The 10 Best Food Steamers

Updated February 04, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Food Steamers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Eating healthily has never been easier nor more delicious than it is with a good food steamer. Use any one of these convenient and feature-rich models to treat your family and friends to vegetables, rice, meats, fish, and more, all cooked without any added fats. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best food steamer on Amazon.

10. Hamilton Beach 37530A

A delay-start timer function means that, with the right preparation, the Hamilton Beach 37530A can have your dinner ready when you get home from work. Its two-compartment design features a removable divider for especially large or tall foods.
  • alerts you when water level is low
  • plastics contain bpa
  • containers are hand-wash only
Brand Hamilton Beach
Model 37530A
Weight 5.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Oster 5-Quart

For an ultra-simple and affordable model, look no further than the Oster 5-Quart. Just fill up one or both of its containers with delicious vegetables, meat, or fish, add water to the bottom, and turn the dial. As an added bonus, all of its parts are dishwasher safe.
  • bowls nest for compact storage
  • 60-minute auto-off timer
  • may leak while in use
Brand Oster
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Elite Platinum EST-2301

The Elite Platinum EST-2301 features two large compartments and a third 1.5 quart section on top for smaller items. Each level has six egg-rests for hard-boiling, and the side of the unit has a printed guide with all the cooking times you'll need for reference.
  • dishwasher safe
  • can be used for rice
  • lid is difficult to grasp
Brand Elite Platinum
Model EST-2301
Weight 6.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. VonChef Bamboo

Add buns and dumplings to your repertoire with the VonChef Bamboo, which also works for vegetables and anything else you can steam. This two-tiered model has stainless steel banding for a durable take on a design that's been in use for thousands of years.
  • includes two pairs of chopsticks
  • designed for use over a pot
  • metal bands get hot while in use
Brand VonShef
Model pending
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Kitchen Deluxe Basket

There's something to be said for doing things the old-fashioned way. The Kitchen Deluxe Basket may look familiar from your childhood home, and can be used with pots and pans of various sizes, making healthy cooking as simple as turning on the stove.
  • collapses nearly flat for storage
  • vegetable peeler included
  • does not come with pot or pan
Brand Kitchen Deluxe
Model pending
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Euro Cuisine FS2500

Prepare a full meal in a single appliance with the Euro Cuisine FS2500, which includes two stainless steel trays that can be used separately or together to keep flavors from mixing with one another. A large LCD display gives you control of its timer and warming functions.
  • auto-shutoff when water is empty
  • generates steam almost instantly
  • switches to warm when food is ready
Brand Euro Cuisine
Model FS2500
Weight 11 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Bella BLA13872

Eating healthy has never been easier than with the multifunctional Bella BLA13872. It helps you prepare a nutritious meal with minimal mess and hassle, thanks to its easy-to-clean surfaces and simple single-control dial interface.
  • external reservoir filler
  • includes tray for cooking rice
  • water level indicator
Brand Bella
Model BLA13872
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Gourmia SteamTower300

With three large baskets to use individually or in combination with one another, the Gourmia SteamTower300 is great for chefs who have a lot of mouths to feed. Even better, it starts steaming almost instantly, so you can get to cooking without waiting for it to heat up.
  • add time while in use
  • evenly distributes heat
  • includes recipe book
Brand Gourmia
Model GFS-300
Weight 4.6 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Cuisinart CookFresh STM-1000

The elegant, glass and stainless steel Cuisinart CookFresh STM-1000 will handle all of your steaming needs with its high capacity pot. A one-liter external reservoir ensures you won't run the machine dry, even when preparing large meals for your family.
  • contains no plastics
  • can be refilled while in use
  • one-piece design is easy to clean
Brand Cuisinart
Model STM-1000
Weight 17.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Viante Intellisteam

Indulge your taste buds with the luxurious Viante Intellisteam, which features three discrete food compartments. Each one is programmable with separate temperature and timer controls, ensuring perfect preparation every time.
  • all accessories are dishwasher safe
  • visible water gauge
  • intuitive control panel
Brand Viante
Model CUC-30ST
Weight 13.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

The Science Of Steam

Though they may look a little alien at first, these steam cookers are supremely simple in design. After all, steam cooking isn't that complex a process: water boils and creates steam, the hot steam encompasses the food in question, and its heat cooks the food.

Okay, well, how does the heat cook the food? That's an important thing to understand when choosing to steam a vegetable rather than to bake it or boil it.

Since the majority of the foods you're going to steam are composed primarily of proteins, fiber, and carbohydrates, let's look closest at those.

Heat will–not invariably, but mostly–make proteins firmer and caramelize carbohydrates. That's why hard boiled eggs get, well, hard, and why bread browns when you bake it. The proteins are firming up in the eggs and the carbs are caramelizing in the bread (and the snozzberries taste like snozzberries!).

When you steam a food, those proteins still firm up and the carbs still caramelize, but the fiber that makes up the bulk content of vegetables breaks down. That's why a carrot will get sweeter (caramelizing) and softer (fiber break down) as it steams.

Most foods also lose water through evaporation as they cook, which is why steaming and boiling make for such moist foods. Remember though, steaming preserves more vital nutrients like folic acid and vitamin C than boiling does. It's definitely the healthier choice.

How Much Steam Is Enough?

Unless you're feeding a small army, the odds are that the steamers we're reviewing here today will fit your needs and fill your family's bellies.

If you are feeding a small army, you could always opt for one of these industrial steamers, though I hope you've got a large enough kitchen at your disposal.

Size is an important factor when choosing a steamer. If it's just you alone in your house, that smaller, collapsible metal steamer at number five might be enough for you.

Just don't go steaming broccoli or cabbage in it because that could give you gas, and we want you to go out and meet people, make some friends so you can eventually also buy one of the bigger steamers.

Certain other features should play a role in your decision, as well. A water reservoir that you can fill externally (usually through a small opening in the side of the steamer base) is a dream. Also, the longer you can set your steamer to run on its own, the better, especially if you like to steam through tougher ingredients or go on short vacations while you're cooking.

Steaming With Possibilities

Steam is a powerful thing. It's helped us build entire industries, cross continents on locomotive trains, and secretly open envelopes addressed to our loved ones.

From the late 18th century, when we began to incorporate steam into our lives as a source of pressure power, artistic minds like those of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells have imagined myriad possibilities for its use.

The works of those artists and inventors would later inspire a generation of writers and artists in the 20th century who looked back at our transition to electric and combustion power to ask, "What if steam had remained the predominant source of power, even in the inventions that followed?"

That question led to incredible works of fiction from the 1950s onward, and gained the term Steampunk in the late 1980s.

Steam wasn't always a source of power, though. Its original use, as we've endeavored to explore here, was primarily in cooking.

Evidence of steam cooking dates back at least 7000 years in China, and as many as 10,000 years here in the US. The eastern methods were primarily bamboo and cypress steaming, where the native Americans of the ancient southwest used clay.

The amazing thing is how little has changed in the cuisine, as both cultures still utilize modernized versions of those same tools to cook food the way their ancestors did so long ago.

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Last updated on February 04, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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