More and more people are looking for healthier alternatives to cooking their favorite meals. There are people who use air fryers to minimize the use of oil in their ‘fried’ delicacies. Grilling and broiling are also good options. If you want something healthier, while also retaining the delicious goodness and nutrition of your food, only the best food steamer will do.
The beauty of using food steamers is that they feature an element that catches the nutrients that would be otherwise lost in the steaming process. You get to infuse these nutrients – and flavors – back into the dish.
The other good thing is that modern food steamers now have many convenient features that can make steaming food so much more fun and enjoyable. The catch is that you have to pick only the best device. Do not fret as we have 10 of the best food steamers you can choose from.
- I. Our Top 5 Picks for Food Steamers
- II. What to Look for When Buying a Food Steamer
- III. Top 10 Best Food Steamers
- 1. Secura Electric Food Steamer
- 2. Hamilton Beach 37530A Digital Food Steamer
- 3. Aroma Housewares Pot-Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
- 4. Oster Double Tiered Food Steamer
- 5. Oster Sangerfield Stainless Steel Stovetop Steamer Set
- 6. OXO Stainless Steel Good Grips Steamer with Extendable Handle
- 7. BELLA 13872 Healthy Food Steamer
- 8. Rosewill 3-Tier Stackable Baskets Electric Timer Food Steamer
- 9. Mockins 3 Piece Premium Steamer Pot Set
- 10. AICOK Food Steamer
- IV. Food Steamer FAQs
- V. Conclusion
I. Our Top 5 Picks for Food Steamers
Secura Electric Food Steamer Our #1 Pick
II. What to Look for When Buying a Food Steamer
Buying a food steamer is like buying any other small kitchen appliance. There are certain features that are essential to the efficient steaming of food. The appliance can also have additional features that can make cooking faster and more convenient. Here are some of the important things you should look for when shopping for a food steamer.
Type of Steamer
Food steamers come in two general types. These are electric and stovetop. Stovetop food steamers are the simplest. You can fit them into a pot or saucepan that you fill with about two inches of water. The simplest type of stovetop food steamer is the bamboo basket that many Chinese restaurants are famous for. There are also collapsible or folding inserts that fit right at the bottom of the saucepan or pot. The last type of stovetop food steamer features a perforated metal pan that looks more like a double boiler pan.
Electric food steamers are complete appliances in themselves. They have a chamber that you fill with water. This type of steamer also comes with perforated trays for holding the food. Steaming food requires plugging the appliance into an electric outlet. A good example of this is a multi-cooker or a rice cooker with a built-in steamer function.
There are different materials that companies use in the manufacture of food steamers. Stainless steel is perfect for all kinds of food. This is ideal in steaming seafood, vegetables, tamales, and dumplings. Silicone steamers are a great choice if you do not want your enamel or nonstick pot to get scratched.
Bamboo steamers offer a very different take on steaming food. The material imparts a very delicate scent that is very characteristic of Chinese cuisine. There are also food steamers made of microwave-safe materials. You can steam your food straight in the microwave using these gadgets.
Number of Steamer Platforms or Tiers
The idea about steaming is to cook different kinds of foods at different levels, but at the same time. For example, you can steam fish in the first tier and vegetables in the second tier. The number of steamer tiers you need will depend on the number of food types that you are going to steam simultaneously.
The benefit of having different types of food at different tiers is you get more control of the cooking process. You can remove one tier if the food in it is already cooked. At the same time, you can leave the other types of food in the food steamer to continue cooking.
There are two types of food steamers when it comes to their storability. There are collapsible or foldable products that allow for ease of storage. Non-collapsible food steamers are best for people who have plenty of space in their kitchen countertop or cabinet.
Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance
You might also want to check the cleaning and maintenance requirements of the food steamer that you are buying. It would help if the gadget is safe to clean and sanitize in the dishwasher.
III. Top 10 Best Food Steamers
1. Secura Electric Food Steamer
The Secura Electric Food Steamer is one of the best on the market. It has a control panel that simplifies operation. This food steamer has one of the fastest-heating elements we have ever seen. You can start the steaming process in as short as 15 seconds. You can also cook different types of food in its double tier configuration.
Aiding in the efficient cooking process is the digital timer, complete with a delay start. You can keep steaming for up to 10 hours and keep your food warm until you are ready to devour it.
The problem is that the Secura is both heavy and bulky that can pose a problem for those with small kitchens. Nevertheless, it remains an excellent option if you want absolute convenience in your food steaming adventures.
- Very fast to heat
- Comes with a digital timer
- Large capacity
- Easy to use control panel
- Easy to clean
- Takes up too much space
2. Hamilton Beach 37530A Digital Food Steamer
If you are a fan of sexy appliances, then the Hamilton Beach Digital Food Steamer is for you. This kitchen appliance has a slim, oblong design instead of the usual rounded pot design. This makes it easier to store in your cabinet.
The food steamer container is transparent, giving you an excellent view of your food as it gets cooked. The control buttons are very responsive and the digital display is clear enough to allow reading from across the kitchen. There is a small pullout compartment for refilling water, too.
One issue about this food steamer is that the food container is not dishwasher-safe. Only the rice bowl and drip tray are. It is not really a big deal, given the awesome looks and remarkable performance of the Hamilton Beach Digital Food Steamer.
- Transparent food steamer compartments
- User-friendly controls
- Space-saving slim design
- Easy water refill
- Comes with auto-warm function
- Food container is not dishwasher-safe
3. Aroma Housewares Pot-Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
Rice cookers can be excellent food steamers, too. This is the fundamental design of the Aroma Houseware Pot-Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer. It is a rice cooker that comes with a steamer tray. There is a simple lever that activates the cooking function. The Warm indicator lights up when cooking is done. The pot itself features a nonstick surface, so you can cook almost any other food. The aluminum steamer tray is lightweight yet strong to accommodate your food for steaming.
Our only issue with this Aroma product is that its power cord is rather short at only 38 inches. It is not a huge problem for most people, nevertheless. This makes the Aroma Pot-Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer a great option for many households.
- Can cook one-pot meals
- Very simple cooking indicators
- Modest capacity for a small family
- Comes with nonstick cooking pot
- Lightweight construction
- Power cord is a bit short
4. Oster Double Tiered Food Steamer
Oster makes many fascinating kitchen products. One of these is the Double-Tiered Food Steamer. The two-steamer bowls are large and feature slots at the bottom for the more efficient movement of steam. Its transparent design also makes checking on the progress of your steaming a lot easier. At the front of the Oster is a large dial that serves as the appliance’s timer function.
You can turn the dial all the way to 60 and the Oster will steam your food for one full hour. The removable parts can be tossed in the dishwasher for cleaning and sanitation.
Unfortunately, this Oster product does not have an auto-warm feature. It has an auto-shutoff mechanism instead. Regardless, the Oster Double Tiered Food Steamer’s compact design makes it a great steamer for people with small kitchens.
- Large food steamer bowls
- Transparent steamer bowl design
- Easy to use control dial
- Easy to clean
- Space-saving and lightweight design
- No auto-warm feature
5. Oster Sangerfield Stainless Steel Stovetop Steamer Set
The Oster Sangerfield is one of those stovetop food steamers that can double as a standard pot. The bottom pot can serve as a Dutch oven for different recipes. What makes the Sangerfield admirable is its use of food-safe and heavy-duty stainless steel.
The transparent lid also provides a good view of the food as it gets cooked. The bottom of the pot is solid and allows for uniform heat distribution. You can also put this in the dishwasher for effortless cleaning.
The Sangerfield is only for small families and single-person households. It only has a 3-quart capacity that is great for making meals for 2 to 3 persons. Despite this, we think that the Oster Sangerfield remains a good stovetop food steamer option for those who do not want electric appliances.
- Bottom pot doubles as a Dutch oven
- Durable and food-safe stainless-steel construction
- Clear glass lid
- Uniform heating
- Small capacity
6. OXO Stainless Steel Good Grips Steamer with Extendable Handle
The OXO Good Grips Steamer is one of the most beautiful and simplest steamers we have seen. It is a steamer platform that works with almost any other pot and cooker. It comes with a retractable handle. You can push it down so that you can cover your pot or cooker during steaming. You can then retract it for carrying the steamed food to the dining table. The handle is removable, too. This allows for better storage.
The issue with the OXO Steamer is that you cannot use it in pots that have an inner diameter of less than 8 inches. Nevertheless, if you use the correct size of pot, you will find the OXO Stainless Steel Good Grips Steamer to be heaven-sent.
- Removable and lockable handle
- Can be used on multicookers and pressure cookers
- Sturdy and stable steamer legs
- Durable stainless-steel construction
- Will not fit pots smaller than 8 inches in diameter
7. BELLA 13872 Healthy Food Steamer
The BELLA Healthy Food Steamer has a lot in common with the Hamilton Beach Food Steamer. It has the same shape, although BELLA has a larger capacity. We also appreciate the inclusion of a small window on the front left side of the appliance. This gives you an idea of the water level in the boiler compartment. We also love the addition of a chart that displays the time needed to cook different kinds of food. This eliminates the guesswork from steaming your favorite food.
The BELLA Healthy Food Steamer has a large footprint, requiring about 12 by 9 inches of countertop space. We did not find this surprising, given the large capacity of the food steamer. We still recommend the BELLA food steamer to anyone who wants a hassle-free way of steaming healthy food.
- Large capacity steamer bowls
- Transparent food steamer bowls
- Comes with water level window
- Simple 60-minute dial
- Useful food steaming chart
- Not a space-saver
8. Rosewill 3-Tier Stackable Baskets Electric Timer Food Steamer
One of the best things about the Rosewill Food Steamer is that it comes with three steamer baskets. This gives you the chance to steam 3 different kinds of food all at the same time. And since the baskets are stackable, storage is never a problem. It also helps that Rosewill included a chart that shows the steaming times of different food items.
You can then turn the dial to the recommended length of time up to 60 minutes. The best part is that you can begin steaming in as short as 40 seconds.
One potential issue we found about the Rosewill product is its footprint. It is larger and taller than the BELLA Food Steamer. We still feel that you should buy the Rosewill, though. Its large capacity and fast-heating capabilities are great reasons to buy this product.
- Three levels of steamer baskets
- Very fast to generate steam
- Comes with a 60-minute timer
- Food steaming time chart
- Not for small kitchen countertops
9. Mockins 3 Piece Premium Steamer Pot Set
The Mockins Steamer Pot Set is a modest-sized food steamer that also doubles as a conventional cooking pot. One of its most striking features is the pair of ergonomic handles. The black handles add to the elegance of the stainless-steel steamer pot. We also like the way the rim of both the pot and the steamer are rolled. This design can prevent spills and drips, making your countertop as clean as possible. The transparent glass lid forms a good seal against the rim of the steamer pot to help steam your food faster.
We did find the handles of the Mockins to be less than ideal for people with butter fingers. Regardless, the steamer pots set remains a good choice for people who have any type of stove in their kitchen.
- Doubles as a cooking pot
- Drip- and spill- resistant rims
- Can be used on different types of stove tops
- Safe in the oven
- Ergonomic and cool handles
- Handles are a bit ‘slippery’
10. AICOK Food Steamer
The AICOK Food Steamer is an efficient and stylish piece of small kitchen appliance that can deliver healthy, steamed foods in 30 minutes. This food steamer is tall when you stack its three-steamer bowls. One good thing about this food steamer is that it only uses 800 watts. Some of the products on the market use more than 1,000 watts. There is a small water inlet for refilling water for steaming. The bowls have a nesting design, too, for easier storage.
Our only lament is that the AICOK is a bit more expensive than other products with the same design and features. It also does not have a keep warm function. Nevertheless, the AICOK is still a good food steamer if you are looking to steam different kinds of food for a family of four.
- Very fast to heat
- Comes with 3 large-capacity steamer bowls
- More energy efficient than other brands
- Allows for compact storage
- Easy to use timer dial
- A bit expensive
- No keep warm function
IV. Food Steamer FAQs
What is a food steamer and how does it work?
Food steamers are small and simple kitchen appliances designed to steam food. The earliest food steamers have been traced to the ancient Chinese some 7,000 years ago. The food steamers we have today are not that different, save for the materials used in their manufacture.
The different types of food steamers have the same basic working principle. You have a compartment filled with water about 1 to 2 inches deep. The water is brought to a brisk boil to create steam. A tray, insert, or platform with holes gets placed over the pot or pan of boiling water. Food is placed on the platform or tray and then covered with a nonporous material.
Steam circulates around the food and cooks it. The design of the food steamer prevents the escape of hot steam and facilitates the infusion of nutrient and flavor molecules found in the steam back into the food. It is like cooking in the oven, except that the heat in a food steamer is moist.
What are the different types of food steamers?
There are two general types of food steamers: stovetop and electric. There are two other categories, but these are quite uncommon. These include a built-in countertop food steamer and a microwave food steamer.
Stovetop food steamers come as rings, tiers, baskets, or cooking platforms that you place over an ordinary pot. The pot serves as the boiler. You bring the water to a boil using the stovetop.
Electric food steamers have two main parts: the boiling chamber and the steamer basket or platform. You fill the chamber with water, plug the appliance into an electric outlet, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, you can place the food to be steamed and cover the whole thing. The advantage of electric food steamers is that they often have built-in timers and cooking indicators. These can make steaming a lot more convenient for many people.
How to use?
Using a food steamer is very easy, regardless of its type. One only needs to boil water so that it starts to form steam. Once you see steam, you can then place the food-containing platform over the boiling water. Cover it with the accompanying lid to trap the steam. This also allows the steam to circulate inside the food steamer and around the food.
Do take note that the steamer platform can be placed at the mouth of the pot of boiling water. There are also steamer platforms that have legs. These legs allow you to place the steamer platform at the bottom of the pot. The legs raise the platform above the boiling water. The key here is that the food should only get cooked by the hot steam and never get in contact with the boiling water. Otherwise, you will have boiled food instead of steamed food.
Steaming food using an electric kitchen appliance is easier. There are many rice cookers that come with steamer baskets. There are also multi-cookers that feature a steamer function. All you need is the press of a button to start the food steaming process.
How to care & clean?
You need to pay attention to the material used in the steamer’s construction when it comes to its cleaning. For example, bamboo steamers are not safe to clean and sanitize in the dishwasher. You can keep these steamers clean with a simple scrub using hot water. Allow it to completely air dry.
There are steamer materials that are safe to put in the dishwasher. These include silicone and stainless steel. However, it would still be best to look at the cleaning and maintenance recommendations of the food steamer manufacturer.
Where to buy food steamers?
You can buy food steamers either online or at the nearest kitchen appliance store in your area. Amazon, Walmart, Sears, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and eBay are some of the most popular online stores you can try.
The good news is that some of these online platforms also have a physical store. A good example is Home Depot. You can check the food steamer you like from its website and then head out to the nearest branch to check the item for yourself.
Physical stores are the best option for people who are not sure about the quality of the product they can get online. Local appliance stores allow you to assess the item you wish to buy before making any purchase. Most stores also allow customers to test the unit before buying.
Our list of the 10 best food steamers on the market today should give you a head start in your healthier cooking journey. If none of these appeal to you, our comprehensive buying guide should be very useful. Make sure to determine the type of food steamer that works best in your kitchen and in your lifestyle. It would also make sense to consider the ease of cleaning of the product you buy and the type of material used in its manufacture. You should be able to bring home the best food steamer for your family if you adhere to our simple pointers.