boiling and not steaming).
- You can add flavor to the food by adding bouillon cubes, spices, or wine to the water, or you can marinate the food before steaming it.
- Do not use old fruits or vegetables as steaming enhances flavors so anything that smells or tastes a bit bad normally will be even worse after steaming.
- It’s best to have the foods be the similar size for similar cooking times.
- Put the foods that cook slower into the lower tier, and foods the cook faster into the upper tier so their cooking times will be closer to each other. (If you have a multi-tier steamer).
- Try to arrange the foods fairly evenly so the food gets cooked evenly. Don’t pile the food on each other as the steam will not have enough.