People leading healthy lifestyles will always steam their food. Not only does it provide a healthier way to enjoy food, steaming also offers a more nutritious and more delicious take on your favorite recipes. The process helps cook food faster, while retaining the natural moisture of the dish. To make the most out of steaming, it is crucial to pick only the best steamer you can find.
Many culinary masters prefer bamboo steamers over products made of other materials. The natural fibers of bamboo can give a dish a very unique flavor and aroma that you will never get from steel or plastic steamers. It prevents moisture from condensing and dropping into your food. This makes your dish more interesting without making it dry. If you want to jumpstart your journey into the world of healthy cooking, check out our list of the 10 best bamboo steamers on the market.
I. Our Top Picks for Bamboo Steamers
|Products & Features||Image & Price|
1. Our #1 Pick: BirdRock Home 10 Inch Bamboo Steamer
2. Runner-Up: Mister Kitchenware Bamboo Steamer 2 Tier Baskets
3. Cuisine Natural Bamboo Steamer 2 Tiers & Lid
4. Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Bamboo Steamer Basket
5. GUCUJI Nonstick Silicone Steamer Liners
6. Steami Bamboo Steamer
|7. Happy Sales HSST-BMB06 Bamboo Steamer|
|8. Cooking Gift Set Chinese Soup Dumpling Kit|
|9. Zoie + Chloe 100% Natural Bamboo Steamer Basket|
|10. JapanBargain S-2224 Chinese Bamboo Steamer Basket|
II. What to Look for When Buying a Bamboo Steamer
Most people think that they do not have to be meticulous when choosing a bamboo steamer. After all, these products look the same. They may only differ in their size and the presence of some ornaments. However, one has to exercise caution when buying bamboo steamers. Not all bamboo steamers you may see on the shelf of your favorite kitchen supplies store are of similar quality. Here are some of the most important things that you need to look for whenever shopping for a bamboo steamer.
Quality of Bamboo
It is important to look for a steamer that uses only the best possible quality of bamboo materials. This will help ensure excellent retention of the full flavors and nutrients of your food. More importantly, good quality bamboo does not affect the aroma of your food. As a matter of fact, it should impart a very pleasant smell that can make eating steamed food more enjoyable.
There are manufacturers of bamboo steamers that incorporate a number of chemicals in their products. These can come in the form of strengtheners, adhesives, and/or finishers that give the bamboo steamer a more pleasant look. One of the chemicals that some manufacturers may use is BPA. While there are health organizations that say BPA is safe, it would be in your best interest to steer clear of products that have BPA or any other substance. The bamboo steamer should only have natural bamboo as its component.
The idea about steaming is to trap the steam produced by boiling water. This allows the steam to build up pressure inside the steamer basket. As such, the bamboo lid should be woven in such a way that there are no spaces in between weaves. This helps prevent steam from escaping into the air.
Number of Tiers
The more tiers of bamboo steamer baskets you have, the more food you can steam at the same time. Chinese dim sum restaurants can use up to 10 baskets at a time. This is how efficient bamboo steaming is. You can have different types of dumplings and buns getting cooked at once.
Tight Fit of the Steamer Baskets
Bamboo steamer baskets stack onto each other. That is why you need to check the fit of each basket. The bottom of a bamboo steamer basket should form a good seal around the upper rim of the steamer basket below it. Just like the tightly-woven lid, the fit of the steamer baskets prevents the escape of steam.
Diameter of the Steamer Basket
Small diameter steamer baskets are perfect for single servings of dumplings, buns, and other food in small portions. If you are looking to steam fish, then you need a large diameter steamer basket. Ten inches is often a good diameter for most steaming applications.
Space between Slats
The slats should have adequate spacing between them to allow steam to pass through the upper baskets. It should not be too wide, lest you risk dropping bits of food into the lower steamer baskets or into the boiling water.
III. The 10 Best Bamboo Steamer Reviews
1. BirdRock Home 10 Inch Bamboo Steamer
BirdRock Home makes one of the most exciting bamboo steamers on the market. The first thing you will notice is the bamboo material that secures the ends of the ring. This is one critical element of a good bamboo steamer. We also like the weave of the lid and the good fit of the individual tiers. The spaces in between the slats are wide enough to allow steam to pass without letting your food fall in the water.
There is a slight hint of bamboo wood chip scent when you steam food in the BirdRock bamboo steamer. Some folks may not like it, but it is one of those things that make a bamboo steamer unique. Overall, this is still a good buy because of its simple design and efficient steaming performance.
2. Mister Kitchenware Bamboo Steamer 2 Tier Baskets
People love Mister Kitchenware’s Handmade Bamboo Steamer. The saw tooth pattern on the lid gives it a design element that is both pleasing to look at and functional. Both the lid and the tiers never renege on their principal function of keeping steam inside the basket. We like the addition of a mesh liner with the bamboo steamer. At least, you will no longer have to worry about buying liners for this steamer again. The steamer feels solid and should last many years if you know how to care for it.
One minor hiccup of the Mister Kitchenware is the inconsistent spacing of its slats. Some are wider than others. Food can fall in wider spaces. Good thing the company already includes a pair of liners for their product. This makes the Mister Kitchenware a good bamboo steamer to buy.
3. Cuisine Natural Bamboo Steamer 2 Tiers & Lid
If you fancy steaming fish, poultry, vegetables, or even meat, then you have to give Cuisine Natural’s bamboo steamer a try. The tightness of the weave helps secure the steam in the tiers so that your food will cook faster. We also like the inclusion of a handle at the top of the lid. The best part about the Cuisine Natural is the inclusion of 20 paper liners.
We were surprised to find out that some people question the bamboo steamer’s durability. We can only guess that the product was not handled, cleaned, and cared for in the correct manner. Most consumers who have used the product can attest to Cuisine Nature’s reliable construction. That is why we believe this bamboo steamer is still a good product to buy.
4. Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Bamboo Steamer Basket
Preparing an authentic Chinese dim sum feast for your family is easy. All you need are a good recipe, a reliable wok, and Helen Chen’s Asian kitchen bamboo steamer. This is a tool that can give you amazing dumplings and bean buns for everyone.
The construction is solid, preventing steam from ever escaping. The slats have ample spacing that can aid in the more efficient circulation of steam through the two tiers. A simple brush with hot water is all it takes to keep it clean.
Keep in mind that this 10-inch bamboo steamer is several dollars more expensive than other 10-inchers. Nevertheless, it remains a good option if you want a bamboo steamer that is as reliable as the authentic pieces you see in Asian restaurants.
5. GUCUJI Nonstick Silicone Steamer Liners
There are some people who think that you can place your food directly on the steamer bed. If you do, then you risk sticking the food in the surface. That is why a key element of any bamboo steamer is the liner. One of the best you can use is GUCUJI’s silicone steamer liner. This is a material that is as safe as the food you intend to steam. It is tough and can withstand repeated washes for up to 5,000 times. It can also withstand a temperature as high as 428OF.
The GUCUJI comes in 4s, making it rather expensive on a per piece basis. The good news is that this product is reusable. It can easily translate to better savings in the long run. This makes the GUCUJI a good investment if you are looking to make dim sum dishes every day.
6. Steami Bamboo Steamer
Steaming is one of the easiest cooking methods. As long as you have a pot of simmering water and the Steami Bamboo Steamer, you can create fantastic, healthy dishes for the whole family. The Steami is perfect for making your own take on classic Asian dumplings, fish recipes, chicken, and other delicacies. There is no worrying what recipes to cook since Steami already includes a cookbook with your purchase. The individual tiers form a tight seal to cook your food fast.
While we do appreciate the inclusion of 10 paper liners, we did wish that Steami made the liners with high quality materials. Buns and dumplings tend to stick to the surface of the liner as they cook. Regardless, the Steami Bamboo Steamer is still a great choice for people who want a reliable material to steam their favorite food.
7. Happy Sales HSST-BMB06 Bamboo Steamer
There are people who live alone or share their house with only one other person. For such people, the 6-inch steamer of Happy Sales is simply perfect. This Asian kitchenware makes it so much easier to steam vegetables. This bamboo steamer has one of the thickest ring bands we have seen. It also imparts an herbal scent to the food, making it the ideal cookware for steaming fish and vegetables.
One very small issue is that Happy Sales did not include steamer liners with the product. You have to purchase them separately. You can solve this by using softened Napa cabbage leaves or even cheesecloth instead. We believe that the Happy Sales Bamboo Steamer deserves a shot in your kitchen, especially if you are a fan of small feeding portions.
8. Cooking Gift Set Chinese Soup Dumpling Kit
If you are looking to surprise your budding home cook of a friend, then the Cooking Gift Set is the one to pick. The elegant package already comes with a two-tier bamboo steamer for making sumptuous dumplings and other Asian delicacies. It also includes a wooden spatula that is perfect for mixing dumpling ingredients and a dough roller for making the dumpling wrapper. There is a liner, too, to go with your bamboo steamer. All of the materials used in the handcrafting of these items are all natural, so you will not have issues about food safety.
Because the gift set already includes a number of kitchen items, expect it to cost as much as twice your ordinary bamboo steamer. We believe it is worth every penny. This dumpling gift set should get your recipient’s culinary adventures underway.
9. Zoie + Chloe 100% Natural Bamboo Steamer Basket
Zoie + Chloe’s Bamboo Steamer Basket is one of the nicest dim sum cookware you can ever find. It makes perfect sense why this product is so well-loved by lovers of Asian cuisine. It is large enough to accommodate sizeable portions of food for the whole family. Everything about it is made of bamboo. Zoie + Chloe even includes a pair of reusable liners to get your Asian cooking started. The lid has a very tight lid for trapping steam, ensuring you get the fastest cooking times possible.
We only wish Zoie + Chloe designed their bamboo steamer with a deeper steaming platform. This way, you can steam larger chunks of food. Nevertheless, we cannot argue with the remarkable design and functionality of the bamboo steamer.
10. JapanBargain S-2224 Chinese Bamboo Steamer Basket
A 10-inch bamboo steamer is sufficient for most homes. If you want something larger, then you should pick the JapanBargain S-2224. This Chinese bamboo steamer comes with two large 12-inch diameter steamer baskets that can cook a meal for a large group of Asian cuisine-loving folks. The baskets are tough and the rings are secured using strong bamboo materials. The lid forms a tight seal on top of the upper basket to ensure faster cooking times. This product also costs less than bamboo steamers with a 10-inch diameter.
Like most bamboo steamers, JapanBargain does not include any specific instructions for its care. You can always look for general care instructions online, nonetheless. The JapanBargain remains a good option for home cooks who want to prepare large portions of steamed vegetables, fish, meat, poultry, bread, and dumplings, among others.
IV. Bamboo Steamer FAQs
What is a bamboo steamer and how does it work?
A bamboo steamer is a kitchen tool that resembles a round cake pan, except that it is made of bamboo. Each pan or basket comes with a steamer bed or food platform inside the ring. The steamer bed rests about ¾ to 1 inch from the bottom of the steamer basket. The upper rim of the basket is thinner than its lower section. This design is necessary to create an interlocking system when one steamer basket is stacked over another basket.
The steamer bed consists of strips or slats of bamboo. The space between these slats is where steam moves and cooks the food. The baskets get stacked in a wok filled with simmering water. The water does not get in contact with the bottom surface of the steamer bed. Steam is produced as the water simmers. The steam passes through the stacked steamer baskets via the slats in each steamer bed. There is a lid on the topmost steamer basket to help keep the steam inside the stacked bamboo steamer baskets.
What are the different types of bamboo steamers?
There are no types of bamboo steamers, except when it comes to their size. The average size of bamboo steamers is about 10 to 12 inches. This is good enough for many applications. However, Chinese restaurants are also known for using large 28- to 30- inch baskets. There are also smaller steamers that are perfect for single-serve dumplings. These steamer baskets can have a diameter of 6 inches on the average.
How to use?
Fill a pot, shallow pan, or wok with water. The water level should be about ¼ to ½ inch above the bottom of the bamboo steamer basket. Line the food bed or food platform of the bamboo steamer with an appropriate material. This will prevent the food from sticking onto the upper surface of the food bed. Most home cooks will use a parchment paper as a liner. However, you can also use cheesecloth, lettuce leaves, and softened leaves of Napa cabbage. There are also reusable silicone liners.
Place the food to be steamed in the bamboo steamer. If steaming fish or meat, it is best to place the food first in a plate or dish to retain their juice. It is also important not to overcrowd the steamer basket. There should be enough space to allow the more efficient circulation of steam. Additionally, some types of food tend to expand as it gets cooked.
Some chefs prefer to put the bamboo steamer in the wok with the water still cold. Others would wait for the water to start simmering before they place the steamer. Placing the steamer with the water still cold is safer as you do not need to worry about burning your hands.
It is important to keep an eye on what you are steaming. Always check the water level. If you have to add water, make sure to add only boiling water. Adding cold water can drastically reduce the temperature of the simmering water. This can interrupt the steaming process and give you a dish that is less than satisfactory.
How to care and clean?
One thing you should know about bamboo steamers is that they are porous. As such, one should never clean them in the dishwasher. The chemicals used in the machine can penetrate the microscopic spaces between bamboo fibers. The same is true when washing it by hand. It is never a good idea to wash it with any kind of soap, no matter how gentle it can be. The best way to clean bamboo steamers is by brushing it with warm water. This will remove food particles and excess fat that may have stuck on the surface of the steamer. This should always be followed by thorough air drying.
Where to buy bamboo steamers?
Bamboo steamers are available in many online commerce platforms. Amazon has hundreds of sellers that offer bamboo steamers in different sizes and number of tiers. Other notable e-commerce sites where you can buy good quality bamboo steamers include Walmart, Home Depot, Sears, and Lowe’s among others.
Most people would prefer buying bamboo steamers from a physical store. This way, they can inspect the product first before they are going to buy it. They can also compare different brands of bamboo steamers and choose the one that they think is best for them. The best stores for such a kitchen item are establishments that sell authentic Chinese and Asian kitchen products.
Steaming is one of the best ways to cook healthy food. Using a bamboo steamer is a lot better than using metal, silicone, or plastic steamers. Bamboo makes your dish more interesting, infusing more flavors, and ensuring more nutrients, without ever drying your favorite food. The key, of course, is to pick the right bamboo steamer. You can choose any one from our list of the 10 best bamboo steamers and you can be on your way to a healthier dining and snacking. Our buying guide should also help you narrow down your own choice of the ideal bamboo steamer for your kitchen.