One of the healthiest ways to prepare your food is by using a steamer. It moves away from frying or boiling food to steaming, and you can prepare vegetables, potatoes, fish, poultry, eggs, and more this way. When you use a food steamer, you are placing your food in a basket over water. The water is heated, and the steam rises to cook your food. The best thing about it is that the nutrients that escape during boiling or frying stay in the food when you steam it. The end result is food that is clean and fat-free.
What to Look for in a Steamer?
When you are buying a food steamer, there are certain features to look for, including the following:
Most food steamers come with controls, but some may be numeric dials, while others are digital. Numeric dials can fade from the steam, while digital controls last longer. They are easy to see and give you a more precise reading.
2. Trays or Baskets
The next feature is the trays or baskets. There can be one, two, or three tiers, and they fit on top of one another. Some steamers have a divider that can be removed to give you more space to cook a larger meal.
Another feature to look at is the materials that are used. While some food steams use plastic baskets, others use stainless steel or glass. Make sure that any plastic is BPA-free. Glass trays are nice, but they can get hot during steaming. Stainless steel is easy to clean.
How Do You Use a Food Steamer?
When you use a food steamer, you want to stack the trays. You need to consider how you stack them because different foods have different steaming needs. Starch-based vegetables including potatoes take a long time to cook, so they should go on the bottom tray. If you are cooking meat or fish, you should place it in the middle, and the top tray is best for delicate foods such as leafy spinach.
If you are cooking rice or other grains, you need to look at the best way to cook the type you are preparing. You need to be careful with delicate vegetables, so make sure that you place them on the top level.
Benefits of Using a Food Steamer
There are many benefits to using a food steamer. It is one of the healthiest ways to prepare your food. It enhances the flavor of your food, locks in the nutrients, and more. When you steam vegetables, they stay as close to their natural state as they can. They hold onto the vitamins and minerals within, which isn’t the case with other types of cooking.
Your meats are healthier when steamed as well. The steam removes fat so that you can easily cut it off. This is different from other types of cooking, where the meat normally absorbs the fat.
Another benefit is that steaming brings out both the flavor and the color of vegetables. Vegetables maintain their natural juices and flavors, and the color is enhanced. The color shows that they keep their nutrients.
It is also difficult to overcook your food when you use a food steamer. If you do cook for too long, the vegetables might be mushy, but they will never burn.
You can also place different kinds of food together in a food steamer without the flavors transferring between each other.
Finally, food steamers are usually dishwasher safe, and they are very easy to clean. Rather than having a bunch of pots and pans to wash by hand, you can place the trays and lids in the dishwasher and wipe down the steamer unit.
Five Best Food Steamers
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Hamilton Beach Digital Food Steamer for Quick, Healthy Cooking with Stackable Two-Tier Bowls
- FOOD STEAMER AND RICE COOKER: Easily cook a whole meal with one appliance with 5.5 quarts of cooking capacity. Includes 2 steaming bowls plus rice basket for rice or small foods.
- VERSATILE STEAMING: Versatile, stackable 2-tier steaming to cook multiple foods at once for quick and easy meal solutions. Use 1 tier for small quantities and 2 tiers for a whole meal. The center divider can also be removed to fit larger quantities of foods.
- GUESS-FREE STEAMING: Just fill it up and set the timer. When the food is ready, it will automatically switch to Warm. It also includes Delay Start and Auto Shutoff DIGITAL TOUCHPAD: Easily set the countdown timer and other functions easily.
- FITS NEATLY IN CABINETS: The tiers nest together to easily store away.
- PERFECTLY COOKED EGGS: Cook eggs from soft cooked to hard-boiled. Cook up to 16 large eggs at a time by simply standing them up on each steam bowl's egg holders.
The Hamilton Beach steamer is both a food steamer and a rice cooker. You can cook an entire meal with just one appliance, and it has 5.5 quarts of cooking capacity. It comes with two steaming bowls and a rice basket for rice or other small foods. It is versatile with two steamers; the top tier is best for smaller quantities, while the lower tier works for a whole meal. You can remove the center divider if you need to cook more food together.
You only need to fill it up and set the timer. When it is ready, the steamer automatically switches to warm. It has auto shutoff and delay start as well. It has a digital touchpad, so it is user-friendly and intuitive. It fits well inside of cabinets, as the steamers nest together. You can cook up to 16 eggs at the same time, as it comes with an egg holder. Cook seafood to perfection, and you can cook vegetables from corn on the cob to a head of broccoli.
- Delay start up to 24 hours
- Auto shutoff
- Switches to warm when it is finished steaming
- Two tiers so you can cook multiple foods
- Easy to add water to the water drawer
- Check the water because you may need to add while steaming
BELLA Two Tier Food Steamer
- COOK A VARIETY OF FOODS: Whether you're in the mood for japanese or chinese cuisine, or just want to steam some fresh vegetables, tofu, fish or meats for dinner, this steamer and rice cooker can do it all. Turn the switch and make a full meal with sides
- TWO TIERS FOR SIMULTANEOUS COOKING: With the electric food steamer, you can cook multiple items at the same time without mixing them together! The steam pot comes with a guess-free steaming guide chart that makes it easy to make your favorite dishes
- STACKABLE BASKETS & REMOVABLE BASE: The removable base makes it easy to clean your electric cooker and veggie steamer. The stackable glass baskets make it easy to store your food once it's done and can be removed safely washed in your dishwasher
- EASY TO READ WATER LEVEL INDICATOR: No more guessing when it's time to refill your water! BELLA's vegetable steamer is equipped with a clear water level indicator that tells you exactly how much liquid is left so you can refill the steamer pot comfortably
- AUTO SHUTOFF & BOIL DRY PROTECTION: The auto shutoff and boil dry protection will turn the rice steamer off automatically if it's left on for too long or runs out of water. This prevents any accidents from happening and makes it simple and safe to use
The Bella food steamer has 7.4 quarts of cooking capacity and two separate containers for steaming. You can use it to cook a complete meal including your sides, and all it takes is a turn of the switch. It also has auto shutoff and boil dry protection, so it is easy to use and safe. It has a two-tier design, so you can cook more than one thing at a time, and all you do is set the timer. It comes with two steaming containers, a grain tray, and a lid, and all of them are dishwasher safe.
There is a water reservoir window that allows you to make sure that you have enough water, and it has a seaming guide chart on the unit, so you won’t have to try to figure out how long to steam. The heating system is quick start, so you can start steaming within 30 seconds of turning it on. You can steam everything from fish, red meat, and poultry to shellfish, tofu, vegetables, and grains. You can try new dishes such as dim sum or dumplings.
With the two-basket system, you can separate your vegetables and meat, so you can prepare different foods if you have people with different dietary needs. When you cook vegetables, they stay as close to their natural state as possible, but they are still thoroughly heated. They retain the juices, taste, and color. You won’t have to worry about oil, smoke, or a mess, and it is easy to clean up. This steamer is a great option for your quick and easy meals.
- Quick and easy to use
- Two baskets for cooking different foods
- Water reservoir viewer shows you how much water you have
- Quick start heating system takes just 30 seconds
- Steaming guide chart on the unit
- Some say it is smaller than they expected
Cuisinart STM-1000 Cook Fresh Digital Glass Steamer
- SUPERIOR FUNCTION: A powerful steam system delivers steam from top down in this 5-liter glass pot for 5 pre-programmed food settings – seafood, poultry, grains, vegetables and manua
- EASY TO USE: LCD control panel with display, start/stop, pause & reheat buttons with audible alert
- MUST-HAVE FEATURES: 60 minute countdown timer, stainless steel steaming tray, glass lid with stainless steel rim & glass lid, steaming tray flips to hold different types of foods – dishwasher safe glass pot with 1-liter removable water tank
- CAPACITY: The 5-liter glass cooking pot is large enough for family-size portions of vegetables, fish, chicken, rice and more
- LIMITED 3-YEAR WARRANTY: Refer to user manual for troubleshooting steps and questions surrounding warranty policies – this product is BPA free
The Cuisinart glass steamer is a powerful steam cooker that delivers steam from the top down. The glass pot holds five liters, and it has five preprogrammed food settings, including seafood, poultry, grains, vegetables, and manual. It is easy to use with an LCD control panel. It has a display, start/stop button, pause, and reheat. It also has an audible alert when it is finished.
It comes with must-have features, including a 60-minute countdown timer, stainless steel steaming tray, a glass lid with a stainless steel rim, and a steaming tray that flips to hold different types of food. The glass pot is dishwasher safe, and it has a one-liter removable water tank.
The five-liter capacity is large enough that you can cook meals for the entire family, including vegetables, fish, chicken, rice, and more. It also comes with a limited three-year warranty and a user’s manual that has steps for troubleshooting and other information. It is BPA-free, and it is a popular item.
- Powerful steam system with a glass lid and stainless steel rim
- Five-liter dishwasher safe glass pot
- Five preprogrammed food settings, including seafood, poultry, grains, vegetables, and manual
- 60-minute countdown timer
- LCD control panel with audible alert, start/stop, pause, and reheat buttons
- Tank that holds water is plastic
Anolon Classic Stainless Steel Steamer
- UNIVERSAL STEAMER INSERT: Made of durable stainless steel, this steamer insert fits both tulip and straight-sided 2-quart, 3-quart and 4-quart sauce pots
- LOCK IT IN: Stainless steeel steamer lid provides a snug fit to lock in heat for perfectly steamed foods. Induction Suitable-No
- EASY TO HANDLE: Dual riveted handles are large enough to grip this steamer when moving around the kitchen
- TURN IT UP: The universal steamer insert is oven safe to 500 degrees F, making it easy to finish cooking in the oven
- EASY TO CLEAN STEAMER: Designed for convenience, this steamer insert and lid are dishwasher safe for easy cleanups
This Anolon stainless steel steamer insert comes with a lid, and it fits in both tulip and straight-sided two-quart, three-quart, and four-quart sauce pans. It fits snugly to lock the heat in so that your foods are perfectly steamed, but you can’t use it with induction pots and stoves. It is easy to handle, as it comes with two riveted handles that are easy to grip. You can carry it around the kitchen without worrying that you will drop it.
This steamer insert is oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that you can finish cooking your meal in the oven if you need to. It is also easy to clean, as both the insert and the lid are dishwasher safe. It is designed for versatility and convenience, and it is easy to use.
With three ply construction, it has aluminum cores between layers of stainless steel. This means that it can distribute heat evenly up the sides of the pots, which creates consistency when you are cooking. It is the perfect size to cook for two people.
- Versatile insert fits into 2-, 3-, and 4-quart sauce pans
- Comes with lid
- Dishwasher safe
- Easy to use and clean
- Oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
- Only one tier
Rosewill BPA-free, 9.5-Quart (9L)
The Rosewill steamer is a three-tier food steamer with stackable BPA-free plastic baskets. It also comes with a BPA-free rice bowl, and you get a total of 9.5 quarts, or 9 L. Cooking is safe with this steamer. It has a turbo steam ring design that provides 800 W of power, so it will start making steam in less than 40 seconds.
It also has a cooking timer that works up to 60 minutes, and it has a safety auto-off that kicks in when the water is empty. This prevents any accidents from happening. It also has a water level indicator that has a double external see-through water fill inlets, with one on each side. It is easy to see when you need to add water. Finally, the baskets are all dishwasher safe, and it includes a rice bowl that is just right for white or brown rice. You also get built-in egg holders so you can boil the perfect eggs.
There are steam vents in each lid, so you get even heat distribution. Your food will cook evenly. There are also water vents on the sides, which lets you extend the steaming process by adding water when you need to. It has handles that are cool to touch, even while it is being used. It is easy to store, as the baskets are designed to nest.
- Three tiers for cooking multiple items
- Turbo steam ring for rapid heating
- 60-minute timer
- Steam vents for even heating
- Easy to use and clean
- You need to stack the baskets in order to prevent leaking
When you are looking to prepare healthier meals, a food steamer is a great option. There are a range of models available, including those listed above. You can choose whether you benefit most from one, two, or three tiers, depending on your style of cooking. You also have a choice of plastic, glass, or stainless steel trays, so choose the one that you prefer. No matter which model you choose, you will enjoy the simplicity of preparing healthier meals. You simply place the food in the tray or basket, make sure the water tray is filled, turn it on, and wait for your delicious food to be ready.